***The following post is a guest post from my wife, Laura, about our recent loss.***
Originally when Trent and I found out we had been blessed with conceiving a child, I was immediately overwhelmed at God’s blessing. I told Trent within the first hour of finding out, “I just can’t help but think it’s not fair that my little baby is safe with me, but so many other little babies are not safe at all in their mothers’ wombs. The babies are just swimming around in there, but they have no idea if their moms will decide to keep them.” During mass the day we found out, I pondered at how caring for another makes someone holier. I suddenly wanted to go to daily mass more frequently to get my baby communion, and prepare myself spiritually for the innocence and purity of this new human being. I silently promised my little one that if he does have to go home, I wouldn’t let his death be in vain. I’d try to be as holy as possible because I know his dad and I are the only people he’s ever known, and if he continued on to pray for us, I didn’t want those prayers to be unnoticed, like a mean mom or dad who rejects their preschool child’s best try at art.
I was pregnant during the 41st anniversary of Roe vs. Wade, the monumental court decision that made abortion legal on a federal level in America, and my heart was heavy the entire day. I continued to dwell on how unnatural it would have to be for a woman to want her pregnancy to end, and how sad it is she would have to suppress the love she feels for her unborn child with fear that had overcome her. I entertained thoughts of what it would be like to walk into a clinic and come out “not pregnant.” It was getting to be too much, so I, like many, stopped thinking about it.
A week later, I was volunteering as a nurse at a free medical clinic in El Cajon, and used the restroom only to find out I had started to lightly bleed. The doctor understood and immediately dismissed me to go to my primary care provider. When I arrived, my doctor suggested an ultrasound and I be started on progesterone, the hormone necessary to sustain pregnancy. Trent and I have practiced natural family planning, so I knew my body had expressed signs of low progesterone in past cycles. My sister also struggles with polycystic ovarian syndrome, which requires her to receive progesterone during all of her pregnancies. I eagerly went to collect my urine sample, so I could move on with the ultrasound to hopefully see my little baby I called my poppy seed. I looked down only to see a pool of blood, and just like that I knew it was over. My miscarriage was beginning. My breath escaped me instantaneously, and I could do nothing but sob. I walked into the ultrasound room to see my husband and the nurse preparing for an ultrasound that surely would show nothing. The nurse explained it’d probably be best to wait before trying to see what happens. The next few moments were a blur of shattered hopes and pain that only someone who has experienced loss can understand. I was told I could expect to bleed for about two weeks, and to come back on Tuesday. The doctors were empathetic and professional, and I am forever grateful.
Trent and I tried to pass time by going to see the movie Saving Mr. Banks and walking around. I found it difficult to walk, so I sat frequently. I had an epiphany about what this all means to me in relation to the pro-life movement. Trent and I met doing pro-life work, and we’ve given our entire lives over to defending the unborn together. Often times Trent and I both hear from post-abortive women, “I’ve had an abortion, so do you think I’m a murderer?” The answer we give is always “no” and includes us trying to reassure them that we’re very sorry about what happened to them and the child they’ve lost. If they have any logical reasons to defend legal abortion, we address those as we would with any man/woman who hasn’t had an abortion. But as I miscarried, I also recalled the times when pro-choice advocates have defended their positions with rhetoric such as “it’s not a baby,” “it’s not alive yet,” or “it’s not even a person.” I immediately couldn’t help but become really angry at these arguments that belittle what I was feeling about my unborn child. If the pro-choice view is correct, women who miscarry are mourning nothing but the possibility of becoming pregnant, not an actual child she just lost. This is a lie, and it is insulting. Trent approached me, knowing something was wrong. “I think we need to start making this personal.” I told him. He was confused, but I continued, “I mean I think in the pro-life movement, we need to start using personal examples to be the voice of our children. We need to start saying statements such as ‘So you’re telling me when I miscarried, I have no right to think I actually had a baby I lost?’” A lot of people are advocates for legal abortion because they have intellectual arguments, but more people are defenders of legal abortion because they have emotional arguments. It’s time we start being emotional right back, and showing them what the death of a child looks like. It looks like a sad mom and dad who were excited to welcome a child into the world and would died to see him live. From now on, when someone tells me, “It’s not a human yet” I will counter with the question, “So you’re saying when I miscarried, I had nothing to be sad over because I didn’t lose my human child my husband and I tried for months to create?” We need to start making people uncomfortable with their views, because chances are, they’ve doubted what they think is true at some point and time. When they had doubts, there was probably a pro-choice person to reassure them that “a woman has a right to choose” or that “it isn’t a baby, just a clump of cells.” We need to start being there as the people who have or know someone who have lost a human being, and will not back down that that human being was special, and it’s sad they are dead. Women who have had abortions were lied to, and to cover up that lie, she’ll have to do some more serious lying to herself and create a vicious cycle. This will continue until she finally faces that it’s okay to miss her baby she never got to hold. She’s not a monster, she’s a mother, but she has to start spreading truth from her loss, and not helping other women make the same mistake she did. The pro-choice view is belittling to mothers and fathers who have experienced loss, and we need to start making them uncomfortable by calling pro-choice advocates out on it. My baby’s death will not be in vain.
When Trent and I found out we were expecting, I bought journals for us to write to our baby in hopes we could give him his journal when he was older. I read Trent’s first entry. He wrote to our child:
When I first found out you existed, I hugged your mom tighter than I had in a really long time. I was so happy to know that you had come into our family, and to know that our future would never be the same. Even if God decided that you were to return home to Him before birth, you will still always be a part of our family.
I have so many questions about the future, but for now I will be like Mary and “ponder these things in my heart.” I love you so much little baby, and I can’t wait to meet you soon.
And that is why I’m mad people belittle the unborn and their parents’ feelings by being pro-choice.