The March After Michael

To go to the March for Life this year will be to be surrounded by reminders of my Michael — but I will take comfort in being surrounded by people who know that Michael was “a baby”

(photo: Pixabay/CC0)

This was the first time I did not want to go on the March for Life. I’ve been on the March more times than I can remember: They are all a blur of early childhood memories, last year’s excitement, cold, muddy feet and sleepless nights. I went during the Bush years, the Obama years, and now, the Trump years. I’ve gone in the snow and the rain. It’s never an easy day, but I’ve never not wanted to be there.

Until this year — because this year, I lost Michael.

I was not ready for the overwhelming happiness of finding out that I was carrying his little life inside me. All the clichés, all the most (as I thought before) exaggerated expressions of joy, came true in my heart. It was a level of happiness that I had not known existed. 

And when we found out we lost little Michael — my sweet little child — well, there are no words. 

For years I’ve been saying through my presence at events like the March for Life that I know “it’s a baby.” I know it’s a little life that is lost when a woman undergoes an abortion. 

But what about me? I didn’t get an abortion — I wanted my little Michael in my arms so much! The grief — the complete and total loss of my beloved child — what do you do with it? Where do you put it so you can keep going? 

And what’s more, who recognizes it except me and the other women who whisper back to me when I tell them “I know ... I’ve miscarried, too.” But so many just gloss over it, expect you to move past it. I’ve spent my whole life telling others, “Yes, it is a baby.” Now, I myself can’t forget.

To go to the March for Life this year will be to be surrounded by reminders of my Michael. The baby signs, the pictures, the speeches — everything about today is what has been breaking my heart the last few months to think of. And yet, today, because of Michael, I know I understand new things about the pro-life movement. The overwhelming sense of loss that tries to trap your heart when you lose a child, regardless how. There is no way the human heart can prepare for that feeling. And it is inspiring to see the absolutely incredible strength of mothers and fathers — others who I know have experienced a miscarriage or the loss of child — who show up to this March, setting aside their own emptiness in the hopes of saving others from self-inflicting this terrible wound on themselves.

Today I will be thinking of my Michael. And while I march up that hill, I will take comfort in knowing that those who surround me also know that Michael was “a baby” — and that the loss of him, and every unborn child, is something to be grieved.