January. Memes and memories and marches.
January, the month of losing my first baby, of first becoming a Hope Mommy, of labor pains that contracted my soul.
It was a Saturday, the day of the March for Life, my Facebook feed a platform for the full humanity of the tiniest one.
I was 5 and 1/2 weeks pregnant.
I read about the shocking development that happens at only 4 weeks gestation, I saw the pictures and drawings and watched countless rally for the personhood of the conceived.
And then I started bleeding.
And the pain is indescribable and the shock inexpressible. But one of those pain-filled areas and shocking turn of events I will try, I will, to explain, because it doesn’t have to be.
I have learned personally, and from many other similar sufferers I’ve linked arms with, that pro-life circles can sometimes (no, not all the time, but too often) be shockingly cavalier in their dismissal of the baby miscarried or stillborn.
These, the very voices that tell us what humans our babies are from conception, that preach and march and graph; that would reel if we aborted these little ones. These very circles seem to then overlook when these fully-human-little-ones die from other reasons. Then we are told “you can try again”, “you weren’t very far along”, “at least you didn’t know the gender”. We’re met with puzzled looks when we say we named the baby; sideways glances when we announce our pregnancy “too early”. Told we should be thankful when we miscarry early because “something was probably wrong with the baby”.
Our stillborn babies are forgotten, their funerals unattended, their pictures ignored.
These are not my imaginings; these are actual comments, real happenings, that I and some of my dearest sisters have been been slapped with, on top of our already pit of pain.
But these are not responses that hold to the sanctity of human lives, that embrace equality in the womb.
No, but we’ve also seen the truly pro-life, and they come to us with tears and meals and help. They recognize our grief and know we just went through labor. They miss our child with us, they use their names, they remember them. Blankets are made and candles lit. Flowers are sent and cards written and hugs embraced.
These, these are the people we cling to, we with empty-arms-aching, we reach back and receive and wonder why, why is this the exception and not the norm?
Because I’m telling you, it’s sadly just not. And this discrediting, this horrific downplay, this is a dramatic contradiction for too many within the pro-life movement. And it’s doing damage, hurting the hurt in its wake and weakening its own platform.
Because if we really believe in the full humanity of a life at conception; if we really are awed by all the science of it, the divine of it, the mind-boggling magic of it; then why, why, why the cold reactions when the bereaved didn’t make a choice? Why do we shrug off these souls, and pretend like just a pregnancy was lost? If we’re pro-life we know better, we know no pregnancy is lost; family members are.
I want to lay out for you a whole list of ways to help, of how to come alongside those who lose their children in utero; and someday I hopefully will. But for today I’m going to leave it at this:
Respond how you would if someone’s baby died.
Because they did.