Mother’s Prayer Following A Miscarriage/Stillbirth
Finding Healing After Miscarriage
February 22, 2016
A friend of mine just told me that she recently had a miscarriage, and she asked a few questions about my experience after I miscarried a baby four years ago.
Her questions got me thinking about what my family and I went through at that time and the resources that helped us through it.
I wanted to share these ideas in case they might help any readers who are grieving a miscarriage.
Four years ago my husband and I went to an ultrasound appointment and we found out that our 12-week-old baby’s heart was no longer beating. We were shocked, especially because up until that point in the pregnancy I had had nausea, which I had assumed was a good sign of the baby’s health.
We drove home with such deep sadness in our hearts, not knowing what to think or how to react to this news.
We had a wonderful doctor who was very sensitive and kind, and she had explained that medically-speaking, between 10-25% of pregnancies end in miscarriage, and that doctors normally cannot pinpoint what causes one to occur, but emotionally I was at such a loss as to how to deal with the pain I felt.
The few months that followed were a rollercoaster of emotions, but looking back on that time I see that God gave us some very special blessings and resources that helped us to get through our loss and to gain many spiritual fruits from it.So often, miscarriage is a cross that people bear privately, which is understandable, but that fact can also be detrimental in the sense that if someone experiences a miscarriage for the first time, they may not know what to think or expect because no one has ever talked to them about the experience before.
With the hope of helping anyone who is grieving a miscarried baby, whether the baby passed away recently or years ago, here are five things that helped my family and me, and that I hope will help to bring consolation and healing to others:
Grieve the loss
This may seem obvious, but often doctors and nurses do not treat a miscarriage as the loss of a baby, so people may attempt to stifle the emotions they feel because “it happens to a lot of people,” or “it’s just tissue.
” Well, miscarriage does happen often, but it is a real loss, and when a miscarriage occurs it is a human life that has been cut short, so, if you or someone you know has experienced a miscarriage, please recognize it for the loss that it is.
Without this recognition, the loss cannot be grieved, and additional problems can arise.
After my miscarriage, I was trying to pretend everything was fine for our 2 ½-year-old son because I didn’t want to upset him. Well, he suddenly started acting out, a lot, and waking up every night for no apparent reason.
A priest friend of ours suggested that we talk to our son about the baby and what had happened, and when we did that he took it so well. He really understood, and he was sad, but he was also happy that his baby sister was in heaven.
Sometimes I think children grieve better than adults because they don’t stifle their emotions, they have purer hearts, and stronger faith. I learned a lot from our son about how to view the situation with eyes of faith.
Talk to someone
It can be very helpful to talk with a friend, especially someone who has experienced a miscarriage, but if you don’t know someone who has, there are other options. There are support groups available, and you can go here to find a group in your area (this website also has a 24/7 grief support counselor on call).
You may also want to consider seeing a counselor if you are having a difficult time coping. I did all three of these things and the combination helped immensely.
As a counselor, I know the therapeutic value of friendship, support groups and individual therapy, but when I was grieving the death of our baby I learned about their therapeutic value first-hand.
Have a burial service if possible
The Archdiocese where we were living at the time had a burial service once a month for anyone who had recently lost a baby in miscarriage or stillbirth. The priest at the service gave a beautiful homily and I still treasure many of the things he said, but one comment in particular stood out to me.
Looking around at all of the parents and family members present he said, “One day you will look back on your life and the life of your family and you will see that you were blessed in ways that would not have been possible had it not been for your baby interceding for you in heaven.” This was very consoling to us, to think that our child was praying for us, and there is theological support for it as well.
(For further reading, see The Hope of Salvation for Infants who Die Without Being Baptized, which was prepared by the International Theological Commission, and was approved by Pope Benedict in 2005.)
Name your baby
There is a beautiful part in the book Heaven is for Real by Todd Burpo where little Colton explains to his mother, who has never told him that she miscarried a baby before he was born, that he met his big sister in heaven and that she was so happy to see him that she couldn’t stop hugging him. He then tells his mother, emphatically, “you need to name her Mommy, she doesn’t have a name!”
