My name is Donna Murphy, and I am a mother of three babies who, I believe, live in Heaven. I pray that my beliefs can be helpful and that you take with you some words of healing from my witness.
I have attended many national conventions on pregnancy and infant loss, and they all lack one thing. They are all afraid to bring God into their programs. I am not. God is the center of my life, and He is the ultimate healer. It is God who gently talks to us and encourages us in our time of sorrow. I pray that God and the peace of the Holy Spirit be with you. Another name for the Holy Spirit is the Paraclete. Paraclete literally means, “the one who answers the cry”. Nothing brings out a cry for help like losing a child.
Holy Spirit, answer our cries.
The hardest thing I have ever lived through is when I lost my last baby at 17 weeks. Everything in me cried out. I could not understand. I welcomed this gift of a child that God had sent me. Why would God let my baby be taken from me? Didn’t he trust me with this baby? Did I do something wrong? Was I being punished? How could this happen? My job was to protect my baby, and I couldn’t. He died anyway.
In the book of Wisdom 1;13 in the Bible it says”God did not make death, nor does he rejoice in the destruction of the living.” So he does not cause death. I had to turn to the basic facts of faith. God did not bring death into the world. Sin did. Because there is sin, there is death. God didn’t take my baby from me or your baby from you. Sin is in the world therefore allowing sickness and death. Not the mother’s sin or the father’s sin.
In John 9:3, we read, “Jesus answered, ‘Neither this man nor his parents sinned. Instead, he was born blind so that God could show what he can do for him.’” In general, sin causes death. God has a direct will, and a permissive will. God allows death from his permissive will, not his direct will.
The death of our babies could have only been stopped by a miracle. So where is God in all this? Why did he not give my baby a miracle? As a dear friend told me in my grief, “When you lost your baby, God was right there with you supporting you when you felt weak, and loving you.” Sometimes that is hard to see when you are dealing with the loss of your child. It seems hard to find God.
Where is He? Okay, I get that he allows natural things to happen like death. Why did he not save my baby, or your baby by a miracle? God loves you! Jesus weeps with you. He does not abandon you. We cannot understand his ways, but we can be sure that he loves us. Jesus sends us His Holy Spirit. Let the paraclete answer your cry.
In John 11, some of the verses read:
“Now Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus. So when he heard that Lazarus was ill, he remained for two days in the place where he was. Think about that…he stayed there. He let it happen. What? Permissive will of God.
Then after this, he said to his disciples, “Let us go back to Judea.” Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. [But] even now I know that whatever you ask of God, God will give you.” Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise.” Martha said to him, “I know he will rise, in the resurrection on the last day.”
Jesus told her, “I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live.” When Mary came to where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said to him, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” When Jesus saw her weeping and the Jews who had come with her weeping, he became deeply troubled, and said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to him, “Sir, come and see.’ ” And Jesus wept.
The words, “and Jesus wept” are so very important. Jesus wept even though he knew he was going to raise Lazarus from the dead in a matter of minutes. I think Jesus did this to show us it is okay to grieve and be sad when someone dies. So if you begin to doubt yourself, and say why am I grieving so much, you can ask yourself the question, “What Would Jesus Do (WWJD)”? When someone Jesus loved died, you can see the answer in the Gospel of John. Jesus wept. Jesus grieved.
Grief is normal, and it is what Jesus did. Everyone grieves differently…usually it is harder first, and slowly improves, but everyone is different. Some people stuff the grief, and it doesn’t come out until later. Others face it head on, right away hoping to ”get over it” quickly. But grief takes time, effort, and healing.
Now I had to ask, “Where is God in all of this?” He is teaching us how to grieve through the bible. He is teaching us that it is OK to grieve through the bible. He is right by our side holding us up when we cannot bear to sit much less stand on our own two feet. He is with us, supporting us, loving us. When you look at the cross remember Jesus did that so you could be together with your family again and with Him our heavenly family forever. He loves you more than you will ever know and he will never leave you.
