Bargaining is one step in the grief process, and I’ve certainly done my fair share of it. While I didn’t really bargain much during the pregnancy this time, I have before – begging God to let us keep the baby in exchange for never having another one or for losing something else, anything else. I have bargained after the loss in a futile attempt to find answers. Yesterday, I was reminded of another kind of bargaining I’ve done. There is no reasonable explanation for anyone to experience five miscarriages. For that matter, there is no reasonable explanation for any miscarriage. But somewhere after our second or third loss, I began telling God that my losses were acceptable if it meant that someone else didn’t have to experience it.
Yesterday, I found out that an old friend lost her baby, and it hurt me more deeply than my own recent loss did. I had been telling God for days that he couldn’t take her baby; he had taken enough of mine to more than make up for my friend. My bargain didn’t work. I am devastated for her and more than a little confused by God. I echo what a friend at church recently told me while speaking about our miscarriages: we know that God is in control, but I can’t imagine his purpose in this situation. He was genuinely as much at a loss as I am in this situation.
I obviously don’t take the news of anyone’s miscarriage very well, as if their losses are somehow added to my own. I take each friend’s or acquaintance’s loss like a personal affront, a revocation of the deal I made with God. I would gladly take loss after loss – I have experience in dealing with it, after all, and no one else really needs to learn that skill – if it would spare the pain of someone else. I want to erase my friend’s hurt and carry it for her. I know I can’t, and I know that no human could take the pain of the entire world. But I know that I would try, if it were possible. I have tried to make that bargain, but it is not a bargain anyone but Christ can make.