The people. The hardest part about losing an unborn child in the first trimester is the fact that it feels like a secret. When people don’t know your joy, how can they understand your sorrow? That’s why we decided not to keep it a secret. We shared and I instantly felt physically and emotionally the hands of so many on my shoulders telling me, “You’ll get through this. It will change your life, but God is at work,” Or, “I’ll never forget my experience with miscarriage.” Knowing the pain isn’t something you have to try to explain or rationalize is life giving! The greatest comfort I could have received.
The worst and hardest things I heard were,
“How are you doing since you’re ‘little mishap.’ – as if what happened was somehow related to something that could have been helped.
“I know exactly how you feel.”- even if they had experienced a miscarriage, I doubt anyone had the exact same experience.
“You’ll have another one soon enough. We had 5 kids and 3 miscarriages and they didn’t slow us down a bit.” – as if the only thing I’m grieving is a slow down in my family planning.
“You’ll have to just move on because it’s all you can do.” -Unless you know how to move on and can give me a step by step process of how to do that in a healthy manner, I don’t want to hear about having to do that.
The worst… saying nothing at all, when I knew full well they knew. It was like acting like the life that had been there and bled out of me never even existed or wasn’t worth mentioning. It hurt so bad.
I get it though. It’s hard to say anything right to a hurting person. I’ve been on that end too. I just had to get these out somewhere for fear that one of these sentences will cross your mind when you’re talking with a grieving mama- I want you to remember the italicized feelings that follow.
But the people that listened, that took time for a grieving woman, that wanted to know the horrible details of what I’d experienced and didn’t claim to know what it was like, just let me have the sacred space to feel and to share, they blessed me and many of them were my church.
My church wasn’t perfect. There were people that looked like it, but we would call that an imperfect church wouldn’t we? It wasn’t made of all the greatest saints by any stretch, but it was made of people that knew how to do life together, and that is a true statement. When I looked out at that group of imperfect people, I knew love, acceptance and care- not perfection, but a group of people that I loved. My community.
If there is one thing I learned and accepted in the early days of loss, it was that I learned to lean on my church more vulnerably, I learned that they weren’t perfect, and I learned that I could love that.