How to cope with the heartache of miscarriage

Because of the large response to this week's forum, next week's "Mormon Forum" will also deal with coping with the heartache of miscarriage.

Go ahead and grieve. Regardless of what point in the pregnancy the miscarriage happens, you have experienced a loss. The pain, grief and time it takes to deal with it are different for everyone.- Try to get on with life. After the grieving process, find something to get involved in and get back into life. Follow the doctor's orders concerning when to try for another pregnancy.

Don't take it personally. It is very easy to think "why me?" or "what did I do to deserve this?" A miscarriage is not a punishment from God or - in most cases - a consequence of your actions.

Be considerate of your spouse's feelings. Everyone reacts differently to tragedy. You must not try to make your spouse conform to how you feel he should be handling it. This is a time you need each other; don't let the miscarriage come between you. Also be considerate of other family members who are grieving.

Be tolerant of others. There will be those who are trying to help who will say or do things that can be offensive to you. Be forgiving, and don't be afraid to let your needs be known.

Seek priesthood blessings. Remember the power of the priesthood and ask for blessings.

Draw close to the Lord. Seek the guidance and comfort of the Holy Spirit. Draw near to the Savior, and share your burden with Him.

The following are tips on how to comfort and care for a person dealing with miscarriage:

Don't give advice. The sister dealing with a miscarriage needs your compassion, not your advice.

Allow the person to grieve. This is imperative to her emotional health. Recognize her loss, and honor her right to grieve that loss.

Don't compare miscarriages. There is a tendency to want to share your experience with great detail. This does not help the person and in some cases makes them feel worse.

Don't assume how the person feels. Ask the person if she - or he - wants to talk or to be left alone, and then act accordingly. - Heidi Alsup, Layton, Utah

How we did it:

Let feelings show

Let your feelings show. As I was recovering from my first miscarriage, I received a call from a good friend. We talked about what I was feeling, and she asked if anyone had told me it was OK to cry about it.

Once I realized that it was OK to feel that way, that it was natural and my emotions were very normal, then the healing began. I started looking to the future and tried to realize that although having a child now seemed like the best thing, for some reason it wasn't.

I came to realize that I have a gift with children. If I couldn't have them in my home, then I could help those around me. I began looking into foster parenting and volunteering to watch friends' children while they ran errands.

I soon found I could be an influence to children in many different ways. It is still a wonderful thought to hold a newborn child of my own, and someday I may. At least I know the possibility is there; it's just not the right time. I don't know why, but I can do other things while I exercise my patience and put my faith in my Heavenly Father. - Angela Eichenmiller, Monroeville, Pa.

Don't exclude spouse

Don't exclude your spouse from your grief. My sweet husband felt the losses as deeply as I did and needed my closeness as much as I needed his.

Realize that adoption is another way that God sends sweet spirits into our homes. LDS Social Services is directed by the Lord and in conjunction with the sealing ordinances of the temple can increase our eternal family. - B. Ruth Morgan, Broken Arrow, Okla.

There is a season

One day as I tearfully knelt by my bed and poured out the feelings of my aching heart, I felt the warmth and comfort of unseen arms around me and I knew my Heavenly Father knew my pain and loved me. I later went fasting to the temple and found great peace in the words I heard, which confirmed my hopes of an eternal whole family in the Lord's time. "To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven. " (Eccl. 3:1.) - Ila Smith Roper, Albuquerque, N.M.

Time heals

My father believes large families are a thing of the past. I was trying to get up the courage to tell him that I was again expecting when I lost the baby. I chose to keep the miscarriage a secret from my father and everyone else. I also swore my husband to secrecy. That was a mistake.

I blamed myself. I thought that the Lord must be punishing me. I was angry and bitter. I stopped praying for a time, and those were the loneliest, most agonizing weeks of my entire life. My healing began as I resumed my prayers.

I tried to vent my feelings through writing in my journal and in poetry. I wrote a poem that explores the myriad feelings that miscarriage caused me. Time also heals heartache. - Name withheld, South Dakota

Accept help

Accept offers of service with responsibilities that may seem overwhelming - especially if you have other small children.

Reach out. There were things I could do to help others in need. - Rebecca Burner, Chico, Calif.

Pure love of Christ

I prayed with all my heart for charity, the pure love of Christ. Specifically, I asked the Lord for the ability to suffer long and envy not. (See Moro. 7:45.) I wanted the ability to feel truly happy for other women who had experienced successful pregnancies and healthy babies. This, in time, healed me entirely of any bitter or sad feelings. - Susan K. Harper, Calgary, Alberta

Have hope

I found that although everyone felt sorry for us, people often did not know what to say, so they said nothing. Other well-meaning family and ward members actually added to our pain by some of the things they said. It took a long time to reconcile my thoughts and emotions so the healing process could begin. Some of the things I found to be helpful included:

Have hope. Wanting a baby is a most righteous desire. Pray for an increase of faith to try again.

Don't blame yourself. Torturing yourself with thoughts of things you "should have done" only adds to the pain. - Karen Packer, Gilbert, Ariz.

Eternal perspective

One friend, who had had two miscarriages herself, told me to cry when I needed to. She also reminded me to not neglect my daily reading of the scriptures. As my husband, Randy, and I have prayed and studied from the scriptures each day, we have been able to put this loss in an eternal perspective. - Janine Simons Creager, Columbia, S.C.

How to checklist:

1 Seek comfort through prayer, scriptures, blessings.

2 Allow grief; don't blame yourself; don't give up hope.

3 Realize spouse's grief; realize he (she) needs you close.

4 Forgive insensitive remarks; accept help, reach out.


Nov. 19 "How to engender understanding of differing religious beliefs among family members and loved ones."

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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