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Finding a place of contentment and peace, three months after my miscarriage, remains a work in progress. I am trying to move on with life, honor the soul of my precious baby, and remember to be thankful for the many gifts in my life.
One of the most surprising events of my miscarriage was realizing how much guilt I took on through the experience. I felt isolated in my grief, while being flooded with the news of so many of my peers who were pregnant or giving birth. And although I knew that nothing I had done caused the miscarriage in the first place, I still had a hard time overcoming the unqualified feelings of guilt.
My guilt also extended to others around me -- to those completely unable to have children, those who had experienced numerous miscarriages, even to those whose miscarriages happened later in the pregnancy. I felt guilty about grieving when my situation seemed to pale in comparison. But grief, I have learned, cannot be put on a scale. The experience of loss was mine alone, and it did no good to compare my experience to others or belittle my own feelings.
I had to work through these emotions, but I knew I did not want them to overwhelm me and consume my life. This letter, written by Abdu’l-Baha to a mother who recently lost a child, encouraged me to find peace in my situation:
Praise be unto God that thou hast faith, art turning thy face toward the everlasting Kingdom and believest in the existence of a heavenly world. Therefore be thou not disconsolate, do not languish, do not sigh, neither wail nor weep; for agitation and mourning deeply affect his soul in the divine realm. - Abdu'l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of Abdu'l-Baha, p. 201.
From the passage above, I realized that I needed to accept my reality. I could do nothing about the past and so I needed to pray for acceptance of the situation at hand. Friends helped by reaching out to share their experiences and what was most helpful to them. Some planted trees in honor of their babies, some held devotional gatherings in which they prayed for the soul of the baby and the healing of the family. Others dedicated a day of the year to remember their baby or donated to a charity in order to honor their spirit.
I have found that on particularly hard days, it helps to find a way I can honor the spirit of my baby by doing something, anything, as an act of service. I might simply smile at a neighbor, help someone with their load, or find a way to reach out to someone else going through a hard time. When I do it with my baby’s spirit close to my heart, it renews the peace and acceptance that allow me to continue with my life free of guilt and grief.
I have also found that reading the following story reminds me to trust in God that my baby is thriving in the next world.
Abdu’l-Baha had a dear little son called Husayn, who became ill and died when he was five years old. Some Arabs living in the city of Akka came to say how sorry they were. Abdu’l-Baha smiled at them and asked:
“Do you think that God is generous?”
“Yes, indeed,” said the men. “He has given us everything.”
“Do you think,” said the Master, “that a generous man would give something and then take it away again?”
“Of course not!” said the men in surprise.
“Well,” replied the Master, “God was generous and gave me a little son. He did not take him away again – He is just keeping him for me.” - Jacqueline Mehrabi, Stories of Abdu’l-Baha, p. 27.
This wise, simple story reminds me to have gratitude, even when I am tested with loss. As I allow myself space to move through this experience in my own way, on my own time, I am encouraged by the thoughtful notes, prayers, and acts of service from family and friends. But mostly, I am alone. So I pray, deepen my faith in God, and breathe in and out, trusting in a Divine reason that one day I hope to understand better.
If you have experienced a loss, I hope this will bring comfort to your heart as it has mine :
That beloved child addresseth thee from the hidden world: ‘O thou kind Mother, thank divine Providence that I have been freed from a small and gloomy cage and, like the birds of the meadows, have soared to the divine world -- a world which is spacious, illumined, and ever gay and jubilant. Therefore, lament not, O Mother, and be not grieved; I am not of the lost, nor have I been obliterated and destroyed. I have shaken off the mortal form and have raised my banner in this spiritual world. Following this separation is everlasting companionship. Thou shalt find me in the heaven of the Lord, immersed in an ocean of light. - Selections from the Writings of Abdu'l-Baha, p. 201.
Thank you for taking the time to read this article. If you know someone who has experienced a miscarriage, please reach out to them. Take by a plate of food, send a card, do an act of service in their baby’s name, and just be a friend.