What I Want You to Know About Miscarriage {Guest Post}

The writer of today's post is Brittany Link. Brittany and I know each other from college, and recently reconnected through our stories of heartache and loss. I pray Brittany's words will encourage those suffering through infertility or miscarriage, and those walking alongside of them. She shares now for National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, but recognizes that this kind of heartache and loss isn't limited to one month of the year. Thank you for helping to break the silence, Brittany!

The writer of today's post is Brittany Link. Brittany and I know each other from college, and recently reconnected through our stories of heartache and loss. I pray Brittany's words will encourage those suffering through infertility or miscarriage, and those walking alongside of them. She shares now for National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, but recognizes that this kind of heartache and loss isn't limited to one month of the year. Thank you for helping to break the silence, Brittany!

My husband and I struggle with infertility, and we’ve had two miscarriages.

It’s a sentence I’m starting to become more and more comfortable telling people. Even strangers.

Because now it’s part of my life story. Because now, I’m incredibly aware of this “secret club” of parents waiting or mourning. 

And I’m trying to help break the silence.

October is National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. A time for families and friends to remember, pray, and share stories of their lost children. This month was the extra push for me to open up about what I’ve learned through my experience with infertility and miscarriages, in hopes to help others better understand those hurting around them.

Every couple suffers differently.

What I share might represent others to a “T”, or it might not at all. Miscarriage is a quiet grief. It's uncomfortable, and even awkward to talk about at times. 

But there are a few things I want you to know:

The pain I experience from miscarriage is coming to terms with dreams that will never be.

When I first received the news I was pregnant, I reacted like most moms do. I was EXCITED! We had been trying for months, so we were absolutely ecstatic the day had finally come.

We immediately told family and close friends our happy news. We dreamed of who our child would be. We started talking {bickering} about names. I borrowed pregnancy books from my sister. I created a secret Pinterest board to get nursery ideas. I even bought maternity clothes from Old Navy {because who can pass up clearance items with an additional 50% off?}

Needless to say, we had already begun preparing for our child.

But when the doctor said, “I’m sorry, you lost the baby…”, all of those dreams were crushed. And coming to terms with that reality takes time. A long time.

The second early miscarriage didn’t come any easier. Even though I had my guard up.

My suffering was physical.

I’ll leave out details, but the actual physical process of miscarrying is cruel. You’re not only dealing with sadness and grief, but also the physical proof that your baby is no longer with you. Some women have painful bleeding for days and weeks. Others need to be hospitalized for a procedure to remove the baby.

My emotions are unpredictable.

Most days I’m in a chipper mood and laugh often. But once in awhile I’ll be surprised by how a hurtful comment or the sight of a newborn baby brings me to tears. It’s frustrating to have my emotions all over the place.

I'm genuinely happy for those announcing their pregnancies. I enjoy holding babies, hearing about their children's lives, and learning more about what it means to be a mom.

People shouldn't ever feel guilty about sharing their pregnancy news. Or about complaining when parenting is hard. I get it! It's exciting! And it's hard work. 

But sometimes I need to guard my emotions. Sometimes I need to withdraw, or give myself some space. Sometimes I need to skip a get-together where mostly young families are attending. Sometimes I need to avoid Facebook because c'mon, 80% of my feed is pictures of cute babies. 

I still care about other people's lives and their children. But some days are just hard to watch other people's lives and their children.

Milestones can be difficult.

Milestones are triggers. This includes trimester updates, due dates, seeing other women who are the same gestation I would have been. I even struggle when I realize how “far behind” we are from friends who started trying the same month we did.

They now have adorable, healthy babies. We have empty arms.

But, I have hope. 

This chapter in my life has been difficult, to say the least. But I’ve been able to experience hope in Christ and the testing of my faith like never before.

And I’m so thankful for that.

All of the Bible verses about trials and difficult times are now engraved on my heart.

We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. {Romans 5:3-4}

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to his purpose. {Romans 8:28}

It doesn't automatically take away the pain, but it gives me hope. 

I praise God for working on me through this experience, and I cling to His promise for our lives. I know God has promised us a child, I just need to trust in His timing and His ways.

Again, some days that is just hard to do.

And when the days are hard, I find support.

My dear family and friends. They have shared tears, listened to what I needed to say, and said what I needed to hear. They have sent flowers. They have constantly checked in. 

I have also formed friendships with other women going through this struggle, and it has been such a blessing! I can't thank them enough.

But not everyone knows what to say.

But please. If you know someone suffering through infertility or miscarriage, please just say something.

They need your support now more than ever. Not acknowledging someone's pain of infertility or miscarriage hurts. 

It’s a lonely place. Especially when you feel like everyone around you is announcing their pregnancy or enjoying a healthy baby.

Words that help:

“I’m so sorry. I can’t imagine what you’re feeling.”

“I don’t know what to say to take your pain away. I’m here for you.”

“It’s okay to cry. It’s okay to be sad.”

“I know how much you wanted that baby.”

Words that hurt:

“It will happen. Just relax and stop stressing about it.”

“You’ll have another.”

“At least you weren’t that far along.”

Overall, my journey through infertility and miscarriage has been incredibly affected by my faith and my relationships.

If it weren’t for the hope that God gives us, my life would feel in despair. And if it weren’t for the support of those closest to me, I would feel incredibly alone.

But I know there are so many others out there who sometimes feel alone. Alone in their pain and grief. Alone in not being pregnant or having kids.

And that’s why I’m writing this.

To bring awareness to this incredibly common loss. To let those struggling know that there is hope and help from others.

So if you know someone who has miscarried, I encourage you to reach out to them this month and ask how they are doing since their loss. I encourage you to ask how you can pray for them.

Again, just say something.

It will mean the world. 

And it will help break the silence of so many suffering alone through infertility and miscarriage.