Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Dealing with Miscarriages in a Sea of Pregnancies.

I have been thinking about writing something like this for awhile. I am writing this, not because I am hurt or angry, but because so many don't know what to do in a situation like mine. Hopefully, if you know anyone else who has to go through with it, you can use these points as a way of helping and not unintentionally hurting further.

1. Symapthize
We had a huge amount of sympathy one day, and virtually no one had asked about how we were doing the next. Don't get me wrong, some did, but for the most part, it was a passing question, or statement. It felt terrible to have our pain last only a moment. Is that all we are worth? Is that all this baby was worth? We didn't want people to revolve around us, as we understand each has their own lives, but it hurt more to know that no one was coming to cry with us.

Romans 12:9-16 tells us how to treat each other. In this case, I would like you to look at verse 15 especially.

2. Ask Specifically
I understand that people don't know what to say or do, but at least ask specifically what you can be doing or praying for. This accomplishes 2 things. It lets the hurting know that you are still thinking of them, while also being able to tailor your prayer for them for what they need; even if you are praying, I would still recommend doing this because during difficult times, moods and thoughts change so swiftly.

3. Be Encouraging
 Encourage whoever may be hurting. Even though you may not have the words to say, God does. Pray for Him to show a verse to you or to let Him speak directly through you. Encourage whoever is hurting to not give up, to keep looking to God. When recurring miscarriages happen, I know for one, I have blamed Him, been angry at Him, felt rejected by Him, thought that this was His punishment for me...DO NOT let them think those things! Do NOT let them walk in fear alone.

4. Be Brave
 It takes a lot to not avoid situations. As Christians we are told to support one another for we are the body of Christ. It takes a lot of courage to not avoid the hurting. Even though you may not want to talk about babies or anything, trying to talk normally, is helpful. No one wants to wallow in the misery of not being able to meet their children forever. There will always be reminders and things that hurt, but in my case, I have understood nothing was intentional or insensitive. It's life. Good things and bad things happen.

5. Be Understanding
 In many cases, joyful things happen to others while one is in a world of hurt. Be understanding of this. Know the person, if they would be happy for you in their good times, then trust that they would be happy for you now. This, however, does not mean that they cannot have their own sadness. Trust the good heartedness in a person. It is really hard to handle multiple miscarriages (especially in one year) with grace all the time, so trust that they ARE happy for you. In the case of pregnancies, do you honestly think that someone who desperately wanted their children is going to hate or be angry for others being born? It is hard, and it hurts, but children are and always will be a blessing, no matter WHO'S they are, because ultimately, they are God's.

6. Be Sad
 Amidst your happiness of a new baby or pregnancy, do not feel guilty for that. However, be able to feel sad for your friend. Be sad that your friend hasn't been able to experience the same joy that you are about to have. In return, the friend will always try their hardest to be happy with you.

7. Be periodic.
 Mourning the loss of a baby you never knew doesn't just happen for a month or two, then go away. It happens everyday, every hour. Sometimes, it is faded and peaceful to think about, other times it is physically painful and hard to breathe. Ask periodically, REALLY ask, how the couple is doing. You may catch them on a good day, and you may catch them on a bad day. You can just sit and listen or cry with them. Life is hard individually, which is why God created us to crave interaction.

8. Be Silent
The last thing I have wanted to hear during this period, is that there is hope. I understand that there is hope, but I am also fearful of that hope. I don't want to hope. Why have hope when hoping 3 times has just been dreams that are dashed. Don't say that we can have another baby, or that God has a baby for us. We know this, we trust Him. That makes the significance of these babies diminished by so much. Even though we never met them, would a baby newly born, be treated in the same manner? it doesn't matter if a baby is just fertilized or 1 month old out of the womb, they are a child of God. Do you think God treats it so trivially? Then why do we? A life lost is a life lost, no matter how young or old.

9. Don't Say
Do not say it's a good thing, that something was wrong with baby; Do you think we would be so picky as to not cherish a child with special needs? There may have been some tough calls to make as this child was growing up, but NOBODY knows that. What if this child was perfect, and the mother or father had something physically to not let it be born? Never say that death is a good thing.

Do not say "At least it was early on, and you didn't have to deal with it later" Understandably, this statement makes sense. The more time goes by, the more dreams you invest in having that child. However, that is what we are sad about--never being able to meet them. To not be able to see them grow and learn and develop their personalities. To not have the ability to say what a cute thing they did, or take pictures. In a blighted ovum case, there is nothing to remember this child by, no ultrasound or pictures, just our memory. This is hard. 

