Her Life Matters: What my unborn daughter taught me about the dignity of human life
She was stillborn, her lifeless, broken body was almost more than I could bear.
On a surface level, many wouldn’t see any value in her life, they would find no dignity there. Just a little, broken baby who didn’t get a breath in this world. She didn’t even receive a birth certificate, but we didn’t need a certificate to validate those short 37 weeks she fought so hard for.
This was our daughter, our Ivey Hope.
She didn’t need a certificate for her life to be deemed “valuable.” Her life became valuable the moment her broken heart began to beat, even if it was on the wrong side of her chest.
Halfway through my pregnancy, she had been diagnosed with Triploidy, a rare chromosome abnormality that came with 3 full sets of chromosomes. In the medical community, it’s often termed “incompatible with life.”
The truth is, despite the diagnosis, despite the terminology, she had a life. Her life had value, and even though it was short in length, she lived. She has a name, she has a story and she continues to make her mark not only in our lives but in the lives of families who find themselves cradling their own lifeless babies.
When we first received Ivey’s diagnosis, I was determined that her life would “count for something.” But I had it wrong, her life already counted, it already had value, “I” didn’t have to do anything to make that happen; value had already been given.
God has reminded me over and over that He had a plan for Ivey long before I even knew she existed. His plan was not derailed because of her diagnosis. No, God saw her, diagnosis and all, He saw her value, her worth, and He wrote her days.
I am reminded of this every time I read Psalm 139:16-18:
Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them. How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! If I would count them, they are more than the sand.
He continues to show me the depth of his love for her, and continues to amaze me in the ways He has used her little life.
Many may think, “how could God use a stillborn baby? How could God possibly have a plan for her?”
Throughout Scripture, we read of God choosing the “unwise to shame the wise,” of God choosing the “weak to shame the strong” (1 Corinthians 1:27). I can’t help but think that He chose our daughter to display His good works through her. I can’t help but think He chose the one who is often seen of no value to show just how valuable she is, and how mighty He is.
While we were in the hospital, the sweet nurses gave us precious little outfits and blankets for our girl. These handmade things were donated for families like us, grieving their babies from a labor and delivery room. They meant so much to us; we didn’t get to leave the hospital with our baby girl, but we left with a box of keepsakes that will always hold memories of her. This kind gesture sparked a desire to give back in Ivey’s memory, and because Ivey was born so was “Hope Weavers.”
Hope Weavers (named after Ivey Hope Weaver) donates knitted and crocheted blankets to hospitals to be given to families who are facing the devastating loss of their beloved babies. The hope is that these keepsakes, along with a note of sympathy, will minister to these grieving moms and dads. We want them to know that they aren’t alone in their grief and that their babies lives mattered. We started at the hospital where Ivey was born, but because so many “Hope Weavers” have gotten on board, we’ve been able to expand to other area hospitals and beyond.
Recently, I was contacted by a hospital in Georgia who wanted “Hope Weaver” blankets in their labor and delivery department. This week a “Hope Weaver” who now lives in Spain, contacted me about starting a chapter there. Grieving mamas in different states and overseas will be ministered to because a “broken” little 1 lb 14-ounce baby girl entered into our lives.
Don’t tell me our Ivey’s life had no value or dignity, or that God can’t use the smallest of lives and do big things for His glory.
You see it matters not the length of life or the number of breaths taken, it matters not how strong or how glamorous, the value and dignity of life isn’t for us to decide, no, they are given, not earned. Given the moment our lives were created by the creator Himself. When He looks at each one of us, the lowly and the strong, He sees his creation, and in that, there is immeasurable value.
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:10
Amanda Weaver is married to Daniel, an assistant professor and Assistant Dean of Administration at Scarborough College (SWBTS). She is the mother of Will, Ivey, and Abigail. Amanda’s essay is among the winners chosen for the Biblical Woman Sanctity of Life Writing Contest.