When I tell people that we named our baby Bridget, they ask if we had found out the sex of the baby. While we had not found out through an ultrasound, we know in our hearts that the baby was a girl. When you name your baby it is easier to ask for their intercession, which leads me to the next suggestion.
Ask your child to intercede
Ask your child to intercede for you and your family, often, and especially in times of greatest need. This is something I try to do on a daily basis, and it has been a powerful aid in my life.
A good priest encouraged me to do this one day, when I had a particularly difficult issue to work out, and the problem resolved itself very quickly.
Ever since then, I have not failed to ask our little Bridget to pray for me when I face a challenging situation.As you grieve the loss of your baby, turn to God and ask for his help. Grieving takes time, and in some way, it never really “ends.
” There will be sadness about the loss well after the miscarriage has occurred, because when a baby passes away before birth you not only experience the loss of a beautiful infant, you experience the loss of a member of your family, of a child and a sibling who is no longer here on earth, and you will grieve the loss of the whole potential life that child would have led, so in a way, you will experience the loss for the rest of your life. That being said, with time, you will be able to find joy in the thought of your child, and in the hope of meeting your son or daughter in heaven one day, where:
“Eye has not seen, and ear has not heard . . . what God has prepared for those who love him.” (1Cor. 2:9)
Stillbirth and miscarriage: where to get support
When the TV personality, Jack Osbourne, and his wife, Lisa, announced that they experienced a late-term miscarriage earlier this year, they were flooded with messages of sympathy from well wishers.
Singer, Lily Allen, was six months pregnant when she had her second miscarriage and asked her fans to say a 'little prayer' for her loss.
One in four pregnancies ends in miscarriage. Most happen in the first 12 weeks, but a small number of expectant mothers lose babies in the second or even third trimester.
The loss of a foetus is termed a miscarriage if it occurs before 23 weeks. After that time, it is a considered to be the stillbirth of a baby.
But it still remains the case that most people don't talk much about the loss of a pre-term infant.
Opening up about stillbirth and miscarriage
Ruth Bender Atik, national director of the Miscarriage Association, said at the launch of a recent campaign to encourage people to use the charity's helpline: 'Miscarriage affects many thousands of people throughout the UK every year, yet it's rarely spoken about openly.
'We know that talking about it can make a huge difference to the women, men/partners, families and friends affected by miscarriage.'
Susan Harper-Clark, 35, found it hard to hard to talk about her own feelings of grief and loss when she suffered two late miscarriages; one at 19 weeks in 2010 and the second at 22 weeks in 2011.
'It was just too painful at first. That said, my husband Graeme and I wanted people to acknowledge what had happened and I really appreciated their well wishes.'
Preventing miscarriage and stillbirth is one of the primary goals of doctors who look into why babies die in utero.
Professor Siobhan Quenby is a consultant at University Hospital Coventry and Warwickshire NHS trust.
After years of research, she has discovered that natural killer cells, which are present in ur bodies, are linked with repeated miscarriages.
In one of her studies, 160 women who had a history of miscarriages were examined to see if they had high levels of natural killer cells in the lining of their wombs.
Those who were found to have high levels of these cells were randomly given either steroid treatment, which blocks natural killer cells, or a placebo once they became pregnant.
Women who had the steroid treatment were 20 per cent more ly than those on placebo to carry a baby to full-term.
However, Professor Quenby says that more work still needs to be done before steroid treatment can be rolled out on a larger scale.
Tests showed that Susan had what's known as an 'incompetent cervix,' despite being fit and healthy, and being free of risk factors such as smoking or a high BMI.
'After I got over the initial shock, I did find it hard to talk to people about what I had gone through.
'I found it easier to talk to some people than others and I felt that some people were embarrassed about the situation.
'Luckily, my husband is brilliant and I have a very close family. We helped each other get through it.'
Information on where to get support
The Miscarriage Association offers support in a number of ways.
'We are there to offer information. When things go wrong in pregnancy, there is often a great need for information about what is happening and what is ly to happen,' says Ruth.
'There may be questions about the physical process of loss and the options available; about what happens to the remains of a miscarried baby; about further tests or treatments; and especially about whether there is anything that can be done to reduce the risk next time.'
Staff needs to be supported too. Caring for women who've had an miscarriage or stillbirth can be emotionally demanding on health care professionals.
