Yesterday I found out about a friend from years gone by who had been pregnant with twin daughters and lost both of them. Having had two miscarriages ourselves, my wife and I both fought back tears and said some prayers for that family. The number of people who deal with miscarriages and stillbirths is far higher than most would think, but at the same time it is something that is often left in the shadows, without discussion or contemplation except in the exact moment of loss. Yet for the parents of those children who have their faith in God, the feelings with which they struggle are among the strongest and most polarizing of any in life.
For mothers, the pain is both physical and mental. Though miscarriages and stillbirths do not have the exact same characteristics, in each there are physical issues that have to be overcome and take time to heal. Though the physical pain and trouble is bad enough, oftentimes the emotional and mental toll is even worse. The sorrow at not being able to tend and care for the child, the strain of muted expectation, and the feeling that somehow this is her fault and she is a failure are all rather common emotional struggles for the mother.
Fathers are not immune from the struggle with such events either. Though from the physical perspective there is nothing that has happened to them, the emotional strain is often as strong on them as it is on the mother. The father also has that muted expectation of getting to play with, care for, and love on the child that was coming. But there is also the emotion of helplessness. Fathers generally feel (and rightfully so) that it is their responsibility to protect and watch out for their wives and children, when events such as these occur the father has to deal with the pain that there was nothing he could do, no action he could have taken, to change the outcome. Such a thing is sometimes a hard task for men to overcome.
Yet even with the measures of pain both parents feel at the loss of a child, there are also great measures of thankfulness when the parents have their faith centered in God as they should. There is the thankfulness that the child is safe in peace with the people of God. There are many passages of Scripture that show the recognition of the soul in an unborn child (Jer. 1:5; Psa. 139:14-17; Isa. 49:1; Luke 1:13-15, 41). But the Bible also shows that children do not come into this world with sin held to their charge (1 John 3:4; Eze. 18:20; 2 Cor. 5:10), therefore the child lost in this way has nothing to fear and nothing for which to give an account, the child is safe and secure in every way before the Father.
There is also the thankfulness that the child will not have to endure the temptations, pain, and hardship of life on this earth. There are millions of children who will enter Heaven’s gates never having to have seen the ugly, hateful, and sinful lives of people on this earth. Though there is no greater blessing than the life of a child to parents who love and serve God, there is also the greatest level of worry, care, and concern for that child’s life, future, and spiritual welfare. There can be great thankfulness that no such worry is necessary for the child lost in the womb.
There is comfort for the grieving parents who have lost a child in such a manner. There should also be a renewed sense of urgency to ensure that they live their lives in faithful service to God, so that they might once again be reunited with their child. There is strength in the comfort of God’s Word and in the recognition that we serve a God who understands how it feels to lose a child.
May we ever comfort, strengthen, and encourage those who deal with these emotional and trying times; showing godly love, compassion and guidance with both concern for the souls of the parents and thankfulness for the goodness of the God we serve.