When they can’t find a heartbeat

a poem for women grieving a miscarriage or infant loss

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.

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

When God Says Wait: Navigating Life's Detours and Delays Without Losing Your Faith, Your Friends, or Your Mind

My 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 purchase the book here.  

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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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