Our world has a tendency to close collective eyes to such grief; it isn't politically correct to mourn the loss of what other women freely chose to kill, after all. Doctors and nurses are often cold and utilitarian, dealing with the aftermath of the death of a loved unborn family member; even when they try to be consoling, they say things that sting--reminding the mother, perhaps, to forget all about it and be glad for the children she does have, as if her grief somehow diminishes her love for these; or saying heartily that after all, she's young, she can try again...as if the little one now gone can be "replaced" by a future sibling he or she will not know on this earth.
But even more troubling than these things are the doubts and fears that may swirl around the thoughts of those close to the situation: where is God's will, in so early a death? For what purpose does our loving and merciful Creator call into being a life that will be cut so very short? Why does He allow this?
In some way, of course, what He allows is simply nature after the Fall. We are not immortal in body, and the natural processes of fertility and conception allow for such losses to take place. Just as our bodies are prone to sickness, disease, and eventually death, so to is it possible for a life to end only moments or hours or days or weeks after it has begun, before the little one has ever seen his mother's face. To the extent that it seems cruel, it is not the Creator's cruelty; He did not design us for this, and it was because of the sin of our first parents that death entered into the world at all.
But in another way, what we struggle with is what the poet T.S. Eliot defined, when he wrote:
"The moment of the rose and the moment of the yew-treeBecause we are physical creatures who can only perceive reality by referring to such concepts as "space" and "time," we think that the life of an unborn baby who dies in utero is unbearably, unbelievably short; we may similarly think that a person who lives past the century-mark has lingered on this earth far too long, especially if all those years have not added wisdom nor increased grace, as may sometimes happen. For the one to have only weeks while the other's life spans decades seems like a strange riddle, a puzzling paradox beyond our comprehension. Many find themselves doubting the existence of a merciful and benevolent God when they look at the question this way: why should the young and innocent perish, or the aged and (sometimes) wicked flourish?
Are of equal duration."
But if we frame the question that way, we forget that reality that Eliot so beautifully expresses. We don't have years--none of us. We don't have decades or minutes or hours or even seconds in their brevity. We have only moments; we have only now.
And in God's mysterious and unfathomable eternity, the moment of the rose really is just as long as the moment of the yew tree. And the moment of the human soul is more than either of these, for these were not created for eternity, as we are. Our "now" will last forever, whether we are on this earth five weeks or ninety-five years. We who are born and live this earthly life have however much time God has set before us to learn to do His will; those called away before the hour of birth may be given a chance to do the same, for all we yet know. We know for certain that the merciful God who sent His only Son to suffer and die for every human being, no matter how small, will not abandon these precious souls, though just what happens may remain forever in this life a mystery.
It is in the great mercy and love of Almighty God that all of us find our consolation, and this is no less true for the mother who suffers the pain of the loss of a child to miscarriage. She who puts her trust in Him will not be disappointed; He will send comfort and healing, and lead her back to that joy, rooted in hope, which is the gift He gives to every Christian soul.