The Art of Losing

What I like about those digital pregnancy tests for dummies is that the result takes out any chance of guesswork or misinterpretation. Instead of squinting at the stick you just peed on and wondering if a second faint blue line is really going to appear or if that single line is going to turn into a cross (depending on which test brand you’ve chosen), you get a clear answer. The test spells it out for you: You’re either PREGNANT or NOT PREGNANT.


But this is what I don’t like. The results go away. Unlike those blue lines that last a long time (I know because I saved my first positive pregnancy test that marked the start of my five-year-old’s life), you cannot hold onto them for posterity’s sake or keep them as a reminder that there was a baby. PREGNANT one day, but all too quickly those words vanish. 


And you feel as blank as the screen on the test stick.


After suspecting for several days, you pee on the stick one morning. You wait. You feel even more nauseous than you have in the past week or so and you’re not sure if it’s a flutter of anxiety or anticipation. You try to distract yourself and pick up a simple devotion book for moms and you rush through it, not really taking any of the words in. You read the whole thing, but you comprehend nothing.


You steal a glance at the stick, but there’s only a flashing hourglass. You think about the sands of time, how life slips by so quickly. Then there’s an internal chuckle inside of you. It’s silly, really. You know it. You’re being ridiculous. It’s like you’re trying to think deep thoughts to keep you from feeling anything: Excitement, hope, joy, and maybe just a shred of fear, too. In your humanness, you can’t get the idea of time out of your head, how this doesn’t feel like the best time to have another baby, but then you curse yourself for questioning His timing when He’s always been shown to be a much better scheduler than you.


Then you look again. You pick up the stick, and your hand is trembling. Your heart is too, and you feel joy (and just a twinge of fear; God trusts you so much!).


PREGNANT.


God is a fan of dramatic irony, you think, considering this was just published (although you wrote it two months prior).


Although it’s not so ironic. You count on your fingers. Your new baby will be spaced 26 months after your now-baby. It’s a miracle. Every baby is, but this baby – wow. Looking back at your just-returned cycle, when you ovulated, you wonder how you could have conceived.


Yet, you’re not so surprised. You knew before you even drifted into that five-minute limbo of waiting to have your intuition validated, that a tiny seed of new life had been planted within you.


You show the test stick to your husband. Your eyes meet and widen, and so do your arms as you embrace.


Happiness shuts out most of the vain and selfish thoughts drifting into your mind. The fact that you probably won’t be able to make it to an event you were excited about. Oh, and you’re going to be a bridesmaid in your brother’s wedding, and you will be eight months pregnant in a shimmery silver dress (color label: Platinum).  It’s a beautiful dress, but you’re afraid you’ll look like a giant, swollen anchovy. (Terribly vain, but you’ve always been one who has struggled with vanity.)


But now you’re wishing you’d be too pregnant to go to any event, and you’re longing to be that swollen, silver anchovy. You wish the ongoing nausea was more than a residual biological marker, a reminder of what was but what isn’t any longer. Your mind churns over “what-ifs.” What if I hadn’t done this or had done that? What if I hadn’t been so vain or if I’d just trusted God instead of questioning His providence?


One day after I took that test I looked at that stick, wanting to see those words PREGNANT again, wanting to feel that jumble of happy, amazed emotions that rushed through me when I thought I would be nurturing another baby in my womb.


Instead, what I felt was numb, hollowed out, a sort of emotional paralysis. There wasn’t any “PREGNANT” on the display screen anymore, and there is no longer any sliver of new life within me.


And I’m back to thinking about that hourglass, how life changes so quickly. One moment you’re pregnant. The next you’re not.


I wonder, too: Are my feelings proportionate to my loss? Am I sad enough? Too sad? What is the right way to feel when you’ve miscarried? This is a first for me, and I feel rather lost. Sometimes I feel so sad. Then I’m keeping busy and feel like myself but not quite. Sometimes I feel guilty wondering if I should be crying more. I just feel so much.


It hadn’t even been 24 hours since I started thinking about the new life being knit in my womb when the cramping began. And I knew. Maybe I always knew because I just always felt cautiously optimistic about it all. Then the rush of blood, so much to lose. So much to lose.


My husband and I were celebrating one moment, and now we are mourning each in our own way.


It was very early. This is true. But a life is a life whether it is here for one day or for many.


On Sunday Dave was on call, so my parents came to be with me. I was quite the stoic for the sake of my girls. I’ve always been a decent actress.


My husband and I have never been ones to be able to keep the news of a new baby to ourselves. So we told our children. My oldest jumped up and down, jubilant. She loves babies so much.


A day later I had to tell her that this baby wasn’t going to come be with us.


