A lot of religions consider blood to be an appropriate sacrifice to God or gods. Kill the fatted lamb, say scriptures in the Hebrew Bible. Lay the ram on the altar – instead of your son, God tells Abraham. Place the blood upon your doorposts, and the angel of death will pass you by. Slit the chicken’s throat for the orisha, say many Yoruba religious traditions.

In most churches of my youth (and too many of my adulthood), the Eucharist is still taken to the words of:

There is power, wonder-working power in the blood of the Lamb


What can wash away my sins? Nothing but the blood of Jesus


Oh the blood of Jesus can never ever lose its power

Blood is the force of life. Blood is supposed to bring us closer to God.  When humanity has erred, God recognizes blood and will forgive. These are the lessons of blood atonement.

As a theologian, I prefer my lessons on fellowship, forgiveness and friendship to come with large loaves of bread – without a side of blood.  In Yoruba traditions, I don’t reject the sacrifice of chickens, but this vegan would rather give a bottle of gin.

Can’t I talk to God without the sight of blood?

Miscarriage is bloody.  And it’s a sacrifice.

When we first learned of the miscarriage, we could barely speak. Our eyes spoke to each other.

We can do it again.  We can do this again.

But when I put my foot in a church, I cried.  In the safety of my faith community, in proximity of the wooden altar . . . the moment someone asked how I was doing and seemed to really want to know, I bawled.  I fell into a heap on the floor, and I bawled.

The next day, my partner and I went to another church service.  We sang, we laughed, we cuddled.  They baptized a baby, and I bawled.  With snot running down my face, my partner’s arms tightly around me, I cried again.

We whispered to one another, We can do it again.  We can do it again.

But I had stopped bleeding.  I bled enough to reduce the heartbeat.  I bled enough to reduce the size of the little-grain-of-rice baby.  But I did not bleed enough to fully miscarry.

At the next ultrasound, the doctor said it almost under his breath: “Two sacs.  Twin gestation.”

He made some notes on the paper.  We asked him to repeat what he said.

“Twins?” we said aloud.  We really wanted twins.  Both our mothers are twins.  We really really wanted twins.

Can we do that again?

This enough-but-not-enough blood loss was a sacrifice I didn’t want to make.

Our babies were laid on the altars of I-don’t-know-why and sometimes-it-happens and it-doesn’t-matter-why.

It didn’t make me angry with God.  But it didn’t draw me any closer either.


Previous entries in The Miscarriage Chronicles

The Loss of Blood (Part 1)

The Loss of Blood (Part 2)

Next entry in The Miscarriage Chronicles

Activism Revisited