Friday, December 09, 2011


The Duggars, from the show 19 Kids and Counting, announced recently that they were expecting their 20th baby. Today, however, I heard on the radio that Michelle miscarried during the second trimester. They'll be having a memorial service for the baby.

It's sad, because when you're that far along, the baby has already become a member of the family and you're just waiting to find out what he or she will look like and and be like.

The whole time I was growing up, my grandpa (my mom's dad) always talked about being one of ten kids. They didn't all reach adulthood, though, with what life was like back in the early 1900's, and my grandpa was the only one of the ten who carried the family name to the next generation.

One brother drowned when he was 16, and a sister married, so of course her kids had her husband's name. And Uncle Andy never had children.

When I was getting my Bachelor's degree in Psychology, we had to do a project that required getting some of the family history to create a genogram. I went back a generation further than we were supposed to for the project, because there were issues on the other side of the family that I thought had bearing on my generation. I called my mom to find out about her dad and his siblings, and what she told me rocked what I had known all my life.

My grandfather's mom had ten pregnancies, but four of them ended in miscarriages or stillbirths. Only six of the babies survived. And yet my grandfather said he was one of ten children the way we say we have two arms and two legs. Those four lost babies were as much a part of the family as the six.

So when someone you know miscarries, don't dismiss the loss. They may not have seen and held the baby, but they felt it growing and moving. They had hopes and dreams for the person the baby could become. It is cruel to assure them they'll have another or to remind them of the children they already have. First give them time to grieve the loss of part of the family. It will be easier on them in the long run if they're able to work through the pain before moving on.


Christina said...

Very well-said. It's hard to hear those comments when you've already dreamed of who that little person will be....when they're already a part of your family. Sometimes the best thing you can say is simply, "I'm sorry". That's enough.

Delta Vines said...

Even among women I've known who've had therapeutic abortions, that baby is not forgotten. The body changes, there's a connection to that "sac of cells" as some refer to the child, and it doesn't just go away. To be in the second trimester and lose a child has to be devastating. That little life continues on, in heaven, is my belief. I think the Duggar children can easily say they are "1 of 20". That may be time for the Duggars to realize they are no longer young'uns and her body cannot do the job it once did the way it did it. For the sake of her health, it may be time to put the brakes on procreation.