Healing and Hope for the Parent Who Has Lost a Child Through Miscarriage, Stillbirth, Abortion or Early Infant Death
As a pastor—a shepherd of souls—I find myself, time and time again, meeting people who have suffered the death of a baby, either before or shortly after birth. If you have experienced the great crisis to which I refer, it’s quite possible that you are searching for something—anything—powerful enough to calm the questions that may rage inside your heart.
You may be among the great number of women and men who have planned, prepared and prayed for a child, but the baby was stillborn—dead on arrival. Perhaps you are one of the thousands of parents whose newborn babies lived so short a life as to have hardly truly arrived—babies who died a few hours, days or weeks after birth. Together, parents of the stillborn and of the newly born who die form a distinct group of people who had a baby they never got to keep.
Or maybe you are the parent of a child lost to abortion. If so, you may be like so many others I meet who are suffering greatly in the aftermath of the procedure that proponents hail as prompt and painless. Untold numbers of women and men are stumbling through the emotional carnage following an abortion—some believing their decision was wrong; others racked with uncertainty. The pain runs deep.
Finally, you may belong to a third group of the disappointed: the hosts of women who longed for a child, but two or three—four or maybe five—months into their pregnancy something went awry and they miscarried.
If you have experienced the wrenching loss of a child in the womb or during the weeks and months following birth, you are hardly alone. The parents of the stillborn or the newly born who die, the miscarrying mother and the maternal victim of abortion are all parents of children who were designed for a lifetime of purpose but whose lives were cut short.
In the Creator’s finest plan, these children were not intended for the disease, death or destruction that took their lives. Yet they died. Like a rescheduled airplane suddenly departing ahead of time, these children took an “early flight.” Before we could ever know them—their possibilities, their presence and their purpose—they were gone. Whether their hastened departure was forced through accident, neglect or abuse of the features, disease, deformity or simple malfunction, suddenly they departed.
For those who remain at the airport of the present, there can be tears, pain, bitterness and questions—but I assure you that there is also hope.
In recent years, as I encountered increasing numbers of hurting people whose parenthood had been cut short, I began to search God’s Word to seek a case for hope. I wanted to find truth that could heal and give comfort in the midst of the pain following the amputation of a life from its potential; thus, this book.
In the following chapters you will find scripturally based answers to many of the questions you may have found yourself asking:
- At the time of my miscarriage [or abortion], did my baby have a soul?
- What about the stillborn child or the baby who dies shortly after birth? Is he or she in heaven?
- If so, what is he or she—this child who never developed character or personality beyond the womb—like?
- Will I ever see my child again?
- And how will I recognize my child when we finally meet in heaven?
The purpose of this book is to offer a path to hope and healing—not through happy talk or platitudes but through the solid footing of the holy truth of God’s Word. The biblical foundation for hope and comfort is strong; the Scriptures indeed offer a way out of the depths of grief.
If you have experienced the loss of a child through the tragedy of abortion, God’s Word offers you something more: forgiveness and healing for the series of choices that led you into the abortionist’s chamber. Abortion is not only a tough topic but a delicate one. And it’s a tragedy. But my object in these pages is not to elaborate that tragedy or underscore the facts of human failure. Rather, I seek to offer comfort and direction for the future.
There was a time when I was not unlike many Christians who wrestle against bitterness, self-righteousness and even condemnation toward the parents of aborted children. I was not only angry that lives were being taken, but I also felt superior. And that was the hateful blindness I had to deal with—the cocksureness of my self-righteous opinion.
In that state, I couldn’t even begin to gain perspective on the fear, pain, hurt, agony and embarrassment of so many who needed something else from me. Society has so liberalized abortion that the uninformed and uncounseled readily give in until, in the aftermath of the experience, the living victims bend beneath another burden—the burden of questions such as, What have I done? Who might the child have become? Was I right? Wrong? Can I ever forget? What would have happened if I hadn’t...?
Having met increasing numbers of women and men who ache over the ramifications of their right to choose has not changed my conviction about the wrongness of abortion, but it has cured my soul of the wrongness of my superficial point of view. I now see a place where life, light and love are desperately needed—a place in our world where truth not only can shine like a beacon light discerning good and evil but where that same truth can also shed the light of healing, warmth and hopefulness. If you are, indeed, one of the many adult victims of abortion, then read on. You are on the verge of discovering forgiveness, healing and hope.
It is to any parent who remembers—with tears, pain, bitterness or questions—a stillborn, miscarried, aborted or early-death child that I dedicate these moments in God’s Word. And for those among us who have never known such pain, failure or grief, my hope is that an enlargement of heart may occur. May God’s Spirit, through speaking His Word, create a new space within all of us and make a place where we can host with understanding and compassion all those we know or will meet who have been left with aching hearts and empty arms following a little one’s early flight from this life.
So now, come with me to the fountain of truth—to God’s Word—where eternal wisdom, reconciling righteousness and healing hope abound. Let’s find out what we can about God’s answers to one of the most wrenching traumas in our present society: the pain following the too-early death of an infant.
From I’ll Hold You In Heaven, copyright 1986, 1990, 2003 Jack W. Hayford. All rights reserved. Published by Regal Books, Gospel Light, Ventura, California. Used by permission.
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