My oldest daughter’s unflagging optimism was another sword piercing my heart.


“Probably everything will be okay,” she said. Oh, how I wish she was right.


Later my dad cast a shadow on the wall using a flashlight. He made the shadow bigger and bigger.


“Look,” he said.


To me, it looked like a cervix dilating. Weird, I know, but honestly that’s the first thought that popped into my head as I watched the concentric circles slowly widen.


Madeline saw something, too. “It’s getting bigger like the baby in your belly.”


I wanted to cry, but I didn’t.


Later my husband texted me: “Are you okay?” 


“I’m fine. I love you.” I texted back.


But I wasn’t fine. Not really. My mom and I quietly slipped away while my dad continued to play with the girls. We hugged, and we cried. We grieved the baby we wouldn’t get to hold. Not now at least. I told her about my guilt, about how at first my experience with postpartum depression haunted me and I wasn’t sure I was ready for the baby that I now wanted more than anything. She understood. She always does.


When I was pregnant with my second child, I saw an advertisement for a catering business called “Sunshine in Your Belly,” and I remember thinking that that’s what carrying a baby was like: Having warmth within you. Even as I hung my head over a toilet bowl to throw-up or to gulp down the unabated nausea that comes with my pregnancies, there was something inside of me that felt good, that felt right. There was something full of hope, something new and wonderful. Even when I had my share of self-doubts and fear, I knew that holding a new baby would turn confusion into clarity.


God has a way of doing that, doesn’t He? (He will do no less with my confusion now. I have to remind myself of this. Jesus, I trust in you.)


Today there is no sunlight in my belly, mostly darkness and emptiness. It’s as if my insides have been scooped out leaving nothing behind but a sun-scraped void.


I haven’t cried buckets. I haven’t cried all that much considering the quiet sadness that won’t go away.


As I passed a baby that would not be ours to have and to hold on this earth, I kept busy, but my busyness didn’t keep me from wondering about this child. Would she have buttery blond hair like her sisters? Or was she a he? Would he love music like my other children?


I stop myself. I get back to work, but it feels like I’m driving with the parking break on.


Eventually I break. My husband finds me weeping. I blame my tears on something that has nothing to do with my real loss. He knew this much. Like my mom, he always knows.


He holds me close. You have to give yourself permission to mourn even in a world that might discount a tiny, new life.  And so I really wept for the first time since the loss became real.


The first night after I knew losing the baby was imminent, I fell asleep with my girls. We were piled like puppies, and I went to bed comforted by their closeness and their love. My arms and my heart didn’t feel quite so empty.


There’s been a lot of noise and commotion this week, and I’m very grateful for the noise. Mary Elizabeth has wanted to nurse more than typical, and I’m thankful for that, too. I comfort her as she comforts me.


Mostly, I feel alright. But sometimes – especially at night or when I have to use the bathroom – I feel like my grief has nowhere to go. There’s nothing tangible to hold onto – not even the positive pregnancy test that was my only proof that there was a baby, is a baby, whom I don’t get to nurture, hold, or love – not here, not now.


Words are failing me right now. Forgive me. It’s probably too raw to be writing about, and I fear a maudlin mess is dripping out of me. But writing is what I do when I’m sifting through feelings.


I can’t stop thinking of Elizabeth Bishop’s poem, “One Art.” I loved the poem in high school because it helped me deal with boy heartbreaks (how silly and insignificant those losses seem to me now, but at the time it felt like my heart had shattered into a million pieces). In the wake of this current loss, I read the poem slowly. I thought of all that I’ve lost in my lifetime -  things that I was sure I needed to hold onto to be happy and insignificant things, too, like the wasted time Bishop alludes to. None of these brought disaster. Neither will this loss (God is my strength and refuge; so is my husband); yet, it is hard to master this kind of vague, almost surreal loss. It’s like I know I misplaced something really important, but I can’t remember what it is that I’m missing.


Sometimes you really don’t know what you’re losing and maybe that’s why (Write it!) a miscarriage is so painfully heartbreaking. I know nothing of this little soul that is now a citizen in  the Kingdom of Heaven. I have lost a baby, a child whose dreams and features and cries and giggles are only a mystery to me, and I’m left with an ache-all-over kind of longing for a child I never knew.


The art of losing is very hard to master.





Postscript: I wrote much of this reflection/lament this past weekend, and I wasn’t thinking I’d ever post it until a dear friend said that blogging about her own miscarriage was a part of her healing process. Then I thought of how when I wrote about my postpartum depression, my readers offered encouragement and support (thank you so much for that), and I didn’t feel so alone anymore. I’ve often said the blogging community can become a ministry. It’s in our times of great joy and sorrow when this is the most true.  


