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Miscarriage: The North and South of It

By Judie Brown

In her recent book, Michelle Obama revealed that she turned to in vitro fertilization after a miscarriage because she felt that her “biological clock” was ticking.

Good Morning America anchor Robin Roberts interviewed Obama about her new book Becoming. The following is an excerpt from that interview:

“I realized that as I was 34 and 35,” said Obama, now the mother of 17-year-old Sasha and 20-year-old Malia. “We had to do IVF.”

The former first lady, known for her advocacy for women and girls around the world, decided to get candid about her miscarriage and her journey to motherhood in Becoming to help other women.

“I think it’s the worst thing that we do to each other as women, not share the truth about our bodies and how they work,” Obama told Roberts.

While we feel immense sympathy for anyone who miscarries a baby, we also understand that there are two ways of handling this sad experience. Many, like Obama, try in vitro fertilization because they have either not considered or have rejected the idea of adopting children or because they lack the understanding that sometimes miscarriage is not the final word.

One such woman, Catherine Daub, is the mother of seven very healthy children conceived in accord with God’s plan. Sadly, she suffered numerous miscarriages as well. In this heart-wrenching piece, Daub writes about the loss of her most recent baby, Lucy Agnes:

She was only five weeks and five days old, although I was 10 weeks pregnant. I don’t usually share when it comes to miscarriage. I think many of us don’t. But this time I feel compelled to do so. As we all have the common goal of turning our culture back to life, at some point the pro-life movement as a whole must put a greater focus on how we handle, talk about, and care for those whose hearts have been broken through miscarriage. And we must find a way to honor the lives of all those little saints who are in heaven watching over their families.

I admire Daub’s honesty about miscarriage. I have admired her since her first one, not only because she is my daughter, but most importantly because, even in those times of agony and loss, she trusts God and His plan. Her abiding faith contrasts with Michelle Obama’s choice after her miscarriage because, while Daub placed her faith in the will of God, Obama chose to fix things by placing her faith in technology.

That is why we say there is a definite north and south when dealing with miscarriage.

Writer Dustin Siggins addresses Obama’s choice and states:

“We all want to help those we care about. But sometimes the best thing we can do is have an open ear and heart instead trying to find the ‘silver bullet’ answer.”

And if given the opportunity to discuss in vitro fertilization with someone who is struggling with these problems, we also have a chance to explain that, in ways similar to abortion, IVF degrades the innate human dignity of the child prior to birth, turning him into a thing that can be wanted or not wanted, accepted or rejected.

Children are gifts. No one has a right to a child.

The Catholic Church teaches this beautifully in Donum Vitae, which says:

“A true and proper right to a child would be contrary to the child’s dignity and nature. The child is not an object to which one has a right, nor can he be considered as an object of ownership: rather, a child is a gift, ‘the supreme gift’ and the most gratuitous gift of marriage, and is a living testimony of the mutual giving of his parents. For this reason, the child has the right, as already mentioned, to be the fruit of the specific act of the conjugal love of his parents.”

Each individual child possesses such rights from his biological beginning.

Whenever we have an opportunity to share these truths with someone who is struggling after miscarriage or with infertility, let us not fail to do so. Ask the Lord to help us guide others along the path of truth, compassion, light, and love.

There should not be a north and a south of it, but as long as there is, we must stand ready to help through prayer and with the facts.


Learn the facts.

Teach the truth.

Protest the evil.