I took a meal to a church family a while back and on the way to their home my daughter asked what had happened – why they needed us to bring them a meal.
I almost told her that it was because they had lost a baby. But I wasn’t sure that was the best way to describe it to a child. After all, they hadn’t misplaced their baby. Their baby hadn’t gone missing. Their baby wasn’t going to magically turn up like change that had fallen between the couch cushions. They wouldn’t be surprised by their baby’s sudden appearance in some deep crevice of their house.
Their baby wasn’t lost. Their baby was gone from this earth for good.
So I told her their baby died. Because that’s really what happened.
And as the words exited my mouth, her face turned from smiling to somber. Because she knows what it means for a baby to die.
“Their baby died like Micah?” she asked. And I confirmed that this was in fact what had happened.
“I don’t know why babies die,” she said.
And my response?
“Neither do I.”
Because it will never make sense.
Miscarriage. Stillbirth. Pregnancy loss in any capacity. Sure, these things can all be classified as a loss. But more than that, they are each a form of death.
They will break your body and your heart. And as is common with death, they will sink you into the deepest trenches of grief.
Pregnancy loss isn’t the loss of the idea of a baby. It’s the loss of an actual life. It’s death. It’s a loss that deserves to be mourned. And those who experience it need to be cared for. With meals and hugs and sympathy cards. With compassion and more compassion. With helping hands and open hearts and words of validation.
My young daughter understands this. And I hope you will too.