They say that statistically forty percent of pregnancies end in miscarriage. I’ve cognitively known those numbers for a long time, but the funny thing about such statistics is that you never truly think you’ll be a part of them until you are.
When my wife found out she was pregnant with our second child, she sprung the news on me by sending me into the bathroom to fix some plumbing problem with the pregnancy test conspicuously displayed on the counter. Like a guy, I didn’t notice the pregnancy test until she pointed it out because I was trying to fix the problem.
That evening I hugged my wife and our daughter, Lizzy, and said, “We’re a family of four now.”
Unlike our first pregnancy, this one wasn’t a surprise. Since we got married, Abigail and I had wrestled with how the Bible persistently and overwhelmingly describes children as a blessing—“the heritage of the Lord,” as one psalmist penned it. Meanwhile, our society doesn’t.
Our society is paradoxically obsessed with sex and fixated on preventing its natural consequences. We celebrate almost every form of sexual interaction and invest our money in pills and latex. In true American style, we want pleasure on credit—all the fun now with no investment. Meanwhile a major part of the cost of our lack of self-control is abortion, an inherently selfish institution that places our desires over the needs of the next human generation.
Around the time my wife got pregnant, the series of videos detailing how Planned Parenthood was selling aborted baby parts were being released. Just the year before (2014) a similar incriminating secret recording of the NBA Clippers owner Donald Sterling—outing him as racist—resulted in him swiftly being banned from the NBA. However, the videos of Planned Parenthood staff discussing and laughing about the sale of fetal tissue accomplished almost nothing.
As my wife and I listened and read and mourned, we pondered over what we should do. We decided that we wanted our family to stand against the culture, that we wanted to show that children matter by living that example out. As a result, Abigail and I stopped trying to prevent conception, even though we had a six month old.
Three days after the positive pregnancy test and six weeks into the pregnancy, Abigail started bleeding. She went to bed, and we made a doctor’s appointment for the next day. When the doctor asked if Abigail wanted to see the sonogram, she answered, “Not really.” I don’t know of a feeling of loss that can equal the premature vacancy of a womb that held life.
For weeks I didn’t know what I felt or how to help my wife recover. As I held her, I told her I loved her.
“That’s the fifth time you’ve said that this morning,” she said.
I didn’t know what else to say. Much as I love words, they have their limits.
It’s no surprise to me that the greatest distraction and source of joy in the midst of the loss was my daughter. At six months, all her waking hours were dedicated to discovering the world. The world was vast, and her curiosities were simple—can I reach it, how does it feel, what does it taste like? It’s a peaceful simplicity; life in the moment and nothing else.
Even as I watched her puzzle out the world, I remembered how she was born with her umbilical cord wrapped around her neck and body. I’m grateful for the medical team on hand that day, grateful that we got to keep her.
I woke each morning the week after the miscarriage numb at the thought of one lost life, and I couldn’t begin to comprehend the loss that legally permeates our country and our world. I’ve never quite gotten over the realization that humans abort their offspring more frequently than they kill their enemies.
The math is shockingly simple really. Approximations of wartime casualties run between 150 million and 1 billion.[i] Meanwhile, the number of abortions worldwide are estimated to be beyond 1.7 billion.[ii] Human are more likely to kill their children in the womb than their enemies.
A few days before Abigail took that pregnancy test, I set my alarm to ring at five o’clock every afternoon. It’s a simple reminder to pray for the rights of the unborn and the social mindsets that allow us to ignore them and embrace their murder. Five years, three cellphones, and three children later, that alarm is still ringing every day at 5:00 p.m.
Meanwhile the abortion count rises as the voiceless and defenseless die—unheard, discarded, and forgotten.