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Eric Schumacher: Losing a Baby–and Grieving as a Man

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine
The Truth Network Radio
July 31, 2022 10:02 pm

Eric Schumacher: Losing a Baby–and Grieving as a Man

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine

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July 31, 2022 10:02 pm

Losing a baby can leave a guy confused, helpless, lonely, deeply sad, or just numb. Author Eric Schumacher offers support for men processing miscarriage.

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I would say one of the hardest things to navigate in life is loss. Would you agree yeah what kind of lassie think you think of the simple ones like every August. Every NFL fan is excited about their team win as the ball hit David in Detroit every August middle inside last year my thinking of the the trivial ones that people actually get upset when that that happened, but I met him, but that yeah that's sort of you. When you look back. That's funny because you know it, it means nothing.

But when you lose I'm it could be something as simple as I have expectations of this vacation goes away.

I have expectations of healthy goes away.

A marriage goes way will think about even with the pandemic right. I would guess every single listener has experienced loss. I believe in your son or daughter graduating from high school. Not getting able to walk you watch that that hurts. Yeah, but today were tired about some that's really deeper, it might be the deepest pain a person, especially a parent will ever experience the loss of a child to death of a child that's hard welcome to family life today. We want to help you pursue the relationship I'm in Wilson and Andre Wilson and you can find or on our family life, family life today. I think how a person handles pain or loss determines how we live.

I think it's that big yeah whatever that loss is how we navigate that determines the present and the future of our life is today were to talk about a heavy topic.

I mean really been one of the heaviest ones we've ever covered anything yeah yeah we've got Eric Shoemaker in the studio today. Erickson over there smile I go great. I get the coveted talk about whether things ever. But Eric welcome back to family life today is going to be here. Thanks for having yeah and I know you're smiling over there but you've written a book about loss and I've never seen a book really that's ever dealt with this topic. I mean of those books on miscarriage but not offering men husbands who have walked through a miscarriage, comfort is called hours biblical comfort for men grieving miscarriage. I know your pastor in Iowa you've got a family.

Obviously, by whatever he said people know that you walk through miscarriage, but start where you are now me tousled the right, your family, what you do and and maybe even where this this project started.

Yeah, like you said I'm in Iowa and I am an associate pastor to church where I preach counsel.

Lead worship to anything that somebody else is doing. You say you preach you counsel you lead worship. Yes, you're pretty busy guy I that is written a couple bucks yeah just like anything else going on NovoLog in seminary.

He series Masters in counseling podcast called movie and it's cohosted with Lisa Fitzpatrick.

Yeah, that's when you guys were on family life today before you the least talking about where they yeah talk about the bookings in the conversation it was you. Yeah. So with all that going on. I'm guessing you still have a family. I do have a great family, so I've been married to Jenny for enough years. Now that we sometimes lose count and we have five children, one who is a freshman in college couple who are in high school or daughter just turned 13 and then our boy youngest boy turned 10 this last week and that a houseful houseful and my mother-in-law just moved in with us want to go so she was widowed five years ago we lost my father-in-law to leukemia and so one of our priorities was finding a house that had an apartment attached because we have independently booked near us and so it's been good having another yeah so you walk through what we're just about Lawson tells Saloom about some of the losses that you've experienced. Yeah, my wife and I we experienced four miscarriages in Orsay. We have five kids, but sometimes I say that we have 95 living children. For that we lost a miscarriage and that was a surprise to me.

I think the first time I ever heard about miscarriage was maybe when I was in high school and I heard about I think was in aunts miscarriage. That was the first time I remember hearing about it and then I didn't hear about it again until at least seminary where there were a lot of couples are age you know the been married a few years and were starting to have kids and we were hearing what people's miscarriages and I had a professor Russell Moore who spoke openly in our class about their miscarriages and how he responded to them the grief he experienced an I was the first time I ever heard a man speak about how he had gone through miscarriage and we had three children before we had a miscarriage and so the fourth one that the first miscarriage came as a surprise because pregnancies are gone well before but statistically that would be normal. I think it's around 20% of pregnancies and miscarriage and so I just determined that as we have these that I was going to talk about it and it was sort of a bewildering time for me because I hadn't apart from Dr. Moore heard anybody any men talk about how to deal with this as a man I don't think I've ever heard of a young man talk about and it's very confusing for a lot of reasons. The idea of manhood that men are strong and their caregivers and their protectors and somehow in this you didn't protect your child is, what it can feel like and now you're providing for your wife as she's the one who had the miscarriage and you might be a mess emotionally inside because every miscarriage is a father and as a father you're thinking about and anticipating the birth of this child just as the mom is your your thinking about names you're thinking about playing football in the front yard.

