Image via WikipediaIt was about a year ago that I first posted on this site. At that time it was my de-conversion story. As the layers of Xtian living have been slowly peeling back from my life, there has been some hurt surfaced that, at the time I could not articulate. But, this month being the month that the church likes to flex it's "Pro life" muscles seemed a good one to share more of my story... grab a cup of coffee... it's a long one!
I'm a mom. I make no apologies for the fact that I skipped the whole college trip and instead married young and started having babies -- six to be exact. For reasons I no longer believe, I also chose to home-school my kids (still homeschooling, but for different reasons now), so, as you can see, my life has revolved around the caring of children. Living and loving together has it's rewards, not to mention it's trials. When my fifth child was about two years old, I discovered that I was pregnant with baby number six. OK, I have to admit a slight feeling of being overwhelmed, not sure how I would manage that, but that "god would provide" and we went on living in anticipation of this baby's birth-day. (Oh, did I mention that I am also a childbirth educator and home-birth mom -- a bona-fide, card-carrying member of the mom-cult?!) I adjusted to the idea of having one more child, and started mentally arranging my schedule and the furniture in anticipation of this great day.
I felt that they were saying that somehow my grief wasn't important, because after all it was still just a fetus. Each of my kids is precious to me, and I was just as eager to meet this little guy or girl when the time was right. Well, that time never came. One morning, about 14 weeks into the pregnancy I was going about my usual routine. I had been walking on my treadmill, listening to Xtian radio (ironically it was a talk show highlighting pro-life politics that morning), when something was obviously leaking into my sweats. I went to the bathroom, and found blood. No, this couldn't be happening. Calmly, I tried to rationalize that as an "older" mom I may just be having one of those difficult pregnancies, one where you have to go on bed rest and it would all be OK. But, after calling my husband and doctor I returned to the bathroom just in time to drop several blood clots into the toilet -- the bleeding had become more intense.
I was crying out to God, "Please protect my baby, don't let him die!" At the doctor's office they immediately inserted an IV into my arm and called for an ambulance. I was slipping into a shock-like state. Fortunately the IV worked quickly, and soon I was more stable. At the hospital we waited for what seemed like hours for an available OR, with me lying there bleeding and crying quietly. I just knew that somehow God would rescue us/me, but I was not sure how. HIS ways are higher than ours, right? They wheeled me into surgery, and thankfully the sedation worked quickly. It was not a day I wanted to remember. I woke up in the recovery room, waiting to hear what I already knew. My doctor explained to me that the miscarriage was complete, there was no possible way to keep it from happening, and all he could do was "clean it up inside." There was some abnormalities that would require further testing, for my safety.
My stomach crumpled as the harsh reality hit me. I would not meet this baby. There would be no birth-day, no cozy midnight nursings, no little fingers tugging on my hair. My arms ached to hold this little one; my stomach felt like a tomb. I cannot even describe the grief that settled in my heart like a rock.
Now at this point I realize that many people are wondering why, with five children, would I want one more? Was I just being selfish? Well, maybe. But any woman who has been happily pregnant knows the heart to heart connection that happens during pregnancy, from mom to baby. He/she already felt like part of our family. I couldn't take it, and I felt selfish and sinful for being so grieved. After all, I had five great kids, and some women couldn't even have one.
Here's where the theology gets all caught up in this.
My church was both helpful and hurtful. Yes, they brought meals while I recovered and sent flowers. It was very nice how they tried to support me. And, I would say there were many who tried to be understanding as well. On the other hand, I was told that since we didn't "know" this baby, it wasn't all that bad, right? And, it was still just a "blob" -- just a tiny thing. I felt that they were saying that somehow my grief wasn't important, because after all it was still just a fetus. It was implied, if not outwardly stated, that I needed to pull myself up by my Christian bootstraps and go on, count my blessings, focus on all that is good in my life, and not let myself feel too badly. Of course, at the very next opportunity these same people were showing their "sadness" over the innocent babies whose lives were being taken during an abortion. Lives that would never be lived... songs unsung, etc. But, MY baby was just a blob -- a worthless little bit of tissue not worth grieving over?
Does anyone see the hate in this? The cruelty? The double standard?
Babies who are killed by abortionists are more valuable than babies who die in their mother's belly of natural causes. I felt like I must be being very nonspiritual to not see their side, so I swallowed my grief -- buried it deep inside of me -- almost ashamed that I even felt it. With my "church smile" on my face, I kept going. And going. And going... through two more miscarriages... and more of the same treatment by pious Xtians who think babies who are killed by abortionists are more valuable than babies who die in their mother's belly of natural causes.
Pro-life? How about Pro-political agenda? If they valued life the way they claim, then they would share in the grief of women who experience miscarriages, not just the ones that help promote their political agenda.