What does the Bible say about miscarriage?
Many expecting couples have been crushed by their baby’s miscarriage. Feelings of loss can be intense, and questions often flood their minds. Is God punishing me? Did I somehow cause my baby’s death? How could a loving God let this happen? Is my baby in heaven? Let’s explore these questions and unpack what the Bible says about miscarriage.
Christian quotes about miscarriage
“A life lost before that life can live is no less of a life and no less loved.”
“I wanted to give you the world, but you got Heaven Instead.”
“I never heard you, but I hear you. I never held you, but I feel you. I never knew you, but I love you.”
What is a miscarriage?
A miscarriage is when the developing baby dies before the 20th week of fetal development. Up to 20% of known pregnancies end in miscarriage. The actual number is probably higher because most miscarriages happen in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. The mother might not realize she’s pregnant in the first couple of months and just think she had a heavier-than-usual period.
If a pre-born baby dies after the 20th week (or 24th week) of fetal development, the baby’s passing is called a stillbirth.
Is my miscarriage a punishment from God?
No, God is not punishing you, and God did not cause your miscarriage. Remember that the devil is the thief who comes only to steal and kill and destroy (John 10:10).
In the Old Testament times, God’s promised blessings to the Israelites for obedience to His laws included the absence of miscarriages and infertility:
- “There will be no one miscarrying or unable to have children in your land; I will fulfill the number of your days.” (Exodus 23:26)
But this was a different covenant that God had with the Israelites. If a Christian (or even a non-Christian) has a miscarriage today, it doesn’t imply that the mother or father was disobedient to God.
It’s hard to understand why good people go through tragedy and innocent children die. But in the case of believers, there is “no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1).
1. Romans 8:1 (ESV) “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”
2. Romans 8:28 “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
3. Isaiah 53:6 “We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.”
4. 1 John 2:2 “He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.”
Why did God allow me to have a miscarriage?
All death ultimately goes back to the fall of man. When Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden, they opened the door to sin, sickness, and death. We live in a fallen world where death and sorrow happen.
Most miscarriages occur because the fetus isn’t developing correctly. Half the time, the developing embryo has missing chromosomes or extra chromosomes that would cause massive disability. Often this chromosomal problem keeps the child from developing at all. These chromosomal defects result from thousands of years of genetic abnormalities going back to the fall of man.
5. 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”
6. Romans 8:22 (ESV) “For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now.”
Stages of grief after a miscarriage
It’s normal to feel grief and sorrow after losing your pre-born baby. Although his or her life was very short, it was still a life, and the baby was your child. As with losing any close family member, you will experience the five stages of grief. The way you grieve might not look like other people you might know who have had a miscarriage. But it’s okay to feel strong emotions and helpful to understand them when they occur. It can sometimes be difficult because many people may be unaware of your sorrow if you had not yet announced your pregnancy.
Also, remember that grief is a messy process that might not proceed exactly through the following stages. You might feel like you’ve passed through a step, then find yourself back in it.
The first stage of grief is shock, withdrawal, and denial. You may find it hard to wrap your head around understanding that your baby died. You might want to be alone with your feelings and isolate yourself from others, even your spouse. It’s okay to be alone for a little while, as long as you are communicating with God. But healing will come when you begin to open up to your family and friends.
The next stage of grief is anger, which might manifest in finding someone or something to blame for the miscarriage. You might be angry at God or your doctor and even feel like you did something wrong to cause the miscarriage. You might be upset with family or friends who can be unintentionally thoughtless in their words or actions.
The third stage of grief is guilt and bargaining. You might get obsessed with understanding whether you did anything to cause the miscarriage and spend hours on the internet researching causes of miscarriages. You might find yourself bargaining with God to prevent future miscarriages.
The fourth stage of miscarriage is depression, fear, and anxiety. You might feel all alone in your grief because most people around you have forgotten about your lost child. You might find yourself crying unexpectantly, losing your appetite, and wanting to sleep all the time. If you don’t get pregnant again right away, you may feel like you never will. Or, if you do get pregnant, you might have fears that you will miscarry again.
Acceptance is the fifth stage of grief, when you begin to accept your loss and move on with your life. You will still have periods of sadness, but they will come further apart, and you will find joy in small things and hope for the future.
As you pass through the stages of grief, it’s essential to be honest with yourself and God and ask for and receive God’s help.
7. 1 Peter 5:7 (ESV) “casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.”
8. Revelation 21:4 “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
9. Psalm 9:9 “The LORD is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.”
10. Psalm 31:10 “My life is consumed by anguish and my years by groaning; my strength fails because of my affliction, and my bones grow weak.”
11. Psalm 22:14 “I am poured out like water, and all my bones are disjointed. My heart is like wax; it melts away within me.”
12. Psalm 55:2 “hear me and answer me. My thoughts trouble me and I am distraught.”
13. Psalm 126:6 “Those who go out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with them.”
Angry at God after miscarriage
It’s common to feel angry at God after losing your baby. Why didn’t He stop it from happening? Why are other mothers killing their babies by abortion, while the baby I loved and wanted died?
