Miscarriage Pain, Gospel Hope
For anyone who has experienced the pain of a miscarriage, the grief can make you feel all alone. Stephanie Green talks to Michelle Hill about her experience with miscarriage while helping listeners in this situation learn to process this unique grief.
About the Guest
- Read "Surprised by Miscarriage The Helplessness Hurt and Healing" (7 min. read). https://www.familylife.com/articles/topics/marriage/marriage-challenges/hardship-and-suffering/surprised-by-miscarriage-the-helplessness-hurt-and-healing/
- September McCarthy talks about the challenges and joys of motherhood. https://www.familylife.com/podcast/familylife-today/the-losses-of-motherhood/
- Find more on the subject of miscarriage on FamilyLife.com. https://www.familylife.com/search-results/?q=miscarriage
For anyone who has experienced the pain of a miscarriage, the grief can make you feel all alone. Stephanie Green talks to Michelle Hill about her experience with miscarriage.
Miscarriage Pain, Gospel Hope
Stephanie: There are two dates on the calendar that I always remember every year; that’s the baby’s birth and the baby’s due date. I just never forget those.
Michelle: Miscarriage is a hard thing, and it’s a pain that reverberates for many years. Unfortunately, it’s not talked about enough; but Stephanie Green is on a mission to change that.
Stephanie: So I vowed at that time, after our loss, that, you know, I am going to make a difference in other peoples’ lives, because this is not something that ladies should suffer alone with.
Michelle: There is hope in the midst of great loss. We’re going to hear one woman’s story about miscarriage, and how it changed her life, on this edition of FamilyLife This Week.
Welcome to FamilyLife This Week. I'm Michelle Hill. Today is going to be a different kind of program. We’re going to talk about pain; specifically, the pain of miscarriage. It’s a loss that leaves many women feeling empty and alone. It’s quite possible that someone close to you has gone through this journey, or maybe you’ve had a miscarriage.
I recently talked with Stephanie Green. She’s a Registered Nurse, and works primarily in the newborn nursery and post-partum units. She’s a wife to Rob, a mom of three, and she herself has had a miscarriage. Here’s Stephanie, sharing her story:
Stephanie: We had our first pregnancy, which was fine. The baby was born healthy, only about a week early. Then we got pregnant a second time, and at about nine weeks, something just wasn’t right.
We experienced the bleeding. I woke up one morning cramping and bleeding, and, you know, you automatically think, you know, “What’s wrong? Something’s not right.” So, we were about nine weeks along, and that’s when this whole idea of miscarriage really became real in our lives. You know, we had heard about it, but you never think that that’s going to happen to you.
Stephanie: It’s just one of those, “Oh, yes, maybe it happens to somebody.” But as soon as it happens, it’s like, “Wow!” People are coming out of the woodwork, talking to you, saying, “Oh, I’ve had one, too.” “I’ve had one, too.” It’s amazing how many ladies you rub shoulders with on a daily basis have gone through this themselves.
Michelle: What was that like for you? To have people say, “I’m with you; I get you?”
Stephanie: You know, on the one hand, it was very encouraging, because, at that moment, I realized, “I am not alone in this. A lot of other ladies have experienced this prior to me, and a lot of ladies after me are going to experience this.” But, on the other hand, it was very discouraging because that’s normally where they stopped. They would come up and say, “I’ve had one, too.” But nobody would actually talk about, “How are we going to get to the next step? How can I get through this miscarriage and live victoriously for Jesus through this trial?”
Michelle: Yes, and I can’t help but think that the range of emotions that you had in that short little time period of less than three months—
Michelle: Happy, happy, happiness! Joy, because, “God has blessed us with a child!” And then, a few months later, just that low-low of the loss.
Stephanie: Yes, it is heart-wrenching! I don’t even know that there’s another word for it. It’s heart-wrenching. And you do; you have a lot of emotions going through you. Most ladies, when they get that positive pregnancy test, you’ve got the next 18 years planned out within a matter of days! [Laughter] You’ve got the name; you’ve got decorations; you’ve got a nursery, all in your mind.
Everything is set up. You’ve got plans for this child, like, “Wow! What is this child going to look like?” and “What are they going to end up doing in life?” You have things planned out really, really quickly after getting that positive read on the pregnancy test. And then, when you start the bleeding, and when you start the cramping, it’s like your whole world just crashes in on you. All those plans, and all those dreams; all those desires that you had, not only for yourself as a mom, but for your child are just dashed within a few hours.
Michelle: That sounds tough!
Stephanie: It is tough.
Michelle: That sounds very tough.
