I recently spoke with a friend who works in the pro-life movement and told her that my mom had suffered three or four miscarriages. A few days later, I was talking to my mom on the phone and she corrected me on the number of her miscarriages. I winced as I held the phone a little tighter and tried to grasp what my mom just told me. I was missing nine siblings. Nine. Nine little lives that would never be. Nine babies I would never know, nine friends I would never have, nine people I would never get to share life’s adventures with. I can’t explain why it hit me so hard right then that I didn’t have these siblings.
According to my mom, “After a miscarriage, I initially felt disappointment and sadness. Sometimes I felt like I did something wrong. Was it because I ran upstairs, did I eat something wrong, did I think something wrong, was I not excited enough, is God mad at me, am I being punished? Sometimes I felt angry, like I was tricked. Sometimes I felt like God used my womb to fast-track souls to heaven. Many women fear miscarriage in the first trimester, but once you’ve had a miscarriage, the fear can be overwhelming in future pregnancies. Miscarriage certainly challenges your trust in God. Suffering is miserable, but it isn’t pointless. God uses your suffering, not only in your life but also in the lives of others. I learned to hang onto God through the deepest valleys. And maybe it was really God who was hanging onto me.”
The Mayo Clinic defines miscarriage as “the spontaneous loss of a pregnancy before the 20th week. About 10 to 20 percent of known pregnancies end in miscarriage.” When you think about it, that’s a considerable number. It’s even more astonishing when you realize that it’s only 10 to 20 percent of known pregnancies. The Mayo Clinic goes on to say that the true number of miscarriages is likely higher due to the miscarriages that happen when women are unaware that they are pregnant.
When I was 11 years old, my mom sat my siblings and I down in the living room. One of my mom’s closest friends was there in the room because she had just accompanied my mom to a doctor’s appointment. My dad would have gone with my mom, but he was fighting an ugly case of the flu and was cooped up in bed all day. She told us that she had just gone to the doctor and found out that she was miscarrying a baby. I sat there in silence. I didn’t know what to say. My 11-year-old self didn’t grasp the fact that my siblings and I had just lost a little sibling. I knew my mom suffered her first miscarriage about 12 years before this time, but I never gave it much thought. I understood that life was lost and that we would never have the opportunity to meet the baby this side of Heaven, but it didn’t sink in. I don’t remember anything else about the conversation.
It wasn’t until I was in college, when girls around my age started getting married and having babies, that I began to understand the impact a miscarriage can have on a woman. The thought of a life that could have been but wasn’t because God took it away seemed wrong and unfair to the woman and all those who cared about her. Why would God give a woman a baby, only to take it away? It seems so harsh. But as believers, we know that we live in a fallen, sin-ridden world, and until the Lord returns and restores all things, there will be hurt and suffering (see Ecclesiastes 11:5, Isaiah 55:8-9, and Revelation 21:5). God doesn’t explain everything to us, He just asks us to trust Him. So, I will. I will mourn my siblings that could have been, but I will still put my trust in the Lord.
Cassidy Rich is an Administrative Assistant at Family Research Council.