Raised in Heaven Healing from Miscarriage and Abortion

You're Allowed to Grieve: Bethie's Story

I recently attended a memorial service for an older family member, and the gatherings included a lot of stories and sharing of memories, and it got me thinking. Ceremonies and tributes are put together with great thought in order to honor the person's life. But I think funerals and memorial services are more for those left behind than for those departed. It gives you a chance to grieve without having to pretend everything is okay. You can cry, scream, throw stuff, blurt out things, or withdraw into yourself and process internally and it's okay because you've experienced a painful loss and it's right that you should be allowed to work through the emotions.

Yet we as people are so focused on what we can see, touch and hear that when a life is lost that we couldn't interact with in those ways, we feel like somehow we are supposed to be glad we had less to lose... or be less sad or hurt than someone who lost someone who spent more time here on earth. But God values life. Over and over in His Word and in the million ways He shows His love to us every day He makes that abundantly clear. And guess what? You and I are allowed to grieve for our babies. For the babies we didn't get to hold, or see or hear. The babies we dreamt of, planned for, hoped for, prayed for whether we knew about them for months or weeks or days or even a few hours. They are real, and loved, and it's okay to miss them.

Some people are uncomfortable with it, and frankly may not know what to say without stories and memories to share. But it's okay to choose who to grieve with, and when you're not taken by surprise and bursting into tears in the middle of the grocery store, surround yourself with people who get it, and get you.

Allow yourself to grieve in a different way than you may have expected. I had two miscarriages and I had assumed I'd feel the loss in the same way. Not. When I lost Ranan, our first, our sadness was mixed with such hope because 1) I actually got pregnant, for the first time at 38! 2) I discovered such peace in knowing that I had a husband who would weep with me. I felt like God had finally opened a chapter in my life I was sure would ever open. I cried. I sang. I processed. I wept with my husband. I hoped.

Then just under a year later I lost Mara. And I couldn't cry. It was almost a year before I could cry. I was angry. I was depressed. I was devastated. I avoided thinking about it, and when I did think about about it my thoughts would get dark, so I got good at distracting myself. I thought I was broken- something wrong with me so I couldn't grieve right. At some point I remembered that God knows what I'm thinking anyway, so I may as well admit it. I started telling him what I felt or didn't feel every time it came up. And gradually and over time the conversations with God turned to real processing and healing.

What I want to leave you with has probably been the biggest key for me in dealing not only with the loss of my babies but also years of infertility that still haven't ended. You can still believe in God while working through opposing emotions. I'm visual, so it helped me when Beth Banham had my husband and I make a T chart. On one side we wrote “What we know to be true” and on the other “What we feel.” (Give examples.)

This was vital. The truth (all this) was not going to change or even waver while I worked through all of this (the feelings.) And yet I wouldn't heal until I got these out and dealt with them. And God blessed me with friends who could listen to me verbally process all this stuff without questioning my faith or salvation. I'm thankful for this opportunity to share with you, to celebrate the lives of our babies, and to grieve their loss together. And remember, no matter how long ago or the circumstances behind how you lost your baby, you are allowed to grieve, and to heal... and you are not alone.