How to cope with heartache of miscarriage

Because of the large response to the topic of coping with the heartache of miscarriage, this is the second week the "Mormon Forum" is dealing with this topic. Next week's issue will continue with the regular schedule.

Having given birth to three beautiful children yet having had six pregnancies end in miscarriage, I have experienced supreme joy as well as deep sorrow. Some suggestions that might be helpful in the aftermath of a pregnancy loss are the following:- Allow yourself to grieve. This is an essential step in the healing process. Unexpressed grief can lead to depression, anger and stress. Miscarriage is an intensely personal loss that may go unacknowledged by others. Let your family and close friends know the heartache you are experiencing and that you need their support and love.

Include your husband in the grieving process. The pain and sorrow husbands experience after a miscarriage are often overlooked. Share your feelings. You will experience a special closeness as you meet these challenges with compassion, concern and love for each other.

Allow yourself time to heal physically. Your body goes through tremendous changes after a miscarriage. Recognize those changes, and allow your body the time needed to return to normal.

Acquire knowledge. There is some excellent resource material available to gain a better understanding of what pregnancy loss is and why it occurs. It helps to read of others' experiences and how they coped with their losses.

Seek out your Father in Heaven through prayer, priesthood blessings and temple attendance. He knows the sorrow you are experiencing, and He is there to help and guide you through. - Michelle McCutcheon, Carlsbad, N.M.

Additional Information

How to checklist

1 Pray, get blessings; attend

temple, Church regularly.

2 Get professional help,

if needed; seek knowledge.

3 Share feelings, join

support group; serve others.

4 Have faith, eternal perspective; this is not punishment.

How we did it

Love, hope of Savior

On Sept. 18 of this year, I miscarried our first child on the day we had been married for three months. The experience was very traumatic and confusing for us; we thought that a positive pregnancy test meant we were guaranteed to come home with a baby in our arms. The unspoken reality is that it just isn't so. Our doctor told us that almost 40 percent of pregnancies will miscarry, most of which will occur in the first couple weeks and thus go unnoticed by the mother. One out of three first pregnancies will miscarry.

Library and support groups can be helpful. I have also found projects that demand my creativity very therapeutic. It is important to work through the need to blame, whether it be yourself or our Heavenly Father. With the love and hope of our Savior, we can overcome this trial. - Mary Ann Mortensen, Brunswick, Ohio

Go to Church

Go to Church. This may be tough because there could be two to three other people in your ward who are pregnant at the same time. Going to Church and serving in your Church callings will help you heal. It is also OK and normal to not want to be at Church on Mother's Day.

Find out if your area has a pregnancy loss support group and attend. This will help you see and feel that you are not alone. It will also help you work through your feelings through sharing with others. This month I have started working as a volunteer with our group and am actually able to help others going through the same losses I have. - Charmaine L. Peterson, Selah, Wash.

Professional help

When Jim and I were married 10 months, I miscarried. Over four years, I saw three fertility specialists and had four more miscarriages. The fourth doctor was able to help me keep my sixth pregnancy in tact, and I delivered a darling baby girl 51/2 years into our marriage. - LuAnn Hargrove, Olathe, Kan.

Service was therapy

I recorded my feelings in my journal, talked about my miscarriage openly with others, prayed about it and gave of myself through the best service therapy for me - sewing. I sewed for hours and hours making beautiful things for others. I was blessed and I came off conqueror, and I have a better understanding of life and death, compassion and empathy. - Vicki Lee Johnson Woolwine, Gardena, Calif.

`Lord is on your side'

The pain and heartache were very great when I found out our son was going to be stillborn. Yet inside I felt a deep sense of peace and security. The line "courage for the Lord is on your side" (Let Us All Press On, Hymn #243) kept going through my mind. I know that the Lord loves me, and I know that He knows what He's doing. Although it's hard to understand why our child was taken from us at this time, I know that my view is limited. The Lord understands the whole picture and knows what's best for me. Remembering the eternal perspective and the eternal nature of families not only brings comfort but helps me to dedicate myself to living the gospel more fully. - Alesha Erickson, Conyers, Ga.

Not punishment

Realize that you are not "defective" in some way or "being punished." We may not know the reasons now, but someday we will surely understand. - Christie Jensen, Layton, Utah

Received `answers'

Through many tearful prayers that were offered to Heavenly Father for comfort and understanding, I received "answers" in the following ways:

Sharing hugs and tears.

Hearing from family and friends, whether in person, by telephone or through the mail, that they shared in our loss.

Speaking with other women who experienced miscarriage and learning how they coped.

Meeting with a caring member of my stake presidency who helped me reaffirm my faith that Heavenly Father would not short-change any of His spirit children's opportunity for progression. - Robin Nelson, Langhorne, Pa.

Don't give up

As I have lost seven babies through miscarriage, we were often advised to "give up" on having any other children. But with faith and many heartfelt prayers, we now have five wonderful children. We are grateful that we listened to the Spirit and didn't give up. - Linda Hansen, Kearns, Utah

Seek knowledge

Become involved in your medical care. It was partly because I read and read and read, and then tried a number of different things that I had learned about that I was finally able to stay pregnant. - Holly Richardson, Orem, Utah

Patriarchal blessing

My patriarchal blessing has been a great source of strength to me. Truly, I have been comforted in these times of great sorrow. My Heavenly Father knows me better than I know myself, and I rely on His discretion in my behalf. I've felt His loving arms around me many times. I know He is guiding and directing the course I am to take. - Penny Doty Blaylock, Ontario, Ore.

Write to us:

Nov. 26 "How to minimize holiday stress."

Dec. 3 "How to help someone trying to come back into Church activity."

Dec. 10 "How to help your children develop self-reliance.

Dec. 17 "How to keep the Sabbath day holy."

Dec. 24 "How to filter out the bad from television and music while utilizing the good."

Dec. 31 "How to focus more on the spiritual and temporal well-being of children during 1995."

Had any good experiences or practical success in any of the above subjects? Share them with our readers in about 100-150 words. Write the "How-to" editor, Church News, P.O. Box 1257, Salt Lake City, Utah 84110, or send fax to (801) 237-2121. Please include a name and phone number. Contributions may be edited or excerpted and will not be returned. Due to limited space, some contributions may not be used; those used should not be regarded as official Church doctrine or policy. Material must be received at least 12 days before publication date.

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