In September of 2022, my husband and I found out that we were expecting our third child. I was 4 weeks along when I discovered the news through the positive pregnancy test, but the excitement of welcoming another child was short lived. Just after two weeks, while I was six weeks pregnant, I began to experience what I thought would never happen to me - a miscarriage. When I began to realize that this was the end of my child's short lived life on Earth in my womb, I fell to my bathroom floor and I prayed through my tears, "Jesus, embrace them when they get to you.". I continue to say this prayer, I pray this prayer over my children, that they one day get to experience Jesus' love, like my third child is experiencing.
Losing a child through miscarriage can be an emotionally challenging experience for anyone, but for Catholics, the loss can carry unique spiritual significance. The Catholic faith offers a wealth of resources, support, and guidance to help individuals and couples find healing, solace, and renewed hope during this difficult time. In this blog, we'll explore the journey of healing after miscarriage from a Catholic perspective, offering a range of resources and support to guide you towards emotional, spiritual, and psychological well-being.
1. Acknowledging Grief and Seeking Comfort:
Understanding Your Emotions: Miscarriage can trigger a wide range of emotions, from sadness and anger to guilt and confusion. Acknowledge and accept these feelings as a natural part of the grieving process.
Sacraments and Prayer: Engaging in sacraments such as Reconciliation (Confession) and receiving the Eucharist can offer solace and a sense of spiritual renewal. Turning to prayer, including the Rosary and novenas, can provide comfort during moments of pain. We connected with Saint Zelie especially during this time of mourning, who is the mother of Saint Therese of Lisieux, she also experience many losses of her children. Here is a link of different Saints to learn about and their novenas you can pray to ask for intercession for healing.
2. Finding Support within the Church:
Pastoral Care: Reach out to your parish priest or a pastoral counselor who can offer guidance, spiritual support, and a listening ear. We are so thankful to have close friends as priests. We invited our pastor, who happens to also to be a good, long time, friend to bless our family and say a prayer. Here is the prayer he used in our time together: Blessing of Parents After a Miscarriage or Stillbirth
Support Groups: Many parishes offer support groups for those who have experienced pregnancy loss. These groups provide a safe space to share experiences, emotions, and prayers with others who understand your pain. If your parish does not, consider a ministry such as Red Bird Ministries. They offer groups and online resources for mothers, couples, and families who experience loss of a child in the womb or through another tragedy.
3. Honoring Your Child:
Naming and Memorialization: Consider giving a name to your child and creating a memorial in your home or at your local parish. Lighting a candle, planting a tree, or even writing letters can help you maintain a connection and honor their memory. We named our child, Augusta. We believed they were conceived between the feast days of Saint Monica and Saint Augustine, a mother and son who are examples of faith for many. Saint Monica is a patron Saint of mothers, who prayed for her son's conversation of faith after going astray throughout his life. He would become a wonderful theologian and disciple of Christ and we have a mother's prayer to thank for that! We also planted a tree to remember Augusta in the years to come. When build a bench and have added flowers to surround the tree so we can remind ourselves of the beauty of creation God has gifted us through nature and each other.
Feast Days and Special Intentions: Participate in Masses, liturgies, or novenas dedicated to pregnancy loss and healing. This can be a powerful way to offer your pain to God and seek His grace. Typically, diocese will offer Mass for parents who have experience loss, take a look in your parish and diocesan communications for the opportunity, this usually takes place in October.
4. Seeking Professional Help:
Therapeutic Support: In addition to seeking spiritual guidance, consider seeking professional counseling or therapy to address the psychological and emotional aspects of grief. Counseling is an excellent source of support and need to allow us to heal.
Catholic Therapists: Look for therapists who understand and respect your Catholic faith, as they can provide a holistic approach to healing.
5. Hope for the Future:
Fertility Awareness: Explore natural family planning methods to better understand your fertility and increase your chances of a healthy pregnancy in the future. This is one thing I've been so grateful for while planning when we have children. I love how beautiful our bodies are and how they will inform us when something is going on. Seek a practitioner who can guide through NFP/Fertility Awareness options!
Offering Your Pain: Use your experience to support others who are going through a similar journey. Your story can offer hope and encouragement to those who are struggling. I should preface this with a "when you are ready". Not everyone should be expected to share, but know you are not alone and when you want to talk, there are people waiting to hear your story. It is estimated 1 in 4 pregnancies will end in a miscarriage, you are not alone in your healing.
6. Offering Support to Others
- Offer Your Time: I struggled physically and emotionally the first few weeks and I was thankful for friends and family that offered their time to our family while we processed our grief. We had friend babysit our other children so my husband and I could spend time together.
- Offer a Meal: Sometimes, the last thing we wanted to do was cook over a stove. It was helpful for others to offer meals, send us a gift card, or drop off a treat for our family. It was one less thing for us to think and stress about.
- Gift Giving: When someone is experiencing loss, it can be difficult to find the words to express your condolences. We created this beautifully adorned Saint Zelie Martin candle with a quote from her which says, "We shall find our little ones again up above.". A great and comforting reminder that our children will only experience unconditional love and never experience pain or suffering.
While the pain of miscarriage may never completely fade, healing and hope can blossom within the Catholic faith. By embracing the sacraments, seeking pastoral and professional support, and finding meaningful ways to honor your child's memory, you can navigate this challenging journey with the knowledge that God's love and grace are always present.
Remember, healing is a personal and unique journey. Allow yourself the time and space to grieve, while also seeking the comfort and strength that your Catholic faith can provide.