This is part of a series called Letters to a Grieving Mom to help women navigate significant milestone days after miscarriage and pregnancy loss.
Dear Grieving Mom,
It’s jarring, isn’t it—that first period after your miscarriage? As if it was possible to forget what has only so recently happened, your body is giving you this fresh reminder that there’s no baby there. Your womb is empty and it doesn’t feel fair.
After each of my three miscarriages, my first period came with a sting. Not a physical sting of course, but a sting that can only be felt in the heart. You know the kind.
Though logically I knew my body was proceeding to do what it was designed to do, I couldn’t help but feel it was mocking me. Seeing blood on the lining of my underwear was a visual reminder that I couldn’t hold on to the baby I had so quickly grown to love. It reminded me of when I first saw the blood from my miscarriage. That’s the kind of re-living of an event no mother wants to do.
I wonder if you felt similar when you first saw the blood return?
More than anything, I want to tell you you’re normal for experiencing some heartache on this day. I want to tell you that however you’re feeling is okay and that grief takes many shapes. If a day like today brings you a fresh wave of grief that’s okay too.
Perhaps the pain is trying to summon you to lean in a little today—connect with your grief and your pain and remember that you are human. Being human is not something to be ashamed of; being human is beautiful. Author Glennon Melton coined the term “brutiful” which I think encapsulates our humanity perfectly: life can be brutal and beautiful at the same time. It reminds us we are fully alive.
So I wonder what it is that you actually feel today? Do you feel like your body has betrayed you? Do you feel ashamed for having miscarried—like even that term ‘mis-carry’ implies that you’ve done something wrong? In all of my years of trying to understand my own miscarriages—what caused them and what my body was trying to tell me—I’ve learned that “doing something wrong” is rarely ever the reason a baby or pregnancy hasn’t progressed.
Friend, I want to be really honest with you. What I’m sharing here with you today probably isn’t going to do or say some magical thing that will make your pain go away. Your pain is a process and it’s there because something precious was lost—your baby and the future you imagined with him or her. That is no small thing.
But I do want to encourage you to take heart. Take heart that the sting you feel today does change. It’s okay that today—this day—you experience your sadness and your loss and your grief all over again. Don’t worry how you felt yesterday and try not to worry how you’ll feel tomorrow. Focus on this moment—here, now, you and I together. Your heart is trying to tell you something and I believe it is exactly this: your baby mattered.
He mattered. She mattered. You matter.
Your loss is real. Your pain is justified. Your tears are warranted.
As a mother you have made room in your life—in your very own body—for a child. Regardless of if the pregnancy was hard fought for, came as a surprise, or even frightened you, carrying a child changed you so of course you will feel a sense of emptiness where that life seems to have vanished. Nothing will ever take the place of your little baby—no amount of positive self talk, or Bible verses, or homemade chocolate chip cookies, or hugs. Not even another baby who may come later on down the track.
But you also need to know this: You are stronger than you think. Your heart will survive this. Your body will remember what it’s like to feel comfortable in your own skin again.
Make no mistake, your loss will change you. Your heart will expand a few sizes if you surrender to the process grief takes you on. But it is a process. This is not an event to be overcome or a challenge to conquer. Grief is a path to be walked. Some days your pace will quicken, other days it will be slowed. You’ll find unexpected corners and forks and surely a hill or two to scale. But you’ll find your way forward.
And I promise you this: If you haven’t already, you will laugh again.
Friend, there is so much hope.
Now will you do me a favor? As you finish reading, don’t rush off to the next thing. Give yourself a few minutes—some space to breathe. I want you to think about how to honor yourself in this process. You might have thought about how to honor your baby’s life, but have you also spent time considering how to honor your own beautiful, wonderful self in this process?
Perhaps you need to take some time today in prayer to ask God to show you how he thinks of you. Perhaps you need to list ways that your body has served you in the past. Perhaps you need to journal your feelings or treat yourself to the kind of tender care you would most enjoy right now—a bath? A run? A massage? A swim in the ocean? Do you need to slip out the door for a moonlit walk in your comfiest pajamas?
This is not me telling you to “buck up” and do something to make you happy. This is me giving you permission to feel the pain and then respond in a way that is comforting and wholesome. You are a whole person—mind, body, spirit—and today your body is giving you a chance to recall that connection even as it reminds you of your amazing womanhood. So lean in. Listen. Don’t shush your pain or cover up your grief. Instead let your pain and grief inform how you treat yourself today.
Let today be a day you respond with grace to the body and heart that makes up your wonderful you. Be kind to yourself. Give yourself permission let the tears flow and to search for the light. This is not self-indulgence, it’s stewardship of the most important thing God’s given you: your life.
