Wednesday, September 12, 2012

On miscarriage

" we mourn the death of your child,
we place ourselves in the hands of God 
and ask strength, for healing, and for love."
Book of Blessings - Blessing of Parents after a Miscarriage

The above quote is part of the blessing that the Church offers to a family after a miscarriage.  I didn't know such a blessing existed and the other moms of miscarriages that I've talked to the last few weeks didn't know either.  Please share this with your friends and your priests.

This is what I love about the blessing: the Catholic Church tells it like it is.  Miscarriage is not a happy topic and many people want to change the subject or give simple answers.  Here is a sampling of what is said: you can have another baby, be thankful for your child(ren), you weren't that far along.  While these things might be factual, they do not speak the truth.  

Another thing many women hear is, "You've only had 1 miscarriage, well, I've had x." A friend told me this happened to her on a few occasions.  Loss is not a contest.  I have had one stillbirth and now one miscarriage, the pain is different but that does not make my stillborn daughter any more real than my miscarried baby.  A life is a life, a soul is a soul.  The loss of that life is painful.

The Church speaks the truth when it proclaims "as we mourn the death of your child".  The Church says, "That little life you carried inside you, no matter how long, was a person with a soul.  Now that person is gone and we mourn that loss.  Take heart, God is with you."  

A little over 2 weeks ago my husband and I received that blessing.  It might seem crazy that one line brought me such consolation and peace, but it did.  We didn't have to mourn our baby's death alone, the Church stood with us.  And thanks to Fr. Bruce at St. Brigid's Memphis for taking the time!

Note for priests: I'm the theology geek in the pew with an M. Div. and I didn't know about this blessing.  There are probably many families in your pews who have gone through a miscarriage and didn't know they should call the church office to ask for a blessing.  I know priests are stretched thin and finding opportunities for catechizing can be difficult, especially on something like The Book of Blessings, but it can offer so much healing and encouragement.  I understand there's even a blessing for fishing gear...God knows it would take divine encouragement for me to fish!  

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