Prayers For Mothers Who Have Miscarried
How to Care for Women Who Have Miscarried
Share on Share on Pinterest
When I found out I was pregnant, I remember excitedly texting a friend who was much further along, asking her a boatload of questions about what was normal for the first trimester. We swapped plans and even shared the same expectant mother’s group. By the time her due date neared, I was texting her every day to ask how she was faring.
She went into labor two weeks after I miscarried. She texted me days before: “It’s OK if you would rather me just stop texting you baby news. I understand if that’s too much for you right now, and I won’t be offended.”
I knew that, whatever my response, she would try to be understanding and patient with me. In the days following my bleak announcements, friends her became invaluable to me, and in the months since, I’ve grown to appreciate her sensitivity all the more.
There is no magic bullet that can make the pain of having a miscarriage disappear. However, in my quest to love women who have experienced this loss (Romans 12:15), and as a woman who has been touched by it herself, there are a few things that have been comforting reminders of how the Lord uses his people to care for one another.
I have always loved children, but it wasn’t until I took a class on ethics and unborn life that my interest in the intricacies of pregnancy and birth took flight, so much so that I did a research paper on the history midwifery. A whole new world was opened to me. I had always known that the Lord was the author of life (Psalm 139:13), but to see just how beautifully crafted that life was in the womb blew my mind.
Pregnancy is a beautiful thing, and children are a heritage from the Lord (Psalm 127:3). The reality of miscarriage should not squelch our thanksgiving for the gift of that new life, whether it lasts nine weeks or 90 years. If you’re pregnant, no matter how early, your news is cause for rejoicing, even if it reminds us of a painful loss.
2. Carry Humbly
However, in that joy, be careful not to flaunt your assurance but carry your child humbly before the Lord. Growing up, miscarriage wasn’t a topic shrouded in mystery. Pregnancies were usually announced early and losses were shared.
Although each individual couple must choose the timing and the openness that is best for them, I was immensely blessed by the openness of the mothers in my community.
The Lord used them to teach me long before my own pregnancy that the gift of life was in the hands of the Lord (Job 1:21).I do not recommend that expectant mothers fill their minds with looming statistics, endlessly Google inane symptoms or prepare for the worst.
This sort of pessimism is just a cry for help from a micromanager who aches for control.
But I also caution, especially young first-time moms, to view each day they have with their little one as a blessing to be received with gratitude, not entitlement.
Share on Share on Pinterest
It can be easy to check on someone when the pain of a miscarriage is recent, but don’t forget to ask how they’re doing six, 12 or 18 months later. Miscarriage, especially in the first pregnancy, carries a host of baggage. Mother’s Day can be hard. Pregnancy announcements can be bittersweet. The idea of a new pregnancy can be frightening.
God has placed us in Body of Christ and called us to bear one another’s burdens (Galatians 6:2). Miscarriage is becoming less of a taboo subject, and it’s a helpful trend for pain that has been silenced for far loo long. Love your sisters by listening.
What I loved most about my friend’s message was that she didn’t just fall off the face of the earth when she thought her pregnancy might be painful to me. She asked. Not all of my friends felt as bold, but whether or not they came out and posed the question, I still appreciated the fact that so many of them reached out to me.
Miscarriage is scary, especially for moms-to-be. It tests the limits of our submission to God’s sovereignty little else. It forces us to put our money where our mouth is after claims of trusting that he knows what is best for us and our loved ones. Don’t run from that challenge as it sprouts up in the lives of the women around you; embrace them and embrace the call to trust the Lord.
5. Ask Questions
Not all women are the same. Some of the things I’ve recommended in this article truly blessed me, but may be an annoyance to others. As with any other sort of loss, miscarriage affects different women in so many ways. However, as others asked me how best to care for me during that dark season, I was so grateful that the question was on the forefront of their minds.
My friend gets to hold her baby, and I love to see pictures of him, not because it diminishes the pain of my own loss, but because, by her care, my friend reminded me that it is more than motherhood that binds us—she is a sister in Christ whose heart was sensitive to the groaning of my own. The value of that love is immeasurable.
