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Living in the Light

 

 

Miscarriage: What Pastors Need to Know

Jessalyn Hutto

This article was published at Credo Magazine on October 14, 2015. You can find the entire article here.

"Until recently, the topic of miscarriage was a bit taboo. Those who experienced such painful losses tended to keep them quiet, entrusting their grief only to their closest family members and friends—if anyone at all. For this reason, miscarriage has historically been treated with kid gloves. It’s something that we know happens, but for most of us, exactly how often it occurs remains a mystery. Most importantly, the depth of grief that bereaved mothers and fathers experience when a miscarriage takes place has been terribly misunderstood.

Thankfully, this confusion has been partially alleviated in recent years as powerful articles have been published on prominent Christian websites like Desiring God and The Gospel Coalition. As women and men have bravely broken their silence, the church has become more aware of the overwhelming devastation experienced by parents whose children die in the womb, and with this awareness has come a greater understanding of the church’s responsibility to care for these grieving parents.

However, many pastors are still unsure how they can practically help women who miscarry their babies. They don’t know what kind of care the fathers of such children need — if any at all. Those who’ve never been personally acquainted with this type of loss often fear saying or doing the wrong thing, and thus find themselves crippled in their ability to minister to their wounded sheep. This needn’t be the case. Pastors can be a pivotal means of grace in the lives of the mourning mothers and fathers in their congregations if armed with some practical, first-hand knowledge about miscarriage.

With this goal in mind, here are five simple things that you need to know about miscarriage in order to minister effectively to those who suffer from them:

1. Know that Miscarriage is Terribly Common

Miscarriages are typically very private experiences. As such, pastors can be deceived into thinking that they a rare occurrence within their congregations. Medical statistics, however, tell us otherwise. In reality, it is estimated that up to 25% of all clinically recognized pregnancies end in miscarriage.

This means that it is possible that one in every four pregnancies occurring in your church will end in the pain of death rather than new life.

Does this seem like a startlingly exaggerated statistic? Ask any woman in her child-bearing years if she knows of another woman who has recently miscarried and chances are she will be able to give you multiple names. This is especially true in churches that foster an atmosphere that values children and encourages large families. The sheer amount of pregnancies occurring within these congregations allows for these statistics to be more clearly realized."

Continue reading here.