Miscarriage is a silent grief.
I’ve heard that before.
There are several layers to its silence. Partly, and substantially, it is silent because most people have followed suit with our culture in not sharing the news of their pregnancy with their family and friends until the threat of miscarriage is gone. I can respect that choice. I made that choice with my first three pregnancies. But I’m glad this time, I did not.
I told people. More people than I initially intended. And I’m glad I did. Personally, I found it way harder to have to say “I was pregnant and now I’m not” to those few people in my life that I felt deserved an explanation for the sudden change of demeanor in my life.
But if you haven’t shared it publicly, or even worse, with your spouse, then the grief is only yours, to do in secret and therefore in silence.
Oh how my heart aches for those who for whatever reasons have had to endure this is silence and secrecy. I’m so sorry for your silent grief, my dear friends.
But our grief is silent on another level as well:
I find myself trying to explain away my grief when the reality is that I lost a child. A tiny unborn child…and because of the pro-choice voice in our society, I not only have to grieve but I need to defend my child’s existence sufficiently enough to justify my grief.
We live in a world that treats a 6-week pregnancy as nothing but a clump of cells. Calls it a fetus. No heartbeat detected, therefore no baby.
And those of us that do know the truth and have lost, whether by miscarriage or perhaps even abortion, are left in a confusing state of mind. We are grieving. We shouldn’t have to also defend to the world (and to ourselves) the existence of our child. I never saw the heartbeat of my babies. Does that mean they didn’t exist?
This is the hardship of miscarriage. That we not only have empty hands and an emptiness in our hearts that can only be soothed by tears and sorrow and the awful process of grief, but we must also do this grief in a world that refuses to acknowledge our children.
And I get it. If miscarriage happens with 1 in 4 pregnancies, we’d be having an awful lot of memorial services. And who has time for that? We barely give time to grieve people who actually saw the light of day before they died. A graveside service, and maybe a memorial if money and time permit.
People used to do so much more. There used to be a corporate acknowledgement of the loss, often that extended for at least a full week. Some people in other cultures still practice that.
But not for the unborn. It’s too complicated.
And I can respect the need for the corporate grief for the unborn to look a little different practically speaking. But that shouldn’t stop us as a society from acknowledging these children we are losing.
During my first loss, I spent the majority of my grieving trying to find ways to give definition and identity to my unborn baby. Keepsakes. Planting flowers in a pot. A necklace. I took two weeks off of my normal life responsibilities.
But this time, I lack the emotional energy. It is enough that the worst-case scenario happened to me. That I spent 6 weeks trying to be hopeful that my miscarriage was the 1 in 4 statistic and not something that would happen again. But it did happen. And that changes everything.
And so I find myself angry with the world we live in. Angry that in order to move forward, I must somehow find the emotional capacity to first justify my child’s existence and then to grieve that I lost that child I barely knew, that I lost my child that the world refuses to acknowledge.
The reality is, once our society has entertained the idea of a baby not being a baby, the truth is already on the defense. We can’t go back. We can only cling to the truth in our hearts, fight for it in our world, and long with our very beings that Jesus comes back to restore a world of righteousness again.