A Mother’s Loss: Overcoming the Trauma of Miscarriage

Allah knows what every female carries and what the wombs lose [prematurely] or exceed. And everything with Him is by due measure. (13:8)

This post contains triggers. If pregnancy loss is a trigger for you, please don’t read any further.

“I’m sorry, it’s not good news”

The words no expectant parents want to hear, words that can shatter the heart into a million pieces in a few seconds. Words we heard a few long days ago.

The days that followed took me on a journey, a journey from avoidance to acceptance, with several stops along the way. I believe the journey is still ongoing, and so I’m mainly writing this for future me, when things get tough, to remind myself of the road I’ve travelled.

Initially, I couldn’t talk to anyone. When I did, I couldn’t say it aloud. Saying it made it real – the pregnancy I thought I had, the sibling for my daughter I thought was coming instead wouldn’t be. I switched my phone off for the whole evening, avoiding anyone who might be asking how the scan went. My poor husband was having to talk to people, telling the people closest to us the news over the phone, over zoom. When I switched my phone on again, I had to tell my best friend via WhatsApp. She didn’t even know I was pregnant – I had a whole surprise announcement planned for her once we’d been reassured by that scan. I eventually managed to choke the words out to my boss two days later when explaining why I needed some space from everything – I guess this sort of thing is that little bit easier when talking to someone who isn’t emotionally invested as family and friends would be. I think when I did start telling people, the hardest thing I found was how to say it. Should I say I am pregnant? I was pregnant? I was in a state of limbo with a Schrodinger’s baby.

The next few days are a blur. I was forced to get up and keep going because my toddler wasn’t going to let me do otherwise! But in that there was a blessing, in forcing me to keep going I wasn’t able to stay in one place, to mope or hide from the world which I so wanted to do. Life goes on, as they say. In those days, I had ups and downs, whilst she was demanding my attention I forgot for a little while, but reality came crashing down every so often. I did have one particularly low day. The monotony of Covid life – waking up, entertaining my toddler, looking at the same four walls, feeling like I was just waiting for bedtime (hers or mine!) took over – I felt like my life was stagnant. I felt paralysed, living the same day over and over. And now, the single thing that had felt like it was progressing – my pregnancy – now no longer was either. That too was standing still and would end at some unknown point in the future. And all I could do was wait.

In those moments, I craved company. Just having a friend in the room with me, saying nothing, just feeling their presence. Covid robbed me of that, but in a beautiful twist it reminded me of the One I did have, the One I could turn to. The One who said whenever His servant asks about Him, He is near (2:186). And I took solace in that.

Things started to turn for me. I realised that in every situation, there are opportunities for learning, reflection, and greater understanding and this was no different. When I had my daughter, the biggest lesson that entire experience taught me was how little control I have over my own situation, and this was another huge reminder of that. Gracing the world with another creation, another life – that was down to Him alone. What kind of arrogance must I have to assume I made that child, or this one, and that either one belonged to me? God is the only being who can ever make that decision. And so He had decided that this life was for the akhirah, in the same way, He’d decided that my daughter was to spend some time here with us first. My involvement went as far as being the one He’d chosen to be the means to bring about both of those lives and for that, I am so grateful.

It’s important to say that I was feeling extreme sadness. It’s possible for the same heart to feel broken from sadness, swell with gratitude for the mercies it has been given, and have deep contentment in the Will of God. There is a misconception I hear so often that says a believer shouldn’t feel sadness, because feeling sad means you don’t trust the will of the Almighty. And that leads those who are already in a dark place to feel guilt – even more negativity they don’t need. There is a huge difference between sadness and despair! Just as I felt happiness when I found out I was pregnant and assumed that meant God’s plan for me involved another child in 8-9 months, so I felt sadness at the loss of those expectations and the realisation that the plan was different from what I envisaged it to be. God doesn’t expect us to be devoid of emotion and follow His plan like robots. He created us with all the emotions we have, however raw, and His Wisdom is absolute.

I had also started to look at how blessed I was. This is a pain so many women go through, I was not alone in this. But Allah had designed it in a way that would make it bearable for me. After all, He never tasks anyone with more than they can bear (2:286). He’s promised that, and the promise of Allah is Haqq (30:60).

