A Story of Love and Loss

It was after-hours on a Friday afternoon when a young woman came into Dakota Hope Clinic in a very distraught state. I was honored to be there for her in her time of need. Her story was one we have seen before and it reminded me of the famous line from a poem written by Alfred Lloyd Tenneson after his best friend died at the age of 22: ”Tis better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all.”


Jessica* and her boyfriend Jim*  were just starting their careers when she became pregnant. It definitely was not what they had planned. As is common in such a situation, the couple planned to have an abortion and came to Dakota Hope to see how far along she was. But something profound happened when they learned about fetal development and saw their tiny 8-week old baby with a heartbeat on ultrasound; they fell in love with their unborn child. They became so excited that they soon traveled to tell family about the good news in person.


Upon their return, they had planned to participate in the long-term pregnancy and parenting holistic support offered free of charge at Dakota Hope. When she came into the clinic that Friday afternoon Jessica tearfully told me about her recent miscarriage and how they were struggling to cope. Even though miscarriage is sometimes downplayed in our culture, the personal experience of myself and countless others, as well as pregnancy loss research, reveals that any kind of pregnancy or infant loss can bring deep and long lasting grief.


Jessica and Jim’s story is sad, but their grief is instructive – they rightly valued, protected as much as they could, and loved the innocent and unrepeatable life of their unborn baby. My hope and prayer for them and others in similar situations is that they will realize what Tennyson was telling us – that the pain of loss does not outweigh the joy of love. I also believe Jessica and Jim’s story is instructive for how to provide genuine love and support deserved by women and men facing an unintended or challenging pregnancy.



Nadia Smetana, RN, BSN

Clinic Director


*Names have been changed to preserve confidentiality

aBright Future.