How to Heal After a Miscarriage or Infant Loss
- Whitney Hopler Crosswalk.com Contributing Writer
- 2013 1 Jan
Editor's Note: The following is a report on the practical applications of Teske Drake's book, Hope for Today, Promises for Tomorrow: Finding Light Beyond the Shadow of Miscarriage or Infant Loss (Kregel Publications, 2012).
Suffering the heartbreaking loss of a baby either before or shortly after birth forever changes the way you’d imagined your life would be. All the dreams you’d cherished of parenting that child died along with him or her.
Yet, despite your loss and grief, God has given you promises that nothing can ever take away. Embracing those promises is the key to healing after miscarriage or infant loss. Here’s how you can discover the healing God is offering through His promises to you:
A relationship with Jesus Christ is the ultimate promise of hope for eternity. Without Jesus, suffering can cast you adrift on a sea of despair. But when you’re in a relationship with Jesus as your personal Savior, you never have to despair because Jesus acts as your spiritual life preserver, giving you hope that you can’t get from anyone or anything else and empowering you to overcome even the worst circumstances in our fallen world.
God promises to always love you, no matter what. God loves you completely and unconditionally, and nothing – not even something as devastating as your baby’s death – can ever separate you from God’s great love for you. Whether or not you’re a mother, God loves you just the same. Your loss doesn’t define you, because your true identity is one of God’s beloved children, no matter what. Pray for the ability to sense God’s everlasting, unfailing, faithful, trustworthy, and saving love for you in new ways.
God promises to work all things out for your good when you trust Him to do so. Ask yourself honestly how your baby’s death has affected your view of God’s goodness. Consider whether you’ve turned toward God or away from Him in your grief. If you’ve doubted God’s goodness and turned away, pray against bitterness taking root in your life and ask God to reveal some of the good ways He is working in your life. Keep in mind that your baby was a gift from God, even though he or she lived just for a brief time. Ask God to give you His perspective on your baby’s life and death.
God promises to fulfill His purposes for your life despite your loss. Pray for God to reveal His purposes for the pain you’ve suffered because of your baby’s death. Ask God to show you how you can live according to those purposes, which often involve acts of compassion that help other suffering people and make you a more loving person in the process. Take action as God leads you, from donating something to a children’s charity in your baby’s memory to reaching out to another grieving person who needs encouragement.
God promises to be your one true source of comfort. God declares: “As a mother comforts a child, so I will comfort you…” (Isaiah 66:13). You can count on God’s comfort being there for you in prayer, when you read the Bible, and in the caring people God brings into your life and works through. Allow others into the messiness of your grief, asking for encouragement, prayer, and practical help when you need it and letting people who care know of specific ways they can help you. Whenever you’re ready to do so, reach out to others in need of comfort, offering listening, prayer, or something else that may help them.
God promises to give you peace in any circumstances you face. Even in the midst of grief over the death of your baby, it’s possible to experience peace, because peace doesn’t depend on your circumstances. Jesus has promised to give you peace that transcends earthly understanding whenever you trust Him to do so. Pray about the anxieties, fears, turmoil, or confusion that is interfering with your ability to receive peace from Jesus, asking the Holy Spirit to renew your mind so that you can focus steadfastly on Jesus and experience peace in the process.
God promises to refine your life in the shadow of your loss when you surrender to His work in your life. When you humbly invite God to use your baby’s death to help you grow more into the kind of woman He intends you to become, God will use the pain of your grief like a refining fire in your life. He will strip away impurities from your soul as you spend time with Him in prayer and reading the Bible with the goal of seeking a closer relationship with God. Although it can be painful to consider whether you may have made an idol out of your desire to have your baby live, be honest with yourself about whether or not your longing for your baby has become more important to you than God. While it’s certainly not a sin to want to have a living child, it is a sin when that desire takes God’s place in your life. Ask God to help you get to the place where you desire what’s most important – a relationship with Him – as your top priority, and then want children only to enhance your relationship with God.
God promises to fill the emptiness in your life and restore your soul. Invite God to fill the emptiness that your baby’s death has created in your life physically (such as a longing in your arms and vacancy in your body), emotionally (such as jumbled up feelings of shock, numbness, sadness, devastation, confusion, or guilt), and spiritually (a sense of hopelessness). Remember that God’s healing power is never out of reach; He will always help you whenever you ask Him for help.
God promises eternity in heaven. Your baby who died is now living with God in heaven, and you can be sure that he or she is enjoying a life free of suffering and full of love. If you trust in Jesus as your Savior, you can count on going to heaven yourself one day and meeting your child there.
Adapted from Hope for Today, Promises for Tomorrow: Finding Light Beyond the Shadow of Miscarriage or Infant Loss, copyright 2012 by Teske Drake. Published by Kregel Publications, Grand Rapids, Mich., www.kregel.com.
Teske Drake (PhD, Iowa State University), is mommy to three babies in heaven, mom to two on earth, and wife to her one and only. She is cofounder of Mommies with Hope, a biblically based support group for women who have experienced infant loss. Find out more at mommieswithhope.com.
Whitney Hopler is a freelance writer and editor who serves as both a Crosswalk.com contributing writer and the editor of About.com’s site on angels and miracles. Contact Whitney at: firstname.lastname@example.org to send in a true story of an angelic encounter or a miraculous experience like an answered prayer.
Publication date: January 25, 2013