6 Ways to Grieve Your Miscarriage or Stillbirth

Today is Easter Sunday, April 21, 2019. I am choosing to remember several deceased loved ones today and over the next several days. One being my sweet grandmother, Mama Kathlyn (whom I have been writing about recently) as well as my three children whom are with JESUS…Sage, Cruz, and Zane Barrington. My three children, lost in miscarriage, will never be forgotten. I know one day I will see them again and get to play with them, hug them, swing with them and just be with them. They wait for me knowing that I have two kiddos here on earth to care for between now and then.

So here is a post from January 11, 2015…. in rememberence of Sage…

It was 1 year ago today, that I birthed our child, Sage Barrington, whom my husband, daughter, and I lost in a miscarriage after 10 weeks gestation. Not only is there physical pain in a miscarriage or stillbirth, but there is an indescribable emotional pain that can last months or even years later [it brings tears just re-reading this now in 2019]. I miss Sage dearly. His maybe her birthday would have been in July 2014. He or she would be almost 5 years old this summer. Sometimes I daydream about what he/she would look like now. Our life would look so different than it does. Sage is always and forever in my heart.

Miscarriage and stillbirths are not often talked about. Unfortunately, there is a cultural stigma against talking about them . It can be difficult to understand how to support those who have experienced a loss of this kind. It could be because of the painful comments that are received like, "well there was probably something wrong with your child" or "he/she was not strong enough to survive." or “at least you have a healthy daughter.” While this may or may not be true, it is JUST NOT HELPFUL to hear. Implying that our children were sick or deformed and therefore were not able to survive only adds to the emotional pain of our grief. I know that these comments are intended to be kind and caring, but the truth is that these comments can compound the pain of our loss.

Throughout my year of grieving, I learned some very helpful tools. I want to share with you now what works and can help you FEEL BETTER:

SEEK SUPPORT. Find safe people to share your story with. Do not go through your grief alone. Not everyone in your family or circle of friends is safe, but safe people do exist. You may need to go see a professional, spiritual mentor, best friend, or partner.

JOURNAL. Write down you thoughts, feelings, experiences, ideas, things that help you, and things that do not help. Whatever comes to your mind as in freely associating, write it down. Writing these things down frees up space in your mind to think more clearly and focus on your tasks at hand (like being able to go back to work and stay focused). It can also help you organize your thoughts and feelings as well as gain new personal insights.

NAME YOUR CHILD. I encourage you to name your child just as you would if your child had lived. It has been incredibly healing for me in my personal journey to name our lost child. We named him, Sage, because he was so spiritually 'wise' beyond his years that he wanted to skip earth and go straight to heaven. 

IDENTIFY THE LIES. There are most likely some lies that have come from your loss. You can do this on your own or with a trusted person. With the help of my therapist, I realized that I had come to believe many lies about myself around feeling punished and undeserving because of the miscarriage. It was not until I began to think through and write down the lies that I was able to replace them with true beliefs which helped me to continue to heal from the miscarriage.

HAVE A CEREMONY. Yes, have a funeral service or burial ceremony of some sort for your named child. This will look different for everyone. Having a ceremony helps bring some closure. My husband and I on Sage’s due date decided to write letters to him and read them aloud to each other. We lit candles and had the ceremony in our bathroom because this is where I birthed Sage. We cried, we laughed, we healed all the more because of this ceremony. I encourage you to have a ceremony of your creation that will help you move forward.

CRY. Give yourself so much permission and freedom to cry as you need to. If you are back at work or out in public, take a bathroom break and go cry. Call up a friend and cry with them on the phone. I found that the more I cried and allowed myself this freedom, the stronger and better I felt to move forward with my day. My daughter has seen me cry many times over the last year. Each time I cry about Sage and she sees me, I explain to her why I am crying. She and I have talked many times about what my tears mean. I will occasionally ask her, "Remy, where is Sage?" And she replies in her 2 year old wisdom, with a big smile on her face "with Jesus." And then I cry some more. Crying is NOT a sign of weakness. It is the exact opposite, a sign of strength and healing.

If you have experienced a miscarriage or stillbirth, you have been through a deeply emotional and painful event. It can be hard to even describe with words. I am truly sorry for your loss. I grieve and hurt with you.

Is it time to give yourself permission to grieve?

Until the next story…Bethie