Gifts for Mom, Grandparents, Besties and YOU🎄 ➔

Miscarriages are cruel. They steal your hopes and dash your dreams. They silence you with shame and regret. They make you feel unworthy of the gift of motherhood that comes so freely to others. They make you second-guess every decision and fill future pregnancies with dread. They are unkind and unpredictable. And they lie.

The lies my miscarriages told me were silent and woven deep into my feelings about motherhood and my own worth. I wouldn’t have been able to articulate them at the time, but they came to color my perceptions of the world around me. Maybe miscarriages have lied to you, too.

All Photos by Rebecca Tredway Photography

“You are not woman enough.”  My miscarriages told me there was something fundamentally wrong with my body and therefore, my femininity. Women all around me were carrying healthy pregnancies to term (and inviting me to their baby showers) and I felt like less of a woman than they were because my body had failed a primary task of womanhood. It could not sustain life. It didn’t matter how feminine I felt, how girlie I dressed, how much I willed my body to do what it was supposed to do, I didn’t feel like a “real” woman when I couldn’t do the very thing that epitomizes the difference between male and female. I came to view my body with contempt and struggled with feeling self-conscious in the company of pregnant women who were apparently so much better at this womanhood thing.

“You would not be a good mother.” Were miscarriages the universe’s way of telling me I wasn’t cut out for motherhood? Obviously a good mom wouldn’t let her kid die in her womb. A good mom would be able to protect her child. I couldn’t even go 7 weeks without total failure in that department. I felt that not only did my miscarriages think I shouldn’t be a mom, I felt that from other people as I shared my story. I could see their need to believe such a thing couldn’t happen to them. They were looking for The Reason this was happening to me, and I think deciding that I wasn’t mother material seemed like the easiest place to land. I could hardly blame them. There were days I felt that way myself.

“Your marriage isn’t valid.” First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes lost babies and a host of expensive and inconclusive medical tests. This was not the experience I dreamed of when I planned the road to motherhood. I always imagined a fun, surprise, “whoopsie” pregnancy experience that would end in a beautiful baby with blonde curls like mine and her Daddy’s smile. When that dream came crashing down, I began to question not just my body, but the marriage that created these failed pregnancies. Maybe we shouldn’t have gotten married at all if something about the two of us was so toxic that we couldn’t create a sustainable life. In the dark moments where we were lying in bed, both lost in our own silent worlds of grief, it was easy to wonder if we’d made a mistake. Miscarriage made me imagine a life where I married someone else and had beautiful healthy babies with him. It made me wish my husband could have sweet biological children of his own, even if they didn’t come from me.

All of these lies were so subtle that I almost didn’t know they were there until I found myself acting like they were true. I hated my body for reasons I couldn’t articulate. I didn’t want to hold other people’s babies anymore. I was unreasonably cranky with my husband and romance became a chore instead of a joy. It took a long time for me to be able to identify the lies underneath my emotions and work to bring truth back into my life.


After our second miscarriage, I found comfort in reading the words of Job. He felt free to say things to God about the unfairness of life that I never felt comfortable saying. I needed Job’s honest words about his pain and anger to speak for me. I also needed the words of truth God spoke back to him to help reorient my perspective. As I read through chapter 3 of Job I stumbled upon this passage that changed my thinking about my miscarriage experiences:

Why did I not perish at birth,

and die as I came from the womb?

Why were there knees to receive me

and breasts that I might be nursed?

For now I would be lying down in peace;

I would be asleep and at rest

with kings and rulers of the earth,

who built for themselves places now lying in ruins,

with princes who had gold,

who filled their houses with silver.

Or why was I not hidden away in the ground like a stillborn child,

like an infant who never saw the light of day?

There the wicked cease from turmoil,

and there the weary are at rest.

Captives also enjoy their ease;

they no longer hear the slave driver’s shout.

The small and the great are there,

and the slaves are freed from their owners.

