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 

His Hands and Feet

It started out like any other pregnancy.  A positive test.  Excitement.  Fatigue.  Nausea.  With a history of miscarriage, pregnancy for me always came with a considerable amount of anxiety as well.  An early ultrasound at 7 weeks showed a heartbeat, so that helped to put my mind at ease. 

My next ultrasound was at 12 weeks.  This time, however, the results were far from reassuring.  At a follow-up doctor’s appt., I was told that my baby had some “complications”. . .  After several more scans, a meeting with a genetics counselor, and eventually an amniocentesis at 18 weeks, a diagnosis was confirmed.  We had a son and he had Trisomy-18 (Edwards Syndrome), a rare chromosomal abnormality.  He was deemed “incompatible with life”.  The news was devastating. 

Though termination was recommended, I believe strongly that God alone is the giver and taker of life.  He had given me this child and I was determined to carry him as long as the Lord allowed me to.  God knew the number of his days and I was at peace placing my son’s life in His Sovereign hands.

Since there is a high chance of miscarriage with Trisomy babies, I woke up every morning wondering if “today” would be the day.  It was a highly emotional and tumultuous time for our family and the daily strains of carrying a child that I knew would probably not survive was exhausting.  But God allowed me to carry this precious child for 40 weeks.  An induction was scheduled and at 7:41 pm on Tuesday, November 15, 2016, Isaac Matthew Green was stillborn.  Labor had proved to be too much for him.

It was one of the darkest and most difficult times of my life.  I had held out hope for a miracle for so long.  I was overcome by the profound disappointment of not getting to look into his eyes, even once, to tell him I loved him.  The heart-breaking reality of a life cut short hit hard.  I would never get to see him grow up.  My older boys would never get to shower him with their affection (& wrestling!).  It was unfair.  The grief, all-consuming.

But amidst the overwhelming grief, God was there.  He was faithful.  And He was good.  “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction . . .” (2 Cor. 1:3-4a)  Praise God the Holy Spirit helps us when we are at our weakest, interceding on our behalf (Rom. 8:26-27). 

And when God felt far away and we were too consumed by our grief to make our own way, He used the body of Christ to carry us.  They were His hands & feet, reaching into our lives and drawing us closer to Him.  There wasn’t much they could say to “make it better”, but they brought us meals, paid for a house cleaner, watched our kids, and checked in on us frequently.  They prayed for us and cried with us.  Before Isaac was born, a group of women from our church threw a “Celebration of Life” party for me and I was given a quilt that they had each created their own unique square for.  After Isaac was born, those same women came to the hospital to “meet” him and to sit with us in our grief.  I will cherish these simple acts of kindness and compassion for the rest of my life.

Isaac will always be a part of our family.  He is a part of me, and his brief life has changed me forever; I will never be the same.  Five and a half years on, the intensity of my grief has faded, but it still hits me when I least expect it.  Despite everything, I am thankful.  I am thankful to God for giving Isaac to our family.  I am thankful for the many ultrasounds where we got to “see” him alive and kicking inside the womb.  I am thankful for the answered prayers for strength and the Lord’s protection from having to make additional difficult decisions regarding Isaac’s care.  I am thankful for the exceptionally understanding and compassionate medical professionals who helped and guided us.  I am thankful for the amazing community of believers He provided to walk beside us on our journey.  But most of all, I am thankful for how God will one day turn my mourning into gladness and take the ashes of my life and turn them into something truly BEAUTIFUL.

by Rachel Green