Stephanie: It is tough. And the one thing about miscarriage that was common back when we miscarried (and this was back in 1999) is that it wasn’t very popular to discuss. You know, you have your mentors, you have your friends; not very many people say, “Hey! Let’s go grab some coffee and talk about miscarriage.” You’re just uncomfortable talking about that with your friend. So a lot of ladies just really suffer by themselves.
Michelle: And that’s hard, when we’re suffering by ourselves, isolated.
Stephanie: It’s very difficult; very difficult.
Michelle: Who was the first person, other than your husband, that you told that you had miscarried?
Stephanie: Well, it’s interesting. We were dorm parents at Baptist Bible College. My husband was going through seminary, and while we were there, our son—our oldest son—was just about to turn two. So my parents came in for the birthday party. They drove the nine hours to get to us, because we were going to celebrate our first child’s birthday.
They happened to be there, which was a blessing from the Lord. So, obviously, they were the second ones that knew after my husband found out.
Michelle: So were those hard conversations?
Stephanie: They were, but I think, at the time, the harder thing was getting myself to go to the hospital and deal with, “Yes, this probably is reality.” So talking about it wasn’t that bad with them, because they were there, and they were in our home, living with us for that week. But the reality of what was coming, and the pain—not only emotionally, but physically—that was coming was probably harder to deal with.
Michelle: Tell me about that physical pain.
Stephanie: Well, you know, each lady is different. Some ladies have to go through labor and delivery. It just depends on when the baby has died. I have friends who have been close to full-term, who have to actually be induced and go through labor and delivery.
Stephanie: For me, they gave me a medication that was going to help induce my contractions. So really, at any point in a miscarriage, unless you’re really early, you have to get things going just like you would for labor and delivery.
Michelle: So you’re going through that whole process—
Stephanie: The whole process!
Michelle: —of delivering.
Stephanie: Yes, and it took several hours. It’s a pain—I told Rob, it’s worse than actually having a baby. And I’m not sure—I know a lot of it was very painful physically, but I think some of it is, you have this baby, and that’s it. When you go to the hospital, and you deliver a full-term baby, it’s painful, but you get to take that baby home. You get to hold that baby right after he’s born. With a miscarriage, you don’t. So what do you think about? Well, you’re more inclined to think about the physical pain you’re going through.
Michelle: What was the emotional pain like?
Stephanie: For me, with the stage of life that we were in, with Rob going to school full-time, and me in charge of sixty college-aged students (girls), that was a full-time job. Then we had our two year-old to keep track of. So, for me, I did not handle it, probably, as well as I could. There weren’t a whole lot of people to talk about it with.
We had full plates at that time, so I just kind of brushed it off and said, “Okay, well, this happened. God’s in control. We’ve got to move on.” That was probably not the best approach! [Laughter] Which came up two years later! It all kind of came about—
Michelle: It does! Whenever we don’t deal with something, it does.
Stephanie: It does; it does. So it came back, which was good, because I needed to deal with it. And, at that time, I felt like I just really grieved that loss.
Michelle: What was that like, grieving that loss two years later?
Stephanie: Oh, man! It was tough! You know, it was just thinking through, “How am I going to grow from this? What am I going to learn from it? Who is God? Does He love me? Why would He do this? Why would He cause something like this?”
And, you know, those are a lot of common questions that ladies have. After miscarrying, that’s a common question, and it’s okay to ask those questions. It’s okay to search God’s Word and to be reminded of His character, Who He is, and what He’s doing in our lives.
At the time, I remember thinking, “I have no idea why this has happened to us,” but, you know, God has a plan. In Romans 8, God tells us that He does things for our good. At the time, I remember thinking, “Can anything good come out of this?”
Michelle: That’s Part One of my conversation with Stephanie about miscarriage. We need to take a break, but we’ll be back in two minutes.
[Radio Station Spot Break]
Michelle: Welcome back to FamilyLife This Week. I'm Michelle Hill. A couple of weeks ago, I got to sit down with Stephanie Green, and we talked about miscarriage. If you’ve experienced that loss, I am so sorry. I hope and pray that my conversation with Stephanie is encouraging to you.
If you haven’t walked this journey, I hope that my conversation with Stephanie is helping you understand so that you can come alongside those in your life who have gone through this. Here’s Part Two of my conversation with Stephanie Green.
You know, losing a baby is hard, because I’m just thinking of other losses in life: loss of a full-term baby or loss of a child; loss of a spouse or any other relative. You have those significant, I guess visual, reminders that you don’t with a miscarriage. So, as you’re helping women process through that and share their struggles and their hardships, how does that conversation usually happen? Because it is hard! And I think looking in on your situation, I think, “I’m just wondering how long that grief lasts?”
