by Jeanie Fritz
When the pregnancy test was positive, I couldn’t believe it. I tried another test, and then another one. After years of infertility, I had used dozens of pregnancy tests, holding my breath while waiting for the results. Now the test was positive. I was finally pregnant.
For the next few weeks, my husband and I began dreaming and planning. I started collecting ideas for our nursery; we discussed names. I bought a little pair of shoes, planning to use them for our pregnancy announcement photo. We also started to tell close family and friends. We were elated.
Then, one Monday, I started to experience severe back pain. During my seventh week of pregnancy, I watched with growing sadness as my obstetrician showed me the empty ultrasound screen. My baby was gone. My womb was empty.
One in five women experience a confirmed miscarriage; many women suspect that they have miscarried but never know for sure. To the world of science, miscarriage is termed spontaneous abortion and occurs because of chromosomal abnormalities in the growing embryo or fetus. But to a mother and a family that experience miscarriage, science offers little comfort.
I desperately yearned for my baby. When I lost it, I experienced crushing grief. Was my little one a boy or a girl? What would he or she have looked like? What personality would my child have had? Our sovereign God knits life together in a mother’s womb, so why did He allow my baby to be conceived and then die before ever entering the world? How could miscarriage be reconciled with a good and merciful God? I struggled with these questions.
The nagging question of why still haunted me.
As I grieved, I talked to other women. Many had their own miscarriage story to tell, and most mothers also had an explanation for miscarriage that gave them comfort. Some said they felt that God allowed them to experience the miscarriage so that they could comfort others who experience it also. Those who had been previously infertile said that it was a comfort to know that they could conceive.
One thing that became very apparent to me was that we live in a fallen world. God’s pronouncement that Eve would bring forth children in pain and grief was a result of original sin. I formerly though that this Scripture referred to labor pains; but after my miscarriage, I started to feel that the verse may relate to the entirety of the child-bearing experience. Miscarriage, like disease, accidents, and other tragedies, results from sin’s curse.
However, the nagging question of why God would allow my baby to die before birth still haunted me. In other words, why does a loving God allow miscarriages to happen, especially to women who value life so highly and yearn to give it? I prayed about these questions for many weeks.
I came to see how God’s mercy pervades the experience of miscarriage.
Through talking to God, I came to see how God’s mercy pervades the experience of miscarriage. A child who enters Heaven before being born never experiences pain, injury, or hurt. They never cry; they never know hunger or thirst. They never suffer the pain of disease or the grief of death. They never experience the painful consequences of their own sin or the sin of others. Instead, they see Heaven, God, Jesus Christ, the angels, and the saints as soon as they become conscious. How could I wish for my baby to enter a sin-cursed world when he or she now experiences the joys of eternity without the grief of this life?
During the early stages of grief, I found it difficult to understand why my unborn baby’s life was snuffed out so suddenly and inexplicably. However, with time, I have come to see that God’s mercies are new every morning and His love never fails.