Comforting Others in Our Weakness

Recently, I met with a friend who shared the loss of her granddaughter, who died at 20 weeks in utero. As we sat in our local sandwich shop, we cried together over the loss of the baby, the grief she shared with her daughter and son-in-law, and the dreams she and her husband had of being grandparents. The sun shining through the restaurant windows on that clear winter afternoon seemed to taunt us as it cast happy rays on the faces of people enjoying their day. For a time, we sat in the shadows.

I am often amazed that I work in this grief-care space, teaching others how to help people suffering after a reproductive loss. I frequently introduce myself as one who has “said all the wrong things” to hurting people. Embarrassed yet hoping to offer encouragement, I blurted untrue and unhelpful sentiments. As I have wrestled with my weakness about saying the wrong thing in situations, two specific truths come to mind that can help our grieving friends with the hope the Lord has offered through his Word.

First, we are reminded that the Lord draws near to those who are hurting. He is already there at the restaurant, coffee shop, or family gathering. The ministry of comfort involves the Holy Spirit (Acts 9:31), God, the Father (2 Cor 1:3,4), and Christ, the Son (2 Cor 1:5Phil 2:1), who is abundantly qualified to comfort man. Dane Ortlund writes, “Our pain never outstrips what he himself shares in. We are never alone. That sorrow that feels so isolating, so unique, was endured by him in the past and is now shouldered by him in the present.” We can breathe a sigh of relief, knowing that God is already there, near to those in need. His presence has already begun the work at hand.

Second, God has called us to care for His sheep, which means that when they suffer loss, we need to be there for them by making ourselves available in humility and gentleness (Eph. 4:2). In the past, perhaps you have not been a student of your words or deeds in this area. But God is kind to reveal this to us when we ask Him to be the the person who offers the comfort and wisdom with which Christ comforts us. We can console each other through a gentle hand on the shoulder, a silent embrace, or shared tears. Other times, meaningful words are shared. In every case, it means taking our eyes off ourselves and looking outward to help others. It means, in the words of Benjamin Warfield, “Not that we should live one life, but a thousand lives—binding ourselves to a thousand souls by the filaments of so loving a sympathy that their lives become ours.”

Hearing our friend’s stories are a precious gift. Our conversation continually can point to Jesus as the Wonderful Counselor who brings the ultimate comfort to the suffering soul. With that knowledge, we can rest assured.

What is Reproductive Loss?

My colleague, Tanya, and I travel quite a bit for work as we speak at seminars, attend conferences, and provide training. On any given flight, we are asked where and what we do, and I can tell you, it’s not always sexy for others to learn that we are reproductive grief and loss educators. Some people will tell us their precious and sacred stories, and others will not look us in the eye for the rest of the journey. On one such flight, Tanya sat beside a beautiful young woman who asked what the purpose of our trip was. Tanya quietly mentioned our travel plans, then sat back to see where the conversation would lead. Soon, the woman looked up at the air vent, hoping to find the meaning of these words there. She hesitatingly asked, “Miscarriage?” Tanya breathed out, “Yes.” After a long pause, the woman asked, “Abortion?” Again, Tanya answered, “Yes.” Finally, the woman looked up, searching for words in the sky beyond the plane, and asked, “Hysterectomy?”


The woman went on to share with Tanya how she had to have a complete hysterectomy at a young age and was now grieving the children she would never bear.

Reproductive loss is any experience of grief in a person’s life related to their reproductive health, decisions, fertility, the outcomes of a pregnancy, or the creation or care of their family[1]. It can involve the pain of miscarriage, the agony of stillbirth, perinatal and infant loss, and the complex emotions tied to infertility, assisted reproduction, and abortion. It also extends to adoption, children born with congenital disabilities, and any loss affecting a person’s reproductive well-being.

Reproductive loss is a widespread and often unspoken part of life. Miscarriage alone accounts for a quarter of all pregnancies, resulting in about two million losses yearly in the United States. Yet, it differs from other forms of grief in that parents who have experienced reproductive loss may have limited tangible memories of their baby. Their loss is silent, and they often grieve without the support or recognition they need to heal. Additionally, when individuals form deep connections with their unborn or newborn children and experience any loss, grief inevitably follows.

Knowing that many people struggle with reproductive loss is half the battle of becoming a source of understanding and empathy for them. Because it is a private (or scary) topic, we seldom delve into these particular and painfully common tragedies. Thus, distressed women and men are not receiving the biblical guidance they desperately need. Instead, struggling with their pain in isolation, they often seek comfort and answers online, where much of the content they stumble upon focuses on the emotional dimensions of losing a child rather than applying the truths of God’s Word to their grief. While they find empathy in the articles they read, the profound hope embedded in the gospel of Jesus Christ is missing.

With just a little bit of information on this topic, we can listen to these stories with empathy and offer the hope and comfort afforded us in Christ Jesus.

Tricia Lewis, Co-Founder Reproductive Loss Network

 [1] Flores and Lewis, 2023; Earle et al., 2008; Price, 2008; Roth, 2018 

An Immutable God in the Face of Grief

I never wanted to be a statistic.

My past experiences volunteering for pregnancy centers and my community of Christian women led me to understand the realities of miscarriage from an early age. And I knew the data – 1 in 4.

My husband and I were overjoyed when we found out we were expecting. It felt so surreal! There’s a sweet little baby growing rapidly inside me and we get to love this baby from now to forever – we were ecstatic.

Week 14 rolled around and I was excited to begin the second trimester, but a few daunting spots made me nervous. A day later we learned there was no heartbeat. Our precious baby was gone. In the climax of grief – time, words, and emotions are all a blur.

I experienced what they call “a missed miscarriage.” Our baby had passed away much earlier, but my body didn’t stop acting pregnant. The physical pain that accompanies a miscarriage truly can’t be described. It was a swirl of dark agony, loss, humiliation, and fear.

Although reeling emotionally and physically for longer than I can count in some ways – the biggest blessing during this time was people. My husband, family, and close friends. Our church family brought us meals, friends from far away sent flowers, and my sister sat on the couch silently watching TV with me. The sense of presence found with those closest to me helped me grieve.

Two months later we found out we were expecting. This moment was followed by tears of fear instead of joy. I was so afraid. Like with our first baby, I prayed for their life and for God to protect and hold them close.

Week 12 came and there was no heartbeat. A missed miscarriage.

This loss brought on a completely different version of grief. I was angry at God, closed off, afraid of myself, and vulnerable in any capacity. I didn’t experience the physical pain brought by miscarriage because my new doctor suggested surgery instead.

I then felt guilt for bypassing the pain that miscarriage brings. I deserved to coil up into the fetal position with pains, cramps, aches, and shivers. I closed myself off more during this loss than the first. I believed I would be a burden to those who had poured into me so recently.

Each loss was accompanied by very different forms of grief. This solidified for me that grief isn’t linear and it won’t be a carbon copy each time something traumatic happens. Although grief morphs and changes – Christ does not change.

Through the kaleidoscope of emotions that grief brought – one thing remained constant and that was Christ. Although I prayed angrily wiping away a steady stream of tears; He never left. He never stopped loving me even when I told Him, ‘How could you?’ He never ceased to comfort me when I sobbed all my makeup off in the bathroom at work. He saw every tear, He heard every desperate cry for help, He listened to my degrading self-talk, and still, HE LOVED ME.

There is no one way to grieve. There isn’t a pretty timeline with a monthly schedule you can count on. You may want to be surrounded by those who love you or you might seek alone time to grieve. The only constant you can depend on when grief is crippling is Christ. He is unchanging.

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” Hebrews 13:8

by Taylor LeProhon