Caring for Your Wife in Miscarriage
“Caring for Your Wife in Miscarriage” by Cary Hughes. This article first appeared at desiringgod.org
While reading Jasmine Holmes’s excellent article “How to Care for Women Who Have Miscarried,” I was inspired to consider the thousands of men who also have experienced the loss of a child in miscarriage. As a young man who has lost a child to miscarriage earlier this year, I vividly remember the difficult journey that my wife and I encountered in the loss of our first child. It is a path we still walk.
For more than two years, we pursued God’s calling in our marriage to have a child. Month after month after month of frustration and expectations being unmet, we continued to trust in God’s sovereign plan for our family. Though sorrowful at the many outcomes of not being pregnant, we rejoiced in God’s providence (2 Corinthians 6:10).
This March, we finally experienced the wonderful joy of life in my wife’s womb. We shed many tears of faith, joy, and hope on that Saturday evening when we saw the positive result of the pregnancy test. Words cannot describe how overwhelmed we were by God’s love and faithfulness (Psalm 36:5).
Ten days later, we found ourselves in the emergency room of a local hospital with symptoms of a miscarriage. Our doctor gave us two words that were foreign to us at the time: “ectopic pregnancy.” We lost our child early on the morning of March 17. Though we grieve our loss, we are thankful that we do not grieve as those without hope (1 Thessalonians 4:13).
Since that day, we have experienced a flood of emotions in the grieving process. For myself, there has been the question, “How do I care for my wife in the loss of our child?” Not knowing what to say (and what not to say) has presented its own unique challenges, but I am thankful that the witness of Scripture is sufficient in how to care for her in our loss.
Grieve with Her
One of the most important ways to care for your wife during a miscarriage is to listen deeply to her as she mourns the loss of your child. As you seek the help of the Holy Spirit, acknowledging that this hurts (and should hurt) as you listen to each need will be of upmost importance to her. Though written in the context of Christian community, Paul’s exhortation to “weep with those who weep” reminds us that part of the healing process is grieving together under the compassion and care of Christ (Romans 12:15).
Though a husband might seem to heal from the loss quicker than his wife, remind her that the pain of losing your child is not forgotten. She had a physical connection with your child that you didn’t have, and one of the most important things you can communicate to her as she grieves is, “I am here. I am not going anywhere. Though this still hurts, God is working this for our good and for his glory.”
The words of Genesis 2:24 speak to us as men today: “A man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife.” Your wife will certainly hold fast to you as she mourns your loss, but the Bible’s command to hold fast to your wife is true in all of marriage, especially in miscarriage.
Though you may want to be strong like Samson, holding fast to your wife will be one of the most God-glorifying responses you can give to her. In your holding fast of her, she will be comforted that you deeply share this burden with her. Even when you don’t know what to say, your holding fast of her will speak more than a lifetime of words ever could.
God commands us to love our wives “as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her” (Ephesians 5:25). When we hear the good news of Christ dying in our place for sin, we aim to apply that truth to our marriage. In miscarriage, we must give up our lives for the sake of our wife in order to care for her. Because in our caring for our wife, we are also receiving the care of Christ as he gives us the grace to endure loss together.
What does this look like? Perhaps it’s taking vacation time to be at home with her. Maybe it’s going into work early and leaving early so you can have more time to be with her. If you’re a sports fan like myself, it may mean giving up the television to listen to her and hold her for the glory of Jesus.
Talk with Other Men
The experience of great comfort and peace await you when you take the tough step of speaking with other men who have also experienced miscarriage. Over the last six months, I have learned many valuable gospel lessons from men who have walked through a miscarriage with their wife. These men have stirred my affections for Jesus, and the care I have received from them has been invaluable as I seek to glorify Christ in the loss of our child.
As you speak with other men, this will help you live out the apostle Paul’s opening in 2 Corinthians, “God comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God” (1:4).
God has stores of comforting grace even for the affliction of miscarriage. And he not only comforts us in our pain, but enriches our joy by making us instruments of his comfort to others who are enduring this painful affliction as well.