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Unexpected Advice For Grieving A Miscarriage

SELF | Cristin Fissinger | 10 mins

Last year, I joined a new club: the mother of dead babies club. It’s one of the worst clubs you could join. Your eyes become like a leaky faucet, while others sport loads of sympathetic looks and “you’ll be OK” condolences. It was one of the most gut-wrenching things I’ve ever experienced, and I’ve since learned that so many women who want a baby experience it at some point. Miscarriage is tragically common, but how are we supposed to handle it?!

It’s easy to become bitter, hopeless, and angry with God when something horrible like a miscarriage happens. But I have opted to choose joy instead of despair, and I want the same for you.

Getting pregnant hasn’t been the easiest thing for us. It didn’t take years of waiting or tons of invasive procedures, but every additional month that we didn’t see those two little blue lines felt like torture. Our first child was conceived with a bit of help. I suffered from a progesterone deficiency, but after a few bottles of progesterone pills, countless shots in the rear, and endless blood draws, we had a healthy baby. Doctors told us that when we were ready for more kids to just “give them a call.”

After having one child so successfully, I felt as though my next one would be like a trip to Starbucks. I’d visit the doc, order my one pregnancy, please (light on the drugs, heavy on the cuteness)—and boom, we’d have another child.

Then something miraculous happened. Without medical intervention, I was pregnant. We were shocked. Two under two? Unexplained by doctors? We immediately gave all the credit to God. Our hopes began to rise. We were going to be parents again! After two successful ultrasounds, I believed it was actually happening.

But then, at our twelve-week appointment, an ultrasound confirmed the baby had passed four weeks prior. I had no physical signs of a miscarriage until I saw that little baby on the ultrasound, laying there ever so still without a heartbeat. I’ll never forget that picture and how it will forever change our family.

Before the miscarriage, sure, my husband and I prayed that God would intervene for kid number two, and we wouldn’t need medical intervention. But I honestly wasn’t expecting Him to do it.

In the back of my mind, I thought I’d just visit my doctor one day and have a baby anyway. I started to believe I didn’t need God in this process at all. I thought that one way or another, I would figure it out myself.

I was getting comfortable handling fertility all on my own because the truth is—when stuff this tough happens, it’s incredibly difficult to keep trusting God. But, as someone who’s been following Him for a while, I knew I couldn’t remain in control. So, when I noticed those thoughts, I did something called repenting.

Repenting is a common church word that’s often misunderstood. It simply means to turn back to God. I told God I was sorry for acting in a way that didn’t look like Him and asked him to help me replace that behavior with a new, better one. I talked to God out loud in front of trusted friends and told him:

“I repent of thinking I’m in control of my own fertility and that you don’t know what’s best for my family or me. I give you those thoughts and my desire for control, and I ask the Holy Spirit to give me faith and assurance of your goodness.”

When I let go of that (perceived) control I’d been holding on to, God showed up. Something supernatural happened, and He began to show me how to choose joy amidst my loss.

Not long after the miscarriage, a friend who hadn’t known I was pregnant felt that God told her to send me this quote: “Many people give thanks to God when he gives. Job gave thanks when he took.”

I choked up on the spot. I looked up the story of Job in the Old Testament. He had ten children, thousands of livestock, and tons of servants waiting on him hand and foot. Then God allowed all of it to be destroyed. Job’s livestock was stolen, his servants were murdered, and all 10 of his children were killed in a freak windstorm.

What does Job do when he loses everything? Job 1:20-22 says, “At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship and said, ‘Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.’ In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.”

In those two verses, God quietly whispered how He wanted me to respond to the tragedy of my miscarriage. He wanted me to respond with gratitude.

Yikes.

So I’m just supposed to say, “Thanks, God, for the gift of pregnancy and then taking away my baby?” I’m still working on that one. But the Bible says we are to obey God in the littlest of things and rejoice in all things (Philippians 4:4), so I wanted to obey God in this small act, even if I didn’t understand it.

And that’s what we did. My husband and I thanked God for allowing me to get pregnant again in the first place, for the in-utero life he gave to that baby, and for the hope that our little one was in heaven without any pain.

Like Job, we didn’t blame or rebel against God. You know why? Because even in the most painful circumstances, He is sovereign (which is a big word for saying he’s Lord of all things). I don’t believe God took my baby. While I believe God can stop all evil and bad things from hurting us, he doesn’t sometimes, and I don’t know why. But I do know He promises to walk me through it, and he can help me heal from it.

