A friend of mine, the wife of a fellow-staff member, suffered a miscarriage earlier this week. She was sixteen weeks along in her pregnancy. What can be said? A tragic loss. Riley Anne Marshall was her name. May God our Father bless her parents with comfort and peace, healing and wholeness in the coming days.
Following are the wise words of advice from another friend of mine in ministry. He and his wife have had to walk this difficult road themselves in years past. How can a Christian husband best serve his wife in such a time as this?
A Husband’s Response To A Miscarriage
by Paul Fagala
1. Pray for her. Pray by yourself and ask God to lift her up and hold her tightly to him. Pray with her. She needs to know that she’s being covered in prayer by her spiritual head.
2. Don’t try to “fix” her. Nothing you say or do can make this situation right. You’ve lost a child. It’s okay and healthy for her to grieve and take all the time she needs to grieve. You’ll want your wife back. Keep reminding yourself she had a bond with that child that you didn’t have. The child was growing inside of her body. She could feel the movements. She felt the nausea. She felt her body changing. You didn’t. You didn’t have the bond she had. Don’t minimize her grief. Allow her to go through it and be there for her.
3. Listen to her. This goes along closely with the second one. Listen when she talks. Sometimes all she needs to do is verbalize how she’s feeling and know you sympathize with her.
4. Hold her. A lot. She needs to feel safe in your love at this moment. One thing she may be feeling is that she somehow let you down. She needs to know now more than ever that nothing will change your love for her.
5. Reassure her that this isn’t her fault. She may feel like the miscarriage was the result of something she did or didn’t do. 15% to 20% of known pregnancies end in miscarriages. It just happens sometimes and the vast majority of the time there is nothing she can do about it.
6. Gently encourage her to continue with life. This is one where you have to be very delicate. Life continues. Laundry needs to be done. Floors need to be swept. Dishes need to be washed. Encourage her to continue with these things and do them with her. She may need to feel valued as a woman, a wife and a mom again. Keeping up with life can help with that. You doing them with her will give her time to talk and help her feel that you’re a team. It also will keep her from feeling overwhelmed.
7. Don’t hide your emotions from her. You don’t feel the same bond to the baby as she did, but there is still grief. Tell her when you’re sad. Cry with her. Tell her what God is revealing to you as you grieve. She doesn’t need you to be John Wayne now. She needs a tender, compassionate man to walk this journey with her.
8. Coach others when they ask you what to say to her. Some people won’t know what to say. Tell them to give her a hug, tell her they love her and that they’re praying for her. They’ll want to try to make her feel better by saying things like, “It was God’s will,” or “God knows what He’s doing.” Gently encourage them not to make those kinds of statements. They cannot “fix” the situation anymore than you can. What she needs from others is to know she’s loved and they are covering her in prayer.