Thursday, January 29, 2009

Miscarriage Resources, Part 1

I have been looking for information/material/writings/consolation on the topic of miscarriage from the Catholic perspective. There are many, many websites about miscarriage out there, but nearly all of them are from a secular viewpoint or a nondenominational spiritual outlook. I have gradually been finding things here and there, and I plan on sharing them here as I find them.

First I just googled "Catholics and Miscarriage" and I found a website called Catholics and Miscarriage. It talks about the value of the unborn and how you may have heard comments after your miscarriage that are a bit negative, even though well-intentioned. Such as, oh, at least it was early, or you can always try again. It also talks about the grieving process and how you need to take time for that and that it may take a while. It talks about the comfort of prayer and that you may even feel angry at God. Then it talks about things you can do to remember the baby you lost. There are a couple of links to memorial sites and a few prayers and then at the bottom it lists the patron saints against miscarriage:

St. Catherine of Sweden
St. Catherine of Siena
St. Eulalia

I hadn't heard of those saints in that contex before. When I looked through our saintbooks, the only one I could find mentioned is St. Catherine of Sweden, who was the daughter of St. Bridget of Sweden. I'm not sure why she is a patron saint against miscarriage. I'll have to look on the internet some more.

Then somewhere online I saw mentioned Kimberly Hahn's book, Life-Giving Love, and I immediately went and found my copy, and oh, there is a whole chapter devoted to Miscarriage and Stillbirth (chapter 10). After the kids went to bed that night I read it and cried most of the way through, but it was just what I needed to read.

First she talks about miscarriage in the eternal context and that yes, this miscarriage fits into God's plan somehow and that somehow good will come out of it. Then she goes through a list of what you can say to a friend who has lost a child and explains each one. Next she has a list of what you can do for a friend who has lost a baby and a section on coping during the holidays. Then there is a section on what not to say, a few of which I heard, but the majority not. And finally a few pages on risking another loss by being open to life again. Through the chapter she talks about her own personal experiences with multiple miscarriages and she shares stories, thoughts, and prayers from other women who have also experienced pregnancy loss.

In this chapter on miscarriage there was a poem/prayer written by Karen Edmisten, whose blog I follow. She has several posts on her blog about miscarriage. Here is the prayer, which I can now fully understand:


Fiat

You said that we
would have a child
So I, with love, welcomed new life
and smiled with each wave and sea
of morning sickness,
caught up in this miracle-to-be.
"For You, Lord," I said,
and offered each tiny suffering
as a gift to Thee,
incomparable to the gift of life
You were giving to me.
And so I reeled,
stunned and shaken,
at my baby's death.
I was forsaken.
Anger rose and built a case
against misinterpreted signs of Grace.

I was so wrong –
"Here is a child," You said,
or so I thought.
But my arms are empty, bereft.
There is nothing left
of my trust
when I listen for Your Voice.
How can I trust when I was so wrong?
How will I again be strong?
I quiet myself and turn to You,
O Ancient Beauty ever new...
I ask You, my truest and deepest Love,
for an answer, some comfort,
a sign from above.
There is silence,
and my tears...
tears of a mother's grieving love.

Then, in Your Kindness,
Your encompassing Love,
You embrace me and speak:
the words from above
flow through an earthen vessel.
A man of God
who listens to me,
and tells me I can --I must --
dare trust, for all is as it should be.
The mystery that is my child
is in Your Hands,
Your Sacred Heart.
The part I play
is to surrender and be free.

When next I quiet myself
to pray,
"My Grace is sufficient for you,"
You say,
"For My power
is made perfect in weakness."
The words play again and again
in my mind,
like a record left to skip...
they rip
into the core of my grief
and leave me no choice
but to drop to my knees
and offer You my child.

Oh, heal my heart, Lord,
bitter and spent,
Be perfect in my weakness,
my Pearl of great price.
Though I offer it, Lord,
imperfectly and poorly,
my life is Yours.
Let Your Grace suffice.

2 comments:

Karen E. said...

Janet,
I am so very sorry for your loss. You and your husband will be in my prayers.

Dan and Janet Brungardt said...

Thank you, Karen!