For the most part, I am doing much better now and even when the pain was still very raw, you wouldn’t have known it. This has been an odd kind of hurt. I can’t explain it. At least not well. I am blessed to have many, many friends and loved ones who understand this kind of loss and do not question our family’s sadness. 


At first, we shared the news only with our immediate family, but it’s been a blessing to come out of my cocoon of sadness and to be lifted up in prayer. And it’s so true that having my lovely three little girls make this easier. I have them to hug and to hold. When my arms are full, it’s easier to forget that the rest of me isn’t so much. 


I also know that this sorrow is an important part of God’s plan for me. I confided in one friend that I’d had a lot of guilt after I lost the baby because I’d been struggling with being open to life in the wake of my PPD. I’d been questioning God’s providence as well as questioning if He was really going to equip the called (as in me). It just seemed like one of those empty platitudes that makes you smile when you read it on a church sign along a rural roadway. 


Then I discovered I was pregnant, and I was overjoyed. So was my husband, but we were just a little scared, too. Losing this baby has helped me to face my fears; it has helped me with my trust in God. It has removed the primacy of self (for now) and replaced a stronger desire to bend to His will and to say enough already with all the doubts. It has helped to remind me that despite what I may have assumed, bending to God’s will and being open to life really doesn’t prove to be the most challenging when you find yourself unexpectedly pregnant. No, it’s far more difficult when you find yourself not pregnant and sheltering not a life but the knowledge that you’ve lost a baby whom you had already started to love and to imagine as a part of your family. I hope I’ll never again question the gaining now that I know how hard it is to accept the losing…

katesig The Art of Losing

feed icon16x16 The Art of Losing Don’t miss another post. Subscribe to Momopoly.

Enter the Conversation...

62 Responses to “The Art of Losing”
  1. Sara says:

    I'm so sorry, Kate! You put that all so beautifully; I hope it helps. I lost my 5th child to miscarriage and it was such an enlightening experience. It was strange to be so, so sad, crying my heart out in Mass, in a society that completely discounts those little lives. God bless you.

  2. Michelle says:

    {{hugs}}

    So many of us have been there. I am so sorry for your loss.

  3. Lerin says:

    Kate, I'm so sorry for your loss. I know that your family has a new little Saint praying for you in Heaven from the arms of Mary, and that you will hold your baby one day. I am sending you love, and am glad you decided to share this.

  4. claire says:

    I'm so sorry, Kate. I've been there.

  5. Chere says:

    My heart goes out to you in this difficult time. I, too, have experienced this loss more than once and know the heartache it brings. A priest friend suggested I name my babies and make plaques with their names on them for remembrance. I chose to also put Isaiah's words "I will never forget you; I have carved you on the palm of my hand" on them and it helped me "verify" their presence in our family. God bless you!

  6. A call to Holiness says:

    Dear Kate:

    I am very sorry for your loss…The more I read your beautiful heart puring out his love for ive and God, the more I feel it should be named the art of gainning (when you are least expecting it…) I've been theough this experience and my feelings were like yours…what a confussion sometimes of what to feel or not to feel. Your sould has gainned a closeness to her Creator and the only thing lost was a little bit more of herself, as we all are called to do, die to ourselves, and surrender to His loving will for His children. Lost fear of being open to whatever he has in store for us, gainned a precious child for you now in Heaven that will be praying and watching over your beautiful family ofr eternity. Losing more the chains of depression and anxiety that keep us away from trusting in God as we open up in himility acknowleding our total dependency in Him and his healing love and gainning His precious Providence as you open your heart to Him letting your hurst and worries out. I'll be praying for you knowing that God already has you in His arms, comforting you, walking by you…His precious child. Thank you for always sharing your faith journey with us.God bless you always,Christine

  7. KZG says:

    Kate, I know I only 'know' you thru our few emails and your blog (and Facebook) but reading this brought pain to my heart. I am so sorry you had to experience this but at the same time, I am amazed at the light you have shed on the miscarriage already: learning from darkness. Although my blog is private, I have found great consolation in blogging to friends about the experience. Although it only happened last spring, the grief still feels very real and not everyone 'gets' it. I have found the online Catholic community very supportive and more helpful than people I know IRL. I would suggest reading "Life Giving Love" by Kimberly Hahn, which has a beautiful chapter on miscarriage and loss. I will say some prayers for you this morning. In Christ, Kira

  8. Sarah says:

    I am so sorry for your loss. Thank you though, for sharing it with us and opening yourself honestly in this post. Perfectly worded. Perfectly sharing of your heart. I have been there before and with every word I read of yours I felt every ounce of our own loss being verbalized. Sending prayers your way. May your little saint keep watch over you and may you be wrapped in Mary's mantle and be comforted in the coming days.