  • I was in a super supportive job that gave me literally as much time off as I needed, paid, no questions asked
  • I found out before experiencing any physical trauma – at a chance early scan I’d booked because I saw a cheap Groupon and thought it’d be nice to ensure my husband could join me at the first scan as in Covid times nothing is guaranteed!
  • My husband was with me when we found out and could give me support at a time I really really needed it.
  • I had had a healthy child already. I knew that my body was capable of housing and delivering a healthy baby, but that this was just unfortunately not a viable pregnancy.
  • This healthy child forced me to keep going and provided me with a distraction when I know my nature otherwise would’ve been to dwell and mope and hide.

Perhaps the biggest yet strangest blessing that provided the most healing was the timing of it all. The actual physical miscarriage happened during the days when some Muslims mourn the death of the daughter of the Prophet (pbuhahf) Sayyida Fatima (SA). This happened shortly after her miscarriage when she was 5/6 months pregnant. Just thinking about that one aspect of her tragedy made me embarrassed to even speak about the two in the same breath. I have the comfort of knowing this foetus was not for this world, even if it had survived now it wouldn’t have for much longer – the pregnancy just wasn’t viable. And the easiest time to lose it would be now, I can’t imagine the pain of losing a baby further along, after the 12 week scan once you’ve heard the heartbeat or think everything is going to be fine. She, on the other hand, lost a healthy child much later- how does one even recover from that?!

During this time I came across a few things that brought me real comfort. The first was the following verse in the Holy Qur’an:

Allah knows what every female carries and what the wombs lose [prematurely] or exceed. And everything with Him is by due measure. (13:8)

You hear all the time how it’s a book for every time and place and individual, yet it never ceases to amaze me how much a verse revealed so long ago can speak to you in your time of need!

The second was accounts of hadith saying that any baby, even those that were never born or don’t survive, are counted and will be waiting for their parents at the doors of Jannah, and the Prophet will proud of them as he will be proud of any other member of his ummah. What I had gone through wasn’t a waste, I am a mother of 2 souls in Allah’s eyes, not just one, and that gave me enormous comfort.

Thankfully, I felt like I’d had the chance to emotionally process the news before having to experience any of the physical trauma. The miscarriage actually happened 10 days after we first found out at that initial scan, coincidentally on the morning of the day that I would have been having my 12 week scan. Had I not by chance booked that early one, I would have had to deal with the freak out, visit to A&E alone in such a dangerous time, all the emotional turmoil I’d experienced over the past week at the same time as physically miscarrying. God really is the Most Merciful – that sounds so traumatic and I feel and pray for anyone who has had to experience that! The physical experience was a bit scarring, difficult but alhamdulillah largely over in a matter of days.

The experience as a whole has taught me a lot. It’s taught me that any trauma needs to be dealt with, it’s important to allow yourself to feel what you feel but to ultimately not despair that you won’t get through it, because Allah knows you can bear it else He wouldn’t have taken you through it. It’s taught me gratitude – both for what I have and for what Allah has alleviated from me and taught me by taking me on this journey. It’s taught me that He knows best and that every experience we go through in life is meant to be one of growth and self-betterment, trauma is no different to anything else in that regard. My lowest points in all this were feelings of stagnation – which was a symptom of something far greater. I had been using covid and pregnancy as (perhaps somewhat valid!) excuses to slowly drop the progress I had been making on Islamic learning, fitness, and just general wellbeing – and I hadn’t felt so awful because that one aspect of my life was progressing. Now that that had gone, I was fully standing still – a state I’ve never been comfortable with. This has triggered me to make a change, to take active steps to improve my mental, physical and spiritual health by making time for those things, not just letting life happen to me and I now feel so, so much better for it.

Of course, I feel sad that I will never meet this little one. But I have to believe that Allah had something greater planned for bubb and for us in taking us on this journey. Allah is the best Planner, the best Protector, and the experience has made me rely so much more completely on Him that I now have come to a place of peace and submission to His Will, and however hard it has been to get here, it feels like a wonderful road to be on.

الحمد لله على كل حال – Praise be to Allah in every circumstance!

If you have read this please say a little prayer for my orange seed and pray that we are led into Jannah by him/her.

, , ,

Keep Reading