Husband & Wife Articles


 

Life After ‘Miscarriage’

Amid the sadness, we realized our child was with God

By Mary Rose Verret

Our 6-year-old recently asked, “How does a baby come from the mind of God into the heart of God and out into a family? How does God know which family to send each baby to and when?”

Pope Francis might answer her question with these words:

“The Creator can say to each one of us: “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you” (Jer 1:5). We were conceived in the heart of God, and for this reason “each of us is the result of a thought of God. Each of us is willed, each of us is loved, each of us is necessary”(Laudato Si, 65)

Life can cloud our eternal vision and sometimes the voice of a child or the loss of a child reminds us of reality. The smallest spark of life gives glory to God, even a heart that beats for a few weeks in the chest of a child that will never be held by his parents in this life.

As parents or friends of someone who has lost a child, we might wonder, “Why did God allow this child to be conceived if the child was never to be born? Why did God put the desire for this child in our hearts only to take this child away?

As Christians we believe that every child is conceived in the eternal heart of God so that he might return to that heart. Pope Francis reminds us of this when he says:

“Each child has a place in God’s heart from all eternity; once he or she is conceived, the Creator’s eternal dream comes true. Let us pause to think of the great value of that embryo from the moment of conception. We need to see it with the eyes of God...” (Amoris Laetita, 168)

The term “miscarriage” can give the wrong impression. Technically, it means “the unsuccessful outcome of something planned,” but God’s plan for every one of his children is that he or she returns to him. Some return home sooner and that is not an “unsuccessful outcome.” If an eternal life begins at conception then we should not forget the humanity of the unborn children who have returned to the heart of their heavenly Father. Your “miscarried” child is not “medical waste” but the body of a saint!

After we recently experienced the loss of a child, the most helpful thing that anyone said were words they had heard at an Elizabeth Ministries retreat. This friend reminded me that while I might feel more like a walking tomb and a failure, the truth was that I was in fact the mother of a saint who was beholding the face of God. In fact, science has shown that every mother carries for the rest of her life cells from each child conceived. That the bond between mother and child continues and that I was not a tomb but a reliquary, a precious repository of a holy person. Every mother who has lost a child needs to hear this message!

Each night, my husband and I stand on the back porch and look out towards the prayer garden where rests the child we lost during the third month of pregnancy. I whisper, “Goodnight, Jean-Paul, Mommy and Daddy love you. We can’t wait to hold you in heaven. Pray for us. Good night!” Later on, I pass by each of our children’s beds and say “Mommy and Daddy love you. We want to get you to heaven. God, please help us to get them there. Good night!”

Little Jean-Paul has become part of our family. We pray to him daily and he somehow helps us to become better spouses and parents. Some days I look out the window to see our 5-year-old putting flowers or our 2-year-old lining up her toys on their little brother’s grave. Sometimes I see them kneeling, praying or just playing by the prayer garden. A relative asked our 5-year-old if he was sad that he lost his little brother; he paused for an instant before running out the door and responded, “Why should I be sad? My little brother Jean-Paul is on God’s lap and he is laughing. He is my brother.”

The miracle of Jean-Paul’s short life on earth is that he has opened our eyes to heaven. May every mother and father who has a child born into heaven know the tender love that God has for you and that your son or daughter is God’s child too. Your child is the eternal dream of the Creator come true. Life is always a miracle and never a mistake.

Mary-Rose Verret, with her husband, Ryan, founded the Witness to Love apostolate, and together they wrote Witness to Love: How to Help the Next Generation Build Marriages that Survive and Thrive. They speak on issues of fertility, in vitro fertilization, marriage, natural family planning, and medical ethics. They live in the heart of Louisiana Cajun country with their three children, and Number 4 due later this year.