Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day is October 15th. Do you have a story to tell? It’s healing to write. It’s healing to read. What helped you find peace? How do you celebrate and remember your little one?
David and I are not members of the honeymoon baby club, but we did have a “three weeks into marriage” baby. We were elated, in awe of creating new life. David talked to the baby through my belly before anyone even knew we were expecting. Expecting! And then…the unexpected. We lost Francis at about ten weeks.
I’ve always hated that term. Like I let go of his hand in a shopping mall and didn’t look hard enough. Like I misplaced him along with the extra set of car keys. Like I was negligent in protecting and caring for this beautiful gift.
Our doctor assured us that these things happen and gave us the go ahead to try again after a couple cycles. Although we conceived as soon as we had the green light (thanks to NFP), we lost Gertrude even earlier than Francis.
Eight months and two miscarriages into our marriage I was a churning ocean of emotions—guilt, anger, fear. Despair. I cried every day. At that point hardly anyone I knew had gone through miscarriage. In addition, I had never carried a baby to term. Confronting the possibility that I would never live my dream to be a stay-at-home-mom to a mess of kids was almost as painful.
Under this cloud of sadness, I came across a blank journal given to me by a friend. The verse on the cover read,
“The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; Of whom shall I be afraid?” Psalm 27:1
With this whisper from the Holy Spirit I decided to journal.
At first I got bogged down with the details. Who would read this? What should I write about? How should it be formatted? How honest should I be?
I decided that I would write to my babies. My little saints.
It feels so good to be able to talk to you. Things didn’t work out the way that Daddy and I planned, but we’re doing our best to keep going without you. We miss you so much. But I’m still glad that you were given to us, even for such a short time.
Daddy and I were so excited when we found out that we were pregnant! You brought us such joy! I would have done anything to keep you with me longer.
My arms ache to hold you. Only God can heal me. Pray that He does. Pray that Daddy and I have healthy babies. Pray for your uncles and aunts, so they can meet you someday.
I love you, little ones!
In lines of small black cursive, I found my babies.
Over the next few pages, I told them how much I had hoped to cuddle and hold them. How I was jealous of the swollen ankles and morning sickness that others were enduring. How they were wanted and adored. How we chose their names.
And I apologized. In my head I knew that there was nothing that I did that caused our miscarriages. There wasn’t anything I could have done differently. But my heart held guilt. It was my body that hadn’t been able to grow these new lives. Writing to my babies and apologizing helped me get through those feelings of guilt.
Since I started journaling in 2007, our family has grown. To the outside world it appears that we have four children. Only a handful of close acquaintances know how many we really have. Even fewer know their names. It feels safer that way. Not everyone handles the hearts and sorrows of others with care.
My journal is smudged in a few places where tears have fallen. I don’t remember if those tears fell while writing or while re-reading. Both kinds of tears have been healing for me in our rollercoaster of responsible parenthood.
I write when I need to. When I see a child who is the same age one of our babies would have been. When David and I start discerning trying to conceive again. There have been months between some entries. Other times, just a few days. I don’t write in neat script anymore; my penmanship has changed as I have.
I feel such joy…and I wonder…is that okay? Is it okay for me to feel happy? I have finally been able to quit my job and be home. All I want is to be a mom. A mama. And your dad and I hope to have another baby soon.
For us “to have another baby” doesn’t mean necessarily that we’ll give birth. What it does mean is that we will create, or hope to create, a new little life. We may only be with that little one for a few weeks or a few months, but that new baby will still “be.”
Pray for us in our time of joy, excitement, and hope.
Your happy mama
I keep writing to my children. I ask for their intercession. And I hope that one day I will be able to meet and hold them. I imagine getting to heaven (after some time in purgatory!) and being greeted by my saints. Dimples just like their dad’s. Grandpa Randy’s stick-out ears. Dark, curly hair just like mine. I’ll be able to laugh with them about their possibly mis-gendered names. I can’t wait to meet them.
In the mean time, journaling keeps me connected to the babies I’ve loved without seeing. It also keeps my eyes on the ultimate goal: getting my husband and living children to heaven. As hard as it is to be away from my little saints for a few years while I’m on Earth, it would be so much more difficult to spend eternity without one of their siblings.
And so my most recent letters end with some version of the following:
Pray for us, my little saints. We all need you.
I really do need my babies. And I am so grateful that journaling helped me find them.