In October 1988, President Reagan proclaimed October as National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. “When a child loses his parents, they are called an orphan. When a spouse loses his or her partner, they are called a widow or a widower. When parents lose a child, there isn’t a word to describe them. This month recognizes the loss so many parents experience across the United States and around the world. It is also meant to inform and provide resources for parents who have lost children due to miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, molar pregnancy, stillbirths, birth defects, SIDS and other causes.”
On September 28, 2006, the U.S. House passed a resolution recognizing the movement to make October 15 of each year as National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day.
While there are many voices out there that will tell you that it’s not a baby, it’s just a clump of cells and it doesn’t matter, I want you to know that your loss does matter.
That sadness that you feel, the tears that you still have years later, the feeling of wondering what that child would be like… it’s real pain.
You aren’t crazy.
You have a right to feel sad.
You did suffer a loss.
The loss of a baby, not a clump of cells.
And you deserve to grieve that loss without being told that your loss was insignificant.
Now, I realize that there are many on the other side of the spectrum that feel that ending a pregnancy isn’t ending a life. And if you are one of those women, I want you to know that you have the right to your opinion and your choice to not be a parent, but don’t you dare tell me that it’s not a baby.
From the moment of conception, the instant of fertilization, your baby’s genes and sex are set. If the sperm has a Y chromosome, your baby will be a boy. If it has an X chromosome, the baby will be a girl. The egg stays in the fallopian tube for about 3 to 4 days. But within 24 hours of being fertilized, it starts dividing fast into many cells. It keeps dividing as it moves slowly through the fallopian tube to the uterus. Its next job is to attach to the lining of uterus. This is called implantation. Some women notice spotting for 1 or 2 days around the time of implantation. The lining of the uterus gets thicker and the cervix is sealed by a plug of mucus. It will stay in place until the baby is ready to be born.
This isn’t my opinion. This isn’t conjecture. It is proven scientific fact. All of this happens before most women even know they are pregnant. It is a baby.
It is a baby, just not a fully formed baby that is ready to live outside of its mother’s womb yet.
I realize that it is not going to make you feel good to know that ending a pregnancy through an abortion is more than just getting rid of a clump of cells. It might even make you feel regret or remorse for that decision, knowing that the clump of cells you are getting rid of has all the genetic code necessary to develop into a fully formed person—a baby. Well, I’m not going to sugar-coat it for you because you chose to end your pregnancy. And despite what we are constantly told, that is not an empowering choice for women.
But I didn’t choose to end my pregnancy, you see, I personally lost a baby to a miscarriage in June 2010. I helplessly went through the process of a miscarriage with no choice at all and nothing that I could do to save that “clump of cells” so it could further develop into a baby.
At that point, I already had two beautiful, healthy little boys. I never imagined that my third pregnancy would be anything other than what I had experienced with my first two pregnancies. But it was very different. And for reasons unknown to us and the doctor, the pregnancy ended in a miscarriage. We were devastated. As I sit here, even now, I have tears in my eyes thinking about what that baby might have been like today. Why am I sad? I don’t know. I can’t really explain it. I never met this child. But it is still a loss. A loss that 1 in 4 women will experience. And even though we have never met these babies, we still love them.
It is a baby. Any woman who has actually been through pregnancy knows that her body changes, you feel that life inside of you move and kick. That’s not a clump of cells that are meaningless. Each of those cells has a specific purpose. Some will continue dividing and form the brain, heart, lungs, kidneys…some will become fingers and toes…each of those cells has a genetic code that defines it as the beginning of a life. It is not a random clump of cells. It. Is. A. Baby.