Stephanie: Well, that is something that is—each person is different. Some people, you know, they do want to go on. They say, “I’ve grieved. I’m moving on.” But for me, it lasted a long time. Those first couple of years were rough, and it’s interesting—as Rob and I have talked about this, it can be just weird little things. We can be driving down the freeway one day, and something reminds us of that experience, and we just start crying. And that’s okay.
I can say, though, for those for whom, maybe, this is more fresh—a fresh trial that they are going through and walking through right now—that it does get easier.
Michelle: I think that’s good for anybody who’s walking through a trial to hear.
Stephanie: Yes, it gets so much easier. Now, does that mean we never think about it? No, we have three children that God has blessed us with, and each of them still talk about this baby that we lost.
Stephanie: “Do you think it was a girl? Do you think it was a boy?” They just ask questions, which is good. That’s so good. And, then, there are two dates on the calendar that I always remember every year; that’s the baby’s birth and the baby’s due date. I just never forget those. [Crying]
Michelle: And so how can friends come alongside you during those “anniversaries?” I mean, when you’re having an anniversary, that’s a hard day!
Stephanie: Yes, I think, you know, this was in 1999, so they’re not so hard for me, even, anymore. I mean, I think about them, and I just teared up about that, which hasn’t happened in a long time; but it’s not so hard for me anymore. I think the part that is really hard is right after. That’s when friends can come along and say, “Hey! What can I do for you?” Maybe, don’t even ask. Just go ahead. I love the passage that says, you know, “God has helped us, so now we have the responsibility to help others the way that God has helped us in our grief.”
Stephanie: Some of those ways are taking food to your friend. Don’t ask; just show up. Say, “Hey! I’m making some food for you. Here’s a meal.” Or take them lunch, so that they’re not sitting and eating lunch at home by themselves while they’re recovering. Take a movie over to their house; have a “Chick Flick” night. Just coming alongside them and saying, “I am here for you. What can I do for you?” is a huge blessing.
I also like the passage in Hebrews. It’s Hebrews 4, and it says, “Therefore, since we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession—“
Stephanie: —“for we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Therefore, let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in our time of need.”
You know, God is there for us. He can sympathize with what we’re going through. That, to me, is a huge encouragement! When we draw near to Him, we find grace; we find mercy. He gives us those things as we draw near to Him. So, as a friend, it’s good to point your friend to Christ. Point them to God’s Word. Help them to remember that God is a God of mercy; He’s a God of grace; He’s a God of love and compassion. He is working out a plan, and it is for our good and His glory.
Michelle: That’s beautiful to think about, because He is! The tapestry, while we’re down here on earth, looks pretty convoluted. It looks like it would be an ugly picture. But we know that when we rise above it and look down, it will be beautiful.
Stephanie, I can’t help but think, as I’m listening to you, that this had to have affected your marriage.
Stephanie: You know, we were at a crazy time in our marriage when this happened, with Rob being a full-time student and all the other responsibilities that we had. We kind of both dealt with things on our own, so Rob dealt with it the way that he knew how to deal with it. I dealt with it the way that I thought was great to deal with it, but we never really dealt with it together until awhile later.
Stephanie: So that would be some encouragement. One of the common things that I hear is, “Well, my husband isn’t grieving the way that I’m grieving. Does he not care?” He does care! He’s just dealing with it differently, and, most of the time, the guys are trying to be the solid rock for their wives, so they don’t show their emotion as much; but in our case, Rob was just as torn up about it as I was.
Michelle: You had your miscarriage back in 1999.
Stephanie: I did.
Michelle: That was before Facebook.
Michelle: So I can’t help but think that women today, who are experiencing this same kind of pain that you did are also scrolling through Facebook or Instagram and seeing announcements—birth announcements or announcements of their friends’ pregnancies. Help a lady who is struggling with that—that pain—rejoice with those who rejoice.
Michelle: That’s hard!
Stephanie: It is very hard! It is very hard. In fact, when we had our miscarriage, there was a lady, our friend—we were doing a church plant at the college, and she was due right around the same time as me. That was hard! I saw her every week at church. There was a part of me that didn’t even want to look at her at first, because she was experiencing everything I should have been experiencing.
She was pregnant, and she would have her milestones. “That’s where I should have been.” So seeing that, and then the delivery, were so hard for me. I really battled jealousy.
Stephanie: And that is one of the common things: jealousy. I later had to go back to her and repent of that, because I was not rejoicing with her. So it is a hard thing to do, but I tell you what! When you do it, you’re honoring the Lord, even though it is so difficult.
So, yes, we need to take God’s Word seriously, and He says, “Rejoice with those who are rejoicing!” And there are a lot of moms out there who are rejoicing. That doesn’t mean that you have to go to all the baby showers, but you do need to look for ways that you can serve and rejoice with her.
