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The Desperate Anguish of an Empty Cradle

What a joy it is to receive the news of imminent motherhood! Countless emotions overwhelm the woman receiving such a notification! Knowing you carry the blessing of life within you radically changes the way you think. Meticulous caution is taken in everything done to avoid a trip or fall, guarding against external dangers and taking careful protection of your little one above all things. The inherent changes of pregnancy begin to manifest: a "substantial" appetite, weight gain, questionable cravings, a storm of emotions (anger, sadness, episodic crying without knowing why etc.) Some days you feel completely exhausted, others with surmountable energy capable of fighting against the world. The hopeful anticipation of the day when you will see the your "mini-me" or "mini-him" is welcomed. Mom longs for the moment to take the baby in her arms, count each finger and toe, caressing the baby’s skin, admiring every detailed curvature of their precious face and the smell of sweet innocence.

When suddenly...

Everything abruptly changes—the pregnancy ends. Now you find yourself in a cold room in the absence of a baby cry, listening to the sound of the slow drip of an IV, the continuous entry and exit of nurses checking vital signs, and the industrial smell of disinfectants. Hopefully, someone is present to avoid the solitude of those moments of intense sadness at least to supply the warmth of an embrace. Perhaps your story has similarities to this one with your unique variation of details, yet the pain experienced is personally exclusive at the loss of a baby.

I author this article for all women who have experienced the loss a baby. At one point they relished the dream of motherhood to later find themselves marking their story with an empty cradle.

Sinking into a Sea of Emotions

Many emotions flood a woman at the loss a baby, including the burden of guilt. The burden of guilt is so unbearable that some women become lost in depression ruminating between the thoughts of "What would have happened if I had checked my baby more often; if I had not experienced that fall; if he had arrived at the hospital on time; if I had told the doctor what I felt; if I followed what my instincts were telling me... etc." Guilt consumes a person to such a degree that the feeling of living in the captivity of the moment of loss is overwhelming. In the most extreme of situations some women prefer to die to join their baby; they stop caring for themselves or commit suicide. Some denigrate themselves into the belief that they are a failure for not being able to protect or have the baby; without realizing that the cause in many cases even the doctors are unable to explain. Women that have experienced the loss of a baby should be taken very seriously, the extremes to which the anguish can propel her are unknown. Leaving her in the solitude of suffering is not recommended no matter how private the matter may be to her.

For a woman, the impact of the loss is more painful because the reality of pregnancy begins from the time she receives the notification. The presence of life within her provides an existential experience known exclusively to her and shared with her baby. She feels the movements of the baby, she is present at every appointment where she keeps a status of the baby's progress. She experiences the visible and invisible changes of her body. The dream of motherhood is lived buying baby's items, preparing the baby's room, "preparing the nest" for the special arrival. During pregnancy the mother establishes a special bond with the baby happening as she speaks and sings to the baby, caresses her belly and marvels in the “abnormal” shapes her belly takes from the baby’s movements in the womb. The bond between mother and baby is so extraordinarily unique that many babies at birth are soothed from crying just by hearing Mommy's voice or feeling the touch of her skin. Her reality is experienced on a supernormal level.

After the disappointment of an unrealized expectation it is not unusual to witness comments saturated with anger. "What could be done to prevent such a loss?"—Nothing. When a baby dies the opportunity to assume the role of mother is revoked without taking into account her feelings. A loss of faith in these cases leads some parents to question their faith in God during this state of brokenness. But looking at the death of a baby through the lens of the analytical human logic is frustrating when the desire to reconcile the loss is interlaced between unanswered questions.

"How is it possible for God to allow me to conceive and then take away my baby?"

"How can I make sure my baby didn't die because of my fault?

"Where is my baby?"

The truth about these questions is not obtained in science or the wisdom of man, but in the power of the Word of God, directly from the person who design the strands making up the genetic code of DNA which ingeniously distinguishes the details of every person.

The Spirit of God made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life."
Job 33:4 RV2015

"How is it possible for God to allow me to conceive and then take away my baby?"

This is an existential question replete of deep sadness with the intention of understanding the "why" of the loss. I could never attempt to provide a sufficient explanation worthy enough to eliminate the painfulness of this loss, much less to explain the mind of God. The Bible teaches us this: "For who understands the mind of the Lord? Or who was his advisor? Or who gave him first, to be rewarded? Because of him, and for him, and for him, are all things. To him be the glory for ever. Amen. Romans 11:34-36

Reading these verses we realize the "Giver of Life" makes his decisions ALONE without consulting anyone or asking recommendations. Yet there is still another evident truth read in the verses: every baby belongs to him.

For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb.

Psalm 139:13

The blessing of life is authorized by God, the gift was from God, and he decides whether a baby survives, thrives or not. We can see the reflection of this truth in the story of King David who took Bathsheba (2 Samuel 11:4-5). Bathsheba bore a son, the child became seriously ill (2 Samuel 12:15-16) and died (2Samuel12:21-23). With all of his wealth, influence, and power King David could do nothing to prevent the loss of his son because God had determined the child would die. In this case David's son died because of David and Bathsheba. I will touch on the subject of guilt later.

