When they can’t find a heartbeat

a poem for women grieving a miscarriage or infant loss

October 15 is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day—a day to remember babies lost through miscarriage or infant death. I wrote this poem five years ago, during a time of overwhelming grief. I have never shared it before. I pray these words are a comfort to others who have lost babies they have deeply loved but barely held, or never met. You are not alone.






so whisper-soft I barely notice.


Until I do.


It’s the absences,

suddenly present,


up on me—


nausea, relenting;

exhaustion, easing;

future, fading—


and I know you’re




and I am alone

in this body.


And yet

I still feel you,

tucked safe inside,

your tiny heart beating

like hummingbird wings,

though I never saw it.

They never could find it.


But you know,

and I know,

that you still live

inside me,

and always will,

and it will be our secret

until the day,


we die.


a comforting poem for women who have suffered miscarriage, in honor of infant and pregnancy loss remembrance day

Related posts:

When You Walk Through a Valley

When Being a Grown-up Means You’re Still Growing Up

The One She Needed to Write

My forthcoming book, When God Says, “Wait,” ministers to women who are waiting—including those enduring the painful wait for a child. You can sign up for updates from my ministry here, and preorder the book here.  

Share this poem with a friend who needs it:

Author: Elizabeth Laing Thompson VIEW ALL AUTHORS POSTS

Elizabeth works from home as a writer, editor, diaper changer, baby snuggler, laundry slayer, not-so-gourmet chef, kid chauffeur, floor mopper, dog groomer, and tantrum tamer. She is always tired, but it's mostly the good kind.


  • Gloria Baird October 13, 2016 at 2:14 pm

    Brought tears to my eyes….and heart…sweetly remembering our losses!! I’m sure this touched many, many others!!
    Thanks, again, for sharing your heart in such a gifted way!!

    • Elizabeth Laing Thompson October 13, 2016 at 8:16 pm

      Thank you, Gloria. I know you understand this kind of loss on a much deeper level than I do. I so admire your faith and courage!

  • Danielle Whitaker October 14, 2016 at 3:57 am

    Thank you so much for sharing such an intimate part of yourself. IT spoke to the heartache and the grief I felt losing 3 little ones. But also that as mothers we still carry them with us. Aftee my last loss my 2 year old at the time said…Mommy..your baby is in heaven? After I said yes he looked at me and said…And holding God’s hand. I never did tell him anything about that. I am grateful for God’s comfort and reminders that they are in the best of hands.

    • Elizabeth Laing Thompson October 14, 2016 at 5:37 pm

      Oh, that brings tears to my eyes. What a beautiful image. I’m so sorry for your losses. I know you hold those babies dear. We never forget.

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