By way of introduction, I am a father of three. In this life, you would likely only have the chance to meet two of those children.
My wife’s first pregnancy ended in miscarriage. Among the most deafening sounds in world must be the disappearance of a heartbeat. Our hollow hopes were soon filled with the conception and healthy development of our second child, Amelia, now almost a year old. And, still happier, we expect another child in November.
Our hopes are filled, but not all.
It is a very challenging experience to endure a miscarriage. Any hope can miscarry, so I invite you to explore that grief if you are so moved. Many, I’m sure, can relate to an extraordinary joy and expectation, and to the lingering trepidation as you journey toward your goal, only to have that trepidation justified as the prize, the shining jewel of your hopes, is irreversibly taken away. There is a particularly heart-breaking update I made to our “baby blog” during that first pregnancy, where I mention that our baby’s heart rate was lower than expected, and the baby’s body was smaller than expected. She was still alive, so we only thought the doctor’s original estimates were off. No, it was a death knoll, a sign that the natural laws are fixed and would not have mercy.
Truly, I invite you to share our grief. Before the miscarriage, I shared in the grief of many parents who lost their children too soon, and sometimes too violently. Who can endure escaping a burning building, only to realize your child is still inside? Who can endure the senseless loss resulting from a drunk driving accident? Cancer?
There is a temptation, I know, to claim that grief and possess it – horde it, even – as something like a relic, though it is a kind of counterfeit holiness. This sometimes results from offering one’s wounded heart to another, only to have that grief insulted, or worse, dismissed. The soul recoils and will hardly offer that pearl to swine again.
By sharing in grief, in whatever humble way we are able, we open opportunities to be Christ for others. It is amazing to me, how friends who have never been mothers or fathers could offer comfort, but they did. One of those doesn’t believe in God, and there he was, being Christ-like. Then there were family members with children of their own, and behold, some of them had suffered miscarriages. And there was the woman in a small church in West Virginia, who suffered 15 miscarriages before she gave birth to two sons, and one of those is a Nobel Prize winner. She was comforting us.
Ultimately, grief is for the living. Our first child, whom we affectionately named Angel (believing she was a girl), is pursued by our prayers. Perhaps we are pursued by hers.