Miscarriage is a term used for a pregnancy that ends on its own, within the first 20 weeks of gestation. The medical terms used to identify this potential complication or loss gives most women an uncomfortable feeling, so throughout this article, we will refer to this type of threatened complication or pregnancy loss under 20 weeks as a miscarriage.
Miscarriage is the most common type of pregnancy loss, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG). Studies reveal that anywhere from 10-25% of all clinically recognized pregnancies will end in miscarriage.
Chemical pregnancies may account for 50-75% of all miscarriages. This occurs when a pregnancy is lost shortly after implantation, resulting in bleeding that occurs around the time of her expected period.
The woman may not realize that she conceived when she experiences a chemical pregnancy.
Most miscarriages occur during the first 13 weeks of pregnancy. Pregnancy can be such an exciting time, but with the great number of recognized miscarriages that occur, it is beneficial to be informed about miscarriage, in the unfortunate event that you find yourself or someone you know faced with one.
There can be many confusing terms and moments that accompany a miscarriage. There are different types of miscarriage, different treatments for each, and different statistics for what your chances are of having one. The following information gives a broad overview of miscarriage.
This information is provided to help equip you with knowledge so that you might not feel so alone or lost if you face a possible miscarriage situation.As with most pregnancy complications, remember that the best person you can usually talk to and ask questions of is your health-care provider.
Ways that we can help. If you are concerned or have questions about miscarriage, you are welcome to contact our helpline at 1-800-672-2296. You are welcome to alert our prayer team by sending an email to ( prayers @ americanpregnancy.org ). Explore the article below to find answers to common questions.
Why Do Miscarriages Occur?
The reason for miscarriage is varied, and most often the cause cannot be identified.
During the first trimester, the most common cause of miscarriage is chromosomal abnormality – meaning that something is not correct with the baby’s chromosomes.
Most chromosomal abnormalities are the cause of a damaged egg or sperm cell or are due to a problem at the time that the zygote went through the division process.
Other causes of miscarriage include (but are not limited to):
- Hormonal problems, infections or maternal health problems
- Lifestyle (i.e. smoking, drug use, malnutrition, excessive caffeine and exposure to radiation or toxic substances)
- Implantation of the egg into the uterine lining does not occur properly
- Maternal age
- Maternal trauma
Factors that are not proven to cause miscarriage are sex, working outside the home (unless in a harmful environment) or moderate exercise.
What Are The Chances of Having a Miscarriage?
For women in their childbearing years, the chances of having a miscarriage can range from 10-25%, and in most healthy women the average is about a 15-20% chance.
- An increase in maternal age affects the chances of miscarriage
- Women under the age of 35 yrs old have about a 15% chance of miscarriage
- Women who are 35-45 yrs old have a 20-35% chance of miscarriage
- Women over the age of 45 can have up to a 50% chance of miscarriage
- A woman who has had a previous miscarriage has a 25% chance of having another (only a slightly elevated risk than for someone who has not had a previous miscarriage)
Miscarriage Warning Signs
If you experience any or all of these symptoms, it is important to contact your health care provider or a medical facility to evaluate if you could be having a miscarriage:
- Mild to severe back pain (often worse than normal menstrual cramps)
- Weight loss
- White-pink mucus
- True contractions (very painful happening every 5-20 minutes)
- Brown or bright red bleeding with or without cramps (20-30% of all pregnancies can experience some bleeding in early pregnancy, with about 50% of those resulting in normal pregnancies)
- Tissue with clot material passing from the vagina
- Sudden decrease in signs of pregnancy
The Different Types of Miscarriage
Miscarriage is often a process and not a single event. There are many different stages or types of miscarriage.
There is also a lot of information to learn about healthy fetal development so that you might get a better idea of what is going on with your pregnancy.
Understanding the early fetal development and first-trimester development can help you to know what things your health care provider is looking for when there is a possible miscarriage occurring.
