It’s the first Monday morning of 2021. But instead of sitting at my desk preparing to sift through emails, I’m sitting in an OB-GYN’s office, bracing myself for news I do not want to confront.
The nurse begins the ultrasound process. “I’m sorry, I may get a bit emotional,” I say awkwardly, choking on my words. I’m anticipating the worst, already sensing what I will see.
“Don’t worry, I understand,” she says sympathetically.
Together, we look at the ultrasound screen. Stillness. No heartbeat. No life. My fears are confirmed. I have miscarried.
It is not a surprise. My body had already been feeling the loss — the unexpected bleeding, the pregnancy symptoms quietly declining, nausea replaced by a strong appetite.
The nurse hands me the tissue box and encourages me to take my time. Alone, I let the tears fall.
Weeks later, I’m still wrapping my mind around the loss of our baby. The pulls of a busy work schedule and life with our one-year-old son have provided some distraction from the grief. It’s hard to be sad around a running, babbling, full-of-joy child. I look into his cheerful face and dark chocolate eyes, and I know how blessed I am. I know this loss might feel even more acute if I didn’t already have him. I know that he wasn’t owed to me — and neither was this new baby. No one is entitled to a child. Both my son and the baby we lost are pure, undeserved gifts, entrusted to us for whatever time God allows.
And so, along with the grief, I feel an overwhelming gratitude. It is a privilege to grieve our baby’s short life. My husband and I are each from big families and we both hope to have more children. But we have no illusions about “replacing” the baby we lost. He or she is one-of-a-kind: our son or daughter, our one-year-old’s little brother or sister, a unique individual, and always will be. This baby will forever be a part of our family. Nothing can replace this baby, because people are not replaceable.
Each miscarriage brings its own personal, particular struggles and hurts, but the common denominator is loss: loss of a son or daughter not yet fully known, seen, or held; loss of a future with them; loss of all the birthdays, the hugs, the milestones, the lifetime with them. Each woman’s experience may be subjective, but the loss itself is objective.
We grieve differently, but we all grieve. And it’s good that we grieve.
The death of a family member is universally heart wrenching. And losing a child is arguably the worst pain of all, because as parents, we all hope and expect that our children will outlive us. In miscarriage, we grieve because we lost a child — a living, growing, tiny child with his or her whole life ahead of them. We grieve because pregnancy loss is not a loss of something… it’s a loss of someone.
And it hurts, deeply. That hurt is a sign of love; a love that has no place to go.
I know that there are countless variations of this pain, and that generations upon generations of women have endured it, each in their own way. We sense these tiny lives within us, even before we feel their tiny kicks. Their brand new heartbeats flutter and fade under the steady drumming of ours. We birth them, weeks or months too soon, after they have already passed from this life.
Over the last decade as a pro-life activist, and through my large, extended family and my group of friends, I have been entrusted with many stories of miscarriage. Some studies indicate that 1 in 4 known pregnancies will end in miscarriage. Thankfully, in recent years, it has become more and more common for women to share their experience of miscarriage. Instead of grieving alone, there is relief and strength in allowing others into our pain.
But miscarriages happen to women. They are not chosen.
We grieve for these lost children, but where is our grief for the children lost to “choice?”
When then president of Planned Parenthood, Dr. Leana Wen, publicly wrote about her sorrow over her miscarriage for the Washington Post, she insisted that it made her more committed to “women’s health” and derided restrictions on abortion. There’s a profound cognitive dissonance in grieving a pre-born baby while also championing our right to murder that baby. How can we as women grieve so deeply for the preborn children we lose, fully acknowledging they are babies, while supporting the abortions of babies just like the ones lost in miscarriage? In mainstream entertainment, media, academics and politics, the truth of equal humanity between an aborted baby and a miscarried baby is rarely acknowledged. A child killed by abortion is just as valuable as a child lost to miscarriage, because human value is not based on the attitudes or choices of other humans. The only difference between the babies is, instead of dying naturally and accidentally, an aborted child’s life was cruelly taken from her in the name of choice. And no matter how much we may rationalize this choice, it is an undeniable act of violence against an innocent and helpless son or daughter.
As long as society refuses to see the equal humanity of the children killed by abortion, this grave injustice will continue.
I don’t think my heartache and longing for the baby we lost will ever go away, but I embrace it because it deepens my resolve. My miscarriage taught me a grief I couldn’t fully understand before, and it makes my conviction to fight for the lives of innocents all the more intense. As we allow our hearts to break over miscarriage, may our hearts break, too, for the children killed by choice. May we allow grief to soften our hearts, open our eyes, and fuel the fight to protect their lives.
Lila Rose is the President and Founder of Live Action, and the author of the forthcoming book, “Fighting For Life: Becoming a Force for Change in a Wounded World.” Learn more at www.fightingforlifebook.com.
The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.
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