|Photograph by Joy Real on Unsplash. Image description: A cemetery in snow.|
October is Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Month, a time when we remember children lost to miscarriage, stillbirth, and SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome), and the families they have left behind. As a mother who has lost two of my children to miscarriage, I appreciate the need for awareness. Despite the fact that one out of every four women has suffered a miscarriage, the subject is rarely discussed.
Our reluctance to discuss miscarriage is partly a product of our reluctance to discuss death and mortality in general. But there is more going on here. I am convinced that a major cause of women’s suffering and silence is legal abortion.
Legal abortion means with miscarriage, someone will get slapped in the face by our response. Either post-abortive women get slapped by the truth that their unborn child was an actual living human who died on their demand—or—grieving mothers of miscarriage will get gaslighted and mocked for melodramatically mourning a disappointing pregnancy as if they can’t still have a baby if that’s what they want.
It’s impossible to validate the loss and grief that we face when we lose a child to miscarriage without acknowledging the humanity and life that existed. And if what I mourn is the loss of a human child’s life, abortion is taking the life of a human child. Naming the child and otherwise acknowledging this was an irreplaceable son or daughter reminds women who lose children by choice of what they have willingly done. This truth is not a pleasant message for post-abortive mothers.
On the other hand, denying this truth is a huge slap in the face to grieving moms. If all I lost was a “potential person”—basically I am just disappointed that pregnancy didn’t end with a full-term baby. In that case, miscarriage is just temporary bummer and “better luck next time.” It denigrates our grief and pain and for no other reason than it makes society feel better about disposing of children at will.
Lies told to enable evil toward unborn children also hurt those who love (and lose) these babies. It is just another bonus gift from the culture of death.
[Today’s guest article is by Dr. Jacqueline Abernathy, Assistant Professor of Public Administration at Tarleton State University.]