I had a baby. His name was Jess. He died.
Alright, so now that is out of the way. I’m a little nervous about this one because it deals in some very painful experiences for many. However, I think it needs to be said.
In March of 2014, my husband and I were surprised to find out that we were pregnant. In April of 2014 we had a miscarriage, and two weeks later, a DNC.
Before I experienced this very common and silent suffering, I had little compassion for those who had. I did not understand the pain that could possibly be associated with a baby who was the size of a pea. I did not understand how one could become attached to a life so fleeting, it hardly made an imprint on anything. Now that I have experienced this, I have the deepest, most heartfelt compassion for any woman who loses a child. Whether she is one week pregnant or nine months pregnant, there was life. Period.
I am radically pro-life. A baby deserves to see sunlight no matter how small, how he was conceived, or the harm he may cause to his mother: none of this is his fault. A baby becomes a person the moment he is conceived, and no one ever, should question that irrevocable, God-sanctioned truth.
My husband and I did something that many would consider a mistake when we were pregnant with our first. We did not wait 12 weeks to share our happy news with the world. We told our family. We told our friends. We told our colleagues. I told my students. How stupid are we? Two weeks after we shared the news, we had to share that the baby was gone. It was awful. It was hard. It was torture.
For our next pregnancy, which has now become a 12-month old ball of mischief, we waited 12 weeks. Many would say we learned our lesson. However, I felt guilty the entire time. It felt wrong to hide my child from the world. I constantly wondered, if we were to lose him too, would we really never tell anyone that he existed? I am so thankful to God that I never had to answer this question.
I have thought a lot about this, and have come to the realization that many couples choose to wait 12 weeks before revealing a pregnancy because of self-preservation. There is no self-preservation involved in sharing a pregnancy too early and then having the dreaded task of sharing the story of your miscarriage over and over and over. However, the life that you are preserving when you share your pregnancy prior to the 12-week mark is your baby’s. You are openly admitting and joyously celebrating the life inside you. Whether that life will reach full term or not, it was there and it should be celebrated. Most of all, people should know about it. This baby lived.
No matter how far along a woman is in her pregnancy, the baby has life. Those that are pro-life would agree with this statement. So, why on earth, are we waiting 12 weeks to accept, share, and admit a life? The couple who chooses to wait 12 weeks and then suffers a miscarriage is forced to muddle through the mourning alone. They experience the same grief, the same anger, and the same questions as anyone who has lost a loved one, but they pick up the pieces alone. The part that really bothers me about this couple’s sad story, however, is that no one will ever know they had a child. Besides the couple, no one will mourn their child, pray for their child, or acknowledge their child. It is as if he/she never existed. That, my friends, is not right.
I have no intention of lessening the immense pain associated with a miscarriage. I also pray for the families that experience multiple miscarriages and their struggles. I do not understand what this would be like and pray I never find out. However, if God grants us with another child, my husband and I do have every intention of sharing his/her life with the world. If we were to lose him, the benefits of sharing it with others would outweigh the disadvantages. Of course, it would be excruciatingly difficult to share our loss with others. However, we would not have to suffer and mourn our child alone, nor would we be the only ones who knew we had lost a life in our family.
We will see our son or daughter again someday, and we will call him/her Jess. My children will know they had another sibling, and his/her name was Jess. The world will know my child had life, and his/her name was Jess. God created Jess. Jess mattered. Jess lived.