There is not a time limit on grief. There is a child missing from your life that no other child can replace. A piece of your heart will be gone until you are in Heaven. Grief is so very heavy at first. As it eases up, sometimes you feel guilty for not feeling so bad. The first time you laugh, you may feel guilty. Don’t. The first time you don’t feel sorrow for a few hours, you may feel guilty. Don’t. The devil, who is the accuser, tries to make you feel guilty, not God. You need time. It is healthy to take a break from sorrow. You need to heal.
Eventually, you have a scar that remains. It is always there; your child is always missing. Eventually, it doesn’t hurt as bad. Some days will be tough, and some easy. Like an amputee who has lost a limb, the open wound will heal, but your life will forever be different.
Your loss is real but, it should not limit you forever.
There are many, many little reminders that the precious child you once carried is not physically with you anymore. Some people call these reminders “triggers”. At first, you may experience triggers all the time. Triggers might include seeing so many pregnant people. Where did all these pregnant ladies and babies come from? They seem to be all around you. It is like you never noticed them as much prior to your loss.
Other triggers may be the due date, or the stillbirth/miscarriage date. Some reminders/triggers are common like finding a maternity shirt you forgot to put away, or a baby toy you bought early and just found. Others are uncommon like a smell or sound. There are many, many different triggers that may make you feel sad, and bring back the fresh grief. Sometimes you know it is coming, and sometimes you are caught off guard.
Over time the sting of grief lessens, but it still has its triggers. I have had women who seemed healed 30-40 years after their loss, but something will remind them of the baby they lost, and they may cry for the first time in years. And that is okay. They have lost their baby, and it is okay to miss them. Someone is missing from their life. Some one is missing from your life, now, and for the rest of your life.
There is no time limit on grief. Don’t let anyone bully you into stuffing your grief because it is time for you to be over it. You set your boundaries, not them. They probably just miss the old you, and you probably miss the old you, too. It takes time to find your new normal.
People who want to say something, but don’t know what to say sometimes will say the wrong words:
- Once you start spotting, bring the miscarriage kit into the bathroom with you.
- There was probably something wrong with the baby.
- At least the baby did not suffer
- You can have another.
- Be grateful for the kids you have.
- What lesson is there for you in this loss.
I could go on and on telling you unbelievable comments people have made to me or someone I know. These hurtful words do not make you feel better; they can make you angry, and add injury to the pain you are already feeling. These people usually have a good heart, and want to help, but it is rare to find someone who has not had a loss who can truly understand. Trying to explain losing a baby to them is like trying to teach a 2-year-old algebra. They just are not able to get it. They want to help, but many times they will say the wrong thing. Ask Jesus for the power to forgive them.
Men and Women often grieve differently. I have had three losses, one in the first trimester, and two in the second trimester. My husband and I grieved very differently:
- Raphael 14 weeks, Jim protected me
- Michael 9 weeks, Jim emotionally abandoned me
- Gabriel 17 weeks, Jim grieved with me
Jim really grieved hard with our last loss. With both of us caring for each other and communicating our feelings in various ways, our last loss brought us closer than ever. After the first week, he had to go back to work, and I had to care for the kids during the day. We would e-mail each other our feelings, and the other would read it when able to give the words the attention they deserved. We’d reply to each other. Jim would respond back with comments like, “You are a good mom, and Gabriel is missing out on having you raise him.” Then later we would talk when time permitted during the day. This worked for us.
Find what works for you, but do keep communicating and supporting each other. Each of us grieves differently. Telling your story and explaining your emotions either verbally, hand-written, or typed, is a way to grieve and begin the healing process.
You are still on this earth for a reason. Find your new normal. Do not give up hope. Do not despair. God loves you! He has not abandoned you. He is by your side, loving you and sharing in your grief. Share your God-given gifts with others in whatever you do, and you can see how He works through you to make a difference in this world.