Thursday, April 17, 2008

Grief & The Attitude of Others

The stuff written in black is word-for-word from the book, "I'll hold you in heaven" by Jack Hayford. The stuff written in red are my comments.

The attitude of many bystanders toward the loss of a child through miscarriage…can sometimes verge on outright insensitivity. You probably know the kind of people I’m talking about. These people may have responded to your child as a nonentity. These same people may have downplayed your grief, leading you to feel abnormal for experiencing deep grief and a sense of loss for the baby you never really got to know.

People are often bewildered by completely false ideas and speak of God having “taken the child from them.” How often it is suggested that God “took back” the life He has earlier “given from heaven.”…However well-intended, such misguided words both miss the mark of truth and build walls of fear. You may say, “If God took my child, how can I trust a God who cares so little for my deepest, most fragile needs and emotions?” But listen, loved ones: God didn’t and doesn’t “take babies because He needs them in heaven.”

Ouch, Ouch, Ouch! Both of these happened to me and it's such a sad instance. People don't know what to say, so they say cliche things that they think will help. The problem is, they are pouring salt on the wound when they say the things they do. Here's a few examples, "God must be teaching you a lesson through all this" - "Trust me, you'll be better off in the end" - "Everything happens for a reason" - "God's must have a better plan for your life" BLAH, BLAH, BLAH - I could go on and on. Ouch! These comments stung almost worse than what I was going through! And then there were the people who had miscarriages that seemed unaffected by it entirely. Most of them work in the medical field and see things like this everyday. It must be nice to treat it with such carelessness. I don't mean to sound bitter, but people PLEASE THINK before you speak about such matters...especially when the person you're talking with is right in the middle of it. This is complicated and confusing stuff and we will never know the truth of it all until we get to heaven. But for now, take care with others' hearts. You're experience may not have been as traumatic as theirs is, but to them, the experience is real and extremely devastating and your words and actions can sometimes heal and comfort or can sometimes put fuel on the fire.

Please be comforted. Just as Scripture has evidenced the reality and significance of the life once nurtured in your womb, your loss is also real and significant. Don’t be surprised if you experience the same general cycle of grief as anyone who has lost a loved one. Indeed, the depth of feeling may not be as great or the season of grief as prolonged, because there are few, if any, memories to deal with. But so often there are dreams that became unfulfilled and anticipated joy that was suddenly quenched.

As soon as you found out about your pregnancy, did your heart begin to love and encompass that new little life? Let none of us ever be surprised or embarrassed by such deep emotions over the passing of an unborn child. The loss is a real one. And when grief is present, it needs to be accepted, acknowledged and responded to.

Now that you have a little background on what I experienced from others during this time, you can see how relieved I was to read this part of the book. I finally felt validated (which we all know is an issue for me) in the grief I was experiencing. It made it okay to feel that. And it pushed me just a little more towards opening my heart to Christ again.

Aiming Your Anger at the Wrong Target

The stuff written in black is word-for-word from the book, "I'll hold you in heaven" by Jack Hayford. The stuff written in red are my comments.

There is a verse of Scripture that is often quoted, and it’s amazing what some have done with it! Some people clip off the beginning and forget the end. We say: “All things work together for good.”…the verse is quoted with a…passive stance that suggests “What will be, will be,” as though we are helpless victims of God’s sovereign will who, whatever happens, just have to hope for the best.

But that’s not what this verse says. There’s a certainty in it: “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, and those who are called according to His purpose.” – Romans 8:28. What the passage is really saying is that no matter how our soul’s enemy attacks or human circumstances impact our lives, God can ultimately take the pain or problem, redeem it and use it for good. What Satan planned for evil, God can use for good.

I kept telling myself this over and over again...God will take the pain or problem and use it for good. When you're going through circumstances sometimes, you can't see what possible good could come from it. However, I've recently had the pleasure of exchanging conversation with a friend who was inquiring how I have kept my faith through this all. There are concepts she's never been introduced to, such as, Spiritual Warfare, since she primarily has been exposed to the Catholic church. This has opened a door for our dialogue to discuss such issues, which I hope and pray will bring her closer to Christ.

Now, before I get ransacked with comments about the Catholic church, let me assure you that I am not bashing them. I, myself, attending Catholic church and school for most of my life. There are many great things about the Catholic faith. It wasn't actually until college I started to explore other churches and denominations. Woodland Hills Church just fit. I was being exposed to concepts I'd never thought about before. I knew Jesus died for my sins, thanks to my Catholic roots, but I didn't really understand what that meant for my life here and now. Things were being explained to me in a way that landed over here. My life and was changing and so was I - all for the better. Woodland Hills Church or other churches for that matter, don't "fit" for everyone. Sometimes the tradition of the Catholic church is exactly what a person needs. That person just isn't me.

