The Short, Sweet Life of a Miscarried Embryo

Hubble Extreme Deep Field. Every spot in this image is a galaxy. Credit NASA.

Consider the vastness of the Universe. It stretches to infinity, containing countless superclusters of billions of galaxies. Somewhere in that ever expanding, boundless universe, is a trifle called the Milky Way galaxy. In that galaxy, is a diminutive fleck we call the Sun. And revolving around that Sun is an indistinct scintilla of a grain called Earth, on which, billions of minuscule human beings live but for a brief period of time before being extinguished from existence, having had no bearing on the universe at large. For all anyone knows, we never even existed at all.

The NASA sponsored Night Sky Network scales it down for us:

“If we shrink the Sun down to smaller than a grain of sand, we can imagine our Solar System to be small enough to fit onto the palm of your hand. Pluto would orbit about an inch from the middle of your palm.
On that scale with our Solar System in your hand, the Milky Way Galaxy, with its 200 – 400 billion stars, would span North America.”[1]

Why do we feel so important? So valuable? When everything in the Universe serves to dismantle such a belief?

I am a speck of a speck of a speck. Yet, the Creator is mindful of me.

This past January, I learned that I was pregnant. At 8 weeks of pregnancy, after experiencing some bleeding and mild pain, I went into the ER to discover that the baby hadn’t grown past the size of a 6-week gestated embryo. Later that day, I knew for certain that I miscarried. For all anyone knew, that little embryo may as well have never existed.

Later in the day, I went to Mass and met my child. He is a saint in Heaven, one of the best. He was smiling, bursting with joy. He loves like Jesus.

Yet no one will know him. Very few will care.

I’m seeing more and more how damaging our culture is, not just towards the unborn, but towards women. In the name of reproductive rights, our culture has actually stirred up confusion and callousness towards issues of reproduction. By showing support for women who choose abortion, pro-choicers inadvertently withdraw support from women who suffer miscarriage. On the one hand, I think they genuinely sympathize. On the other, how can they? It’s not a person, right? I can’t help but think that their sympathy is mere lip service, only stretching as far as it would for someone who lost a goldfish. And when no one’s looking, they roll their eyes thinking, ‘Who cares? It was a goldfish.’

Even pro-life people don’t always know what to say or how much to show that they care.

But it really doesn’t matter what people believe. A person is a person. The blastocyst is to man, what man is to the cosmos. I am a mere speck, or rather nothing in the cosmic scheme of things. I am here for a short while before my life comes to a close, having had no bearing on the rotation of the Earth, no impact on the larger body of the solar system. If I but cause the smallest ripple to reverberate throughout the galaxy, I would have led an extraordinary life. But as it stands, I will, in all likelihood, have no such effect on the galaxy, nor on the solar system. And as far as changing the rotational pattern of the Earth? The odds are slim to none.

In the grand scheme of things, I will have led an insignificant life, that caused no lasting change, who is here for a moment, and then gone without a trace. Yet most would agree, insignificant and short though it may be, my life is precious.

In just the same way, an embryo may not have any sort of lasting change on the outside world. He may only live but briefly, without anyone ever even knowing his name. Even so, his life is precious.

The video below shows the development of the human person. Truly, it is like watching the creation of a new universe.

Who are we to dictate which lives are valuable and which are expendable?

Who are we to claim that we hold any esoteric knowledge of personhood, of who is and who isn’t a person?

You’re a speck, just like that embryo. Maybe someone out in the furthest reaches of the cosmos thinks you’re nothing, that you’re not a person because of your smallness.

But baby, it ain’t true.




  1. Awesome reflection and testimony, beautifully articulated. Incredible video. Each and every life is precious, the greatest of miracles. The odds of each of us being conceived are astronomical, and yet, here we are. Respect that miracle in one another. Love one another.


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