By Heather Walton
I have been running as fast as I can from the grief process for about three months. For the first month after I lost our first baby, our precious little “Jellybean,” I sobbed daily and felt the intense sense of loss as I went through the motions of each day. But then I unconsciously decided it was time to move on. It wasn’t. It will never be time to “move on” or to “get over it,” because it is not possible to forget one’s child, even if the child was never born.
I immersed myself in my work, in solving other people’s problems, and finally, in a doctoral program, in order to run so fast, to be so busy, that I didn’t have time to think about our loss. It worked, too, until a couple weeks ago. I had a few very stressful incidents take place within a two week period, and the difficulty of those events brought back the trauma of losing our babies.
To add to the difficulty, a friend of ours is due at the same time I was, and I am witnessing all of the milestones I should be experiencing myself. And I am anticipating how difficult it will be when she delivers her child, and I will witness that child doing all the things mine should be doing, and at the exact time mine should be doing them. Don’t get me wrong–I’m happy for my friend. But I have to wonder why God chose for us to get pregnant at the same time, if He wasn’t going to allow us to ever hold our baby.
Many call it pregnancy loss, but it’s really the loss of a child. Most Christians consider themselves to be pro-life. I personally used to work in a crisis pregnancy center, pleading with women not to end the lives of their unborn children, using whatever means I could to prove to them that they were carrying children, not mere embryos or fetuses, but babies. Helpless babies. Human babies. If that’s true (and it must certainly is true), then why don’t we give much consideration to families that have lost unborn children? Why don’t we validate their grief and honor their losses? Not simply the loss of a pregnancy. The loss of a child. The loss of a dream. The loss of many of their hopes.
Back to my sprint from grief. A sprint, not a marathon, because I couldn’t keep it up long enough for it to qualify as a marathon. A sprint because I was running as fast as I could. In doing so, I also was running from God. Not a good choice.
So now grief has caught up with me. I must allow it to be my companion for a season, or else I will spend my life running.
If you have lost a child before or at birth, or if you know someone who has, please be aware that Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day is October 15 and October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. The church especially should promote this cause, since God calls us to honor the unborn.
“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. (Psalm 139: 13-16)