There is something that's been weighing on my heart lately... and to be honest I've been hesitant to write about it because I haven't been sure if many of my readers would understand, or would want to read about it. But the reality is that I always told myself I would be honest on this blog about what I'm thinking and feeling. I've always said this blog was more for the writing than it is for the reading.
So here goes.
It has been 8 months since my miscarriage. I should be over it, right? At least that's what so many people tell me (or at least suggest to me in not so many words.) I never understood the pain of miscarriage until I went through one myself. And the biggest surprise of them all, when I went through my miscarriage, was the lack of empathy.
Hear me out. Yes, there were many, many people who were there for me. There were listening ears and flowers and cards and homemade meals brought to my door. There were people who loved, cared and understood. But there were so many people who disqualified my grief. Let me explain. I had many conversations about my miscarriage that went something like this:
"Sorry about your loss."
"How far along were you?"
"Oh so still very early. The baby must have been very small. You didn't even know if it was a boy or a girl, right?"
And whether they meant it this way or not, there it was. Instant disqualification. As if the life of my baby was truly nothing to grieve over. I mean, my goodness, how could I grieve? I didn't even know the sex.
Here's the biggest thing that disturbs me about this attitude that I have seen so much of since losing my child: If we consider ourselves "pro-lifers" than we've got to take a second look at this issue. If we stand on the sidewalks with posters, or re-post that Facebook meme about a life being a life no matter how small, than we've got to take a drastic second look at our own hearts on the matter of miscarriage. If the life of an aborted baby is "atrocious" and "murder" and "grievous", then why is the baby who is miscarried not worthy of so much more grief and attention and HONOR? We expect women to sweep it under the carpet. Don't announce your pregnancy until after your first trimester, because well goodness, what if you lose it? Much better to sweep the loss under the carpet where it won't upset anyone. Right?
I have FOUR children. Not three. I have FOUR. But I say three because it gets real uncomfortable when I bring my loss to the table. I say three because I don't want to hear the disqualification of my fourth child. I don't want to hear people dishonor her by saying "she doesn't really count" whether they use that plain of English to say it or not.
I have seen people get offended by the picture that commemorates my fourth child on my mother in law's wall. She has a drawing that hangs there next to photographs of my three living children--a drawing that depicts a child in the arms of Jesus. A drawing that honors the life that was. A drawing that honors my child, who I loved fiercely. A drawing that honors LIFE. A drawing that says, This life mattered. This life didn't simply disappear unnoticed. This life, existed and is remembered. This life counted. This life is counted equal among the lives of my living grandchildren. Some people would call that drawing awkward. Uncomfortable. Unnecessary.
I was recently watching the movie, "The Help". There is a scene in that movie where a young woman buries her fourth miscarried child in a shoe box in the backyard. She buried that child alone. Absolutely alone with her box, her dead child and her grief and some dirt.
There is no funeral procession for the miscarried child. There is no final epitaph, no final eulogy, no flowers, no coffin, no cross. There is only that woman and her grief. But in an age where we Christians fight SO hard for the rights of the unborn, how can we look the other way when our sister loses her unborn child? We grieve the aborted babies, but we disqualify the grief of the miscarrying mother. Am I the only one who sees this massive disconnect as a tragedy?
The reality is, I'm not "over it". Not even close. I remember my child every single day. I dream of her, I cry for her, I miss her. Little things will send me off in a heap of tears and leave me grieving, aching, hurting... empty womb and empty arms. I long for the day when I'll meet her in paradise. I long for the day when I'll dance with the angels with her in my arms.
My grief is more than qualified. Mother, if you have lost a child before he or she even breathed their first breath.... your grief is qualified. That life counts. Those who disqualify it surely have not know what it's like to feel the birth pangs alone in your home waiting for a baby to come that's already dead. They do not know that to lose a child is to give birth to a life that's already ended. They can not know the pain and hurt and the loneliness of that grief. But what we can do, mothers, is to honor our children. To count them among our quiver. To honor them with a burial, a commemoration. To hang a picture on our wall or wear a necklace around our neck. To give them a name, perhaps. To write them a letter, or a song. To grieve them for the life that they were. A grief that is qualified.