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How women’s grief on Mother’s Day illustrates the importance of life in the womb

by | May 16, 2024

By Susanne Maynes

As hard as it was to believe, this loss would prove to be the hardest of all for my daughter-in-law Jamé.

She’d already endured the pain and heartache of four miscarriages. This time, Jamé delivered a tiny stillborn at nearly 11 weeks gestation.

She named her little boy Eli.

On the wall of Jamé and Sam’s living room hangs a shelf which holds Eli’s ultrasound picture. The message written underneath reads, “I didn’t get to hold you in my arms, but I know the One who does.”

To the right of the ultrasound picture is a photo of Jamé. She is pregnant with Eli, Sam’s arms around her, his hands on her barely protruding belly.

A tiny pair of moccasins sits between the pictures.

Just above the shelf hangs a framed poem honoring Eli and his other siblings in heaven—Silas, Deborah, Eliza, and Zechariah.

Thankfully, Sam and Jamé’s home resounds with the joyful, rambunctious activities of three girls: 7-year-old Helaina, IvaMae, almost 3, and Annetta, 5-1/2 months old.

But Eli and the others will not be forgotten.

With bittersweet anticipation, we look forward to recognizing their faces in eternity.

Although we don’t get to build memories with children lost in utero, they are real people with whom we have a connection.

Their early departure from this world impacts us.

Here’s the thing about the painful grief of miscarriage: when it comes to pro-life ministry, it shines a spotlight on the importance of life in the womb.

This creates a dilemma for abortion advocates.

In order to sell the idea of abortion as something good and desirable for women, they must paint a picture of miscarriage as being no big deal.

Women who’ve suffered miscarriage are callously thrown under the bus in the name of “choice.”

Minimizing, invalidating, and dismissing the unique sadness and deep loss women feel after a miscarriage is cruel, insensitive, and unfair.

A money-making cause is prioritized at the expense of grieving women.

Not to mention, women who choose to have an abortion often have their own pain to deal with.

I’ve worked with too many post-abortive women to believe abortion is harmless to women. Pregnancy loss isn’t only painful if a child is “wanted”—it’s also painful when that loss is a deliberate choice.

Guilt complicates the already existing condition of grief. Feelings of unworthiness can haunt a woman for decades.

I’ll never forget the older woman who shuffled into our clinic one day, limp with defeat, to pour out her story to the receptionist.

“I deprived my children of a sibling. My own siblings of a niece or nephew.”

This poor woman was nearly paralyzed with grief—four decades after her abortion.

Another much younger woman told me of an abrupt shift in her life story from her being a happy-go-lucky, straight-A high school student with lots of friends and a good family life to ending up a homeless drug addict within six months.

Her eyes went wide as she realized, “Oh my gosh, all of it happened after the abortion!”

For a woman to suffer the death of her own preborn child is difficult, even if that death was by her choice.

Which brings us to a day we are about to celebrate, but one which can be painful for many women.

Mother’s Day reminds women who’ve suffered miscarriage about the babies they miss. It reminds post-abortive women of their (often secretive and painful) decision.

A day which should be full of honor and sweet memories also carries a dark side for many women.

So here are some ways to demonstrate pro-life values on Mother’s Day.

We can pray for women with an abortion in their past for their healing and freedom (If they have confided in us, we can invite them to an abortion recovery program).

For the mom who has recently experienced pregnancy loss, we can put together a creative gift of pampering, comforting items.

For the mother who has not been able to carry children since the one she lost, we can write a special card or send her a bouquet.

Pregnancy loss is difficult. Emotional support is appropriate because a real baby—a family member—has died.

That’s really hard.

This Mother’s Day let’s look for ways to offer kindness, compassion, and sensitivity. Let’s validate the feelings of mothers who have lost children in the womb.

It’s a wonderful opportunity to affirm life and demonstrate the love of God.

Editor’s note. This appeared at Pregnancy Help News and is reposted with permission.

Categories: Miscarriage