Tuesday, July 21, 2015

The Grieving Process of Miscarriage {Interview with Jessalyn Hutto}

I am extremely delighted to welcome Jessalyn Hutto, author of Inheritance of Tears, to the blog this week and next. Jessalyn was gracious enough to grant me an interview after reading her book, and I hope the answers she shared will be an encouragement and blessing to you. I posed 4 different questions to Jessalyn. Because of the in-depth response and the delicate subject matter of each, I thought it best to spread the interview out over several posts. 

Inheritance of Tears: Trusting the Lord of Life When Death Enters the Womb, is a Gospel-centered, theologically rich resource for women who have undergone miscarriage and those who would like to minister to them. Jessalyn personally experienced two miscarriages, one first trimester, and her daughter Anastasia at 17 weeks. I was so blessed by reading her book, and cannot recommend it highly enough. You can find more of Jessalyn's writing on her blog



Rachel: What has your personal grieving process after your miscarriages looked like? I know that every woman is different, and thought this might be encouraging to moms who have recently lost little ones and are wondering if the pain ever abates. While my miscarriage of six years ago seems distant, the more recent one still stings. Do you feel completely healed at this point, or does the memory of your losses still profoundly affect you at times?

Jessalyn: The circumstances surrounding each of our miscarriages are different, just as each of our personalities are unique. Therefore, we must be careful to remember that our loving God deals specifically with each of us- there is no "one-size fits all" grieving process that the Lord desires to take us through. Rather, in each of our lives, he is accomplishing specific things, uniquely fitting our trials to our needs.

For this reason, we should be slow to compare our grieving process to others'- wondering why it is that we can't just "get over it" like they did, or on the other hand, judging others who seem as though they are not as affected by their loss as we might be.

Many factors affect a woman's grieving process: how far along she was when she miscarried, how many losses she has experienced, how desirous she was for a child, how long it takes her to become pregnant again, etc... All of these circumstances are in God's hands, and he uses them masterfully to reveal his love, goodness, and kindness to each of his daughters in unique ways.

My miscarriages were each very different. The first miscarriage was my very first pregnancy and occurred during the first trimester. I was taken by surprise by both the pregnancy in the first place and then again by the miscarriage. My grief was intense, but it was rather quickly eclipsed by the joy of another pregnancy a few months later.

This second pregnancy was a great blessing in that it reduced my suffering, but it also came with its own difficulties. I struggled with feelings of guilt because I didn't want to forget my first child. I felt bad for looking forward to meeting this new baby,  when I had so recently lost another. However, God helped me to sort through these emotions, and when I held my firstborn son in my arms, I was able to feel unhindered joy and thankfulness for the gift I'd been given.


My second miscarriage was more difficult. It occurred in the second trimester and after discovering that our daughter was lifeless within my womb, we had to make the heartbreaking decision to induce labor in a hospital. The pain of losing our daughter- at that time our only daughter- was intense. Though I had experienced a miscarriage before, I was not prepared for the possibility of losing a baby so far along. Again, God was gracious to me and provided a peace that I could have never conjured on my own. Amazingly I even found the experience of delivering our daughter- of seeing and holding and burying her- to be a great aid in the healing process.

I didn't immediately seek to be pregnant again after that miscarriage. I felt that for me, such a devastating loss necessitated an extended time of mourning and reflection. I needed to come to terms with what had happened, and simply walk with God through the pain. As time went by my sorrow naturally lessened and I began to desire to be pregnant once again.

A new pregnancy brought new joy, but it was certainly tinged with the memories of what we had lost. I would often find myself overcome with sorrow when I'd see a little girl with her mother at a coffee shop or as I walked through the little girl's department at Target, seeing all of the sweet dresses I would never get to buy for my own daughter. Honestly, I would say that the pain of her death stuck with me in some small way until the wondrous moment we found out I was carrying another little girl a couple years later.

If there is one thing I'd like to encourage women who are in the midst of suffering with, it would be to not feel rushed through the mourning process. When you miscarry, you lose something extremely precious, and it is right to have a deep sense of that loss. You should not be surprised if you continue to feel deprived of the joy you had while pregnant for a great deal of time- especially if you do not become pregnant again quickly.

Rather than trying to escape the grief, I would encourage you to use this intense experience of sorrow to draw nearer to the Lord. Cling to him as the one and only thing in your life that is sure, and from which you can draw peace and happiness in the midst of profound pain.

Time will certainly lift the weight of sorrow that seems so crushing in the present, but clinging to him in the midst of it will produce a surprising harvest of spiritual wisdom and deep-rooted joy. This is perhaps the greatest lesson I have learned from my miscarriages.


Stay tuned for Part Two, in which Jessalyn covers how Christ ministers and relates to women who have miscarried. To take a more in depth look at miscarriage, the Scriptures, and hope for hurting women, be sure to pick up a copy of Jessalyn's book {affiliate link}. 

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