How Abortion Has Changed the Discussion of Miscarriage Tuesday, May 13th, 2014
I was finally getting back to a normal routine. My miscarriage a few weeks earlier had taken more than just my baby. It had sapped my emotional reserves as well. I was exhausted, but began to force myself to continue the necessary day-to-day tasks.
I opened the growing pile of mail. A few bills and some unrequested catalogues were quickly set aside. But as I opened a letter from the hospital, I suddenly felt more than I had in days. I could feel my face turn red and my heart began to beat quickly.
The letter read something to the effect of:
“Dear Mrs. Thompson, Blah blah blah, your insurance company will not cover your elective abortion. Blah blah blah.”
It took a few times reading over the letter to understand that I needed to contact the hospital billing office. Surely there had been a mistake.
The conversation is still fuzzy in my mind, but basically, the hospital had “miscoded” my ER visit a few weeks before. While I had experienced what they considered a spontaneous abortion (my body had terminated the pregnancy on its own) the hospital had entered it as something similar to an elective abortion. (They said that I had made the decision to terminate the pregnancy.)
I had done everything in my power to keep my baby. Abortion was the word that described just the opposite.
It has taken me nearly 8 years to realize that abortion wasn’t just a word that was mistakenly used in place of my miscarriage; it is the word that has changed the discussion of miscarriage all together.
When I lost my baby, I was surrounded by family and friends who knew that we were expecting and wanted to support us during our time of loss. I was encouraged by those who knew for themselves the heartache we were experiencing…
But life just sort of… went on…
I joined some horrible silent club of women who have all had miscarriages yet no one really talks about the loss or acknowledges the baby.
There wasn’t a grave stone or a funeral or meals prepared for us for weeks. I wasn’t featured on the news or connected by the hospital to other mothers who had experienced similar heartache.
I was sent home to continue to live like my baby had never died – like there never was a baby.
But recently, I have realized that this response is an indicator of the state of our society.
After all, it is hard for a society to mourn the loss of WANTED unborn life when it is busy calling it “tissue” and discrediting its personhood.
It is hard for a society to embrace a mourning mother for her loss of tissue when it is busy defending another mother’s right to dispose of it.
But for a woman who prays ceaselessly for life to fill her womb, for a woman who has tried for years to finally have children of her own, for an expectant mother who suddenly finds herself frantically calling her OB after finding bright red blood…
The “material” in her tummy is anything but tissue.
It is life.
It is hopes and dreams and answered prayers. It is destiny and a future and a promise of another generation. It is bike riding and little league and ballet lessons and college and grandkids…
It is a baby.
But it can never be both. Society can never acknowledge that we lost a baby and with the same breath declare the rest to be tissue.
That is how the discussion of abortion has changed the discussion of miscarriage – it has only further silenced it.
Even though miscarriage affects millions of men and women each year, it won’t be featured on the news.
There will be no memorials for all of the unborn babies. There will be no moments of silence or Today Show features for women who are organizing support groups. Despite the huge number of families miscarriage impacts each year – it will not be discussed widely.
Because if they call ours babies…
Then all of the aborted ones… were babies too…
And the silence – more than anything – speaks the loudest.
It’s time to change the discussion of miscarriage – by starting one. It is time to acknowledge the loss of neonatal life as…life… It is time to stop expecting women and men who have experienced miscarriage to stay silent in their own pain.
They have lost a child.
They may not have ever held it in their arms, but they dreamt a lifetime for that baby in their hearts.
From my little corner of the internet, I dare to say that the silence has spread far enough. It is up to us to speak for the babies who have been lost and embrace the mothers and fathers who have endured the heartache of such tragedy.
Abortion may have changed the discussion of miscarriage – but we can change it again.
Because though they try to silence the lives of the aborted, they should not be able to silence the lives of the miscarried as well.
You can read my story of miscarriage, here.
For those who do not know me, or haven’t read any of the rest of my articles, I would like to clarify a few things.
- Am I against abortion? Yes.
- Am I against those who have had an abortion? No.
Until my very last breath, I will love others to the best of my ability. I will encourage and talk and pray and walk out life with women who have had an abortion just as I would with those who have not. I am tired of the “us” vs “them.” I’m tired of the lines that divide women from loving and encouraging one another. My heart aches for those who will believe that because I’m pro-life, I am anti-women who have chosen abortion. I think that the women who have had an abortion are just as loveable as those who have not… if they aren’t… then I need to work on who I think is worthy of love. But just as I love women who have had an abortion, I will continue to pray for an end to it. They cannot be both babies and tissue, and I will forever know in my heart that each little life is a child.
May God give us grace as we work to heal wounds and save lives, as we speak for the unborn, and as we champion the cause for the sanctity of life at any stage.
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