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The Silent Grief of Miscarriage

The Silent Grief of Miscarriage

Miscarriages cause a silent grief. A nameless grief.

A grief for one who had no connections in life. No schoolmates, nofriends, no co-workers—all of which translates to no funeral. A grief that can’t be shared.A grief to be borne solely by the ones who conceived. A grief thatis carried by the one who may now feel guilt upon silent grief becauseshe miscarried.

This is a grief that is often carried alone. A grief that is toooften complicated by guilt. A grief that is private and difficult toshare. A grief for a nameless soul.

I’ve seen all too many women (and some men) try to be strong aftera miscarriage only to find the grief manifest itself over the nextcouple months and even years. This is a very real grief and it’s not to be brushed aside.

It’s often traumatic. Often bloody and painful. Often lonely and powerless.

I remember a Bible professor express the need for prayer to my classbecause his wife had just miscarried. Despite the fact he was askingfor prayer, his request was quite smug and short, as if it wasn’t a bigdeal. Being that my class was a Degree Completion Course, there was anumber of older women who quickly asked, “How’s your wife doing?”

He responded, “Oh, she’s fine. It’s not a big deal.”

To that another lady quickly rebutted, “It might not be a big deal to you, but it is to her. And if you have that attitude, it will be abigger deal in months to come.”

Sure enough, she was right as months later the professor shared with theclass that his wife was suffering from depression and needed our serious prayers as she entered counseling.

The grief from miscarriages is very real and it doesn’t matter what trimester the miscarriage takes place.

“Women themselves will say, ‘How can a loss at 20-plusweeks be the same as a loss at six weeks?’” said Emma RobertsonBlackmore, an assistant professor of psychiatry at the University ofRochester Medical Center who has studied moods during pregnancy,post-partum depression and the effects of miscarrying. “But researchsays the level of symptoms and impairment is the same.”

Nor does it matter how many children you have.

Michelle Duggar and her husband Jim Bob have 19 children. Nineteen children. All their own. The average Americanfamily has 2.3 children. The Duggars have 8.2 times the children thatthe average American family produces. These guys put the Amish toshame. They also have their own reality TV show on TLC called 19 Kids and Counting. And they recently conceived their 20th child some six months ago—only to have it die in utero last week.

Although their family planning — or lack thereof — has incitedsome controversy, the Duggars did two things very right following thedeath of their child.

1.) They named their child Jubilee Shalom.

2.) They planned a funeral for Jubilee.

Asa funeral director, the first time I worked a funeral for a couplethat miscarried, I thought it wasn’t worth my time. But that allchanged when I saw the utterly disheartened grief in the face of themother and expecting father. They were devastated.

We performed most of the services for free, and I imagine mostfuneral homes do the same. Honestly, especially for miscarriages,there is no need for a funeral director; but there is a need for agathering with your closest friends and family, those who love andsupport you, to express their love for you. It’s one of thoseseemingly selfish things that’s entirely unselfish. Because it’s a time for others to recognize the loss, grieve with you and have anopportunity to pour out their love for you.

Name the child. Don’t let the child be nameless. For both the child’s sake and foryour own sake. Name the child so that you can have a more defined grief process. And even if the the child was miscarried years ago and you suffered in silent grief, it’s never too late. Even if it’s just you and your spouse, or you and a close friend. Have a small service where you read scripture and remember.

Grief shared is grief diminished. It’s time to share. And it’s time we take miscarriages and stillbirths very seriously.

Caleb Wilde is a funeral director who blogs about his experiences with life, faith and death. You can also follow him on Twitter

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