Catholicism, Guest Writers, Personal Loss

Miscarriages: From Grief to Healing and Hope

If you have lost a child early in pregnancy, you know the true weight of the word “miscarriage”. I have always found the word itself to sound a bit sterile and almost flippant, with no real association with the word “death,” even though it is the end of a life. In many cases, a miscarriage is a devastating event, one that I thought very little about before it happened to me.  

About one year into my marriage, I had my first real, deep encounter with suffering and grief. I had lost grandparents before, but nothing prepared me emotionally for our first miscarriage. The pregnancy, this child’s life, was over barely after it had begun, and both my husband and I were crushed by the grief of it. As we began to move on, I had a lot of fear and very little trust in God and His plan for us. I also didn’t know where to turn for help with processing our grief.

When we miscarried again a few months later, I shook with anger and desolation. We were pregnant for quite a bit longer this time, and had begun to make plans and to hope and dream of this baby’s life with us. When his or her life ended, I prayed less, I talked to my husband less, and I mostly just tried to hide away. Didn’t we do all the “right” things? Weren’t we “good” people? I couldn’t understand why God would cause such suffering!

It took a long time before I could open up again. My husband had to continually coax me to talk with him about these children we had lost, to start talking about how we could honor them in some way and bring some closure and peace. Slowly, with my husband’s constant encouragement and support (and also that of our friends and family), as well as a lot of time simply crying and confessing my anger with God over and over, I began to fully grieve, and finally to heal.

I also began to be open to what God wanted to tell me. I went on a silent retreat, and was able to journal about these two sweet babies who had so impacted our life. Through this, God showed me that while He does not cause suffering and death, He does allow suffering to happen to help bring us (and others) closer to Him. For the first time, I understood that to “be like Christ” means to suffer like Him as well, not to just be a generally nice, helpful person. I had never seen the connection before, but now suddenly I was grateful for the chance to be more like Christ in this way, and to offer up this suffering, even if months and years later.

We also chose to speak with a number of people to see how they processed their grief from a miscarriage, and we learned that as Catholics there were many beautiful ways to honor our children. We were able to name our babies Anthony John and Julia Dolores. We had a memorial Mass said for them. When we miscarried again many years later, we were able to have that child buried and celebrated with a Mass as well. We remember each child on the dates of his or her death each year, and I have a ring with the birthstones of all of my children, those living here on earth and those who are with God.

I was also blessed to be able to see many direct fruits from our suffering. First, I was given the grace to trust more completely in God’s will for my children in my subsequent pregnancies, confident in His love for me and my husband, no matter how many children we had living. Second, I felt a particular gratitude for every pregnancy, as I knew many couples who have the unique suffering of infertility. I could be thankful for each soul that God helped us to create, no matter how long they lived. Finally, we realized that there was a complete lack of information regarding miscarriages within the Catholic faith. We had no idea (until we did some digging in some online forums and asked a local priest and other friends) that it was an option to bury our children, or to have memorial services, or to name them. We were astonished that this information wasn’t more readily available and encouraged, when we truly believe that these tiny beings’ lives are just as important as any other. This brought about the creation of Catholic Miscarriage Support, a website to help those in the midst of and after a miscarriage, which we created with friends of ours to meet the needs of those who are seeking answers during their own difficult times.

Having a miscarriage can be devastating, but it can also bring its own form of joy, knowing that you have a child who is entrusted to God and even praying for you. I am grateful for the support I had to grieve and move forward, and also for the faith God has given me to be able to honor these little ones in such tangible ways. I pray that I can be with them one day in paradise.

Written By: Sara Rogers | Catholic Miscarriage Support

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s