Monday, December 18, 2017

Abortion and Miscarriage Grief

I've been seeing a lot of talk swirling around recently after Planned Parenthood shared a quote with an article that claims abortion is the same thing as miscarriage.

Grieving parents who've lost a baby through miscarriage or stillbirth are clearly and understandably upset because of the reality of the stark differences. One is a deliberate taking of life and the other is an unintentional loss of life. This is obviously different.

But as someone who has experienced both, I'm here to share my thoughts.

While the losses are undeniably different, the grief over the losses can be very much the same (I know this is not a popular statement) because each results in the loss of one's own child and all their lives would have held. Not everyone regrets their abortion, so I'm not talking about them. I'm referring to the millions of women (and men), who do regret their decision to end the life of their unborn baby.

In February 2009, I chose for a heartbeat to cease within my body at 6 weeks gestation, and a year later another heartbeat would cease within my body that wasn't my choice. A baby who grew big and strong until she was suddenly lost 2 days past her due date. Both hearts beat on in Eternity. Both hearts changed mine. The ceasing of one left me with regret while the ceasing of the other left me with peace. The difference being the surrender to God's will.

As alone as I feel at times in loving and missing Lily, I feel even more so about Luke. I wonder how could I expect others to miss him when I didn't even know him? How could I expect others to love him when I loved him too late?

I feel like a fraud and a phony, when I know others believe I have no reason or right to grieve. After all, it was a choice I made. Some of the same people that validate my grieving Lily believe my grieving Luke is invalid. There are the rare friends who honor and remember Luke alongside me as well.

Doesn't regret flow out of choices that we wish we could re-do? Why do we have grace for other forms of regret, but not for this?

Once post-abortive women and men come to understand the depth of the painful reality of their choice, the last thing they need is further condemnation piled on top of them. What they need is compassion, love, grace, and mercy. Just as Christ has given each and every one of us.

Would we rather women not regret their abortions? We should be grateful for the empowerment of the witness of those who have awakened to the truth of the wrong they have done. Who better to testify to the ravages of abortion than those who have been through it?

Our compassion should be fueled by taking into consideration the confusion created by abortion being sanctioned by the law and by much of society. After all, if it's legal, it must be right and good. Living in a nation that constantly bombards us with messages of "choice," "rights" and "look our for number one," why should we be shocked when people actually live by these all-pervasive messages?

When we deny women the right to grieve, we are saying that that child's life who was aborted didn't really matter. Does that life not deserve to be grieved and acknowledged? Do the sins of the parents wipe out the validity and sanctity of the aborted child?

We fight for life and say we value it, yet why don't we give room and grace to those who've lost a baby in any way? Why do we silence these women and men and want them to "move on" without pause? Why do we tell them they can have another baby as if that somehow makes it okay that this baby died?

Unashamedly I say that both my babies lives matter. I grieve the loss of both of them. I have two children and no lack of understanding from others will change that truth.

It was a gift the Lord gave me when He opened up my heart to love both Lily and Luke as much as I do. And because of how much I love them, I miss them with that same great measure. The grief, in turn, is also a gift, for even that points to the sanctity of their lives and each life, no matter how brief! The agony of regret and guilt adds another dimension to the complicated grief over Luke.

As I've processed my abortion experience and pain over the past almost 9 years, I've grown to have grace and compassion for 19-year-old me, who chose to have an abortion. At that age, I convinced myself that somehow this page in the story of my life could be erased, torn out. That's what the deceiver whispered in my ear. But, now I see so clearly. It was a lie. And I was in such a place of vulnerability and desperation that I was willing, eager even, to believe it.

I realize this could happen to anyone given the right, or shall I say wrong, circumstances. I pray you will remember the same next time you come across a woman who is grieving her child lost through abortion.


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