Job 3:11-19

This poetic picture of what Job imagines happens to stillborn children (which some Bible versions translate as “miscarried child”) gave me immense comfort. I began to picture my children in a place of peace and rest. That made me feel not like a failure at womanhood, but like a vessel God used to give my children a brief, loved life before experiencing His Kingdom. I began to see my job as one of honor, even though it brought me pain. Maybe my body hadn’t failed, but had succeeded in exactly what it needed to do.

When I look at the life of the babies I carried in the light of eternity, my perspective changes. No longer do I see a cursed marriage, a failed female body, a bad mom. I see the value of my children’s lives. Maybe the biggest lie my miscarriage told me was that my children didn’t count. They weren’t real. Believing God’s truth changes all that for me. Even the children who don’t see life have lives that matter. God formed them, he saw them and knows them in ways I will have to wait until heaven to fully understand. He values their lives and now they enjoy life and rest with him.

If you’re struggling to tell yourself the truth through the lies you’ve heard from your miscarriages, I’d encourage you to read Job. Let him boldly declare your sadness and anger. Let him speak to you about the beautiful life your child is experiencing today. Let God’s love for Job during his hard circumstances encourage your own faith. God has grace for Job’s anger and fear and speaks truth to him in the midst of it. Don’t let your miscarriages be the loudest voice in your head. Speak your sadness out loud to God so you can begin to recover the truth in your own life.

If you liked this, you'll love our new book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available for pre-order now!

Pre-Order Now

Maralee Bradley

Maralee is a mom of six pretty incredible kids. Four were adopted (one internationally, three through foster care) and two were biological surprises. Prior to becoming parents, Maralee and her husband were houseparents at a children’s home and had the privilege of helping to raise 17 boys during their five year tenure. Maralee is passionate about caring for kids, foster parenting and adoption, making her family a fairly decent dinner every night, staying on top of the laundry, watching ridiculous documentaries and doing it all for God’s glory. Maralee can be heard on My Bridge Radio talking about motherhood and what won't fit in a 90 second radio segment ends up at

My Baby Was Stillborn, But Still Born

In: Child Loss, Grief
My Baby Was Stillborn, But Still Born

My baby was stillborn, but still born. In a cool white hospital room where so many had been born before. My body trembled and shook as his body worked its way out of my womb and into the hands of a doctor. He was void of breath, of sound, of movement, but he was still born. My baby was stillborn, but still lived. In the darkness of my womb. The outline of his body was visible against the darkness of the screen, his presence undeniable. The sound of his heartbeat drowned out the sound of mine as I watched his...

Keep Reading

I Am Not My Child’s Death

In: Cancer, Child Loss, Faith, Grief
I Am Not My Child's Death

We are NOT what has happened to us or what this world says we are. That is not what defines us. While we are grieving parents, that is not what our whole story has to be about. Although, at times, we feel that our story is over. We ask, how do we go on and live full lives without our sweet Sophie with us? I’m still not 100 percent sure I know the answer to that. BUT the Lord says I am beloved. I am redeemed and accepted. I am holy and chosen. I am righteous and complete. I am...

Keep Reading

The Hardest Moments After Losing a Child

In: Child Loss, Grief, Motherhood
The Hardest Moments After Losing a Child

Within the first three months following the death of my newborn daughter, I participated in one baby shower, attended two first birthday parties, had multiple infants in and around my home, and watched not one, not two, but five of my closest friends take happy, healthy babies home from the hospital. And in the midst of my own life-altering experience, I purchased, wrapped, and mailed a gift to every one of those new babies, because they deserved one. In the days and months after my daughter died, I didn’t run away or hide from babies at all. And this seemed...

Keep Reading

6 Commitments I Made to Myself After Child Loss

In: Child Loss, Grief, Kids, Motherhood
6 Commitments I Made to Myself After Child Loss

Following the death of our infant daughter, I found myself facing an opportunity to activate the immense power of personal choice. Time and time again. Hour after hour, day after day. It felt as if every moment that passed provided me with a choice: to let the grief consume me, or not. In the midst of the most emotionally complex experience of my life, my ability to survive felt as simple as that. Will grief consume me, or not? Once I began believing that Olivia had lived out her life’s plan completely—that she had come, she had loved, she had...

