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.