Mother was the oldest of 5 children and Dad was the youngest of 13. Between the two of them,
they wanted a large family of their own.  I was the first, born 2 months premature, followed by
my brother, born 5 weeks preemie. Although we were born nearly three years apart, both births
were close calls according to Mom. She said she was lucky to have her two kids.

But they still wanted that "large family" and for the next several years, tried in vain to have more
children. Their first two miscarriages were very early in the pregnancy, but the third and last
one died at five months. He was a boy.

So, what happens when death comes before a live birth? The Supreme Court has been
struggling for decades to determine if a fetus is a viable human being and it's not my intent for
this column to add to this debate. But whether death comes before a live birth, or after, it's still
a death and it still results in real grief.

Grief is grief. It's caused by loss. When someone is expecting, they are expecting to give birth
to a living child, one they will hold in their arms, touch, feel, kiss, and love for many years to
come. They believe they are carrying a child who will one day grow up, have children and take
care of their parents in their old age. There are a lot of hopes and dreams placed into a
pregnancy. The loss is multiple. For not only does a miscarriage result in the loss of the child,
there's a loss of hope, a loss of confidence. All of grief's emotions are present: shock, denial,
anger, sorrow, fear, loneliness, guilt, depression.

Suddenly there is a room filled with baby-things, but no baby.  There are people who say, "So
when are you due?" not knowing you are no longer expecting. The world screams out,
"Where's the baby?" and there isn't one. In most cases, there's no grave site to visit, no
headstone to pray over, no record this child ever existed, fetus or otherwise, except for solely
in the bereaved and broken hearts of the family. It's just gone. But the loss is real! The grief is
real!

Grief comes in many shapes and sizes. The loss of a spouse of 50 years, the loss of a small
child to cancer, the loss of a teenager in a traffic accident, the loss of a beloved due to a
violent tragedy or homicide, or the loss due to miscarriage ...  Yes, each loss is different. Yet,
each loss results in grief, and each grief seems unbearable to the griever. No matter the shape
and size of your grief, the laws of grief still apply.

Grief hurts. Nobody can say any mere words that will make your grief disappear. The healing
process takes time and you can't get there without pain. It's going to hurt and it's going to hurt
for a long time. But you can do this.

Seek solace in a support group. Not sure where to turn? Contact the National Share Office for
pregnancy and infant loss support at
www.NationalShareOffice.com or call them toll free at
1-800-821-6819. They can help you find a local support group and they have additional
resources that may be helpful for you.

For a healing salve, spend time in prayer. God grieves when we grieve and He knows your
pain even before you speak that first word. Let Him hear the voice of your heart and comfort
you with His peace.

Grief isn't forever, even though it feels like it. As long as you love someone and they are absent
from you, you will grieve. Grief is caused by loss and until that day when you are miraculously
reunited, you will grieve for them. But that day
WILL come. God promised. Grief isn't forever,
but LOVE is.

1 Corinthians 13:8 states,
"Love never dies." There will come a time when you will be
reunited with your loved one. Yes, even a child who died before birth has a reunion scheduled
to meet his or her parents in that Heavenly home. Keep that appointed time close in your
thoughts to help you get through the tough times. You can do this. Your life may never again
be the same, but it can still be a very good life. God still has many good things planned for you.
Another of His promises found in Jeremiah 2:9!

I always believed my mother handled her miscarriages with great dignity. I don't remember ever
hearing her cry although I 'm sure she did. The few times through the years that she mentioned
the miscarriages, I could see the sorrow in her eyes, even many years later. She wrote down
the dates of her miscarriages in our Family Bible and every Bible she ever carried for the next
40 years; although they were dates I knew she would never forget in her own heart. Death
dates with no names and no birth dates, but dates she grieved over her entire adult life.

At the age of 65, when cancer began to win the battle and Mom and I prepared to say
goodbye, she wasn't afraid. She knew where she was going, and she knew who would be
there to greet her. She called it "that grand reunion in the sky" where she would finally get to
see Jesus face to face, and to hold her lost babies and make up for lost time. Her joy has now
been made complete. Another of His promises.

Although I don't pretend to understand the grief of losing a child or the grief of a miscarriage, I
do know that God is faithful in His promises. I also know that He can give you peace to get
through the grief. May God bless you and bring you to that place of peace. ~ Ferna
When Death Comes Before Birth
© Ferna Lary Mills


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