Most of the time all types of miscarriage are just called a miscarriage, but you may hear your health care provider refer to other terms or names according to what is experienced.
- Threatened Miscarriage: Some degree of early pregnancy uterine bleeding accompanied by cramping or lower backache. The cervix remains closed. This bleeding is often the result of implantation.
- Inevitable or Incomplete Miscarriage: Abdominal or back pain accompanied by bleeding with an open cervix. Miscarriage is inevitable when there is a dilation or effacement of the cervix and/or there is rupture of the membranes. Bleeding and cramps may persist if the miscarriage is not complete.
- Complete Miscarriage: A completed miscarriage is when the embryo or products of conception have emptied the uterus. Bleeding should subside quickly, as should any pain or cramping. A completed miscarriage can be confirmed by an ultrasound or by having a surgical curettage (D&C) performed.
- Missed Miscarriage: Women can experience a miscarriage without knowing it. A missed miscarriage is when embryonic death has occurred but there is not any expulsion of the embryo. It is not known why this occurs. Signs of this would be a loss of pregnancy symptoms and the absence of fetal heart tones found on an ultrasound.
- Recurrent Miscarriage (RM): Defined as 3 or more consecutive first trimester miscarriages. This can affect 1% of couples trying to conceive.
- Blighted Ovum: Also called an embryonic pregnancy. A fertilized egg implants into the uterine wall, but fetal development never begins. Often there is a gestational sac with or without a yolk sac, but there is an absence of fetal growth.
- Ectopic Pregnancy: A fertilized egg implants itself in places other than the uterus, most commonly the fallopian tube. Treatment is needed immediately to stop the development of the implanted egg. If not treated rapidly, this could end in serious maternal complications.
- Molar Pregnancy: The result of a genetic error during the fertilization process that leads to the growth of abnormal tissue within the uterus. Molar pregnancies rarely involve a developing embryo, but often entail the most common symptoms of pregnancy including a missed period, positive pregnancy test and severe nausea.
Treatments for Miscarriage
The main goal of treatment during or after a miscarriage is to prevent hemorrhaging and/or infection. The earlier you are in the pregnancy, the more ly that your body will expel all the fetal tissue by itself and will not require further medical procedures.
If the body does not expel all the tissue, the most common procedure performed to stop bleeding and prevent infection is a dilation and curettage, known as a D&C. Drugs may be prescribed to help control bleeding after the D&C is performed.
Bleeding should be monitored closely once you are at home; if you notice an increase in bleeding or the onset of chills or fever, it is best to call your physician immediately.
Since the cause of most miscarriages is due to chromosomal abnormalities, there is not much that can be done to prevent them. One vital step is to get as healthy as you can before conceiving to provide a healthy atmosphere for conception to occur.
Once you find out that you are pregnant, again the goal is to be as healthy as possible, to provide a healthy environment for your baby to grow in:
Emotional Treatment for a Miscarriage
Unfortunately, miscarriage can affect anyone. Women are often left with unanswered questions regarding their physical recovery, their emotional recovery and trying to conceive again. It is very important that women try to keep the lines of communication open with family, friends and health care providers during this time.
Some helpful websites that address miscarriage and pregnancy loss include:
Help Others Who Also Suffer
If this information, the site or our helpline has been helpful to you, would you please consider a donation of $10 to help us help others. You can donate using Paypal or Credit Card.
Last updated: December 5, 2017 at 11:10 am
Compiled using information from the following sources:
1. Current Obstetric & Gynecologic Diagnosis & Treatment Ninth Ed. DeCherney, Alan H., et al, Ch. 14.MedlinePlus [Internet]. Bethesda (MD): National Library of Medicine (US); [updated 2006 Feb 23]. Pregnancy Loss; [updated 2006 Feb 22; reviewed 2006 Feb 7; cited 2006 Feb 23].
2. Planning Your Pregnancy and Birth Third Ed. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Ch. 15.
Williams Obstetrics Twenty-Second Ed. Cunningham, F. Gary, et al, Ch. 9
The most healing gift I received after my miscarriage was … – For Her
Two months ago, I went through my first miscarriage, losing what would have been my fifth baby after four relatively uncomplicated pregnancies and births.