It’s possible that coping with the loss of your child has led you down a path of bitterness and anger. But your loss wasn’t God’s fault. We live in a broken, imperfect world, and we are memebers of a fallen race. The residual fallout of that Fall continually appears around us in the form of sickness, sin, natural disaster, tragedy and death. If, however, you make God the focus of your frustration, you not only fail to receive the comfort He can give, but you also are wasting emotional energy by aiming your anger at the wrong target.

As I shared yesterday, I did NOT let God's comfort in. I WAS down a path of bitterness and anger. I WAS blaming God! I didn't waste a lot of emotional energy by doing this. Once I had my "a-ha" moment though, the peace came flooding in...and so did the tears! :)

Talk with the Lord about the child you once had. Openly describe your bewilderment, and ask questions. Believe in His love’s willingness to embrace you in your pain – and even to understand your fears. But, dear friends, don’t blame Him. Trust Him.

We can talk freely with God about all our feelings, asking any questions our hearts want to ask. He knows our hearts and not only forgives our misunderstandings, but also as the one perfect, loving Father, He welcomes our coming to Him – even spilling our tears, our sorrow and our heartache. Bring it all into His presence. He not only will accept your heart cry, but He will also comfort you. His Holy Spirit wants to help you do that – and He’s the best comforter of all.

Making Sense of It All

Recently a friend of mine gave me a book called, "I'll Hold You in Heaven" by Jack Hayford. For me, the book didn't start to get good until about page 65. Anyway, there are 2 main things that I got out of this book regarding my miscarriages. The first is that we sometimes aim our anger at the wrong target. The second is dealing with your grief while also trying to deal with the attitude of others during this time. These were the two BIG things that I had a hard time with. I want to share over the next posts, these topics.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008


It's been no secret that through this all, my faith has been tried. I've been scratching my head trying to put my finger on it. Needless to say, my relationship with God has been cut off since I found out I was going to miscarry. I wasn't sure why, until I finally met my "a-ha" moment yesterday afternoon at a friend's. It's funny how these moments hit you. We weren't even talking about the subject, really, when all of a sudden, I knew.

I attend a weekly mom's group at a church. Usually the sermons and small group/discussion times are excellent. This week wasn't. As soon as the other women started to share, I shut down. It was like torture listening to what they had to say. I had to keep myself under control, for wanting to bust out of my skin to flee the room. For once, I remained silent, not sharing anything this time. I love these women, so I didn't understand it.

After processing this in my head for a few hours, I finally realized the problem. I've been saying all along that I lost trust in God. How will I know if He will "show up" for me next time (if I even allow a next time to happen)? No one can promise me this. Boy, was I off! It wasn't God I didn't trust any longer - it was me!

First of all, what is this talk about God "showing up"? When did He leave? Where did He go? The truth is, He's never left my side. And the one time that I didn't have people here to care for me, I was left in silence to deal with myself and to deal with...God. He was there - I felt it for the first time since all this started. But, it was too painful. I couldn't deal with it. I pushed Him away. I caused a distraction. It just hurt too much to let God in. I needed to stay angry with Him. But why?

And here's the "a-ha". If I stay mad at God, I don't have to allow Him to speak to me anymore. See, all these women at my mom's group were talking of how God spoke to them at one time or another in their life. I got angry. I wanted to shout, "Yeah right. How do you KNOW that was God? You don't know! None of us know! It's probably all just in your head or a coincidence." WHAT?! Who is this person I've become? You see, I believed when I was pregnant, that I had "heard" from God. The verse John 10:10 was heavy on my heart and I prayed it over my pregnancy constantly. I shared with others that "God gave me this verse" and that He was going to give this baby life and life to the fullest. When it didn't happen, I was mad. I even said, "God made me look like a fool." The truth is: I didn't lose trust in God, I lost trust in myself to hear from God correctly. And I didn't want to be put in a position, to have to hear from Him again, for fear that I would "hear wrong".