  9. Charlotte (Waltzing Matilda) says:

    I am glad you decided to share your loss with us and I hope you find comfort in the gentle words that I know so many will share here and the graces being showered upon you and your family by the many prayers this post will inspire.

    May God bless you in your time of sorrow.

  10. Bridget says:

    Writing through it certainly helped me. Hugs and prayers for you and your dear family…

  11. Carol Kennedy says:

    Kate,

    Thank you for sharing. Your thoughts and feelings are common to so many of us. I have lost six through early miscarriage and I know the joy of the cuddles from the three that God let me hold. My heart and prayers go out to you!

  12. Kristen Laurence says:

    So lovely, Kate. It is clear you are absorbing all the graces intended for you through this cross. Beautiful. Praying for you…

  13. Deirdre Mundy says:

    When we lost our baby, I through myself at the feet of the Most Sorrowful Mother.

    She knows what it's like to cradle the bloody, broken body of a child. Even though our lost children are small enough to cradle in our hands, I know she grieves with us.

    I'm praying for you. The very loud 9 month old on my lap was born almost exactly a year after we lost his big brother(?) at 10 weeks.

    I still struggle with the fact that I COULDN'T have had them both. If Paul had lived, there would be no Max now.

    And, the oddest thig to me, is that Paul lived just as long as God wanted him to.

    What it comes down to, I think, is that different children need us for different amounts of time.

    Some parents have children who are 45 and still need constant care, day to day.

    Most children go from needing us constantly to needing a phonecall a week and some prayers.

    Some children only need us for the blink of an eye– a few moments or weeks before they go to join their Heavenly Father (I'm a strong believer in the idea of "Baptism of Desire" for the unborn. After all, you ardently wanted your child baptized and if he'd lived you'd have baptized him. How is he different from a man who gets hit by a bus on the way to his baptism?)

    I wish Paul had needed me longer than he did –but that's God's call, not mine.

    Like I said, I'm praying for you and your family. You'll always miss this child.

  14. nicole says:

    I'm sorry for your family's loss. I hope that writing about it and sharing your grief does bring you some measure of comfort amidst the sorrow.

  15. Jen Ambrose says:

    I am so sorry Kate. You wrote so beautifully and from the heart. I wish it could have been about something else. I hope this post can help other families who experience this loss.

  16. sksherwin says:

    Beautiful post, Kate, about such sadness. I miscarried our third little one at around six weeks, and every night during prayers with my boys I ask the baby (by name, out loud) to intercede for their health and safety — it's amazing (when I'm not crying) to think that my child is so close to God! I'm praying for you and your family during this hard time …

  17. Cathy Adamkiewicz says:

    My dearest Kate,
    I am so sorry. Thank you for having the courage to write this – you will certainly help other grieving parents.

  18. the momma says:

    Oh, Kate! I'm so sorry!!

  19. evenshine says:

    My heart grieves for you and yours, Kate, during this time. I can't imagine, since it's not happened to me personally, but I join you in mourning and rejoicing as believers together. Blessings.

  20. BettyDuffy says:

    prayers.

  21. Anonymous says:

    So sorry for you and your family. I miscarried our first baby just a few days after the + pregnancy test and just two months after we got married. It was actually five years ago today. We weren't anticipating having a baby so soon and were quite scared, but then losing the baby made it so clear that we were ready as soon as God was ready. It was a huge lesson learned in relinquishing EVERYTHING to the Lord and though I still wonder and think about that baby often, it's no longer with great sadness. I'm thankful for his or her brief life and for all that I learned through it, as I am most definitely a better Christian and a better mother on the other side of miscarriage. My prayers are with you and your family.

  22. mary@evlogia says:

    So sorry for your loss and praying that the Mother of God will comfort your broken heart. Many prayers for your family.

  23. KC says:

    My prayers are with you during this sorrowful time. Many hugs from someone who has been there.

  24. *Jess* says:

    I am so sorry for your loss, Katie :( You and the girls are so special to me. Please know I'm thinking of you. (hug)

  25. Nicole says:

    I am sorry, Kate. Thank you for sharing. When words fail a writer… but yours didn't fail you, I think. I will be praying for you and your family, especially to your little saint, to send you solace.

  26. Patty says:

    Dear Kate, I found your news via Charlotte's site. Please know that you are wrapped in prayer. I will keep you in my prayers, especially during this month of the rosary. God be with you!

