With infant mortality rates in the US around the lowest in human history, not many of us have close friends or family members who have experienced the heart-rending grief of losing a baby.
Or do we?
It may surprise you to learn that while post-birth mortality rates have dropped so fantastically, the first trimester miscarriage rate still stands at a staggering 20%. One OB told her recently bereaved patient that, on average, a woman will have five pregnancies in order to achieve three live births.This means there are tens - if not hundreds - of thousands of women mourning the death of a child. A child they never got to see, hold, or smell, but a child nevertheless. Moreover, since the early 70's, millions of women have also begun to mourn children lost to abortion. It may take only days, or possibly many years, but most mothers eventually begin to sense at some level that that what science called "a mass of tissue" was, in fact, a human life.
Why do those of us fortunate enough to have never personally experienced a miscarriage not know about this? Simple: very few mothers actually talk about it! For a variety of reasons, the grief that these women experience is largely ignored - written off as a fact of life or a necessary act of nature - especially since in the majority of cases the child in question was malformed or had impossible genetic errors.
And so the women go home from their lonely doctor appointments, tell their husbands, possibly their mothers, and maybe a close friend or two, and then proceed to grieve what even they have trouble believing was a real baby in relative silence. Many of these women attend City's Edge. It is our deep hope and desire that this silence be broken, that our missing children will be acknowledged, and that we and our families may be healed from our grief.
This brief series is our attempt to shed light and start conversations on this painful, but important subject.