Although humans were given the God-given ability to conceive we sometimes get lost in the misconception that we "made" the baby. This not true. God formed and created the baby and breathed life into him or her. Your daughter or son belongs to God. "Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord; the fruit of the womb is his reward. Psalm 127:3 Just as an artist is given a commission to create a masterpiece of art. God blesses us with a special commission as parents to care for and protect his "precious little ones."

There are individuals who argue the point that the stages of pregnancy must be considered to determine whether the embryo can be classified as a person or (in the most ridiculous explanation) whether it is a mass of tissue or protoplasm—therefore not a person. God said to Jeremiah: "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I sanctified you, I gave you as a prophet to the nations." Jeremiah 1:5 - God established his knowledge of the person of Jeremiah before his birth with the role he would occupy during his lifetime. Before conception God knew you, just as He knew and knows your baby! He knows us better than we imagine concerning ourselves. Notice this: "For even the hairs on your head are all numbered. Luke 12:7 -7 Do you know how many hairs you have on your own head? You don't know the number, but God who framed the details of your person knows "But you are the one who brought me out of the womb; The one that made me confident since I was in my mother's breasts. On you I was cast from before I was born; From my mother's womb, you are my God." Psalm 22:9-10

How could God allow conception and then let a baby die? No human can ever subjugate the sovereignty of God. There are numerous variables involved which God ALONE knows and while we could make a plethora of assumptions none of them can compete with God's thoughts.

"How can I make sure my baby didn’t die because of me?

As mentioned above, guilt is an emotion felt by 90% of women after losing a baby. However to take responsibility for the loss as a form of punishment for a parent's wrongdoings does not explain the "why" of the loss; this in fact is a personal assumption. When we read in Exodus 20:5—“Thou shalt not bow to them, nor shall thou honor them; for I am Jehovah your God, strong, jealous, who visits the wickedness of the fathers upon the children upt o thet hird and fourth generation of those who hate me, and I do mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments." This verse is not imposing the guilt of the sins of the father on the children but the consequences. When children repeat their parents ‘s sins, the cursed consequences multiply across generations. Look at what it says in Ezekiel 18:20—The soul that sins, will die; the son will not bear the sin of the father, nor will the father bear the sin of the son; the righteousness of the righteous will be upon him, and the ungodliness of the wicked will be upon him.

Where is my baby?

Your baby is enjoying the blissfulness of heaven in the presence of God. Your baby was kept from experiencing the cruelty of this evil world. They do not suffer from illness, nor have requirements to sustain physical needs but enjoy a glorified body where they see God for who he is (1 John 3:2). God will never cease to have knowledge of your baby, nor is there a place where he is not aware of their whereabouts. It says in Psalm 139:7-10, “Where can I go from your Spirit? And where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; And if I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there. If I take the wings of the morning, And dwell in the uttermost part of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and even there your right hand shall hold me."

I would like to add an important point here using the story of the "repentant thief" who hung on his cross next to Jesus. See Luke 23:42-43: "And he said to Jesus, Remember me when you come in your kingdom. Then Jesus said to him, "Surely I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise." The thief had lived a sinful life which ultimately led to his own crucifixion. It was necessary for him to repent in order to be in heaven with Jesus. Babies don't have the ability to make decisions, they don't understand good from bad. And God in his justice does not condemn them nor get rid of them they return to him.

In the world annually, more than 4 million babies die this number does not account for abortions performed by mothers who consciously made the decision to end their pregnancy. 25% of pregnancies do not surpass 20 weeks that is, 1 in 4 babies die in the womb. I know these statistics do not inspire any form of joy nor do they provide comfort. However, I would like to clarify the obscured lens of those dark statistics to make known that in heaven those children are with God surrounded by his love! They will never know mistreatment, pain, or suffering.


I felt an immense desire to write on this subject knowing as a result of an event like this, there are many women stuck in their loss and a part of them died with the baby. The part that died, diminished the brilliance their person because they struggle attempting to reconcile within the limitations of personal and textbook knowledge the "why" of this event. You know, God in his sovereignty doesn't share his step-by-step playbook of details of what He does. And it is precisely those details that illuminate the truths we wish to know about our "whys". There are things we will only discover when our time here on this earth is over and we are face-to-face with God.

Mark a new story starting now entrusting your broken heart to Jesus!

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Meet the Writers


Doris Santiago

Doris was born in the United States in 1970; she is 53 years young. She is married, mother of two, stepmother of two children. She studied Psychology at Columbia College, Missouri and obtained her Master in Pastoral Counseling at Liberty University, Virginia. She has been in Women's Ministry since 2008. She is a retired United States Army veteran currently residing in Columbia, Tennessee and manages AmaTodos Ministries as Pastoral Counselor in private practice.

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Carmen Serrano

Carmen is native of Puerto Rico. Born in 1949; she is 74 years young. She was married for 24 years, mother of two, grandmother of four. She studied Christian Ministry iin Mizpa College in San Juan, Puerto Rico. her main calling has been "missionary to her family" She arduously worked in church ministry as General Secretary, Youth and Adult Bible School Instructor, Bible School Superintendent and Marriage Counselor. She currently resides in Seattle, Washington and actively functions in Women's Ministry providing administrative support. 

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