  27. Sara says:

    Kate, I'm so sorry for the loss of your baby. As a mom who has been there, your blog brought me to tears. I miscarried my baby, Christian on Christmas Eve, and my second child was born 1 year later, to the day. I too struggled with the realization that I cannot have both of them here with me. I would also encourage you to give your baby a name. Giving Christian a name helped me with my grief, and let me acknowledge this my baby was a gift from God, even if the outside world doesn't think so. There are lots of online resources for memorial items, a google search will give you lots of ideas. I also received a certificate of life from The Shrine of the Holy Innocents. I will be praying for you and your family during this time.

  28. matchingmoonheads says:

    thank you for sharing this…

    "It has helped to remind me that despite what I may have assumed, bending to God's will and being open to life really doesn't prove to be the most challenging when you find yourself unexpectedly pregnant. No, it's far more difficult when you find yourself not pregnant"

    i have never experienced a miscarriage but i do identify with not being pregnant and the art of "losing a child you'll never know". thank you again for sharing this. we can find comfort in the fact that there are others who go through this as well. my prayers are with you.

  29. Layla says:

    These prayers helped me so much after my miscarriage. I found both in Mothers' Manual by A. Francis Coomes, SJ.

    Mary, my mother, obtain for me, I beg you, the grace of a holy resignation. Obtain for me the grace to understand this trial which is so hard for me to bear. I know that God in his all-wise providence has seen that it is for the best. Yet it is hard for me to bear the grief I feel. I come to you, dear mother, comforter of the afflicted and constant aid of those who trust in you. I know that you can obtain for me the peace and resignation that I seek. I confide in you entirely in this my tribulation and sorrow. You know the meaning of a mother's love, and can understand the depth of my affliction. Be to me a tender and protecting mother. For now, dear Mother Mary, I feel more than ever the need of your motherly love and sweet consolation.
    Mary sorrowing, Mother of all Christians, pray for us!

    My darling, you have gone to heaven to be eternally happy, and are now in joy in the company of the holy innocents there. It was a thing hard for me to understand when you were taken from me, for parting with you has caused me grief that few can know. Yet in all my grief I am happy, very happy for you, because I know the joy that is yours. Your joy is now my joy, too, because I can always feel that I had a part in bringing it to you. Now that you are in heaven, I realize that you are mine in a truer sense than you could ever be on earth. I cannot lose you now through sin. While parting you you was hard, I would not wish you back because I know that you are happier than I could ever make you here with me.

    Help me, as you now can with your intercession, that I may be completely faithful to all my duties here on earth and merit to to receive you again in eternal joys where there will be no more sorrow or parting from those we love.

    Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, lover of little children, hear my prayer!

  30. Roger, Michelle, Jena and Lily says:

    Kate,

    We are so sorry to hear of your loss and our thoughts are with you, Dave and the girls. I hope that sharing this burden will, in time, reduce your sorrows.

    Love from our end of the world.

  31. Jennifer Groves says:

    Oh Kate, my heart and prayers go out to you and your family. Just know that whatever feelings you have are OK! Somedays you'll feel fine (and that's allowed!) and some days (even years from now) you'll shed tears over your baby in heaven. Although the pain of never holding, kissing, or knowing your baby is incredibly sorrowful, I hope that you can feel some comfort knowing that your baby will never,ever know that kind of pain because he/she is in the arms of Jesus right now.

  32. Katherine says:

    I'm so very sorry. May God comfort you and your family.

  33. Sarah Reinhard says:

    I admire your courage and candor, Kate, but most of all your unrelenting faith and hope. May Mama Mary hold you close, even as she cradles your baby and asks her Son to turn your sorrow into the compost for a beautiful flower garden. Remembering you in a special way this weekend at Mass. {{big hugs}} and many prayers.

  34. Mum2eight says:

    oh Kate,

    I am so sorry for your loss. Our 4th child was our first loss and it is one of the most painful memories I have.

    I will be praying for your family and you.

  35. Kimberlee says:

    I'm so sorry for your loss, Kate. You have entered into this new 'art' with such grace and faith and trust and written about it so beautifully. You are in my prayers.

  36. kimberly says:

    Dear Kate:

    I'm so very sorry for your family's loss of this newest little life. May God be praised in the mystery of a life lived briefly and loved so very much. May you be comforted by our dear Mother who knows loss like no other…God bless you!

  37. nutmeg says:

    Kate~
    I've lost two.. one early, and one later. I completely understand the mixture of emotions, the confusion and the pain… the guilt and the sorrow.
    I'm praying that you be surrounded by love and beauty and joy in the coming months.
    Hugs~

  38. Colleen says:

    Oh Kate, God provides. He has now provided for your family a saint in Heaven. And in the end, isn't that what matters most…to get our children to Heaven? Still you deserve to grieve and be sad about the loss of a new baby, and we are right there with you. Hugs!