'We support medical staff and have a range of leaflets available, which can also be downloaded from our website. We have telephone support workers and a team of volunteers to offer peer support.
'This is combined with the support offered through our forum and pages.'
Support for future pregnancies
Although they were devastated after two miscarriages, Susan and Graeme were determined to keep trying to have a baby. After doing some online research, Susan contacted the charity, Tommy's, and was referred to the Preterm Surveillance Clinic at St Thomas' Hospital, London.
Under the team's care, she underwent an abdominal stitch, regular fetal fibronectin testing and cervical length tests, and gave birth to her son, Thomas, at 38 weeks in July 2012.
'It's an amazing feeling having little Thomas, but we'll never forget his two sisters, Emilia and Grace, who paved the way for him,' says Susan.
'As soon as he is old enough – he is 14 months old now – we will tell him about them and they will always be part of our family.'
Other people also read:
Miscarriage:The facts on miscarriage.
Stillbirth: The facts on stillbirth.
The Miscarriage Association: The Miscarriage Assocation offers help and support to people struggling with a bereavement.
Last updated 07.10.2013
By Ruhaifa Adil
Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem
Losing a baby is one of the hardest things any parent can go through. Even if the pregnancy lasted for only a few weeks, the grief a mother feels is incomparable. A mother does not love her baby only at first sight; she loves her baby even before she has seen it!
Here are some important guidelines for the Muslim mother who has had a miscarriage (losing a baby before 24 weeks of gestation) or a stillbirth (losing a baby after 24 weeks of gestation).
Accept Allah’s decision
A Muslim mother is un other mothers. Despite her grief, she accepts Allah’s decision and believes that He knows what is best. Though it may be prudent to find out if there was a medical condition for the miscarriage, do not forget that the ultimate reason for anything that happens is Qadar (predestination).
Remind yourself that Allah is All-Knowing and He knows what is best for us. Allah gives us tests in this life, granting us an opportunity to become His beloved servants. Allah has said: “And surely We shall try you with something of fear and hunger, and loss of wealth and lives and crops but give glad tidings to the steadfast.
Say Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi raji’oon (To Allah we belong and to Him we will return)
The above verse is followed by this verse which says: “Who, when disaster strikes them, say: Indeed we belong to Allah, and indeed to Him we will return. Those are the ones upon whom are blessings from their Lord and mercy. And it is those who are the [rightly] guided.” (2:156-157)
The Messenger of Allah (sa) also said: “When the child of a person dies, Allah says to His angels: ‘You have taken the soul of the child of My slave?’ They say: ‘Yes.
’ He says: ‘You have taken the apple of his eye?’ They say: ‘Yes.’ He says: ‘What did My slave say?’ They say: ‘He praised You and said: Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi raji’oon.
’ And Allah says: ‘Build for My slave a house in Paradise, and call it the house of praise.’” (Tirmidhi; reliable)
Dealing with feelings of grief
Though accepting Allah’s decision may bring you solace, your pain and grief may still feel unbearable! It is at this time that you need to console and remind yourself that your child is in Jannah (paradise) waiting for you.
Call out to Allah and supplicate to Him to ease your pain, for though you loved this child very much, remember that Allah loves you seventy times as much! Make dhikr and du’a for it will bring you comfort.
Reach out to your husband, family, and friends, and try not to isolate yourself.
Dealing with feelings of guilt
Sometimes it is hard to accept what has happened, and mothers tend to fall into a vicious thought process of what they may have done wrong to have lost the baby. At this time, remind yourself that if Allah means for something to happen, it will. Seek peace in knowing that Allah intends something better for you.
Know that Allah’s plans are grander than what the human mind can encompass, as seen in the story of Khidr in Surah Kahf. Remember this verse whenever you feel guilt creeping in: “No disaster strikes except by permission of Allah. And whoever believes in Allah – He will guide his heart. And Allah is Knowing of all things.
