It’s time for me to level with you.
Sometimes I find it hard to keep talking about grief and loss and miscarriage. I think to myself, “People will get so bored of me beating this drum.” Or, “There’s more to my life than this one issue.” Or, “People will just think I’m trying to sell books so will tune me out.” But then I get one more heart wrenching email or one more teary message from someone saying how much they needed to hear their grief is okay or their pain is normal. They needed to hear they have permission to be honest with others and with God and with themselves about how loss is impacting their life. They needed to hear it’s possible to grieve with hope.
Or I think about how I felt in my earliest days of loss, wondering if anyone could possibly understand what it felt like to have my life invaded by this strange type of abstract grief and personal suffering. Maybe I hadn’t heard enough stories. Maybe it would have been easier if more people had been honest about the full spectrum of the parenthood experience. Or maybe it wouldn’t have been easier, but perhaps would have felt less isolating.
I recall wanting to curl up in a cave and die there—not because I actually wanted to die, but because I wasn’t sure how to live under the weight of my sadness. It was frightening.
And so with all of that in mind I dismiss the voice in my head that tells me I might annoy people or that no-one cares, and I share one more time and give one more chance. Because with each sentence uttered or word written I know it might land on the heart of the one who needs to hear:
Your pain matters.
Your loss counts.
You are loved, even still.
October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss (PAIL) Awareness Month so I can promise you I won’t be shying away from this message any time soon. If enough people keep sharing, it becomes less about “announcing” to the world that this matters and more about a movement of every day women and men affirming that unborn babies matter, this type of loss is significant and matters, and the grief parents and family members experience matters, too.
It all matters.
And not only does awareness matter, but sharing stories matter because that’s part of the way we heal—offering our broken pieces to others in vulnerability and trust and then being embraced by empathy and kindness, friendship, solidarity, and practical support. Sharing stories helps and it heals—the storyteller and the listener benefit—but we have to be willing to disarm our knee-jerk reaction to self protect or try to hurry the lesson along. We have to risk the pain, the awkwardness, the potential to be let down by those who don’t understand so that we can be embraced by those who do.
This isn’t about getting over grief. It’s about welcoming grief and allowing it to go through us and transform us. It’s about being whole people with whole souls, even when sorrow undermines our sense of security.
No matter how short a baby’s life is, it counts.
And no matter how big or small your loss feels, it counts.
I’m thrilled to tell you that my book, Grace Like Scarlett: Grieving with Hope after Miscarriage and Loss, is on sale right now for $2.99 in honour of PAIL Awareness Month. If you’ve never experienced pregnancy loss, would you consider investing $3 to read even one or two chapters—a small, deliberate step to better understand and help make the world a more empathetic, kind, and generous place?
And if you have experienced loss, I’ll hope you’ll give yourself the gift of this book. I wrote it to be a warm, safe, gracious companion for you during your hardest, most tender days. Please don’t read this as a sales pitch. It’s not. This is me extending my hand to say “I want to walk this with you and invite Jesus into our deepest places of pain.” For what it’s worth, I don’t make money off of a flash sale like this. And, frankly, I don’t care. What I do care about is the one in four women who need to know they aren’t alone and need to know they can grieve with hope. This is the book I wish I had in the aftermath of my own miscarriages—I wrote it from the trenches because it’s the book I’d like to gift to every hurting parent I can.
Pregnancy loss awareness needs to be more than information passed, it needs to seep deep into our bones and be outworked by the way we commit to loving one another, even when we don’t understand. Please snag this deal while it’s being offered and buy it for yourself and a copy for a friend. One in four of your friends will thank you—because that’s how many women experience this type of loss. This is no small thing.
I am 1 in 4. I’ve had a miscarriage. (In fact, I’ve had three.) But I’m more than a statistic and I’ll keep talking about this until I the world understands this, too.
Free resources for you:
Miscarriage & Loss Resource Page – Stories, Resources, and Support
Journaling Our Scarlett Stories: Journal Prompts to Process Grief after Miscarriage and Loss
Grace Like Scarlett Book Club and Support Group
How to Support a Friend after Miscarriage
What Not to Say to Someone after Pregnancy Loss (and What to Say Instead)
Men and Miscarriage Series
Our Scarlett Stories – Stories of Grief + Grace + Hope after Pregnancy Loss
Amy6 October 2018 at 6:34 am
I just wanted to say, “Thank you” for continuing to share your story. There will always be someone who needs your encouragement. This month it was me. I found out at 16 weeks that the babyI’ve been carrying for over 3 months, the baby we were so excited to welcome in just a few short months, did not have a heart beat. I waited for over 2 weeks, hoping that I would deliver naturally, but that did not happen. I had my D & C on Tuesday. I should have been 18 weeks and 2 days pregnant. We are heartbroken. In an aimless search for support, I came across your name and recognized it because we attend Westside Church in Bend, OR. I am so thankfu for your willingness to share your story and experience so that those of us who come behind you on this journey can find strength and comfort in knowing we are not alone. Thank you
Adriel Booker9 October 2018 at 2:21 pm
I’m so glad I could help provide some companionship to you in your grief Amy. I’m so sorry for your loss. I hope that you’ll get yourself a copy of Grace Like Scarlett and find further peace and hope in the pages. If you can’t afford one, please do reach out to someone at church or request it from library. Although it likely feels lonely, you are not alone. xo