The Art of Honoring a Miscarriage
I once heard it said that married people don’t just wake up one day and wonder if they’re really married. A person might wake up and have all sorts of questions about being married to the person with morning breath laying next to them, but it’s a rare case to hear of a couple who woke up and felt the need to rush to the courthouse for fear that their wedding and subsequent marriage possibly didn’t count. The argument goes, as I once heard it, that our culture celebrates weddings and marriage in such a way that it’s hard to doubt whether or not a couple’s wedding was good enough for the couple to count as being married. We might not do a great job of fighting for those marriages to work, but most everyone loves a good wedding.
However, since my wife and I experienced a miscarriage last week, I’ve met many other couples who have also experienced a miscarriage – many of them who feel like a miscarriage is something that hides in the shadows of their family history and rarely gets talked about. I’ve met moms and dads along the way who wonder if that little baby who once lived at the center of their lives actually counted for anything. I was given a handwritten note from an anonymous couple at my church who have experienced over a dozen miscarriages during the last 3 years and are still struggling to tell their friends and family that they’re even beginning to try to have children. Somehow, our culture has built a culture of shame and misinformation about miscarriages that has left many couples feeling as though they are alone and wondering if the life of their baby is something worth grieving and, if so, how they should go about honoring that child.
What I’m about to offer is not a how-to guide, it’s simply the story of how our family chose to say goodbye to Baby Tiny. We felt like we needed to honor the child that God had given us, even if we never had the chance to hold her – I didn’t want to wake up one day, 7 years from now, and wonder if that baby counted. It’s hard for a story to be redeemed if that story goes untold – and, because we hold fast to the belief in a God who writes a good story, we wanted to share this chapter of ours with you.
Because we live in Southern California, we made a drive down to a secluded little beach just north of San Diego for a chance to say goodbye to Baby Tiny.
Our friends, Jim and Yo, along with their children and my wife’s sister, joined us for a time to honor our baby and remember the hopes and dreams that we now had to let go of.
Each family member was given a handmade Lei to release into the ocean in remembrance of Baby Tiny. (Kate, in true Kate fashion, didn’t want to let go of her Lei because it made her feel like a princess. So, she wore it during our little makeshift ceremony)
The Lei represents “Aloha” and love – placing ours in the Pacific was a chance for us to say goodbye to our loved one until, as our 4-year-old Carter reminds us daily, we meet Baby Tiny one day in Heaven.
We watched in silence as the waves began to carry each of our flowers out to sea.
As a family, we each prayed for our little one and for each other. That God would draw near to us and help us not forget how much we loved Baby Tiny.
As my wife and I have mourned the death of Baby Tiny, I’ve been surrounded with a community who is willing to mourn with us. I cannot begin to put into words how grateful I am for the ways in which our local church community, as well as the global #kidmin community, has surrounded us in prayers and kind words – thanks, friends.
It’s good to know we’re not alone.
And it’s good to know that Baby Tiny isn’t alone either.