Two months ago, I lay in a small room, my heart broken by the empty image lighting up the ultrasound screen.
Two months ago, my eyes were opened to an entirely new way to see the world.
Right after my miscarriage, I was overwhelmed with grief, sadness, confusion and even embarrassment. I felt mourning my loss was somehow ungrateful when I have so much already.
I struggled through my grieving process, not really letting myself acknowledge that my pregnancy was the same as a “real baby.
” This type of loss meant that I never got to see my baby—no flickering heartbeat, no physical evidence that I had carried life within me—and I wasn’t sure how to classify my grief, if such a thing existed.
And then someone sent me a remembrance statue, completely unexpectedly and the blue, and I was taken aback by how much their thoughtful gift meant to me. I broke down in tears because a kind soul gave me a gift I couldn’t give myself—the chance to accept my baby and my loss.
It felt so perfect and right nestled on our fireplace mantle with the pictures of my living children, all of my babies together, and I am so thankful I will have them all there now.I’ll never truly be able to thank the woman who gifted me with the gift of healing after my miscarriage, but I know I will never forget her.
Photo courtesy of Chaunie Brusie
In addition to our prayers, which mothers always want and need, human gestures hers make a difference after pregnancy loss. I asked other mothers who suffered miscarriage to share the meaningful gifts and gestures from others that helped them find peace and healing:
1. A baby candle
“Last year I gifted a GlassyBaby to a friend in honor of a baby she lost,” says Gretchen Bossio, a mom of three from Seattle.
Glassybaby, a company that designs handmade gift candles with the philosophy of spreading kindness, “names each color [design] and I chose the one called ‘Soul’ for her so she could light it and remember her little one.
She has said often that it’s special to her and that her big kids love lighting “the baby candle.’”
2. Giving key
When Erin Heger, a mom of an eight-month-son and an insurance navigator for a nonprofit health center from Kansas City, miscarried a pregnancy at eight weeks, she received a giving key from a good friend with the word “hope” on it. “I hadn’t heard of giving keys before, but thought it was a wonderful sentiment and thoughtful gesture,” Heger says.
3. A bouquet of thoughtfulness
Maggie May Ethridge, a mom of four and a writer, remembers a gesture that meant a lot after she miscarried a baby at 13 weeks.
After being hospitalized for a day, she was surprised to find a card and a bouquet of flowers waiting for her at home from her co-workers. “That gesture meant an enormous amount to me and felt palpably comforting,” Ethridge remembers.
“Having our pain and loss acknowledged by a societal structure—which could have just easily ignored it—was good. It was healing.”
4. Dinner for a week
Abbey Knight, now a mother of one daughter, was given a beautiful gift by her sister, who came over every day after work and made her sibling dinner for an entire week. She offered not just food, but companionship: “It was so nice to not have to use the little energy I had to make dinner,” Knight shares. “Having her come over also gave me something to look forward to.”
5. A special ornament
“My mom and dad bought us special angel ornaments for each of the grandkids with their birth year,” explains Amy Betters-Midtvedt, a blogger at Hiding In The Closet With Coffee. “The year I miscarried, they bought me a special angel statue at Christmas in honor of the baby we lost. This acknowledgement made me feel this baby was indeed ‘real’ and validated my grief in some way.”
6. A loving locket
Braunwyn Windham-Burke is a mother of six from Laguna Beach, California, who lost a twin during her pregnancy.
She explains that she had originally decided to name her male-female twins Koa and Kali, but when her son passed, she decided to honor him by switching his name to her surviving daughter.
After her son’s death, a fellow dance mom gave her a locket with his ultrasound picture on it and Windham-Burke wore it during her C-section with the twins. Although she says she hasn’t been able to bring herself to wear the necklace again, she keeps it nearby. “It’s close … always close.”