At the same time, God is not an emotionless robot, and he doesn’t expect us to be emotionless either. Job still deeply mourned the loss of his children and wealth. Grief is not a sin. It’s a healthy emotional response to loss, but it matters how we handle it. We can let it push us further from God, or we can lean into him as we grieve.

Through this miscarriage journey, God has shown me that it’s possible to grieve my unborn baby and worship God at the same time.

Every time I start to slip into a “woe is me; my life is harder or less blessed than theirs, I’m so sad” monologue, I hear a silent little voice whisper, “But God…”

But God, in His infinite wisdom, put people around us who would love us well in this hard time.

But God isn’t done with me.

But God isn’t mad at me and still calls me his daughter.

But God still invites me to cry on his shoulder, take comfort in his teachings, and has good things for me.

Psalm 147:3 says, “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.”

For me, God did this in a few ways, but largely through the kindness of others. Our community didn’t sit back and ignore something that rocked our world; they acted and loved us, and they continue to do so daily.

If you’re grieving your own loss, there are no words to console your grief and loss. But I hope you can take comfort in hearing that God does know your grief and loss. He knows exactly what you’re feeling, and His heart is breaking with yours.

If you’re grieving right now, here are some things that helped me:

  • Read the Bible. Seriously. It’s inspiring and full of hope. You could start with the Christmas story (found in Matthew and Luke) or even the book of Job.
  • Write down everything you have to be joyful about in the last year. This one was difficult for me, so I started my list with “I woke up this morning.” If you woke up this morning (and I hope you did), then you have at least one thing to be thankful for. After I wrote that down, God started bringing to mind all the joyful, fun memories my family had while I was pregnant. That baby had a sweet and joyful few weeks, and I realized we did have some highlights that year after all.
  • Repent. Start with asking God to take away your heartache, bitterness, or fear for the future. Just today, I repented for swearing at the sedan who cut me off on the highway. There’s always something you can repent for.
  • Lean into things that have brought you joy in the past. Listen to that 90s CD, join a pick-up game, cook, or go for a run. Whatever it is, jump back in. It’s super hard to start doing normal life again, but returning to things that once gave you joy helps.
  • Let friends help. Be honest with your inner circle about how you’re doing and what your needs are. Maybe you have a few people who are safe and empathic who can bring you peace or drop off dinner. Maybe you want to let people know on social media to get it out there. But speak up where you need to, and give yourself grace when you just need some space.
  • Talk to someone intentionally. Meet with others who’ve had a similar experience, or find a therapist you trust. Eventually, you will need to share with some trusted people what you’re going through. I met with several women who had miscarriages, and I started to meet with one mom weekly. Let them help you grieve well and choose joy.
  • Keep talking to God about how you’re doing. He wants to be a part of every inch of your life, even if you’re mad at Him. He can take it, and he actually wants to grieve with you.

The Bible tells us we will have trials. I believe my miscarriage was a trial—a moment in time where I had to decide to follow Jesus or go my own way. I could despair and obsess with trying to fix it myself, or I could choose to hope and trust Him.

Long story short, we did conceive again after that miscarriage, and I believe God made that happen. But what really happened is I gave up control. Surrendering isn’t a magic formula to getting a baby next time. But it is the path to getting free. God surprised me, and I believe He will continue to because he knows I’m trusting him to finish writing my story—not me.


Written by

Cristin Fissinger

Wife, mom, recovering lawyer, and fierce advocate for growing families and hosting parties. Loves Jesus, red wine, baking, and a lively game of Catan. Will never own a cat.

Published on Jan 20, 2021
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Unexpected Advice For Grieving A Miscarriage

  1. What strikes you most about this article? Why that? (Noticing what stands out to you can be the beginning of hearing from God. Lean into it.)

  2. How do you feel about your loss right now? Spend time sharing or writing as much as you can. Be as real as you can. If you feel angry, broken, devastated, gypped, cursed, abandoned, let it out. Sometimes we’re the only ones who haven’t actually admitted it. God knows what you’re feeling, so you might as well say it.

  3. How do you react to Cristin’s story and her challenge to let go of control? What would it look like to tangibly surrender your fertility journey to God? Think of one practical way. Share it with a friend so they can help you give it a shot.

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