10. Don't Aviod
This goes along with being brave. As far as human emotions go with multiple miscarriages from a female perspetive, "My body rejected the baby, God rejected us to have this baby, what if my husband rejects me for not being able to have a baby, now my friends are rejecting me too?". Not all of those thoughts are even correct, but be reminded, a woman is in a constant state of fear. The fear ebbs and flows, but never truly goes away. The fear changes forms, but is always there. In this time, THAT is her constant companion. The fear that everything is her fault, that she is the reason why people don't want to talk to her, that God is punishing HER for her previous sins, that she will never be able to have a child, the fear of even thinking about getting pregnant again, the fear of hoping again-just to have hopes dashed. By avoiding, you allow just a little more fear into her thoughts and life. Satan is alive and well and is the master of lies, he WILL use past circumstances, coupled with recent ones, to make that be the truth. DO NOT let them go through this alone! Fight Satan with them, with her! It may be uncomfortable and nerve-wracking for you, but imagine the pain she is in!

11. Trust
Trust that couples who have to deal with this harbor no ill will towards you. Trust that they love you as much as they have before, and aren't hurt by you. Trust that they are just hurting, and trust that the best you can do is a be a friend, even if you have no idea what the situation is like. 

12. Dream
Until yesterday, Nathaniel's due date, I never realized what it was like to want to dream and imagine things about him. To imagine perfect curly brown hair coupled with blue eyes and a squishy nose...ask someone gently, if you can dream with them. If you can dream about that baby, what they would look like, what sort of things would happen in the house...ask them to dream with them. It's hard dreaming by myself, with no one to share it with. Yesterday should have been joyful, but all it was was pain. Try to make it a special kind of sad joyfulness for that person.

13. Don't Criticize
Women who can handle all situations with grace all the time are a very special breed of women. I would venture to say, that most women are not like that. Do not tell this women how she should be acting, or what she should be saying. You may be right, but it doesn't mean that a woman doesn't have a reason for doing or saying something. She will see later if something is a mistake, and if she is upstanding, correct it. However, everyone grieves and experiences happiness in different ways. We don't tell others how to be happy, why should we tell them how to be sad? She is grieving and sad, and more than likely thinks she doesn't matter. View what she says or does as a cry for help, not a cry of bitterness. Bitterness derives from not wanting to dance the dance of grief and joy. If she is dancing that dance, then dance with her. Her steps might be off, but she will get it--eventually.

14. Don't Complain
Do not complain about your children in front of her. You have no idea how much she would be willing to give to have a disobedient, unruly child in her home right now. To have a child that might be have a cold all the time, to have a child who is colicky. Don't complain about your pregnancy in front of her, you have no idea how much she would go through to end up with a healthy child. You complaining seems like a downright injustice to her. It doesn't mean that is what it is or that you don't love your children, but it does mean, be thankful for what you DO have. 

15. Be sensitive
Don't ask about pregnancies or newborns unless she brings it up. It is a painful topic for her, and even when she asks how someone is feeling during their pregnancy is equivalent to climbing Mount Doom. It is hard. It is hard to think about others' joy without your pain. Her broaching the topic is her way of coping, trying to get back to normal, letting the other person know she cares, and genuinely trying to be joyful for them, It may not be as exciting as you wanted or as joyful, but imagine what it took for her to get to that point. Her asking is a big deal, and in your mind, treat it as such.

16.  No Excuses
You feel offended when others use excuses to not call you or to hang out with you. This is kind of the same. Don't use excuses to avoid the situation. Once again, it doesn't mean that the world revolves around the miscarriage, but really ask yourself if you are avoiding something because it is uncomfortable or if you are scared. If it's one of the latter, then really try hard to not allow Satan to give those excuses to you.

17. Let Them Know
Let them know you are thinking about it. As much as we would like to be mind readers, we aren't. What is left unsaid, is usually left to create the worst outcome in the mind. A card, a meal, a text, a message. Let them know you care, and are STILL caring, that it is not a one time done thing. Just let them know your heart for them. Even if it is saying, I don't know how to act or what to say around you because I am hurting for you. They will let you know a safe way to act, that won't remind them. Trust the person enough to allow that to happen. If they rail into you, remember, hurting people hurt people. Love them regardless.

18. Don't Blame
You may think you are helping by trying to find suggestions and reasons for this, but until she (or they are) is ready to explore those reasons and options, don't bring them up. As a woman, it is hard to NOT blame our self for why you miscarried. Bringing up reasons and options (assuming no drugs, smoking, or alcohol is involved...) just adds to the blame. We internalize it and make it our fault, even if something is said with the best of intentions, even if it could be that reason, even if... Ultimately, it just hurts for us, and patience until we ask, needs to not only be understood, but respected. 

This is all I have for now. Please understand that I am not angry at anyone, but through this time, these are things I wish people would have known, realized, or even asked about. I am also not blaming anyone for not doing these things, I understand that this isn't only hard from our side, but from yours as well. If this minimizes the pain of just one person, then this note is worth it.