On Ranking Losses
Guest Post by Sarah Rieke
“Well at least you weren’t further along in your pregnancy.”
“Thank goodness you didn’t have to spend weeks in the NICU.”
“You should be so glad you got to have your baby for the time that you did.”
To those who have never experienced infertility, pregnancy, or infant loss it seems there is a basic ranking system to evaluate how much pain one should be allowed to experience: the longer you were with your baby, the greater your grief is allowed to be. It seems to make logical sense, right.
Except it’s not that simple. Having the hope and glimmer of a little life, even for just one tiny millisecond of time, and then having it taken from you in one way or another is enough to render one’s heart almost completely paralyzed. That little life meant so much. It meant so many things. It represented so many hopes and dreams. And then, just like that, it was gone.
I lost my infant daughter four hours after she was born. It has been communicated to me on several occasions that my loss is greater than that of someone who only experienced a miscarriage. And to that, I say this:
In the world of infertility, pregnancy loss, and infant loss, there are no winners. What levels the playing field is the fact that, this side of eternity, not one of us will ever see the faces of our precious little ones again. And while I personally have hope that I will see my daughter again because of Jesus’s work on the cross, the idea of living the rest of my life without her seems insurmountable at times. When these little ones died they took a piece of us with them, no matter how long they were on this earth or the manner of their leaving.
The way those who have not lost seem comfortable ranking losses is just one more reason for those of us who have lost to stand together in a community of support to one another in a world that can never really understand.