Friday, March 27, 2015

Why Miscarriage Matters

It has been ten years since my last miscarriage. Over that time, the pain of those losses has softened. I don't think about those little lives as much, mostly because they are a permanent golden thread woven into the very fabric of my existence. 

They are me.
I am them.

But every now and then, something will come up that puts them at the very forefront of my every waking thought. So much, that I can't possibly think about doing anything else. I am their mother, after all, and if I don't stand up for them, nobody will.

This is one of those moments.

I just finished reading a news story relating to the woman in Colorado. The one who stabbed a pregnant woman repeatedly and then ripped her unborn baby from her womb. The mother survived.

The baby did not.

A judge has now ruled that the woman will not be charged with murder because the state of Colorado does not recognize the fetus as a person.

Whatever emotion that stirs in you, allow me to offer my perspective. If one fetus is recognized has a human being - a person - then they all have to be recognized as such. And if they're all recognized as such, then, by that definition, abortion is murder.

When I was going through my years of miscarriage, I kept hearing terms like "spontaneous abortion" or "loss of fetal tissue."

Ugly, ugly words.

But the truth is, if those little babies, babies who had a heart beat at some point in time, babies who kicked and fluttered around inside of me, and who were most definitely wanted and loved; those babies could not be recognized as babies, humans, or people, because that would change the whole argument for abortion.

There are those who will argue that abortion has nothing to do with the case in Colorado. And that's the convenient truth, isn't it? The woman didn't commit murder. It was just a fetus. She committed abortion - it just wasn't the mother's choice this time.

Because if one is just a fetus, then they're all just fetuses.

And that's why miscarriage matters. The babies I lost were absolutely human beings in every sense of the word. Why? Because I loved them. I still love them. That love will never dissolve or fade. That bond, that love, that loss I feel... it's as real as the air you're breathing at this very moment. I don't think I could feel that way for a bunch of tissue.

Miscarriage forces everyone - no matter what side of the debate you're on - to take a step back. You can't talk about it without considering the implications it has on our "legal" definitions. And so as a society, we don't talk about it because it grays what is supposed to be a black and white argument.

People are free to make their choices. But every choice has consequences. And as someone who had eight "spontaneous abortions," I'll never understand why someone would willingly choose to do that to themselves on purpose.

Regardless, I do know this. My babies were more human than the woman in Colorado will ever be.

And I'll go toe to toe with anyone who says otherwise.


  1. As someone who is pregnant right now and has had an abortion in the past I can really tell you exactly how it feels to be on both sides of the story (for me). My first pregnancy was a shock, I was young and stupid and had no desire or resources (emotionally, financially...) to be a responsible parent. I can tell you now that that baby and myself are a lot better off that it doesn't exist. Now I am 5 months pregnant. A pregnancy that has been very much planned with a man I very much love and oh - how I love this little person growing inside me. If anything were to happen to him/her I would be distraught... Heartbroken. I would grieve in a way I could honestly say I didn't for my first pregnancy. So what's the difference? What makes one my baby and the other not... It's precisely my intention. That's why it's so difficult to make black and white laws - because intentions are what murk the waters between life and fetus. An unwanted child of rape? A life or a fetus? To the woman who has to live with the horrific ordeal of having her body and choices taken from her? A fetus... And I support that. I support choice. The life inside me now is my baby because I've MADE it my baby... I've pushed that intention on those tiny little toes and soft cheeks.
    So please know I hold your hand when you think of those babies you've loved and lost but I also hold the hand of the woman making an incredibly difficult decision. You've said yourself that this debate isn't black and white and you're right - so don't try and make it by saying "my miscarriage makes abortion murder" because that's not fair to other women who've suffered differently from you.

  2. Cindy is being gracious in her response. "I can tell you now that that baby and myself are a lot better off that it doesn't exist." It may be true that you are "a lot better off," but that isn't necessarily true for that "baby." I have so many dear friends who are vibrant, contributing, and compassionate human beings who were adopted as infants. Please, do not assert that they would've been better off not existing. The world is incredibly blessed by their very existence.

  3. I am not sure what country you are from but here in the UK children's services are over populated. Children in care are more at risk from crime and poverty. There is also a huge controversy at the moment regarding children's services and pedophile rings. Of course there are some wonderful stories of children being born and then adopted into lovely wholesome families. From my research that isn't necessarily the norm. Those children seem to be the lucky ones. Our entire social services is under staffed, under paid and the stories that come out of this system would turn anyone cold. Up until (IIRC) as late as the 80's my country shipped thousands of children off to Australia to only be enslaved and abused. The whole thing was completely covered up. Please believe me that I didn't make a flippant decision, that it was agonising and it took a real long time to make. I honestly do regret getting myself into that position but I in no way regret the choice I made. I feel grateful to have had that choice. I honestly and truly believe that my country is better off without a child in its system (where who knows what could become of it) and a single mother on benefits (meaning my child would also be at risk of crime and poverty). I think the imagine that every child is wonderfully adopted into beautiful homes with loving parents is very idealistic and terribly naive.

  4. Gosh. That does sound awful. How about for every comment you leave on a personal blog, insisting that the author agree with you or shut up, you write an equally vehement letter to your government, demanding that it fix the broken system? Abortion can't be the only answer. (I realize this may come across as very idealistic and terribly naive...)