Remember that your adversary Satan will try to play these thoughts in a loop in your head for as long as possible. His chief objective is to separate you from your relationship with God. He will work overtime to take your mind into dark places and whisper in your ear that God doesn’t love you.
Don’t let him deceive you! Don’t give him a foothold! Don’t hang onto your anger.
Instead, draw near to God, and He will draw near to you. “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” (Psalm 34:18)
14. Psalm 22:1-3 “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me? Why are you so far away when I groan for help? Every day I call to you, my God, but you do not answer. Every night I lift my voice, but I find no relief. Yet you are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel.”
15. Psalm 10:1 “Why, Lord, do you stand far off? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?”
16. Psalm 42:9-11 “I say to God my Rock, “Why have you forgotten me? Why must I go about mourning, oppressed by the enemy?” 10 My bones suffer mortal agony as my foes taunt me, saying to me all day long, “Where is your God?” 11 Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.”
17. Lamentations 5:20 “Why do you continue to forget us? Why have you abandoned us for so long?”
Hope after a miscarriage
You may feel in the depths of despair after a miscarriage, but you can embrace hope! Grieving is hard work; you need to realize it’s a process and take the time and space you need to mourn. Find hope in knowing that God loves you unconditionally and that He is for you, not against you. Christ Jesus is at God’s right hand, interceding for you, and nothing can separate you from God’s love (Romans 8:31-39).
And remember, if you are a believer, you will see your baby again. When King David’s baby died, he declared, “I shall go to him, but he will not return to me.” (2 Samuel 12:21-23) David knew he would see his son in the life to come, and you will too.
18. Psalm 34:18-19 “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted And saves those who are crushed in spirit. 19 The afflictions of the righteous are many, But the Lord rescues him from them all.”
19. 2 Corinthians 12:9 (NIV) “But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”
20. Job 1:21 “and said: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.”
21. Proverbs 18:10 (NASB) “The name of the Lord is a strong tower; The righteous runs into it and is safe.”
22. Deuteronomy 31:8 “It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.”
23. 2 Samuel 22:2 “He said: “The LORD is my rock, my fortress, and my deliverer.”
24. Psalm 144:2 “He is my steadfast love and my fortress, my stronghold and my deliverer. He is my shield, in whom I take refuge, who subdues peoples under me.”
25. Matthew 11:28-29 (NKJV) “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”
26. John 16:33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
26. Psalm 56:3 “Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in You.”
27. Psalm 31:24 “Be strong and let your heart take courage, All you who wait for the Lord.”
28. Romans 8:18 “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.”
29. Psalm 27:14 “Wait patiently for the LORD; be strong and courageous. Wait patiently for the LORD!”
30. Psalm 68:19 “Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens.”
31. 1 Peter 5:10 “And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.”
32. Hebrews 6:19 “We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain.”
How should Christians respond to someone who had a miscarriage?
When a friend or family member loses a child through miscarriage, you may feel awkward and afraid to say anything for fear of saying the wrong thing. And in fact, a lot of people do say the wrong things to parents who have suffered a miscarriage. Here’s what not to say:
- You can have another one.
- Maybe there was something wrong with the baby.
- I’m going through a lot of pain right now too.
- It wasn’t really developed. It wasn’t a full-term baby.
Sometimes we’re so afraid of saying the wrong thing that we don’t say anything. And that can be worse because the grieving mother or father may feel alone and unacknowledged in their grief.
If your friend, colleague, or family member experienced a miscarriage, pray for them daily, and let them know you’re praying for them. Ask them if there’s anything specific you can pray for. Knowing that you are thinking about them and praying for them can tremendously encourage a grieving couple.
Just as you would for any death, send them a note or card, letting them know they’re in your thoughts in this difficult time. Try to find practical ways to help out, like taking over a meal or watching their other children so the couple can have time out together.
If they want to talk about their loss, make yourself available to listen. You don’t have to have all the answers or try to explain what happened. Just listen and support them through their grief.
33. Galatians 6:2 “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.”
34. Romans 12:15 “Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.”
35. Galatians 5:14 “The entire law is fulfilled in a single decree: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
36. Romans 13:8 “Be indebted to no one, except to one another in love. For he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law.”
37. Ecclesiastes 3:4 “a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance.”
38. Job 2:11 “Now when Job’s three friends–Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite–heard about all this adversity that had come upon him, each of them came from his home, and they met together to go and sympathize with Job and comfort him.”
What can we learn from God through miscarriage?
Despite the suffering and pain that we experience in this world, God is good! Although we live in a fallen world, and Satan is always looking for an opportunity to derail us – God is good! He is always good, always loving, always faithful. We need to cling to this fact when grieving a miscarriage.
As we trust in God’s goodness, God’s character, and God’s promises, we can be sure that He is working all things together for our good (Romans 8:28). It might not seem good at the moment, but if we allow God to work in us through our suffering, it produces perseverance, which produces character, which produces hope (Romans 5:4).
