Up to one-quarter of all clinically recognized pregnancies will end in miscarriage. Statistically speaking, that is a great deal of loss.
Research tells us that maternal grief after miscarriage is as substantial as that following the loss of any loved one, and that early miscarriage can be as devastating as near-term loss. Studies of men show that, while outward expression of grief may be less, fathers generally experience the same levels of sadness as mothers.
And yet, much of this loss goes unrecognized and the resulting grief goes unnamed.
Loss of a pregnancy is ambiguous. Unlike “typical grief,” it is difficult to say exactly who or what has been lost. While most contemporary grief counselors suggest finding meaning in memory, miscarriage is a theft of what might have been. There are no memories for a life over before it began.
It is time for communities of faith to acknowledge this loss and minister to this grief. We who grapple with mystery and wonder, who seek answers for the unknowable, can make space for the sorrow of miscarriage. And, it is vital that we do.
October, Pregnancy Loss Awareness Month, is a designated time to speak of this grief. But, grief has no calendar. Faith communities must prepare to respond with comfort when and where it is needed. Download our handout for Pastoral Care & Fertility Grief as a place to begin.
We also invite you to explore ProjectPomegranate.org for educational and spiritual resources, our recently published book of devotions, and this blog. More importantly, we invite you to join us in raising awareness of and providing spiritual support for issues of infertility, pregnancy loss, or infant death.