Sunday, December 2, 2007

Indignant Protest

I'm writing tonight to vent a little about what I see as a double standard in Christian circles that has caused pain to myself and some of my very good friends-- and plenty of women I know nothing about, I am sure.

So here's my beef; do we truly believe that "life begins at conception"? I know that in general Evangelical Christians 'talk the talk', but how many of you really 'walk the walk' in the lives of your sisters suffering from infertility and miscarriage? If you really believe that an unborn child at six weeks gestation is a living human being, endowed by God with all the aspects of the child carried to term and born into the world, then how can you not extend the same grace to the grieving mother of the one that you do to the mother of the other?

Now I don't pretend that all women feel the same way about their losses. Some women, blessed with fertile wombs and many children may possibly not know of their loss until it is past and may experience nothing more than a passing regret. But please, don't expect that the women who have prayed and hoped and wept and pleaded before the Lord for years for a child, will miscarry and then be back in church singing hymns with a joyful heart in a month.

So what exactly are we asking for? A little respect, I suppose you could say. An acknowledgment that our grief is just as genuine as the bereaved mother of the six-month-old, and may be just as long-lasting. An acknowledgment of the existence, the humanity, the legitimacy of our children that have died. I want to be able to state, without fear of ridicule or odd looks, that I have four children-- two here on earth, and two in heaven with the Lord--two that I will meet for the first time when I meet my Saviour. I want people to stop expecting bereaved mothers to be "normal" since it was "only a miscarriage, after all". I want my friends who are still walking in the newness of their grief to feel perfectly safe in expressing that grief. It is a child, not a biological accident, right? So that makes us mommies. Please be kind....

Is that so much to ask?


Denise said...

I could not agree with your more, Lis. Your have written eloquently and heart-felt, yet addressed a tough issue from all viewpoints. I applaud your courage (would that I had it!) and bless you for your kind, sensitive, Godly heart. *hug*

Kiddies in the Sun said...

This is a tough one, an issue that affects women in different ways I think. I have had two miscarriages. For me - this is just me personally - I have not felt as you say, the same as if I were to lose Collin or Emma at this point. For me there is a big difference between that. But if someone else feels more strongly about it, I don't think less of them or think that it is wrong. I think you are right that if you haven't experienced it, then you really don't understand, but I also feel that just because you have experienced it, it doesn't mean that you will feel the devastation that some feel. So far, I have not felt devastated by my miscarriages and some people have made me feel less feeling because I didn't feel as strongly as some have felt. Not to say that if didn't effect me or cause me great sadness. And please don't say that it is because I haven't wanted to get pregnant bad enough, that is definitely not true. Well, I hope this makes sense and you understand I am not disagreeing with you at all! Just wanted to give a little bit of a different perspective.

Denise said...

Rachel is right that losing a child through miscarriage affects women in different ways. I do not think grieving a lot and remembering it with sadness for the rest of your life or feeling regretful of it, but it not hurting very much are either right or wrong. They are feelings.

However, Lisi's point (I believe) was that we women ALL need to reach out to ladies we know who have experienced a miscarriage (or more) and treat their loss as you would the loss of any living infant/toddler you know.

Because no one "met" the miscarried baby, often the bereaved parents are supported for the first few weeks, but FEW remember to comfort or ask them about how they are after about a month.

Some women won't need this love and comfort poured out, and it will be fairly obvious if the woman is done grieving. But many of Us grieve in continual pain and then get strange looks when we break down in tears out of "nowhere" (when it's not actually nowhere, there is often a grief trigger that may have been recognized if the lost baby had been remembered as a living child now dead).

I appreciated your posting this Lisi, and honestly before I miscarried I didn't know HOW to act toward women with miscarriages, except to try to love them and acknowledge their loss. But if we women were encouraged to talk more of the pain in miscarriage (as with the pain of infertility), I think it wouldn't feel like such a shame to still be crying 3 months later (or 3 years later).
Love you!

Kiddies in the Sun said...

I agree with you, Denise and Lisi, I was meaning to be in agreement with you in my first comment, but not sure if it was taken that way fully. I do totally agree with you that people need to be nicer. I have had some the worst comments made to me just after the miscarriages. "well, it's better this way" It is awful to get comments like that! I guess it really goes back to feeling empathy for the other person. Thanks Lisi!

Mary said...

i don't really think of it as a double standard. I think of it more as an issue of not understanding that kind of grief. I have never experienced a miscarriage and my heart aches for women who have. However, my heart would ache more for the mother who loses a child, even a child closer to birth or post-birth. Just as in other relationships, I think the longer people know and love someone, the greater the loss and grief when they go to heaven. I would grieve differently at the death of parent, than I have the death of a distant relative. That relative's life is just as valuable and precious, and my minimal grief doesn't say its less precious, its just different based on knowing and loving someone longer. I don't think Christians who haven't had miscarriages have a double standard, its just hard, knowing my nature as a human, to compare losing a child who I don't know and have just started to love, versus losing a person who I have loved and known longer, even months or years longer. I know this especially from watching my own mother go through a frist trimester miscarriage and then a late-term still-birth. Her grief level towards them were so different, as the child she anticipated and "knew" longer had deeper roots in her heart. She didn't think of the younger child as less precious or less-living, they just made different impacts on her.
It seems like you wrote your post out of pain over loss and pain over how people delt with your losses. I'm sorry that people were insensitive to you. However, I don't think it warrants such a harsh judgement of a "double standard" and to generalize such a large group of fellow believers in that way.