It doesn’t matter if you lost a baby through miscarriage, still birth, soon after they were born, or by SIDS, the grief that you feel is tremendous and you are not alone.
*This beautiful post is written by my dear friend, Joan Smith.
My first pregnancy ended early in a miscarriage and the grief was overwhelming. I did not want to get up and do anything. I felt like my heart had been wrenched out of me. The pain was more than I had ever imagined was possible.
When I became pregnant again, I prayed that God would not take the new baby home as quickly. He answered my prayers, but at the 20 week ultrasound, we found out that our daughter had severe abnormalities and there was a good chance she would not survive long after birth.
New grief started the moment I found out that she was not formed correctly. My perfect child was not perfect in the world’s eyes. I remember just wishing that she would die sooner than later because I wanted the pain to stop. However, as time progressed and she continued to grow, I began fighting for her life.
We prayed for a miracle and encouraged everyone we knew to pray with us.
At 30 weeks I was put on bed rest because of two bouts of preterm labor. At 34 weeks 5 days, we went in for our weekly check up with the perinatal doctor and our daughter showed signs that she would not survive much longer. I was immediately sent to the hospital where labor was induced. After 5 hours, my labor was not progressing and because of other medical issues, I went in for an emergency c-section. The NICU team was in the room with us. They resuscitated her twice.
After being baptized by my husband and living 29 minutes, on October 10, 2013, she passed on to Heaven.
For the next few months, I went through various emotions. I tried to find the positive like the fact that we knew she was in Heaven, she had red hair like my husband, and all she ever knew was love. Regardless of all my efforts, I became extremely depressed.
I was extremely weak physically from bed rest and the c-section, emotionally I was a mess, and I struggled with turning to God because I knew He could have healed her and didn’t understand why He didn’t. At moments, I was living just for my husband, who was beyond supportive.
Even with all of this grief, I realized that my husband would grieve differently than I would. He was more concerned with what he could do in the present moment to help make things better. Once he had Baptized her and she had died, he knew that there was nothing more he could do for her. He turned his full attention to taking care of me and helping me recover physically, emotionally, and spiritually. His undivided love and support are the reasons that I am here today.
Soon after she died, I was talking to a priest friend who shared with me this prayer that tremendously helped me:
Prayer of Surrender
Lord, Jesus Christ, I ask the grace to accept the sadness in my heart, as your will for me, in this moment. I offer it up, in union with your sufferings, for those who are in deepest need of your redeeming grace. I surrender myself to your Father’s will and I ask you to help me to move on to the next task that you have set for me.
Spirit of Christ, help me to enter into a deeper union with you. Lead me away from dwelling on the hurt I feel: to thoughts of charity for those who need my love, to thoughts of compassion for those who need my care, and to thoughts of giving to those who need my help.
As I give myself to you, help me to provide for the salvation of those who come to me in need. May I find my healing in this giving. May I alway accept God’s will, May I find my true self by living for others in a spirit of sacrifice and suffering. May I die more fully to myself, and live more fully in you.
As I seek to surrender to the Father’s will, may I come to trust that he will do everything for me. Amen.
As time passed, I slowly was able to recognize gifts from our daughter, such as; we had a much stronger marriage and people who hadn’t prayed in years were praying for her and us, friends were asking her intercession for their children.
Also, I felt a deeper connection with the Blessed Mother, especially during the Holy Triduum. She watched her innocent child suffer and die without being able to do anything but stand by and watch. In some ways, I feel like I went through a similar experience and it helps me have a greater connection to the pain that she experienced.
I will always miss her, and I often think about what she would be like if she had been born healthy. Some things we have done to make sure that our future children will know her are to pray for her intercession everyday and having a picture of her with her hand and foot prints at the dinner table. Also, we hang up a Christmas stocking for her during Advent where we put specific prayer intentions asking her intercession and on the Feast of the Epiphany, we burn them.
Other resources that I have come across that have helped me are reading I Will Carry You, by Angie Smith, and http://embracing-grace.org.
Know that you are not alone.