Walking with God does not mean life will always be perfect. We can expect to experience pain and suffering, even when we are in close fellowship with God. We don’t find security and happiness in our circumstances but in our relationship with God.
39. Romans 5:4 (KJV) “And patience, experience; and experience, hope.”
40. Job 12:12 (ESV) “Wisdom is with the aged, and understanding in length of days.”
Why does God allow miscarriage if He hates abortion?
Let’s compare this to death after birth. Let’s say one baby dies from abuse and another dies of leukemia. Someone caused the first baby’s death. It was murder, and God hates murder. That’s why He hates abortion! No person caused the second baby’s death: it was an incurable disease.
Murder is the deliberate act of killing another person. Abortion deliberately kills a pre-born person; thus, it is murder. God condemns murder. But a miscarriage can be compared to a person dying of a disease; it’s not an intentional death.
41. Isaiah 46:9-11 “Remember the former things, those of long ago; I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me. 10 I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say, ‘My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.’ 11 From the east I summon a bird of prey; from a far-off land, a man to fulfill my purpose. What I have said, that I will bring about; what I have planned, that I will do.”
42. John 9:3 (ESV) “Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him.”
43. Proverbs 19:21 “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.”
Do miscarried babies go to heaven?
Yes! We already mentioned David’s statement that he would go to where his son was (2 Samuel 12:23). David knew he would be reunited in heaven with his baby who had died. He stopped mourning and begging for his son’s life, knowing that he could not bring his child back but would see him again one day.
The age of accountability is the age that a person becomes accountable for the sin nature they possess. A prophecy in Isaiah 7:15-16 speaks of a boy who is not yet old enough to refuse evil and choose good. Deuteronomy 1:39 speaks of the Israelites’ little ones who did not know good and evil. God punished the older Israelites for their disobedience, but He permitted the “innocents” to possess the land.
The Bible says that a baby who dies in the womb “though neither seeing the sun nor knowing anything” has “more rest” than a wealthy man unsatisfied with his riches. (Ecclesiastes 6:5) The word rest (nachath) is associated with salvation in Isaiah 30:15.
God’s judgment is based on a conscious rejection of divine revelation. God reveals Himself in the world around us (Romans 1:18-20), through an intuitive sense of right and wrong (Romans 2:14-16), and through God’s Word. A pre-born child cannot yet observe the world or form any concept of right and wrong.
“God has sovereignly chosen them for eternal life, regenerated their souls, and applied the saving benefits of the blood of Christ to them apart from conscious faith.” (Sam Storms, The Gospel Coalition)[i]
44. Ecclesiastes 6:4-5 “It comes without meaning, it departs in darkness, and in darkness its name is shrouded. 5 Though it never saw the sun or knew anything, it has more rest than does that man.”
Who had a miscarriage in the Bible?
No specific woman in the Bible is mentioned as having had a miscarriage. However, multiple women could not have children until God intervened (Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel, Hannah, Elizabeth, etc.).
A small number of Bible versions mistranslate Exodus 21:22-23 as a “miscarriage” resulting from an injury. However, the Hebrew yalad yatsa means “the child comes out” and is used elsewhere for live births (Genesis 25:25-26, 38:28-30). This passage is referring to a premature birth, not a miscarriage.
The Bible has two Hebrew words used for miscarriage: shakal (Exodus 23:26, Genesis 31:38, Job 21:10) and nephel (Job 3:16, Psalm 58:8, Ecclesiastes 6:3).
Encouragement for women healing from miscarriage and pregnancy loss
God views your miscarried child as a person, and you have every right to mourn your loss. You should feel free to name your baby, talk about him or her, and mourn your loss. Some parents even have a “celebration of life” to commemorate the passing of their child. Honor your child’s life in whatever way seems right to you. When people ask if you have children, feel free to include your baby in heaven.
One couple found healing and unity in repeating their marital vows to each other, reminding them of their pledge to love each other through joy and sorrow, sickness and health. Some women and couples find consolation in meeting with their pastor or with a grief group.
You might feel angry at God for your loss, but instead seek His face in your grief. When your mind is focused on God, and you trust Him, He will give you perfect peace (Isaiah 26:3). God enters into your pain with you, for He is near to the brokenhearted.
45. Isaiah 26:3 “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.”
46. Romans 5:5 “And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us.”
47. Psalm 119:116 “Sustain me, my God, according to your promise, and I will live; do not let my hopes be dashed.”
48. Philippians 4:5-7 “Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
49. Isaiah 43:1-2 “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; You are Mine.When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, Nor shall the flame scorch you.”
50. Psalm 18:2 “The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; My God, my strength, in whom I will trust; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.”
God’s grace abounds whenever we pass through sadness and death, and His love overcomes. If you open your heart to Him, He will show His tender love in unexpected ways. He will bring you comfort that no human can bring. “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” (Psalm 147:3)