The reward for Sabr (patience)
“And Allah loves the steadfast (the sabireen – the patient ones).” (3:146)
As you go through this ordeal, remember Allah’s reward as promised by Him: “I have no reward except Jannah for a believing slave of Mine who shows patience and anticipates My reward when I take away his favourite one from the inhabitants of the world.” (Bukhari)
The Prophet (sa) also said: “By the One in Whose Hand is my soul, the miscarried foetus will drag his mother by his umbilical cord to Paradise, if she (was patient and) sought reward (for her loss).” (Ibn Majah: sound)
“…Indeed, the patient will be given their reward without account.” (39:10)
Reunion in the Hereafter
Remember: you will be reunited with your child in the Hereafter where this child will become a source of taking you to Paradise! Rejoice in the fact that this is a very temporary separation and you will soon see your beloved baby, who is in a place far better waiting to lead you to Jannah.
Rites of the baby
A mother provides everything for her child even if it is at the expense of her own needs.
Even though your grief is immense, you need to place your baby above it and make sure you fulfill his final rites.Scholars agree that if you miscarried your baby before four months of pregnancy, then no ‘aqeeqah needs to be done, nor does the child need to be named. Funeral prayer is also not incumbent before burial.
However if you have lost your baby after four months of gestation, then the soul has been breathed into him, hence he should be named, shrouded, and the funeral prayer offered. The baby should be buried with the Muslims, and the ‘aqeeqah should be done for him. (Reference: islamqa.info)
Rulings on post natal bleeding
As hard as this loss may be, again it is essential for the Muslimah to not forget her deen (religion).
You must continue to pray and fast if you miscarry your baby before the baby has developed human features such as a head, hand, foot, and so on.
However if the baby has human features then you are under nifas (post natal bleeding) and should not pray nor fast or have intercourse with your husband until you become pure or until forty days have passed.
Scholars have said that the minimum time in which human features may appear is 81 days. The 81 days refers to the actual pregnancy and not from your last menstrual cycle (which is used to date the pregnancy). (Reference: islamqa.info)
Take heart from the examples of the Salaf and Prophet Muhammad (sa)
When Ibn Umar’s child was sick, he was very distraught, yet he was smiling at the time of the funeral. When asked why, he replied: “This [death] was nothing short of mercy for him and when it was decreed by Allah Most High I was pleased with it.”
Umar Ibn Abd al-Aziz told his dying son: “I prefer for you to be in my balance of good deeds (through my sabr for your loss) than for me to be in your balance of good deeds.”
The only time Fudayl ibn Iyad was ever seen smiling was after the death of his child and his reply to those around him was: “Allah loved something and I love what Allah loved.”(Source: Ibn Nasir al-Din al-Dimashqi, Bardu al-Akbad an Faqd al-Awlad (“The Solace of Livers from the Loss of Children”).
Even the Prophet’s son Ibrahim passed away in infancy, and though he wept at his death, he said: “The eye weeps and the heart grieves, but we say only what our Lord is pleased with. We are grieved for you, Ibrahim.” (Abu Dawood; sound)
Anxiety for the next pregnancy
It is natural to feel anxious about future pregnancies ending in miscarriage too. Most women who have a miscarriage, however, go on to have a successful pregnancy the next time round.
Do not despair and remember the story of Zakariya (as) who had a child in old age when he supplicated to his Lord: “…O my Lord! Grant me from You, a good offspring. You are indeed the All-Hearer of invocation.
” (3:38) Supplicate to Allah; He is certainly the All-Hearer.
Ruhaifa Adil is a mother of four, a practising Muslimah, an avid reader, and a passionate writer. She works primarily as a trainer for mothers and teachers, advocating a multi sensorial, learner-centred approach, which she has learnt through her work as a remedial specialist for children with dyslexia.
She is also an author of English textbooks, the teachings of the Quran (currently under editing), and creative director of a Tafseer app for kids (soon to be launched Insha’Allah). Her latest project is Qutor.com, a website that helps connect Quran teachers and students.
© IIPH 2015
Photo credit: viralbus / Foter.com / CC BY-SA
About the author
Ruhaifa Adil is a mother of four, a practising Muslimah, an avid reader, and a passionate writer.
She works primarily as a trainer for mothers and teachers, advocating a multi sensorial, learner-centred approach, which she has learnt through her work as a remedial specialist for children with dyslexia.
She is also an author of English textbooks, the teachings of the Quran (currently under editing), and creative director of a Tafseer app for kids (soon to be launched Insha’Allah).