More posts in the Letters to a Grieving Mom series:
- Open when your period returns
- Open on your original due date
- Open when you’re invited to a baby shower
- Open on a difficult holiday or special occasion
- Open on Mother’s Day
- Open on your baby’s birthday or anniversary
- Open during a post-miscarriage pregnancy
Resources to Help You Heal
For further resources to navigate grief after miscarriage and pregnancy loss, or to learn how to best support a friend experiencing loss, please visit my Miscarriage Stories and Resources page. You will also find a free grief journal and a free 7-day devotional.
If you’d like to go deeper in exploring how to grieve with hope, I’ve written a whole book for you: Grace Like Scarlett: Grieving with Hope after Miscarriage and Loss (available at all major retailers).
Grief Support Groups
Join us for an 8-week “Deep Dive” grief support group to help you navigate life after pregnancy loss. Find out more here.
Pregnancy Loss Community
Join us at the kindest place on the internet: Our Scarlett Stories – online community, resource library, and more.
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Featured Image by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash
Olivia21 February 2019 at 9:45 am
This is such a beautiful letter and brought me to tears, over a year has passed since my miscarriage but your writing still resonated with me and made me feel better about all the time that I felt silly for wanting my baby back or missing it. Thank you.
Adriel Booker1 May 2019 at 10:20 pm
Huge blessings to you, Olivia. x
Louise8 September 2019 at 3:32 am
My period is due next week after a miscarriage last month. I’m torn between wanting it to be here already yet I know when it comes its the final end to the beauty I have been holding on to. Thank you for your beautiful words.
Jori5 March 2020 at 2:30 am
Thank you so so much..
Adriel Booker18 May 2020 at 2:07 pm
Bless you Jori.
Bat17 April 2021 at 8:26 am
Today was my first period after my miscarriage.
Thankyou. Your words felt like a friend’s. Someone who totally understood what I’m going through. Some things not even husband’s can comprehend.
I was feeling so low, didn’t know why. But now I know that my feelings are completely valid and I’m allowed to grieve.
Adriel Booker28 April 2021 at 12:33 pm
You are definitely allowed to grieve. I’m so sorry for your loss. x
Anita3 June 2021 at 8:35 am
Thank you so much for this post. I’m just having my first period after my 3rd miscarriage and your words give me comfort and permission to grieve. It also gives me hope. I feel so alone on this journey of grieving my miscarried babies. It is so comforting to know you understand how deep the grief goes.
Adriel Booker3 June 2021 at 3:43 pm
I’m really sorry to hear of your loss Anita. Be gentle with yourself. x
Ash6 July 2021 at 4:03 pm
I found out I miscarried Monday June 21st, 2021. I was devastated. I couldn’t stop crying or thinking about it. I kept wondering, “Why did this happen to me?”
Now a week after D&C, I feel like I’m just going through the motions. Barely eating; I’m not hungry. Sleeping a lot or not sleeping at all. My body is slowly returning to “normal” and as I slide on a pair of shorts that used to be tight but aren’t anymore, I’m constantly reminded of my loss. Now I cry but it is an empty cry. There is nothing in these tears. I long for things that always seem beyond my reach.
But, reading your letter made me think, “I don’t want to be empty anymore.” I want to do everything I possibly can to be happy even during the times grief overwhelms me when I’m reminded that there i no longer a baby inside of me.
I am sad. I am mad. I drown in this experience, but I am stretching my arms up and swimming as hard as I can.
Thank you for your letter.
Adriel Booker19 July 2021 at 11:51 am
Hi Ash. I’m so sorry to hear about your loss. Losing a baby is cruel and I wish this experience on no one. Did you know we have a support group? If you’d like to join the private community you can find it here: http://www.ourscarlettstories.com I hope as you find others walking through similar grief it will help you feel less alone.
Rachel m16 August 2022 at 9:55 pm
I have just come across your letters to a grieving mum. I have just gotten my first period since my miscarriage. I want to say thank you so much. Your words have helped more than you could ever know. They have helped more than family and friends . They have made me realise I can grieve for the baby I won’t get to hold in my arms and although we only knew about them for such a short time the pain is real. You have also given me hope for the future and that I can get through this and come out the other side.
Michelle12 January 2023 at 2:06 pm
Thank you, doesn’t seem like enough. I appreciate you sharing your struggles and feelings so that many of us can feel connected and heard.
I feel panicked and anxious with my period coming back, all those feelings from that day stuffed inside me. Your letter allowed me to recognize where these feelings are coming from and embrace them.