You're thinking about so the nursery you're looking forward to this and now you've lost this child still stuck on. We had four miscarriages. I family it is the whole family. It is also just relaying thinking of you guys are raising three kids, which I'm assuming they're pretty young they were and now you're dealing with grief, surprise, and I think with a miscarriage or with the death, even if a stillborn nice young child. It's the dream that you had for them also died how you're anticipating and what's going on so that was the first time I think you're both right. If you haven't experienced it or know someone it's gone through it. You just think I have miscarriage. But when you start living it like I'm guessing take us back when your wife lost the first baby and that's your last two years thinking I need to protect my wife. So how do I grieve in this you each of them was very unique and different stages in the pregnancy, and so the first one was so early in the pregnancy that had she not taken a pregnancy test.

We might've thought it was just late. Or something like that.

We found out she was pregnant and then basically found out she wasn't hearing yeah and so it was very quick and we didn't have as much time to build up all those dreams not but it was still hard and it it raises questions, will we be able to get pregnant again and what's this mean at the same time, my brother, who had his wife had an ectopic pregnancy worthy. The baby had implanted in the tube and so that's deadly and she had to go and you don't have that pregnancy terminated to save her life and that was the same day that we found out about ours and and so there was to us this, we hadn't announced her pregnancy and we say anything to anyone about it are losses and as dramatic as theirs was. So we don't say anything about our loss because will will take away from their loss, which I don't think is a good mindset. That's the kind of thing you wrestle with, and the kids didn't know and so were sad. Jenny said you know there's medical things going on with the miscarriage cramping and in all those sorts of things and how do you explain to the kids why mom is not feeling well and why she said and do you say anything to them and so that was an example of very early miscarriage and then even since we hadn't announced it publicly.

What do you say to your fellow church members to your friends that sort of thing in terms of sharing your grief and receiving comfort from other people.

So that was with the first one was our fourth one was very similar to that we already had our five living children and we had just moved to a new church we been there for weeks in and we were planning on having any more children and Jenny found out she was pregnant.

That was a different emotional journey because there was part of us that was like oh no we work planning on having kids and we had stopped because the pregnancies have become increasingly difficult for her, and damaging to her body and so we were in the state of going.

Oh, we didn't want to have more children but we know we should want this child and then you feel this guilt over not wanting what you should want half and then you come to a point where your children are good gift from God, and we trust God in all of this and say how our minds like now you're like okay well yes then you start getting we were excited.

You know God's going to give grace in this and this is a good thing in and were already thinking about this next baby and then we lost the baby and not too far in.

And so, we hadn't announced it to the church. We were in a brand-new church with brand-new relationships. No close friends yet what you say what you do and so that was a I was another experience that was unique but you had. I don't know which one it was, but it was a longer-term pregnancy we did. I mean explain that one because that meant no I don't know that the difference in grief or trauma.

On a totally different is this one's a much longer-term pregnancy, at least tell us how that went.

And then you try visit different. It was different and about different challenges so one was further along and I don't have the weeks of the top of my head, but it was far enough along that when the doctor confirmed that the baby had miscarried. Then Jenny didn't want to have a D&C and so which is the procedure to go in and remove the baby in the tissues, that sort of thing she wanted to be able to deliver and you have a child would end up only being what size the palm of your hand, but it was that was her choice and we went in and so she was induced and went into labor and so we were there. Will she was having contractions and all that pain that comes with a live birth and going through that and you know I was in that room.

When the baby came out and I talk with us in the book I saw the baby lying there on the bed you know and and blood and fluids and my instant instinct was, I want to go pick this baby up because my child shouldn't be laying there by itself and I didn't and I wish to know to this day that I have you I do I do, but I didn't because there was a sense of shame that crept up to me with nurse comes in. She sees me holding this in a little baby and in all this blood and such and she probably think I was weird and stupid in and so I didn't and my focus was on was on Jenny as well because she was not feeling well and so I called the nurse and told them and they came in and and they took the baby's body away and then almost immediately whisked her off to into surgery because she required some further treatment and was the treatment we hope to avoid. And so all of a sudden I'm sitting in a room by myself and I don't know what's going to happen with my wife.