  39. Peter and Nancy says:

    I'm so sorry that you won't get to meet your baby until heaven. I do agree with a previous commenter that it can be very helpful to find a way to create a visible memorial. A friend of mine (actually, her husband surprised her with it) has a mother's ring with her children's birthstone's in it, including the baby they lost. God's richest blessings on you as you grieve.
    Nancy

  40. Kate Wicker @ Momopoly says:

    I just want to drop in to say a quick but heartfelt thanks for all of the prayers, kind words, encouragement, etc. I received after spilling my heart. There are a few people who left comments whom I know in real life; however, many of you are strangers whom I've never met. Yet, your words were balm to a hurting soul. God is so big.

    I wish I could thank each and every one of you personally. Please know our family has been blessed by your prayers and kindness. Thank you for everything.

    I may be quiet here for a bit, but I'll be back soon enough.

    Peace and prayers…

  41. Melanie B says:

    Kate, It's taken me some time to find quiet to drop a few words here. When I first read this it was amidst the chaos of needy kids and there wasn't time to gather my thoughts and words.

    Oh this is so beautifully written and so heartbreaking and it takes me back so clearly to my own loss. Thank you for sharing your words and I hope you may never regret doing so. I think they will be a blessing for many.

    I echo what several other commenters have already said that for me naming my baby was very much a step in healing that hole in my heart. I learned so much from Dom's sister who had miscarried three babies before we were married. Every night their family's bedtime prayers include a litany of their patron saints and they always include their three little siblings as intercessors. I can't tell you how much it moved me the first time I joined them for prayers to hear this simple daily reminder that those children are not lost but still very much a part of the fabric of their family's life.

    We've adopted the practice with our own baby Francis and I feel that daily invocation also makes it easy for me to speak often of Francis to the girls. When we talk about babies, when we talk about heaven, when we talk about death, when we talk about our family. So many occasions to remember and love…

    You are in my prayers.

    Also, the title of this post jarred my memory just now and this poem fell out. I don't know if you were consciously echoing it; but it's one of my favorites:
    The Art of Losing by Elizabeth Bishop

    God bless and goodnight.

  42. Melanie B says:

    Hitting myself on the forehead… of course you linked to the poem in your blog post and I didn't click through to read it because I was so distracted by a screaming child and now I feel silly. But really not because it is such a fabulous poem and it was rather nice to have it jarred lose from my memory in such a satisfactory way when I re-read your title. (Am I allowed to take such small pleasures in words in the shadows of such grief? It feels wrong and yet it would also be wrong to deny such a pleasure.)

    Anyway I also wanted to say and then forgot and then remembered how much this struck me: I wonder, too: Are my feelings proportionate to my loss? Am I sad enough? Too sad? What is the right way to feel when you’ve miscarried? This is a first for me, and I feel rather lost. Sometimes I feel so sad. Then I'm keeping busy and feel like myself but not quite. Sometimes I feel guilty wondering if I should be crying more. I just feel so much.

    That is so exactly how I felt. It is such a vague loss, nothing to hold on to, nothing to grasp.

    There are no mementos, photos, keepsakes, treasures to cling to.

    I was so grateful to a dear friend, a potter, who when we were married
    made Dom and I a pair of mugs. When Bella was born she added a smaller, matched mug to the set. Then when we lost Francis, she made an even smaller, tiny little matched mug. Sophie later got one and I hope one of these day Ben will get one too. A matched set. One thing to hold on to. I think it does help. We need relics, graves to visit, markers, something physical to cling to. Or at least most of us do. Perhaps that too will come to you, something to help you feel that a small life did after all leave a mark in this physical world and not only in the wounds in your heart and soul.

  43. Pat Gohn says:

    Count me among the gals praying. So sorry. Peace, peace, precious peace thru Jesus.

  44. jjhhss says:

    Tonight is my first time reading your blog. My friend sent me a link because I just lost a baby 3 weeks ago. It was my 4th pregnancy, and we had already told the children. Thank goodness, else it would be so much more confusing to them, mommy crying all the time and such. We named the baby- Thomas Rose, we weren't sure if the baby was a boy or a girl. Because I had the miscarriage at home and the baby had died at 11 weeks we had a little body that we were able to have buried in the cemetary and a funeral mass celebrated. Both of which were very healing- how much mother Church gives to us. I was thinking that it would just be my own family, but my mom, God bless her called my aunts and uncles and they were there, too. It was wonderful to have the validation and support.
    One of my greatest sorrows was/is not being able to love and hold,and comfort my baby. But the priest -my friend- reminded me in his homily that my baby would be with our Heavenly Father, and how He is able to love my baby perfectly. It was such a comforting thought to me; I hope it is for you as well.
    I am so glad to have been directed to your blog as it has been comforting to me today. May Our Lord heal you in your grief.

