This is the second post in a series — “#DadsHurtToo — A Father’s Memoir of Miscarriage.”
Despite arriving pale, blue, and breathless—the umbilical cord cinching a death-grip on his throat—our first child lived, as did our second and our third.
We first experienced the death of a child in the womb in September 2007, a year after the birth of Living Child #3. We lost the baby early in the unannounced pregnancy, at only four and a half weeks. The bleeding started the day after a home pregnancy test. Had she not taken it, we might have thought her cycle had simply started late.
Around the same time, close family members lost their baby in an emergency procedure for a painful and life-threatening ectopic pregnancy. Another family member miscarried a baby several weeks further along than ours.
We discussed it and chose silence. We told no one. We feared drawing attention away from their loss onto ours. Others were suffering “worse” than we were. After all, how did the uncomplicated and almost unnoticed loss of an unexpected and unannounced pregnancy compare to their painful and public suffering? They “deserved” the sympathy and the support more than we did.
The First Fox — Comparison
And there it was, that first little fox in the vineyard of grief—comparison. A ruthless enemy, comparison is quick to use your family, your wife, your children, and your friends against you.
Comparison sunk its teeth in deeper with each of the three subsequent miscarriages, further stifling my grief. I had not carried these children. I had not undergone a dilation and curettage (D&C), a doctor scraping the body of my child out of my own. I had not endured contractions, laboring to deliver a dead baby. I had not been whisked to the operating room over concerns of excessive blood loss. My wife had. She suffered. What was my experience compared to hers? Who was I to mourn?
Comparison pointed a paw at our living children—three of them, then four, then five—and demanded, “What right have you to mourn a child you never knew, when you have all these?” Comparison thrust the faces of friends before my own—friends who could not conceive, friends without a living child, friends whose children died in the crib or in college—and mocked, “You mourn, but not as those who have no kids. Others are worse off; stifle your sorrow.”
A Better Word
The gospel speaks a better word than the bark of comparison. It speaks of a Father who notices and values the minutia of his world—even the parts that others deem worthless by comparison.
“Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father.” “But even the hairs of your head are all numbered,” Jesus assures us. “Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.” The argument here is not: people matter, therefore sparrows are insignificant. Rather: sparrows are significant, so how much more valuable are those created in God’s image?
God’s voice—not the voices in my head or those of my neighbor—is the final word on the matter: If he values the hairs of my head more than sparrows, how much more must he care for my child—his own image bearer? And when that child falls to sleep, hidden in my wife’s womb, will the Father in heaven not notice the father on earth? God cares for these little ones. God cares about mothers. God cares about fathers. Both moms and dads have every right to mourn.
To be continued…
This series originally published at Risen Motherhood.
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