Keep Reading

To the Moms and Dads Who Suffer Loss: You Are Not Alone

In: Child Loss, Grief, Infertility, Motherhood
To the Moms and Dads Who Suffer Loss: You Are Not Alone

You are walking the hardest path anyone will ever walk—living this life without your children. Your losses have come in many shapes and sizes. You’ve lost tiny heartbeats early in the womb. You’ve screamed and sobbed through labor to deliver a silent but perfect little bundle. You’ve held a fragile infant for hours, days, weeks, or months, only to give him back to Heaven. You’ve watched your little one grow into a curious toddler and then held her a final time as disease or an accident took her away. You’ve lived a full childhood with your baby and even watched...

Keep Reading

A Letter to My Mama, From Your Baby in Heaven

In: Child Loss, Faith, Grief, Miscarriage
A Letter to My Mama, From Your Baby in Heaven

Dear Mama, I know you miss me and wish you could watch me grow up. But instead, you sit in that rocking chair, tears streaming down your face, arms wrapped around the blanket that was supposed to be mine. I see you crying, Mama, wishing you could hold me. Wishing you could look into my eyes. Wishing you could hear me cry or call you “Mama”. I want you to know Jesus rocks me to sleep every night and while He does it, He tells me all about you. I know tulips are your favorite flower and that every spring...

Keep Reading

God Actually Does Give Us More Than We Can Handle

In: Child Loss, Faith, Grief
God Actually Does Give Us More Than We Can Handle

I used to be someone who said, “God doesn’t give you more than you can handle.” That was before I had faced any hardships in my life. I didn’t know who God truly is. When people are going through something hard and decide to share it, it makes people uncomfortable. It’s hard to watch others who are hurting, and it’s hard not knowing how to help when it’s someone you love. “God doesn’t give us more than we can handle” is a very well-meaning encouragement that I know is meant in love. I’ve said it before! But it’s not really...

Keep Reading

Why I Got a Tattoo With My Teenage Daughters

In: Child Loss, Grown Children, Motherhood, Teen
Why I Got a Tattoo With My Teenage Daughters

“We should get a tattoo, Mom.” I laughed. I knew it was just my younger daughter, Sarah’s way of getting herself a tattoo—to go along with her nose ring, and six ear piercings. She didn’t really want me to get one. Did she? “Truth!” My oldest, more conservative daughter, Elle, chimed in. “We should all go.” What? Home from college just five minutes, maybe she was bored. I heard tattoos really hurt and she hates pain, like I do. I glared at my two daughters, now 17 and 19. They can read my mind. I knew it! There was something...

Keep Reading

I’m Not Sure How Long I’ll Need an Antidepressant to Feel Normal…and That’s OK

In: Cancer, Child Loss, Grief, Mental Health
I'm Not Sure How Long I'll Need an Antidepressant to Feel Normal...and That's OK

I tried to wean off of Zoloft and couldn’t. And that’s OK. I had never really been aware of the world of antidepressants. My life has been relatively uneventful—with the normal ups and downs that most of us go through. I knew people on medication for depression but never understood. How can you be THAT sad that you can’t just be positive and make the best of your circumstances? How can someone be THAT unhappy ALL the time to need medication? I didn’t get it. I felt bad for people going through it. Then my 2-year-old was diagnosed with Stage...

Keep Reading

To the Young Warriors Fighting Cancer, You Are Superheroes

In: Cancer, Child, Child Loss, Health
To the Young Warriors Fighting Cancer, You Are Superheroes

Most people never get to meet their heroes. I have, in fact—I have met many heroes. These heroes didn’t set out for greatness; they fell victim to a terrible disease and faced it with courage, might and bravery like I have never seen before. And when we talk about this type of battle, there is no such thing as losing. whether the battle ended in death, life, or debility, each of these heroes defeated. My heroes are the innocent children who battle cancer. I high-fived, hugged, wept over, laughed and played with my heroes for 10 years as a nurse. And you better believe I...

Keep Reading