  45. jjhhss says:

    Tonight is my first time reading your blog. My friend sent me a link because I just lost a baby 3 weeks ago. It was my 4th pregnancy, and we had already told the children. Thank goodness, else it would be so much more confusing to them, mommy crying all the time and such. We named the baby- Thomas Rose, we weren't sure if the baby was a boy or a girl. Because I had the miscarriage at home and the baby had died at 11 weeks we had a little body that we were able to have buried in the cemetary and a funeral mass celebrated. Both of which were very healing- how much mother Church gives to us. I was thinking that it would just be my own family, but my mom, God bless her called my aunts and uncles and they were there, too. It was wonderful to have the validation and support.
    One of my greatest sorrows was/is not being able to love and hold,and comfort my baby. But the priest -my friend- reminded me in his homily that my baby would be with our Heavenly Father, and how He is able to love my baby perfectly. It was such a comforting thought to me; I hope it is for you as well.
    I am so glad to have been directed to your blog as it has been comforting to me today. May Our Lord heal you in your grief.

  46. Kelle says:

    I am so very sorry for you and your family. Sharing your thoughts, experiences, and feelings is such a gift to others. I know it is to me. I lost a baby in July and still feel that emptiness of which you wrote and I probably will until another fills it. It helps to know I am not alone. God bless you.

  47. Anonymous says:

    Kate,
    Keeping you in prayer (and your family, too). God bless, Laura (from Augusta,GA)

  48. MoiraElizabeth says:

    Dear Kate,

    I lost a baby through miscarriage earlier in the summer. I did experience what you have written about, and Melanie B quoted in her comment.
    So much of my grief was an ache – difficult to explain to those who haven't lost a baby – a deep ache that I would never get to hold my baby. I suppose I will in heaven, hopefully.
    What helped me the most was hearing those I love tell me "I am sorry for your loss." Because even if they couldn't understand it, at least they were acknowledging that there was a loss, a little life had perished. So of course, the flip was true, what was most difficult for me is when people I love went on to treat me just the same, without saying anything about my baby.

    I wanted to say to you that I am sorry for your loss. I know that it hurts, and that this type of hurt is hard to explain to others.
    I will pray the Blessed Mother grants you her maternal consolations. She too, lost her child.

    Moira

  49. Diana says:

    I am so sorry for your loss. Our prayers are with you and your family.

    Part of my prayers each night is to ask our babies in Heaven to pray for our family, especially their sister that is here. That has helped me find peace and comfort to know we have little souls in Heaven praying for us.

  50. Anonymous says:

    Thank you Kate. I am so sorry for the loss your precious little one. We have just lost a baby this week as well. Thank you for sharing so honestly. I am experiencing many of the same feelings and it is so comforting to know that I am not alone.
    Peace,
    Robyn

  51. MJDMom says:

    I just want to say thank you for this post because it helps me face my own fears about another baby. I am so sorry for your loss and will pray for you and your family. I came back upon this blog after reading you EBF piece….I love your writing and approach to mothering. I feel like you give voice to so many of the things I think but cannot eloquently put into words!

  52. MJDMom says:

    I just want to say thank you for this post because it helps me face my own fears about another baby. I am so sorry for your loss and will pray for you and your family. I came back upon this blog after reading you EBF piece….I love your writing and approach to mothering. I feel like you give voice to so many of the things I think but cannot eloquently put into words!

  53. lp says:

    Just an idea–I've had two miscarriages, and both times our pastor said a Mass of the Angels for us. It was just for our immediate family–parents, grandparents, and siblings–and both times were beautiful. The Masses gave us a way both to share our grief with our close family and to, in a small way, celebrate the lives of our babies.

    Prayers for you and your family.

  54. Mrs. Bubbles says:

    Oh, Kate…I am so sorry for your loss. We lost our first, and you articulated so beautifully many of the feelings I felt. Perhaps you already have, and perhaps others have suggested it already, but one thing that was so healing for us was to name our little saint. Praying for you and your family, that you will be wrapped in peace and strength.

  55. Suzi says:

    Kate, I'm so sorry. We lost our 4th, 6th, 9th, 10th, & 11th all during pregnancy. A priest counseled me saying that God needs these little souls in Heaven to do His work and when we die and see the Beatific Vision we will understand why. Have your family call upon your personal little Saint whenever you need intercession and grieve as long as you need to. I know it hurts. ((hugs))

  56. Kathy says:

    I read this a couple of days ago and still cannot finds the words to thank you for sharing. I wish I would have been brave enough to share too. Many tears shed as I read your post. How I could relate.