Photo courtesy of Braunwyn Windham-Burke
7. A special good-bye
When Lynn Keman Keller, a spray tanning salon owner from Vale, Oregon, miscarried, she received a lot of support from a friend who brought a gift basket of “goodies” over that Keller says contained everything from beer and candy to cinnamon rolls, which she had researched as being a helpful spice during a loss. “Then she stayed and talked to my husband and I for hours,” remembers Keller. “We reflected, we cried and laughed.”
The gift of time was so meaningful to Keller, who also had family members bring over dinner. “Which was nice since cooking was the last thing I wanted to do,” she notes.
But by far, she says the “best” gift of healing came from her husband, who took her out for a drive to a local river for a special way to say goodbye. “We said our ‘I love you’s’ to our sweet baby and tossed flowers in the river,” she says.
“It was a very healing day to honor our baby. Today is exactly one year since we lost our sweet baby May.”
8. Emotional support
Although she didn’t receive a physical gift, Leah Outten, a birthmother of one child given up for adoption and a mother of four, now expecting again, felt the emotional support she received after her two miscarriages was “priceless.” After her losses, she was also able to gift two friends who had suffered stillbirths with special remembrance items and knows that they made a difference in their healing.
9. A seed
“A few years back I was given a mustard seed necklace as a thank you for singing at a wedding,” says Kimberly Kelsch, a mother of one daughter and a part-time nanny from Illinois.
“I stumbled upon it the day we found out that we had lost our first little one last year. Hours before finding it, our doctor had said how our baby would have been no larger than that.
To this day I wear my necklace to give me peace, to remind me that our little one asked us to have such faith, and to feel that much closer to them.”
10. A sign of life
The day Nikki Ramsey Hootman’s daughter was stillborn, a local mom friend left her a potted plant with purple flowers on her porch with a simple note that said “I’m sorry.” That small gesture made all the difference to Hootman, 34, from the San Francisco Bay Area.
“That right there said it all,” she explains. “She knew there were no words to make it better, but she wanted me to know that she was thinking of me. And the fact that the plant was potted meant that I wouldn’t have to watch the flowers die. It was a reminder that no matter what, life would continue to grow.”
11. Online support
Big gestures and presents aren’t always necessary. Sometimes, the invisible support is the best kind. “My online support group was a lifeline,” says Tatiana Blackington James from Santa Monica, California.
Babycenter offers online support groups for pregnancy loss, or you can turn to faith specific sites such as Catholic Miscarriage Support.
Of course, you can also go offline and straight to your local parish to talk to your priest or ask for any local groups that might be available.
12. A surprise visit
Rebecca S., a 44 year-old writer and mother of two from Denver, was forced to leave her office in the middle of her own birthday celebration because she was in so much pain.
She was rushed to emergency surgery for an ectopic pregnancy and was grateful to wake up to many cards from her colleagues. But perhaps the gesture that meant the most to her was her boss coming to visit after her surgery.
“I had such incredible support,” she says.
13. A little bit of everything
“I’ve had both a late miscarriage and a stillbirth,” explains Abigail Waldron, 36, from Northern Virginia. Nikki Ramsey Hootman, Waldron found that the flowers and baked goods and notes people left in those early days were meaningful.
“I had two friends put together a whole Rubbermaid bin full of snacks and books and wine and chocolate and some little activities for my living daughters, which was so kind,” she continues. “I had a few friends give me jewelry from Etsy that represented both my living children and those I lost, which I treasure.
And I also had a friend who donated money to a charity in honor of my child who’d died. All of these things meant so much to me and helped me feel less alone in some of the darkest days of my life.”
Before my own miscarriage, I wouldn’t have known the difference that a small gesture could make to a grieving mother, and I wouldn’t have known that so many wonderful products exist to try to bring some comfort to those who have loved and lost.
There are everything from grief gift boxes to pregnancy loss necklaces that can bring hope and healing to a grieving mother.
And of course, regardless whether you choose to purchase a remembrance gift or simply send a “praying for you” text, please know that your thoughtfulness will make all the difference.