The truth and moral of the story is: God DID give me that verse, but it was for reasons that were different than I thought. My personal belief, is that God knew what was coming. God knew that we were losing the battle for Haven and He was preparing my heart. He wanted me to know that HIS heart was for Haven to live. That He did NOT take this baby. That He was fighting with me TO THE END for Haven's life. And when we lost (not eternally, thankfully) this present battle and He wanted to share in the tears and hold me, I couldn't let Him in, because then I would have to acknowledge all of this.

And now that I am acknowledging, I am weeping as I type. Oh Lord, please forgive me. Please forgive me for pushing you away when I needed you most. Please forgive me for blaming you, when I know better. Please forgive me for my selfish heart - to shut off the ability to listen to you. You are the healer. You are the lover of life. You are the ultimate forgiver. You are my God. And it feels so good to claim that once again! I love you Lord!

Update on Health

Hello again. It's been awhile. :) Sorry, I couldn't resist. As you can tell, my spirits are a little more upbeat and lifted since the last few posts. That's because after the D&C, I physically healed pretty quickly. I can't say that I emotionally have caught up to that, but I'll get there in due time. Some days are better than others. I can tolerate a good conversation about what I've been through, be happy for another pregnant person, etc. other days, I just can't contain it.

I was in Target on Friday when the lady next to me was checking out at the same time as me. The conversation between her and the person checking her out were all about babies and how mommy was doing and how happy everybody was. As I mentally had a conversation with myself about NOT breaking down in the middle of a Target check-put line, my totally innocent check-out person looked at me with a big smile on her face and said, "There's been an awful lot of baby showers lately. It must be in the air." I was mortified. I forced a smile and swallowed back tears as she handed me my receipt and told me to have a nice day. I wanted to scream at the top of my lungs, "Yeah, in the air for everyone, but me." Instead, my eyes started to well up with tears as I pushed my cart as fast as I could outside. Thank the Lord above that it was snowing and crappy outside. Sounds weird, doesn't it? But when you are walking in weather like that, your focus is to make it to the car as quickly and safely as possible.

On the flip side, I had a lovely conversation with another woman Saturday (at a bachelorette party no less) about what has happened. She experienced a similar situation about a month ago. I guess maybe that conversation brought me peace and was easier.

At any rate and for whatever reason, the point is that the physicality of this literal hell on earth experience is diminished and I couldn't' be happier. That alone is reason to rejoice!

Monday, April 7, 2008

The Inevitable Surgery

Okay, so here’s my prayer request this week. I went to the doctor today to have another ultrasound. To our surprise, the ultrasound looks the same, even though I’ve passed the sac and continue to bleed pretty heavily. They took my blood count and it was low, so my doctor said, “I don’t want to wait, we need to get you into a D&C today.” So, I have to be at the hospital today at 3:00 p.m. and then surgery is at 5:00 p.m. I’ll be out of commission all day tomorrow recovering from the surgery. Please say some prayers. Thank you.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Gestational Sac/Placenta

Today I passed the gestational sac/placenta. It was about 3 inches long and about 1/4-1/2 inch thick. And it was filled with veins. (I took a picture if anyone is interested in seeing it). I called the doctor, just to make sure it was normal. She said she's not surprised given what we saw on the Monday ultrasound. She also thought that this should be the end of the miscarriage and she wanted to move my ultrasound up from Thursday to Monday, if possible, just to make sure. After passing the sac, I started to bleed heavily again...filling a pad every 1/2 hour-1 hour. After two hours of this, I called the doctor. She said to hang tight for now. If it continues longer than another 2 hours or I start to get light-headed, I need to head to the hospital ER. I'll be glad when this whole thing is over for good.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

All I Ask of You

All I Ask Of You
Written by Floria Kelderhouse

Don't tell me you know how I feel,You haven't walked in my shoes.
Don't tell me I have other children to love,That won't bring back the son that I lost.
Don't tell me to get out of the house,Maybe I just want to stay here and mournfor my lost son.
Don't tell me it will get better,From my point of view it will never be better.
Don't tell me it could be worse,How much worse than this could it be.
Don't tell me to trust in God,I do trust in Him and love Him,That won't bring my son back
Don't tell me to eat and take care of myself,Maybe the food won't stay down.Maybe I don't care about myself right now.
Don't tell me to try to get some sleep,Don't you think I would love to sleep?
Don't tell me all this, You haven't walked in my shoes.

Do tell me you care.
Do tell me you love me.
Do tell me you will be there if I need you.
If I need to just talk to call you.Or better yet, you call me.Just listen, that's all, just listen.
Do let me cry.
Do let me mourn.
Do let me experience this terrible loss that I feel.
Do pray for me.
That is all I ask.