Miscarriage: How NOT to Handle Grief


My heart is heavy. I've had a rough few weeks. Even taking the entire month of November to focus on thankfulness couldn't keep away the grief that remains. Now December is here. By the end of this month, it will have been 6 months since my miscarriage. Somehow that number - 6 months, half a year - seems big and significant.

Despite things I've done to help myself cope with grief, I need a pep talk... once again. Need to remind myself of what is important. Even when it's hard. So this is
a message from me to me... and to anyone else out there that feels stuck in the mire of grief and despair.

How NOT to handle grief:

*Relive the death. To relive "the day" over and over in your mind doesn't help. It doesn't take the pain away. It doesn't bring healing. It isn't a productive use of your energy and emotion and brain space. Instead, consider writing down in a journal all that you remember about the day of death. And close the journal. It's there if you want to revisit it, but this can allow you some needed distance. Put your mental energy and time into something more productive.

*Stop praying. Death and the frailty of life bring about many questions about eternity and the meaning of life. As a Christian, I know that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation can separate us from the love of God (Romans 8:38-39). Even when I feel mad at God, for allowing my child to die... I can still approach Him. I can let Him know how I feel. I can cry out to Him in my pain, my grief, my anguish, my tears. And He does not turn away or cast me off. Praying and talking to God is a helpful way to release pent-up emotions and you may be surprised when He speaks words of comfort to your hurting soul.

*Stop hoping. Hope is such a difficult thing to understand. It's hard to define and hard to grasp why some people have it in seemingly hopeless situations and others don't have it when they "should." To stop hoping is to give in to the despair. To stop hoping is to think that every day is going to be as bad as this one, as though there is no chance of things improving. Hopelessness says that my heart will remain as broken and hurting as it is right now. While hope says "I will get through this. Wholeness will come again. This is my winter season but spring will come!" To give up all hope for better days is truly the worst place to find yourself... and an even worse place to stay! As much pain as you may feel right now, believe that there will be better days ahead. The sun will shine again.

*Stop talking. I've addressed this one before on this blog so I won't repeat it all again. But healing comes through talking about your pain and grief with others. I'm not encouraging you to share everything with everyone, but rather to find one or two close friends who will help you bear your burden. If you're married, your spouse is meant to be your companion through hard times like this. Share from your heart, even when it's hard to say or hard to describe or tears are the only language you can speak. Talk as little or as much as you need to, in order to let one or two others share in your pain and walk through it with you.

*Distance yourself from those closest to you. Similar to the previous point, it is so easy to isolate yourself from others, shutting down relationships and friendships. Grief can be a big strain on any relationship, but especially on a marriage. The loss of a child is high on the list of causes of divorce. It is easy and happens naturally that spouses grieve differently and therefore start to drift apart in their grief instead of moving closer together. Don't allow grief so much power over your life and relationships. Resist the temptation to curl up and cry alone.

This list may seem like a no-brainer, but as one who is grieving, I admit that it is hard to not just naturally slip into these tendancies. It takes effort to live in the moment and not in the past. It takes effort to pray, to hope, to talk, to connect. Sometimes when grieving, the motivation to put forth the effort in these areas is hard to find.

I am reminded of this verse, which is my prayer for myself and all who grieve: "Praise be to God... the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort." (2 Cor 1:3). May the God of all comfort meet us in our deepest despair and fill us with comfort and compassion and hope for tomorrow.


marineof2 said...

(((HUGS))) Still praying for you all!

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