I don't really know what her condition is and how serious it is. I just know they took her in a hurry and so there's a sense of loneliness that came in that bad for you.

I feel sad for your wife to Jenny, but so often think about the Danielle is sitting there all alone.

Maybe even thinking, I simply cannot you when we got to the hospital. They knew what the situation was obviously and they had put us in a different wing than the other. Several wings of rooms and I noticed as we went to our room.

There were none. There was nobody, and in the rooms in the hallways anywhere on the birthing for birthing. We were bursting for all that when the wing was different and we still heard the chime go off every time a baby was born with a tape to Rose to our door and I figured that was a signal of what this was about, but even then, at this particular hospital. They had a room for fathers to come in and get meals and so they brought them to Jenny, but dads could go get them from a little mini cafeteria and the meals were only available certain slots during the day and so without even thinking about it I head down to my meal and the room was full of dads and all the dads are in there talking about what they had elevated celebrating showing each other. Pictures of babies or what they're expecting and it finally gets around the room to me and someone else's and the feelings that come up. Our wow I'm I'm in the be such a disappointment to this room and of these men like I wish I wasn't here. I got down how to be a downer. Yeah, and I'm introduced death into their celebration of life. What did you do. I told them I did at our our baby died in the womb and my wife's delivering it or had delivered it and everyone expressed their sorrow, but the energy was sucked out of the room. You know it was night and then I made the the points of view. No shame drives you to behave different. I made the decision that I did when I went for meals.

I just waited to last 10 minutes they were available because I knew all the other dads and be gone in. Similarly, they only give those wristbands to patients that have been admitted, and so Jenny had a wristband, and of course a live baby would've had a wristband, but the father doesn't have a respin unless a life baby is born in the him so he can be identified with the baby so when I would have to leave the maternity ward too many take a phone call or meet someone who would come and see you want on the visits or running errands to get back in. I have to go to the nurses station and they'd say, can I see your band please show them that I didn't have abandons and have to go through the whole process of explaining to them why I was there but I didn't have abandons but I should be let in. And so it was awkward situations of having to share share your grief and even, you know, we chose to bury that baby and we called and we are we told the nurse to come in.

We like to see the baby. Now it was the next day and she gently tried to caution us from that and just said, this isn't a look like what you're thinking of is a baby and we said we know we we understand that and in part of it is, you know, there's no firm skeletal structure and after day. There's no fluids of evaporated and so it it looks very different and but when we insisted and so a woman who was actually a nurse that was a daughter of one of the women are church was on duty and she was so good to us and brought the baby in a little felt blankets and we could count toes and fingers and ribs and only thing you know thanks both of you that you mind E. Baby, I think it was the just the sense that this was our child and we believe that life in the womb is life from conception and so it was in important to us don't always have this opportunity, but we had the opportunity to deliver the baby and then to be able to hold the baby and just to know this is our child and it was emotional for both of us like this is our child that we have not been able to meets but believing I but I believe you know that will meet this child in heaven when yeah which is weird that you know we have four children who were better acquainted with Jesus than we think, family, and have now. Yes, I look forward to that. You know even that experience, though you had to overcome this sense of shame of one of these nurses think about us wanting to look at this baby and see this baby and then we were left alone and had her time and we were ready for Jenny to go home. We were about to leave the hospital and so I called the nurses station and said we like someone to come get her baby and she is she is confused like what you talking about nicer than I had to explain again like her baby was delivered dead end.

Every time you have to do that.

