By Anonymous Crosswalk.com Contributor, Crosswalk.com
Losing a child through miscarriage is a unique experience for each couple, depending on the circumstances surrounding the loss. Because each story is so varied, each journey to carry and process the grief is very different. So with that said, here are three general ways to begin loving your wife through a miscarriage. You might find a different set of points more crucial for your family’s grief journey, but here’s a starting place.
1. Acknowledge Your Own Grief
Our miscarriage was set in the context of many years of not being able to conceive. We had one miraculous baby surprise us after nearly a decade of infertility and had another joyful surprise two years later. But the second was not to join our family. The miscarriage created a set of falling domino health issues that took their toll on me for years. While everyone clapped me on the shoulder and said we’d have another, the years passed, and we never did.
The grief was not replaced with another little one, and honestly, for many women, another child never does fill the loss. Regardless of whether or not another pregnancy heals or comforts your family in the wake of loss, other women who shared their miscarriage stories with me had very different perspectives on miscarriage when it was a more defining factor in their family life rather than a piece of the journey.
In that space of infertility and disappointment, my husband grieved greatly. He had prayed fervently for this baby we lost. He was so thrilled that God was adding to our family again! It was a culminating spiritual loss as several very dear and hard sought-after prayer requests were answered with bewildering and painful “no’s.” There were moments we grieved well together because he let me share his pain. The times when he tried to be strong for me by not allowing me into his grief were not moments of healing for us. It created distance between us.
This is not an easy dance, this journey of grief together. One person is sucked under the current of loss while the other rides the top of the wave for the moment, and you must learn to rejoice together when one partner holds onto to God’s joy, grace, and strength and have mercy, patience, and compassion while the other gasps for air under the waves of grief. I think perhaps it is God’s gift that we do not grieve at the same speed or intensity in the same moment. It gives balance to our marriage. But that pushing-pulling balance is not always easy to recognize and share in the moment, especially when pain is blinding.
So as your grieve, press into the Lord and allow your wife to share it with you. Sharing the burden will foster the love God intends to grow between a husband and wife.
Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ. Galatians 6:2
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2. Acknowledge Your Wife’s Needs
After a miscarriage, your wife will most likely have some unique physical, emotional, and spiritual needs. Be intentional about knowing and supporting those needs.
There are major hormone shifts that happen after a miscarriage. At the bare minimum, your wife is going to need grace and patience to shake out the hormones. In hindsight, we realized we had really poor medical care when we had our miscarriage and that I ought to have sought out another opinion to navigate the physical complications I experienced. We had insurance issues that added to the practicality of all this, but making sure your wife has an advocate during this time could be especially important.
She might be a really strong, independent woman, but in the wake of a loss like this, she might need a medical advocate and not even realize it. Be aware and open to helping her navigate whatever healthcare needs might arise during this unique time. It might be you who becomes her advocate, or maybe a mom, sister, or friend will be a good fit to come along on an appointment to be a listening ear too. Every woman is different in how she needs to be supported, but every woman needs support during this season.
Emotional and Spiritual Needs
Your wife might need more time alone to process her loss, or she might need more time with you, and probably she will need both! In either case, be prepared to take some time off work and other regular responsibilities to create some flexibility. Routine helps some people through their grief, so your wife might not want time off, but having that as an option might feel really good to her. If she has a close female sister in the Lord or mentor, making sure she can take time for those relationship connections will be a blessing.
So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself; for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church. Ephesians 5:28-29
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3. Pray for Your Wife
Grief is one of those valleys we walk through that has its unique intimacy with God. We might share the burden of it and the season we experience it, but no one can carry grief for another person. We all have to process our own sufferings. It’s a personal, intimate experience.
As a pastor’s wife, I am on the sidelines of many people’s lives, watching, cheering them on, and praying hard for them! Frequently, I just so desperately wish I could jump in and carry someone’s grief for them! My heart breaks for them, but it doesn’t relieve their pain or lessen their tears. Prayer is the only outlet I have to pour my love and concern over them. As the other half to your wife, you as a husband have a special place spiritually to cover your wife with prayer. Spiritually, God set husbands as a covering over their wives (1 Corinthians 11:3), and in grief, your wife most likely needs spiritual protection more than other seasons. The enemy so often interjects himself in our times of most significant pain because we are vulnerable.
Pray for your wife! Pray for your marriage! Pray for yourself too!
If you haven’t taken up the responsibility to diligently pray for your wife and your family, let this season of loss spur you into that habit. No one else can pray for your wife the same way you can. Your prayers are precious and irreplaceable.
Therefore I want the men in every place to pray, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and dissension. 1 Timothy 2:8
The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much. Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the earth for three years and six months. Then he prayed again, and the sky poured rain and the earth produced its fruit. James 5:16-17
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