We have been reading “When the Cradle is Empty” by John and Sylvia Van Regenmorter. This week we look at Chapter 11: Pregnancy and Infant Loss. As you may be familiar, the community of infertility is sometimes referred to as the ALI Community standing for Adoption, Loss, and Infertility. So often loss is a piece of infertility and often what leads to one deciding to adopt. The loss of a baby at any stage is an additional sorrow that often accompanies infertility.
The chapter starts by telling the unbearable story of one couple who after years of infertility got pregnant with triplets but lost all three babies soon after birth because they were born too premature. This seems like an unbearable grief. You have to ask why God would allow that to happen. Apparently God allows pregnancy loss or infant death to an estimated 600,000 women each year.
The authors list the “common threads” of loss:
- Spiritual doubt and confusion: “Why did I get pregnant after all that we went through only to lose our twins through miscarriage? God could have prevented the pregnancy or made our babies healthy.”
- A continual sense of loss: “Those who’ve never personally collided with pregnancy loss or infant death often assume that those who have soon heal and resume their lives. But it’s common to face a continuing sense of loss for a long time.”
- A feeling of emptiness, isolation, and distance: “Why do I have this empty feeling in the pit of my stomach?” one woman asks.
- Wondering what the child would have been like: (Here is a touching poem.)
“Dear little one,
I never saw you with my eyes,
But I saw you in my heart.
From the moment I knew of you,
I loved you.
I wondered what you would be like:
Would you have your daddy’s big eyelashes?
His big, bright eyes?
My musical gifts?
His ability to play the drums?
We planned to teach you about Jesus.
But He took you in His arms
Before you could reach ours.”
5. Comfortless comments from others: (here are some examples)
“There was probably something wrong with the baby, so things are better off this way.”
“You can always try again.”
“At least it happened before the baby was born.”
6. Anxiety during future pregnancies: “My miscarriage has robbed me of the joy of this pregnancy. Every ultrasound appointment fills me with dread.”
7. Tension in the marriage: differences in how men and women handle this type of loss can often cause conflict.
8. Longing for a heavenly reunion: “A recurring theme among Christian couples is confidence that they’ll see their babies again.”
The chapter ends with a listing of resources to help couples that are dealing with loss. One that I used was www.aplacetoremember.com.
This chapter was especially touching to me. My husband and I suffered many losses. Our first three babies were born at 27 weeks, 24 weeks and 21 weeks. Our first son survived after being hospitalized for a few months, our next son spent three weeks in the NICU before he died from NEC and our third son died during the delivery. I never thought I would get over that. I had never experienced something so extremely heartbreaking. I doubted God’s love for me, I asked, “Why me?”, I questioned how a good God could allow such pain. I stopped going to church for a while because any time I sat for more than a few minutes unoccupied I would break into tears.
Time was my healer. Trusting God again. Having faith that good would come again. Realizing that my son that did survive deserved the best, happiest mom he could get. That’s what got me through those tough years. I never thought it would be possible to feel joy again but I have. God heals broken hearts.