You just feel very awkward like your downer even when we had the burial at the cemetery. You know we brought her kids there, and the little spot in their little baby land cemetery, and it might just be me that I'm too afraid of people working you know care too much about that my Bixby pride but even thinking you have I done funerals for this exact situation before for friends and church members, but thinking you note that funeral director over there like I know he's being paid, you know, but he probably thinks this is weird or a waste of time or of course he wasn't thinking that interesting evening. Shame several times and how that came in the awkwardness of it all. Thinking of the listener and share their identifying with selenite if they've experienced it, and the question is from me is is it different for the dead, you than the mom obviously wrote a 31 day devotional to the dad you your that dad is in a different grieving that David and Wilson with Eric Shoemaker on family life today we hear his response in just a minute. The first shirt you're probably still crying in the heat. But get you excited for the fall. It is for me is that nap of crisp air lasting after all the weird schedules and not seeing your people. The kids go back to school and small groups start up again because God made us for community now's a great time to check out family life. Small group where you can use the code 25 off to save on all all group kit as promo code 25 right now, back to Dave and Anne's conversation with Eric Shoemaker and the grief of miscarriage or a father I would say it probably depends on the couple you know, in the person because I wrestled with a lot of shame in there and I think part of that was you and Jenny never did. But I think that I was can ask anything nothing to him whereof she never talked about that but I think that's the difference between us she's I don't know that she's ever bashful. She's not like this, outspoken, strong personality person, but she's not bashful about the sorts of things. This is this is what needs to be done and whereas I'm I don't know I'm just wired difference, but I think also we live in a culture that does not value life in the womb. In fact, I believe it was after that one. I was getting in my car to go to the pharmacy to pick up prescription for Jenny.

After we got home from the hospital and I had MPR on and they were talking to some state politician about some state legislation about abortion and he said something defective. I don't know why this legislation in he was pro-choice, pro-abortion and he said I don't know why this legislation is so controversial it's only up to this many weeks which was the week which we lost the pregnancy and so our child was a political football that you know was just a small compromise in a debate about abortion and it shouldn't bother anybody just to have babies that young guy in the womb, and so that made me very angry as well. You know that someone would say that and treats this life so callously that but when you're in a culture that doesn't value life in the womb.

The question is always pressing on you is, is it right for me to mourn the loss of life in the womb and particular life that you may have never seen.

I don't think the church does well at grappling with that issue, particularly because no one seen the baby and depending on how far along the pregnancy as I think the response of the church can change as they been anticipating this baby with you, but early miscarriages. I think sometimes there's a lot of compassion shown towards the mother lets people don't know what to do with dad. Could Jesus address the men who have walked through this minus thinking back to you. Going through this the first time and what you've learned. You've gone through it several times what it what would be helpful that for them to know.

I think the first thing I would want to say is you are a father who has lost a child and it is good and right for you to mourn and to grieve the loss it because it's a very real loss of a child, and they should never feel embarrassed or ashamed to speak of this baby as their child.

The second thing I would say is Jesus sees you right where you are and we have proof all through the Gospels, you know, this book walks through the gospel of Luke in 31 days and how Jesus speaks to miscarriage, particularly to men and he notices the unseen things in the unseen people that he knew your baby and he knows your loss, and he knows what it's like to be put in shameful situations.

He knows what it's like to lose someone who's very precious to him. You know he stands outside of Lazarus's tomb and John and and he weeps he knows what it's like to be angry at death and he knows all these emotions that your feeling of the author of Hebrews says that he had to be made like his brothers and sisters in every respect, so that he might be a merciful high priest and it's not just that he had to be made human so that he could dies or substitutes. You know, dying for sin. It's also note the author goes on to say that he can sympathize with our weaknesses and our temptations because he's been in situations that are fundamentally the same course he didn't have a child miscarry. But he knew losses. He knows what it's like. And so, from experience. Jesus knows what we need in these moments and so he's a trusted friend that we can and should go to with great expectations of comfort and hope you been listening to David and Wilson with Eric Shoemaker on family life today is book is called hours biblical comfort for men grieving miscarriage 31 day devotional for men processing miscarriage. You can get a or by calling 800-3583 29 that's one 800 F as in family L as in life and in the word today also.

All this month when you help reach more families with God's truth by giving to family life to send you a copy of Jenny Allen's book called find your people. It's our thanks to you when you give this month, a family life or when you call with your donation at one 800 F as in family L as in life and in the word today and tomorrow Dave and and will continue their conversation with Eric Shoemaker and how hiding your grief can damage a marriage and prevent healing on behalf of David and Wilson. I'm shall be added you back next time for another edition of family life today. Family life today is a production of family life accrued ministry helping you pursue the relationships that matter most

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