Michelle: Yes, and that’s a tough thing to do.
Stephanie: It is very hard. Very hard!
And you need to pray. I mean, draw near to Christ. Ask Him to help you!
Michelle: So you can look back 20 years ago, and you can look back now and see the fruit of where God has taken you?
Michelle: How soon could you see that fruit?
Stephanie: You know, at the time, when we had our miscarriage, I never imagined how I could be thankful for that. I never imagined what God could do with that; but I remember having a desire soon after the miscarriage to change things, because I didn’t like the fact that something that is so common in our world is talked about so little. That just bothered me! I struggled with that. And, partly, because nobody came alongside me and tried to figure out what I was thinking or what I was doing.
Stephanie: So I think, you know, the Lord put that desire in my heart soon after.
Stephanie: Now, it took several years for that to develop, but, you know, I’ve gotten to lead a miscarriage ministry at our church for probably at least ten years, and this many years later, that is the good that has come from it. I remember thinking, soon after our miscarriage, “It’s not talked about, and this is a problem.”
Stephanie: And “I want this problem to change, and the only way I can make that problem change is by doing something about it.” So I vowed at that time, after our loss, “You know? I am going to make a difference in other peoples’ lives, because this is not something that ladies should suffer alone with.”
It has kind of been my little secret mission to just go out there and find ladies who’ve miscarried; to make it known that that is part of our story.
Stephanie: I want to love them through that.
Michelle: After the baby has passed, how do you help women process through that?
Stephanie: You know, every lady is different. Most ladies want somebody just to come alongside them and sit and listen to their story; to ask them questions about their baby; to ask them questions about the labor and delivery.
I remember meeting with one lady for lunch one day, and she brought me a baby book full of pictures. Now, her baby had already passed; she was almost full-term. But she wanted somebody who could sit across that table from her and admire her baby pictures, just like a lady would after a lady has a full-term baby who is alive and healthy.
So you’ve got to take each situation and find out where ladies are, and then meet them where they are; love on them where they are.
Stephanie: Some people—I had one lady one time, a community lady, come up to me and say, “You know, my thinking is going down the wrong path! I need you to come alongside me to just kick me in the hiney and get me thinking on God’s Word, and help me to think on truth.” So you have to figure out, “Where is each lady? Where are they? And what kind of help do they want? Do they want help?”
Oftentimes, I think ladies who are trying to minister to a mom who has miscarried are wanting to tell them things; they’re wanting to encourage them; they’re wanting to be “fixers.”
Stephanie: There’s nothing that we can do to fix this. We can point them to Christ.
Stephanie: And that’s what we should do. We can point them to His Word, but I think what they want is someone to just sit and listen to them, to sit and listen to their story, and to be compassionate, and to love them through that.
God just gave me a desire to start a miscarriage ministry.
Michelle: And it’s continuing to grow today?
Stephanie: And it’s continuing to grow! Yes.
Michelle: That’s exciting.
Stephanie: Yes. I just partnered with our local Crisis Pregnancy Center, and I’ve done some training with them. Now I’m meeting with ladies in our community who don’t even know the Lord.
Michelle: That’s exciting.
Stephanie: So it has given me a platform to share the gospel with ladies who are trying to figure out whether or not they should keep their baby. They end up miscarrying, and they contact me. So I rejoice in what the Lord is doing, and it all started because of the heartache of miscarriage that I had to walk through.
Michelle: It’s amazing, when we have time and space to look back, and to say, “God used our wounds.”
Michelle: “He used our brokenness, and it’s making the world a better place.”
I am thankful for women like Stephanie Green who are willing to share the hard parts of their lives, not just with me, but with others, and make the world a better place.
If you are walking through the hard journey of miscarriage, we do have some resources on our website. Go to FamilyLifeThisWeek.com; that’s FamilyLifeThisWeek.com.
If you’re single and longing for a spouse, you may be wondering if God answers your prayers, or if He even hears you! And if you’re the parent of a single, you just might be asking the same thing. Next week, I’m going to have a heart-to-heart talk with Charmaine Porter. She is a vibrant, fun gal, who is serving God with Impact360 Institute, and she’s a former teacher with Dannah Gresh and SecretKeeper Girl.
And she’s single, like me! It’s going to be a great conversation, so I hope you can join me for that.
Thanks for listening! I want to thank the President of FamilyLife, David Robbins, along with our station partners around the country. A big “Thank you!” to our engineer today, Bruce Goff. Thanks to our producers, Marques Holt and Bruce Goff, who’s doing double duty. Justin Adams is our mastering engineer, and Megan Martin is our production coordinator.
Our program is a production of FamilyLife Today, and our mission is to effectively develop godly families who change the world one home at a time.
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