Last week, the Duggar family (20 Kids and counting) made headlines when they held a funeral service and shared photos of their stillborn 19 week-old baby.
Here’s why I think it was right, and important for them to show their child to the world. Our culture is fighting against itself- on one hand, we tell women that their babies are “products of conception” or “tissue,” and on the other hand, we cheer the tiny ones, the premature babies that beat the odds and survive despite being born weighing a pound or less. We fight for the prosecution of abusers who end an unborn baby’s life through their violent acts, while fighting for doctors and policies that end the life of the unborn by the thousands, ever day. We’re at war with our own conscience.
And there’s an unspoken pressure on mothers of stillborn or miscarried children, to grieve quickly and quietly and then move on, because, after all, they weren’t people yet. Even greater than that is the pressure put on post-abortive women to dehumanize their baby, their decision, to bottle any grief, since it’s just Judeo-Christian guilt trips about a person that didn’t even exist. “Abortion is good for women,” they say.
So we have 40 years of collective national guilt, of grief, unwept. We can’t see them, can’t acknowledge their humanity, because if we let ourselves face their humanity, we’d have to face our own decisions, our own selfishness. We’d see the hell we’ve wrought on our children and our own bodies and our consciences.
And now, we have generations of women dependent on anti-anxiety medication, depression medication, numbing pains that she’s not supposed to feel, according to the pamphlet, and yet she has nowhere to go with the overwhelming sadness.
So when Michelle Duggar, bereaved mother, very simply names her child, honors her child, grieves her “non-viable” child, we are all compelled to stop and to see her. Jubilee Shalom Duggar, a child who was and who should have been. And while they grieve as a family, I believe we are seeing some things in a public light that we need to see, that human life is precious, that every lost child, through natural or abortive means, is a loss of a child and should be grieved.
If you’re post-abortive, there is help and hope for you. Go to http://www.rachelsvineyard.org or to a local crisis pregnancy center; they’ll be able to help you find resources to heal.