Birth and death seem to be some of the most emotional experiences in our lives. I remember when I had a still birth in my family and a friend thinking to be helpful said “It is better to lose the baby before birth, than to lose them as a child after you get to know them.” I have given this idea a lot of consideration. My conclusion is that death is death, and no matter when death happens we have loss and grief. The greater the love the greater the loss. It can be harder not to have pictures or memories of a lost loved one. It can be harder to never be able to touch, or see, or talk to them alive.
It is so sad to lose a baby before life really begins, or soon after birth. It is so sad to go to the hospital to deliver a baby and not be able to take one home with you. It can leave a big hole in hopes and dreams and plans for a family to have this kind of loss. Miscarriage can be just as devastating of a loss. I have found this out personally and am surprised at how devastating even the death of a fetus in the womb can be. I group still birth, miscarriage, and sudden infant death under “infant death” because these are babies that were wanted, planned for, cared for, and are loved but lost.
I have had a couple of friends that have given their babies up for adoption. In both cases these mothers gave their children to other families because they loved their child. I believe in most cases birth parents loved their child enough to give them up for adoption. I believe this kind of loss is similar to infant death. One difference is that in most cases it was a choice. In some adoptions the birth parents can even have contact and see that child grow. I think this is an amazing and wonderful way to help ease the loss of the birth parent.
I have a friend aborted a baby because in her country, culture and religion having a child out of marriage can be punishable by death. I do not know the reasons for most abortions, nor do I want to. It seems the most painful way to lose a baby. It is both giving up a child and losing one to death. I must say that until my personal experience I do not think I could have sympathized with mothers who choose abortion. But now I have much compassion for them. Instead of choosing to give life to a child, and share that child with barren parents; they choose to end the life inside of them. I am sure that most mothers do not think of it as death since there is not a birth, and that is what we are taught. I have learned that it still feels like a death to lose a child in a womb.
Dreams for the Future
I have always wanted to adopt and some day I am sure that dream will be realized. I know now that I could never tell that adopted child that their birth parents didn’t love them. I would be so eternally grateful for the gift of a child that I think all I could do is love those birth parents for sharing that child with me. So many families are childless or want more children through adoption. I know that the gift of a baby would be a miracle to them. I know having a child is not comfortable. I know the worry of having a less than perfect figure after birth. I am sure the sacrifice to give birth and share life brings so much greater joy; than the pain felt by the death and loss of that life by choice. My heart goes out to all the mothers around the world who know the pain of having a baby die.