Little One Lost: Living with Early Infant Loss
October 4, 2014
"Little One Lost" by Glenda Mathes (Reformed Fellowship, 2012) is greatly needed today precisely because there doesn't seem to be a great need for it. I certainly wouldn't have felt its importance if not for a personal trek through the valley of the shadow of infant death.
When our son was born my wife and I were in the same birthing hospital as my childhood best friend and his wife who were also expecting. Their baby was born the day before ours. She was beautiful and perfectly formed. When she came out of her mother she wiggled her arms and feet and fingers just like other children. But tragically, the parents knew that she would only have a few minutes to live. Her lungs had simply not developed enough to sustain her life. She was born and died just 23 weeks after conception. After Grace passed away our friends invited me down from our birthing room to see their child, and to pray with them. As the three of us talked and wept, and as I saw and held that lifeless child I remember thanking God for being invited into such an intimate moment. A few days later my wife and my friend's wife were wheeled out of the hospital together. We were holding a healthy baby. Their arms were empty.
"Little One Lost" recounts similar stories of loss, often in the words of those who felt the pain so acutely. As an experienced writer and reporter the author skillfully weaves these narratives into the book, breathing life into a too-often sterilized subject. The book is theologically rich, scientifically reliable, and personally emotive. I've never been slow to cry. But as I read this book in the total silence of a hotel room I felt the privileged freedom to weep with those who wept. Without books like this those who have not personally experienced early infant loss might continue to fail to empathize with those who have. Through "Little One Lost" readers can vicariously experience the pain of losing a child. Such intellectual and emotional identification should prevent them from being like Job's "miserable comforters" (Job 16:2). Instead, they will be better prepared to winsomely offer the Christian comfort carefully set forth in this book.
Those looking for a book with easy answers will (thankfully) be disappointed with Little One Lost. Those hoping for biblical help to live with the pain of infant death will find it in these twenty-six short chapters. From beginning to end, readers hear a gently repeated and carefully developed theme: Even deep loss like the death of an infant can be entrusted to an all-sufficient Savior. Without a doubt "Little One Lost" is the book I will recommend to those struggling with early infant loss.