To Mothers of Miscarried Children: An All Souls Month Reflection
November 9, 2018
All Souls and All Saints day feel different for you, since losing your little one. You may feel as if you are straddling these two feasts.
On the one hand, you greatly desired baptism for your child (or may have been able to conditionally baptize your baby), and so you have great hope that your little one may already be a saint.
But on the other hand, it was impossible to baptize your child in the usual way. And so, still, you pray that your little one may rest in peace.
So, which day are you supposed to remember your child? Is your child a saint? Or a poor soul in purgatory? The Church doesn’t have a definitive answer but encourages us to hope in God’s love and mercy for all his children.
You may have worried about whether you did enough for your child. If the baby was older, you would have known what to do. A funeral may have been automatically offered as a possibility, and everyone would assume that you would purchase a gravesite.But what about that tiny little baby, the one that you only knew existed for a few days or weeks? What about that baby that may have been too little to even find when you miscarried and so was never buried? What about the baby whose deceased body was surgically removed and disposed of without you being consulted? What about the tiny baby that was kindly buried by your Catholic hospital in a common grave? What if you don’t even know the exact place where your baby was buried? Are you a bad mother if you didn’t have a funeral Mass said? Do you love your child less if your little one didn’t have a formal burial service? What if he or she did, but you weren’t able to be there?
What if you were able to have the baby buried in a marked grave, had a funeral Mass said, but still ache whenever you think of that tiny body, buried in the hard, cold ground? What if you just wish you could hold that little one, just once? What if you wish you could kiss his or her tiny cheek, instead of their grave marker?
Grieving in November
In the month of All Souls, most people know how to deal with their grief. Most people feel comfort in having their loved ones acknowledged, written in Books of Remembrance, or mentioned by name at Mass.
Although you can do those things for your child, you may feel uncomfortable doing so.
What about you, whose child was never held by anyone other than you? What about you, as you grieve a child that others never saw? Is this month for you, too?
This terrible feeling you’re feeling? The tears you still shed, no matter how many years it’s been since losing your baby? You feel this way because you are a good mother. But how do you mother a child that you never really knew? How do you mother a child who you can’t take care of?
The most powerful thing we can ever do as mothers is to pray for our children. There are saints who were canonized because of the prayers they offered for their children (i.e. St. Monica). It feels nothing. Maybe you forget to even pray for that child, because it feels as if you never were really a mother to him or her.
But you are a mother. You held that child his or her whole life long. You fed that child, kept him or her warm and clean. You did for that child what you would do for any of your children.
In fact, you did it more perfectly than could have done it for a child who lived, because there was never a moment when that child wasn’t held or fed or warm.
You literally cared for that child every moment that he or she existed.And even now, even when it seems that you have nothing to give that child, you still have your love. You have your prayers. This month is a reminder of how powerful your prayers are.
Whether it is has been days or decades since you lost your baby – even if you have never prayed for your little one – you can pray for him or her. You can name your child.
That little one counts, because of your love.
The Church doesn’t have guidelines and directives for how to deal with a miscarried child. It would be impossible to make them, because sometimes it is impossible to find a body while miscarrying.
Even when it might be possible, sometimes the trauma is too great, and the medical support is lacking. If you didn’t have a funeral, a burial, etc. you didn’t fail your child.
You are a good mother simply because you love him or her.
The most powerful thing your can do, dear mother, is just to pray for your child, that he or she may rest in peace. We don’t know what plans God has for your little one. But we know that the prayers of a mother for her child are powerful. We know that love is stronger than death.
We know that a mother’s love goes with her child always. That love, your decision to love that child and carry him or her in your womb – that love is what matters. And who knows? You may already be the mother of a saint. And if you are, it may be that God is continuing to do great things through your child.
It may be that the prayers of that child may end up helping you get to heaven.
So, keep loving, dear Mama. Keep praying. More than anything else you did or could do, your love and your prayers for your child matter. In this month of All Souls, take heart — for Christ has conquered death. God willing, you will be reunited with your child in heaven.
Subscribe to CE