Hope for the Grieving Mom on Mother’s Day
What truths about God can we cling to when facing the heartbreak of a miscarriage, especially on the upcoming celebration of Mother’s Day?
This year marks my second Mother’s Day. I am the mother of a loving, rambunctious toddler who loves to tell everyone he knows that he’ll be “two in June.” This year also marks my first Mother’s Day grieving the loss of a baby through miscarriage. I should be pregnant right now, and jokingly wondering how I’ll survive the impending summer heat with an enormous belly. On days like today, the loss is a little more palpable, a little more raw and real. I’m not anti-Mother’s Day by any means; it’s good and right to honor and celebrate the mothers in our lives. But if you’re grieving a loss, you may need some space to remember and reflect.
This is simply my story, along with passages of Scripture that are speaking to me in this season. One thing I know, though, is that everyone who goes through a miscarriage grieves in different ways. My hope is that even though our stories are different, you can at least find some comfort in knowing that you are not alone on this bittersweet day.
“For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb…Your eyes saw my unformed substance” (Ps. 139:13,16a ESV).
I take a pregnancy test in the morning with my toddler, Hudson, clamoring at my leg. “Whatcha doing, Mama?” he asks. Oh, how things have changed since I did this the first time a little over two years ago. I don’t pace around the bathroom and wait for the result this time—there are race cars to play with on the floor and yogurt bowls from breakfast to clean up. I snuggle my little boy, knowing that this may be the last time I know for sure that it is just the two of us.
I head back to the bathroom. Positive.
We hunt all over town for a “Big Brother” shirt, and finally find one—with a fox on the front—at the Children’s Place. It’s $5. I always love a bargain.
My husband, Tim, comes home and I place the Big Brother fox shirt on Hudson, videotaping the scene with my phone. Tim meets us with a confused look. “Wait, is this true?” he asks.
Radio silence, a knowing look, and then laughter as we kiss and hug.
“The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit” (Ps. 34:18).
It’s our first appointment. The nurse asks if I’m nervous after she takes my blood pressure. It must be high. I nod silently. I’ve been having some symptoms of miscarriage that I never had with Hudson, and we moved our appointment up a day to check it out.
The ultrasound takes a long time. I’m not used to this. I’m not used to silences and grim faces and “I’m sorry”s.
We talk about our options, but I can barely think. I don’t remember much of what was said, only Tim’s tear-stained shirt.
In one moment of coherence, I stop the doctor as she leaves. “Wait,” I ask. “Can we maybe have a picture from the ultrasound? I know it’s already gone, but I just need something to remember it by.”
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction” (2 Cor. 1:3-4a).
We lose the baby five days later, at home.
I lie in bed that night and bitterly remember: that stupid fox shirt.
I cry again, but know deep down how right it was to have bought that shirt, to have celebrated on the day we took a positive pregnancy test. For four short weeks, a little brother or sister for Hudson was growing inside of me. Just because she didn’t make it here, doesn’t mean she wasn’t worth celebrating.
“So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal” (2 Cor. 4:16-18).
On this Mother’s Day, we grieving moms belong to a club we never asked to be in. We grieve for what we lost, and also for the accompanying dreams. May 11th may be an unwelcome date on your calendar when you’ll be reminded once again that your baby isn’t here to snuggle or chase around or make you breakfast in bed. You know exactly how far along you would have been, or how old they would have been today.
While the pain remains—especially today—I’ve learned not to push it aside, but to let it be a part of me, mingled with the joy of everyday life.
We grieve deeply, but not “as others do who have no hope” (1 Thess. 4:13). We have hope to press on because we see His good gifts to us, even in our pain: our salvation, family members, His Body surrounding and comforting us. We have hope in knowing that this life never has the last word. Think of what awaits us that we do not yet see: God himself, along with the precious itty-bitty babies that we never got to hold or know. We have babies to miss but to rejoice in meeting someday, with the One who saved us from our sin and promises all will be made right and new. Author Timothy Keller writes, “If the death of Jesus Christ happened for us and he bore our hopelessness so that now we can have hope—and if the resurrection of Jesus Christ happened—then even the worst things will turn into the best things, and the greatest are yet to come.”*
Someday, the pain will be gone and joy will be all we feel. Someday.
Since we have such a hope, though with tears in our eyes and with a shaking voice, we can still sing, “It is well with my soul.” Even on Mother’s Day.
*Quote from Timothy Keller’s excellent book, Walking with God through Pain and Suffering (Penguin Random House, 2013) p. 318.