Working Through Grief & Loss: Missing the Carriage

By Irene Bernard | Apr 8, 2022


2020 ushered us into a wave of unexpected, never-before-seen events that literally shook the
confidence we once had in our government and replaced it with increased levels of anxiety as we began
to experience multiple losses.
Some losses we experienced were complicated by societal, cultural, and religious norms. Miscarriages
are traumatic losses that fall under that category as they continue to be associated with shame, stigma,
and as a taboo subject in many parts of the world.
The impact a miscarriage has on the mother, is often underestimated as some believe that the grieving
process is less painful when one loses a child prior to birth. Janet Jaffe, a clinical psychologist at the
Center for Reproductive Psychology in San Diego, reports that because having a miscarriage is medically
common people don’t consider it a traumatic event. 1
Miscarrying a child is most definitely a traumatic event to the once expectant mother as she has loss a
child and all the hopes and dreams’ she had for that child. In many cases, the mother will suffer self-
defeating thoughts of failure as her ability to reproduce has been tried. These mothers need the support
of family, friends, and community in the same manner they would if their toddler or teenager had died.
First thing to establish when helping one heal from a traumatic event is to create a safe space. A safe
space does not have to be filled with conversation, neither does one have to be an expert or ordained
clergy. Whit Woodard suggests we practice what he describes in a book with the same name, “The
Ministry of Presence.” In this text we learn Woodard’s approach as he details several suggestions
gleamed from the book of Job. They include the following;
1) Identify with the sorrow and join their grief- empathize with their pain without making it about you by
oversharing your losses.
2) Show respect for the individuality of the grieving process. It is as unique as we all are.
3) Allow them to lead any conversation- be careful not to fill silence with cliches and trite sayings.
Listening is more therapuetic than many know.
4) Earn the Right to Speak- when we exercise the ministry of presence, we learn that we don’t have to
have all the right answers or any answers for that matter. All that’s required of us is to be present.

1 Elizabeth Leis-Newman, “Miscarriage and Loss,” American Psychological Association, (June 2012, Vol 43, No. 6)

And I’d like to add an additional step in regard to our subject matter and that is to become aware and
accept the pain associated with loss through miscarriage. It is a very real, very impactful loss.
Let’s help normalize loss through miscarriage as a natural part of life so the process of healing won’t be
further complicated by stigma and shame. These grieving mothers have as much of a right to
memorialize all that they have lost without fear of judgment, or the pain of their loss being minimized.
They deserve our support, our love, and our presence to help them navigate this trying time. Let’s do no
less for the mother that lost a child to miscarriage than we would for the parents that lost a son or
daughter that was born. We grieve all loss and miscarriage is most certainly a loss.

About The Author
Dr. Irene Yvette Bernard is currently a resident of Memphis, Tennessee where she serves as
founder and CEO of Spirit Builders,Inc. She is also a proud mother, life coach, counselor, and
ordained minister. She can be reached through her profile at


Irene Bernard

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