The Grief of Miscarriage, Part Three
This week on the Allender Center Podcast, Dr. Dan Allender continues the conversation with his friend and colleague Jeanette White, Program Director at The Allender Center, about the devastating grief and loss that comes with miscarriages and infertility. Dan and Jeanette are joined by their partners, Becky Allender and Campbell White, to talk about the heartbreaking realities of shared grief in marriage.
Dan and Becky remember feeling so alone in their pain, feeling like no one else had endured miscarriages and not knowing how to invite others into their grief. When a friend told her she was grieving, Becky realized she had not known that was possible for a miscarriage.
Becky: “We didn’t know it was appropriate to even talk about. […] I didn’t even have that category to understand what was happening in my heart.”
For Jeanette and Campbell, the experience of multiple miscarriages exacerbated the styles of relating that already existed in their marriage.
Campbell: “This experience overloaded our natural ways of coping and dealing with things and the equilibrium for us as a couple.”
Dan: “The extent of the need simply outstripped what either of you could humanly ever do on behalf of the other. In that extremity, it exposed not just struggles in your marriage, but the fundamental limitation as a human being to be able to care for another in the midst of that level of heartache and pain.”
“A lot of my pain was my powerlessness.”
Jeanette shares about how they had to learn to open up with each other and not completely internalize their pain, while also growing in their ability to honor each other and recognize when the other person was in a different phase or emotional state. Campbell also speaks to the particular grief of being a man in this experience, a step removed from the physical pain that his wife was enduring. “A lot of my pain was my powerlessness,” he says. “And that powerlessness drove me away.”
Campbell: “Her curse is how embodied this is for her, and my curse is how disembodied it is for me. […] I got caught off-guard by the intensity of need, whereas for her it was a constant.”
Jeanette: “Trying to allow both of us to be in different places, but then also have so much need from that person at the same time. It was almost impossible to fully meet each other.”
Campbell: “Subsequent losses turned into this grind where it’s just easier to not grieve in community, to not let this become a collective, voiced experience. It’s easier to just close our doors, shut our windows, and gut it out.”
This is a vital and vulnerable conversation, and we are so grateful to Jeanette, Campbell, and Becky for joining Dan to share their experiences with all of us. Tune in next week as they continue to reflect on these experiences, sharing about the hope that they eventually found in each other, in community, and in God.