    Obviously still not finding the right words. :o)

    Praying that the God of all comfort will meet you in your ache.

    Thank you.

  57. MicheleQ says:

    Kate,

    I'm so sorry. Your courage to be able to write something so beautiful and heart-wrenching is truly a witness to God's grace and mercy. Thank you. You are in my prayers.

  58. Liz says:

    I am so very sorry for your loss. My first pregnancy ended in miscarriage three years ago. In one way I've healed, but in another way I'm forever changed. I pray peace and healing for you. Please be gentle with yourself.

  59. House of Brungardt says:

    Dear Kate,

    I've just now read this and I am so sorry about the loss of your little baby. It's been almost 2 years since we lost our little Mary Joseph. We include her in our little litany of saints at bedtime and the kids will occasionally talk about her. We actually buried her in our backyard and my husband and his brother constructed a grotto over the site. I like to go there sometimes and think about her.

    The ache is less now, but often I will watch the children playing and just have a feeling that someone is missing. That first year after losing her, the sadness seemed to come in waves. At times I would feel better and think, why am I not feeling more sorrow? Then something would happen (a sister miscarrying, or someone else having a baby) and the sadness would come rushing back all over again. Even when Anthony was born this past March, I experienced a sadness and loss for Mary Joseph right in the delivery room.

    I was a bit surprised to find out how much grief I felt on and around the due date, even though I had previously been feeling better. What I am trying to say is that there is no "right" way to grieve. Accept the times you feel better as a gift from God, and hold your kids(and husband) close when you are sad. I found that holding the youngest child was my biggest comfort as he still felt somewhat like a baby.

    Ask your little one to pray for you and teach your children to do the same.

    I don't want to offend any husbands, but really they just don't experience a miscarriage in the same way that a woman does. I suppose some of that is in the same way that I didn't fully understand miscarriage until I had experienced one myself. It really helped me a lot to talk to other women who had gone through the same thing.

    I'd come give you a hug if I could!
    Love, Janet

    Oh, and one more thing. If you go to http://morninglightministry.org/ you will find a Catholic organization dedicated to ministering to parents who have lost a baby to miscarriage, stillbirth, early infant loss. If you email them, they will send you some mementoes for your baby (Baby rosary, Crocheted cross, little medals), along with some holy cards. One of the hardest things was having no pictures or tangible reminders of the baby. I put all of those mementoes in a pretty little box to keep. You could have your girls help you decorate a box.

    May God grant you comfort and peace.

  60. House of Brungardt says:

    Dear Kate,

    I've just now read this and I am so sorry about the loss of your little baby. It's been almost 2 years since we lost our little Mary Joseph. We include her in our little litany of saints at bedtime and the kids will occasionally talk about her. We actually buried her in our backyard and my husband and his brother constructed a grotto over the site. I like to go there sometimes and think about her.

    The ache is less now, but often I will watch the children playing and just have a feeling that someone is missing. That first year after losing her, the sadness seemed to come in waves. At times I would feel better and think, why am I not feeling more sorrow? Then something would happen (a sister miscarrying, or someone else having a baby) and the sadness would come rushing back all over again. Even when Anthony was born this past March, I experienced a sadness and loss for Mary Joseph right in the delivery room.

    I was a bit surprised to find out how much grief I felt on and around the due date, even though I had previously been feeling better. What I am trying to say is that there is no "right" way to grieve. Accept the times you feel better as a gift from God, and hold your kids(and husband) close when you are sad. I found that holding the youngest child was my biggest comfort as he still felt somewhat like a baby.

    Ask your little one to pray for you and teach your children to do the same.

    I don't want to offend any husbands, but really they just don't experience a miscarriage in the same way that a woman does. I suppose some of that is in the same way that I didn't fully understand miscarriage until I had experienced one myself. It really helped me a lot to talk to other women who had gone through the same thing.

    I'd come give you a hug if I could!
    Love, Janet

    Oh, and one more thing. If you go to http://morninglightministry.org/ you will find a Catholic organization dedicated to ministering to parents who have lost a baby to miscarriage, stillbirth, early infant loss. If you email them, they will send you some mementoes for your baby (Baby rosary, Crocheted cross, little medals), along with some holy cards. One of the hardest things was having no pictures or tangible reminders of the baby. I put all of those mementoes in a pretty little box to keep. You could have your girls help you decorate a box.

    May God grant you comfort and peace.

  61. House of Brungardt says:

    sorry for the double post!

  62. Sally Thomas says:

    Prayers for you, and for your sweet and hopeful daughter, too.

Leave a Comment

Use your words. But try to be nice. Comments are moderated and may not appear immediately.

CommentLuv badge

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.