Almost daily I get asked some sort of question that makes me painfully aware of the absence of the baby we lost.
"Is he your only child?"
"About time for number two, huh?"
"Why don't you give him a little brother or sister?"
Before miscarrying I heard friends talk about the sting that questions like these would cause. Many of them explained that sometimes they just wanted to scream, or burst into tears, or punch someone when they were asked.
So when we lost our babe, I knew these moments would be on their way, and I decided in advance how I would handle them. Over the past few months, I've made a habit of answering honestly.
"We actually lost a little one in the womb this summer. Our second would be due in about a week. We're hopeful for more but we trust God's plan for our family."
Beyond the fact that I am just an open person, there are four reasons I answer this way:
- To validate the life of our little one, and little unborn babies everywhere.
- To guard against bitterness or self pity because I feel "unknown."
- To raise awareness for miscarriage.
- Because sharing our suffering is an opportunity to share our faith.
I've never shared this answer and experienced a hurried goodbye or discomfort from the person to whom I've replied afterwards. At least not any more discomfort that their question caused me. And over time I've learned to look forward to the opportunity to talk about this baby that I loved and treasured in my womb. I have observed that people genuinely love to express their sympathy and share your sorrow as much as they want to share your joy. I don't answer honestly to shame them for asking, I answer honestly to engage them with a true response. Almost always they come back with a story of someone they know who lost a baby or with a follow up question about our loss.
What an opportunity.
I pray that God will continue to use the life of this little one to open doors to talk about his goodness and his kindness.
Maybe you're a little more shy than I am. I don't want you to feel as if you are wrong for not sharing your loss. You have a right to grieve however you choose, and one way is not holier than another. But if you are like me, and you feel the urge to answer honestly, I'd like to encourage you to do so. I have found that answering honestly brings healing and comfort to me, attention and care to the unborn, and opportunities for fruitful engagement with others.