The Grief of Miscarriage, Part One
This week on the Allender Center Podcast, Dr. Dan Allender is joined by his friend and colleague Jeanette White, Program Director at The Allender Center, to talk about the realities of grief and loss, particularly in the context of the devastation of miscarriages and infertility. Dan points out that 1 out of 4 pregnancies end in miscarriage, and yet many people who experience it feel a deep sense of shame, as if there is something wrong with it or they have done something wrong.
Dan: “So there is a whole myriad of heartache that goes beyond the loss itself.”
Jeanette: “This is one of those experiences that is, unfortunately, very common for people, and it’s in the shadows. All too often, women and couples are walking through this and there’s no voice, not many voices to talk about it.”
“I had no sense of the lasting emotional impact.”
With deep courage and vulnerability, Jeanette, shares from her own experience, when she and her husband suffered through four miscarriages over the course of two and half years—including three within 10 months—followed by nearly two years of unsuccessfully trying to get pregnant. “I don’t think I’d actually thought about miscarriages that much before it happened to us. It was one of those things that was out there, you knew it happened, it sounded really sad and I imagined it would be hard, but I had no sense of the lasting emotional impact or the physical process, what it could be like. For me, that experience was just pure agony.”
Jeanette: “I don’t think I’ll ever run out of tears for that loss. It was positively earth-shattering.”
Dan recalls that all of this was occurring in the earliest years of The Allender Center, meaning Jeanette was enduring these losses as she was also helping steward the stories of others, immersed in a place that constantly engages trauma and abuse.
Dan: “I don’t know how you endured living in a world that’s talking about trauma all the time while living in the midst of trauma, having to manage other people’s trauma while also knowing that your own predilection is to isolate in the midst of that.”
Jeanette: “I was so highly functional in the midst of all this. […] I was able to put on that face that things were okay. But if I look back, I just remember feeling like a ghost.”
These experiences force us to confront fundamental questions about hope, desire, and what it means to allow space for grief. This is not an easy top, and certainly not one that can be contained in one 20-minute episode. We hope you will join us next week as Jeanette and Dan continue this conversation.
We would love to hear from you, as well. Toward the end of this series, we are hoping to engage listener questions and feedback about the realities of miscarriage and infertility, grief and loss, and what hope and desire can possibly mean in the midst of it all. You can email your questions and responses to Content Coordinator Beau Denton, firstname.lastname@example.org.