A Hidden Community
My eyes close and I take a deep breath. The baby I was lovingly carrying in my womb had passed away. I exhale…oh…so…slowly. I’m overwhelmed with sadness and retreat to the inner most cave of my thoughts. “Lord have mercy on me.” How do you cope with something of this magnitude? How do you find strength to take a step forward when all you want to do is fall to the ground in agony?
“Lord have mercy upon my child that has died in my womb for the sake of my faith and tears, because of Thy mercy Lord, deprive them not of Thy Divine Light.”
After my miscarriage, a community of supporters quietly found me in the moments I was alone. They gently and lovingly wrapped their arms around me with a look of understanding. They shared with me that they too had lost a little one in the past. I didn’t really know how to respond to them but what I quickly realized was they didn’t expect any response from me. It was the silence and mutual understanding that spoke volumes between us and comforted me.
These same women cared for me in a way many others could not. They shared their stories with me. They shared their love…and their grief. They also shared resources. I, in turn, shared all of this with my husband. I feel truly blessed I was gifted these moments with these women. Please allow me to also share with you, that which was so generously shared with me.
Naming the Child: I ordered a copy of this book, graciously recommended by many of you, shortly after my previous post was written. After the book arrived, I anxiously left it lying on my desk waiting to be read until after I tucked my kids in bed that night. My intent was to read it without distractions or interruptions in one night but these tired mom’s eyes could not stay awake to finish it just then. Instead, I took every opportunity possible in the coming days to read several pages here and a few pages there. I found that I would get so lost in the book that a distraction would snap me back to the moment and make me realize that unknown tears were trickling down my cheeks – slightly embarrassing when one of those times was while waiting at the airport. After finishing it, I passed the book along to my husband who looked forward to reading it himself. One of the things I took away from that book was that parents tend to grieve differently and sometimes at differing times as this was certainly the case for my husband and myself.
Lost Innocents: Kind-hearted women also guided me to this blog filled with a wealth of information. I spent a couple of hours reading the stories of other parents and looking through the information available on this site.
A Friend’s Referral: A friend of mine, who I learned had also had a miscarriage several years ago, told me about a priest and his wife who had experienced two miscarriages themselves. This priest had written his thesis on a pastoral approach to miscarriage. Without hesitation, I contacted him and found such sweet words of peace from him.
IOCC Emergency Baby Kits: There was another piece to all of this as well. A mother likes to prepare for the arrival of her new baby. It’s the nurturing side of us making sure all of our child’s needs are completely met. There was still a slight longing on my part to purchase those cute little girl clothes I have not shopped for in ages. IOCC has a list of emergency kits you can donate for times of need. I saw this as an opportunity for our family to heal together. Thus, Les and I gathered our kids and drove them to the store. Our hope was to make an intangible moment tangible and easier to discuss with our kids. I pulled out the list I had printed off from IOCC’s website for the items we needed to purchase for a baby emergency kit. We went around the store and each one of us thoughtfully picked out an item from the list as if we were buying it for our little Mary Elaine.
“Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you” – Jer 1: 5
At first, my teenage daughter, husband, and myself were a bit more distracted with our thoughts as we walked amongst baby clothes in the store – but my sons quickly engaged the whole family as they eagerly grabbed outfits declaring how they would have picked these out for their baby sister.
With our items chosen and purchased, we headed home. I unwrapped each item from its packaging, folded them, and placed them on the blankets to be bundled for another mother and her new baby.
It was a bittersweet moment for me. On the one hand, I wept for the baby who would never wear these clothes or be snuggled in these blankets.
But on the other hand, another baby would be wrapped in warmth and love through our gift, in memory of our precious baby.
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