As I wrote about Monday, today is a painful day for many women and men. For some, perhaps it is bittersweet as they snuggle their rainbow baby. Others might have a child yet suffer miscarriage after miscarriage, devastated as the age gap between their youngest or only child and the next sibling grows and grows.
Today is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Day (PAIL). Many also include those who are infertile and unable to conceive. I dare propose that not a single person exists who doesn't know someone who has lost a baby; some stats say one in four women will suffer a miscarriage in her lifetime while other stats say that it is actually one in four pregnancies. The latter seems closer to home to me since, for one, at least 1/3 to 1/2 of the women I know have had at least one miscarriage. Secondly, any time I am pregnant and join an online group of pregnant women starting at 4-5 weeks (I track things and so we've always known early) it seems that anywhere from 20-30% of the women lose their babies by 14 weeks and then usually at least one or more later. It's heartbreaking and always soul crushing for me, that while I have not suffered a loss, every time I feel a squirm or kick I think of the women yearning to join in my joy who have lost their little one.
I also know the fear, the expectation of loss. Both my mother and her mother lost babies in pregnancy, my grandma losing one at five months. I am four months now and by the grace of God alone have minimal fear, but know I am not guaranteed to kiss a wailing baby in five months nor thereon. But many believe there is a genetic link between maternal pregnancy loss and the likelihood of loss for a woman who is pregnant, and in my soul I have always assumed I would lose a baby at some point. I pray it is not so, yet know I have no control.
Pregnancy is terrifying, in that way, because all you can do is pray and try to make peace with a certain amount of utter helplessness. Even one not prone to anxiety like myself has to admit the thoughts of possible loss exist. Every time the doctor gets the doppler ready at regular checkups, or when the tech looks for the heartbeat during an ultrasound, I find myself holding my breath and not even realizing it. I can only imagine how this must be for women who have experienced the earth-shattering moment in which there is no longer a heartbeat.
I wrote extensively Monday about the subject of PAIL, so if you haven't read it I do encourage you to read that post. But today I wanted to share this; a friend who suffered a devastating loss of her own, but who now is within a week of me in March 2016 with her own rainbow baby, shared this and the comments made me cry. Many women, including her own mother, simply commented with the age(s) their child(ren) would be. The ages ranged from infants to children in their 30s, like myself, and it was heart wrenching.
My hope in focusing on these things this week is but one thing: that those who suffer might find comfort in the Lord and that us who have not suffered in this way would listen and care.
Finally, I remind you of this dear family who lost their precious Gabriel, a beloved son who would be celebrating his first birthday later this month if life went the way they had planned. Instead, they now face thousands and thousands of dollars in medical bills every month resulting from his early birth and loss, rubbing salt in their open wounds. If you feel led to bless them with any amount of financial help, it would mean so much to me and to them! They have not asked me to do this any way, neither now nor my first post referencing them. I simply hope to be a part of gospel salve and grace balm applied to open wounds.
To give, please go to this link:
Wight Family Medical Bills
Today, pray for those you know who have suffered pregnancy or infant loss, be they openly broken or even if they seem fine. No matter how we each respond to death, it is still death and reveals our need of the source of life.