Recently, I listened to the heartache of a young friend who’d experienced a miscarriage. The pain, the questions, the tears, the trying to come to grips with what happened, the desire to be strong and move forward, the grief.
And I understood. Because I am also a member of the Unwanted Sisterhood—those of us who have lost children before we ever got to meet them and hold them.
We don’t talk about it much. How can you? It’s not easily understood and it makes people very uncomfortable if you do. But it is a real Sisterhood.
Her words were extraordinary:
“I’m a mom. I don’t have a baby in my arms, but I carried one.”
Yes, she is a mom—with empty arms.
During that conversation, during the tears and the sharing, an extraordinary awareness flooded my soul. While this Sisterhood is most certainly unwanted—we wouldn’t choose to be a member—there is a sweet peace in knowing you aren’t going through this alone.
There are other sisters who have gone through this. In fact, according to Hope Exchange, approximately 25% of known pregnancies end in miscarriage. If you add the unknown pregnancies (before a positive pregnancy test), the number could be as high as 40%.
When you think about these statistics, every birth becomes an even greater miracle. Every. Single. One.
A mom with empty arms.
How do you cope with the emptiness? How can you rejoice with glowing pregnant moms or those holding a newborn in their arms or chasing their children?
Find another woman who will walk this path with you.
Women in the Unwanted Sisterhood are attuned to quiet statements like “I’ve experienced a miscarriage” or to see the unshed tears in your eyes while listening to baby stories. Let a friend know when the pain is too much to bear. Ask a sister who’s been there to pray with and for you. Don’t try to “tough it out” or pretend everything is okay. It’s right to grieve. And everyone grieves differently.
I’m so thankful for the women who supported me whether they were members of the Unwanted Sisterhood or not.
Some of them were members of the Unwanted Sisterhood but others were women with the gifts of compassion and sympathy. Each one gave me the grace to grieve my way. They prayed with and for me. They let my tears flow and were comfortable with those tears. They understood when it was just too hard that day. And they rejoiced with me when the world was no longer quite so dark and hard — when I could again see the sunshine, inhale deeply the sweet fragrance of a flower, and laugh at the antics of a child.
The grief changed me.
It grew me up. It softened me. It deepened my faith in a loving God. And it ushered me into the Unwanted Sisterhood where I meet extraordinary women who deeply bless my life.
Are you part of the Unwanted Sisterhood? Welcome, sister. Let’s talk.
Kirsten D. Samuel
Aftershock Recovery Coach
8-week Program, Custom-paced Coaching, Remote, or In-person Sessions