A Collection of Thoughts Concerning National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day
Why participate in a national day of awareness/remembrance? I have three reasons why I would like to do so.
Many might find entering into conversations about loss difficult; I understand—I used to as well. Yet, as is often true in life, when we accept the difficulty, working through it, we gain a richness in life that could not otherwise be achieved. This applies when speaking about pregnancy and infant loss. When others have, in conversations with me, worked through the sometimes-awkward difficulty of talking about loss, our conversations have achieved a new quality—a good richness that could not have otherwise been known.
Next, I think of the many other mothers and fathers who have experienced miscarriage, stillbirth, and infant loss. There are many who are on this journey of grief who are seeking healing, understanding, and comfort. Yet, this is also a reason I have not historically participated in this day. There is an underlying assumption alongside of this day that uniting together with other people in loss will be our healing, our understanding and comfort. It is at this point I have not been able to whole-heartedly participate in this day being the day of awareness/remembrance. For me, this has not been able to be the day of awareness/remembrance because it does not culturally bring awareness or remembrance to what is most important. While I know personally how incredibly helpful other people have been to me while grieving, I also know that there is only One who gives full restoration, understanding and comfort. So, I personally add this essential layer to my participation in this as the day of awareness day (more on my approach below). One joy I have is participation with Hope Mommies in National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day; with this organization a biblical layer to this day is well added.
Finally, in a culture in which the tragedy and evil of abortion is not only “overlooked” but advocated, there ought to be a time to remember that there are many, many babies who are not with us. I claim this day to be one in which we can remember them. Of course, my daughter is my most treasured child who has been lost. While that is endlessly true, I also think of so many people we will never meet because of abortion—we are a culture of pregnancy loss. I mourn these babies; for, the question of whether or not a child is wanted by his or her parent(s) is completely irrelevant to that child’s intrinsic value. Nothing can dimish what God has said to be so—that all people are valuable whether at the moment of conception or on their dying bed. Today, I also mourn their loss.
Whenever I write about abortion, I feel compelled to write to the many mothers and fathers in our culture who have survived their babies killed by the decision for abortion. There is hope; there is forgiveness; there is mercy; there is freedom. These are found—and can be found by you—in the powerful abundance of who Christ is and what He has done. And I say this with a further qualifying statement—though I have not experienced the personal trauma and sin of abortion, I do know, as a person who would have no hope for forgiveness without Him for my personal, heinous offenses, Christ gives an abundance of mercy and freedom to those who confess, turn from sin, and place their trust in Him. For followers of Christ who believe in Him as their Lord for the forgiveness of their sins, based upon His atonement and sacrifice in their place and no works of their own, there is now no condemnation. That, my friends, is good news.
My Personal Approach
Briefly, I would like to share with you my approach to Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. Our family adds a biblical layer to what is happening in order to give eternal meaning to a subject that certainly needs it.
I approach this day with joy and gratitude.
I have gratitude that Noelle made me a mother and gratitude for every minute I was able to get to know her. I have gratitude that she has made me long more and better for Christ.
I have joy. There is unfading joy in the hope that my daughter is in the fullness of Christ’s heaven—the place that is far better than this place. Assuredly, heaven is not the afterthought to earth, but earth is the short prelude to heaven. Many sons and daughters who have gone ahead cry to us from there—it is far better; He is far better!
And I approach this day with earthly longing that is never devoid of hope.
The earthly longing is not rendered painless because I have hope. But hope makes the earthly longing possible to endure with peace. Through certain Christian hope, those who believe know that one day, we will consider these earthly pains to have been “light” and “momentary” compared with the glorious weight of forever with Him. It must be glorious indeed for that to be proved true. And it will be. How it will be!
My and my husband’s hearts’ sentiments to our daughter, Noelle: We are grateful to have known you, we are so happy for you to be experiencing heaven, we dearly miss you, and we will see you soon.
[Photograph by Beth Barthelemy]