Mothers in Waiting: Healing and Hope for Those with Empty Arms. When I saw this book title, I knew I had to reach out to its author, Crystal Bowman: 1) because healing and hope are threads that weave throughout my own writing, and 2) while I haven’t experienced miscarriage myself, I know many friends who have, and I’ve often felt helpless to know what to say or do to help them through their pain.
If you know someone going through a journey of loss, Crystal’s words will be just what you need today. She offers perspective + practical ideas to come alongside a mother-in-waiting and provide meaningful support.
She also shares words of encouragement for you if you’re the one waiting and praying for your empty arms to be filled. Be sure to check out her book and profile at the end of this post for ways to connect and find more encouragement.
A positive pregnancy test is something to celebrate! Young couples who are ready to start a family, or add to their growing family, are filled with excitement when they realize a new baby is on the way. Those hopes and dreams, however, are quickly shattered when the pregnancy ends in a miscarriage.
Statistics vary, but nearly one in five pregnancies ends in miscarriage. Almost 75 percent of miscarriages occur during the first trimester, while the other 25 percent occur in the second or third trimester. No matter when a miscarriage occurs, and no matter how many children a couple already has, miscarriage is devastating.
My daughter-in-law experienced a miscarriage during her 5-year journey through infertility. She turned to books and support groups for emotional encouragement, but still felt like she suffered alone. After the birth of her first miracle, she felt a deep desire to help other women who find themselves on the lonely path she’s traveled. Together we co-authored a book titled Mothers In Waiting—Healing and Hope for Those with Empty Arms.
This book is a collection of stories from 30 different women, all of whom experienced some form of infertility. As one contributor writes: “Infertility encompasses so much more than not being able to conceive. For me, conceiving came a little too easily, but I was losing my babies before they drew their first breath. No matter how many times you’ve experienced it before, and no matter how unplanned that baby is, the loss never gets easier. It knocks the wind out of you each time you see ‘the look’ wash over that doctor’s face.”
Another contributor shares this perspective: “I hate that word—miscarriage. Seems too shallow for something that causes such deep pain. My husband and I married in our late thirties and joyfully found ourselves pregnant in our forties. When we lost our baby, I felt as though I had lost my one chance to be a mother.”
Many women who suffer a miscarriage (or several) begin to wonder what’s wrong with their bodies. Why can’t they do the one thing a woman is supposed to do? But the topic of miscarriage is not your typical girlfriend conversation. Surrounded by pregnant friends, they struggle with feelings of inferiority and sadness. They want to be happy for their pregnant peers, but every baby shower, birth announcement, and swollen belly is a painful reminder of their loss.
When I had a first-trimester miscarriage nearly 40 years ago, my doctor explained that this was “nature’s way” of keeping me from having a deformed baby. He said I had lost the baby because something wasn’t right. I also had a toddler at home, so I knew I could carry a baby to term, and we would try again.
Even though I knew these things, I still thought about that baby I had lost—cheeks I’d never kiss and toes I’d never tickle. Then a friend shared something I had never thought of. She said if my next pregnancy resulted in a live birth, that would be the baby God intended for me to have. Today we call them “rainbow babies.” Two years later I had my rainbow baby and I cannot imagine my life without him.
Although it’s hard to know what to do or say when someone you know has a miscarriage, here are a few simple suggestions:
- Allow her to grieve. Words of encouragement are fine, but this is not the time for a pep talk. Sit and cry with her, give her a hug, or just be there.
- Offer to bring a meal and give her a few options (in the event of food allergies). Besides being emotionally exhausting, a miscarriage is also physically exhausting, and it takes time to feel “normal” again.
- If she has other children, offer to come over and play with them so she can have a break. She will enjoy your company!
- As the weeks and months pass, let her know that you are still praying for her and that you have not forgotten about her loss.
Although many women experience a miscarriage, the statistics don’t make it easier. It’s personal, painful, and heartbreaking. But our hope is in God our Creator, Father, and Friend.
The LORD gives strength to his people; the LORD blesses his people with peace. – Psalm 29:11, NIV
Crystal Bowman is a former preschool teacher, award-winning author, national speaker, and Mentor for MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers). She has written more than 100 books for children, three books for women, numerous magazine articles, and Bible study materials. She also writes stories for Clubhouse Jr. magazine and lyrics for children’s piano music. She graduated from Calvin College with a degree in elementary education and studied early childhood development at the University of Michigan. She and her husband live in Florida.
Mothers in Waiting: Healing and Hope for Those with Empty Arms
From the moment you cradled your first baby doll, you imagined yourself a mom. Now here you are, a member of the club no one wants to join—the ten percent of women who struggle to fulfill their motherhood dreams because of infertility.
Meghann Bowman knows what it’s like to be part of that club. Along with best-selling author Crystal Bowman, Meghann has compiled 30 hope-filled stories of women who received the same diagnosis and experienced the heartache she did. Contributors include Valorie Burton, Katie Norris, Shay Shull, Stephanie Tait, Kathe Wunnenberg, and more—women whose journeys through everything from infertility and miscarriage to adoption and miracle births will buoy your faith.
Your story may not look the same, or have the same ending, but you don’t have to suffer alone. You are surrounded by a club of Mothers in Waiting—women willing to come alongside you to offer comfort and peace as you wait.