Here we are already into Fall, starting the month of October. The leaves are turning, the air is crisp and there is a certain joy this time of year can bring, despite the beautiful summer days behind us. While October is certainly filled with a newness it is also a time of remembering, for some remembering the newness that never came. October marks Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Month, a time to remember and honor the babies whose hearts stopped beating too soon, the ones we never gave birth to, the ones we never held and the ones whose lives were all too short. In addition to remembering the precious souls who are now in heaven basking in God’s glory, it is also a month to remember their mothers whose hearts will never forget.
Perhaps the loss was days, weeks, months or years ago, there is always a piece of us missing. While the world continues to move on, our hearts continue to ponder. We live in a culture that does not value the sacredness of life and often refers to a growing baby as a product of conception, clump of cells, tissue or a fetus. This mindset can leave women questioning their grief, especially if the loss was early on in the pregnancy. Perhaps, they even feel guilty about grieving since they were only 6, 8 or 12 weeks along. Asking themselves, why can I not get over this? Why am I finding it so difficult to move on? Why do I feel so broken inside?
As women who have loss a child, it does not matter the age. It was your baby, an unrepeatable soul, made in God’s image and likeness and a reflection of you and your husband. So if you find yourself grieving that is a natural response. Remember even in the sorrow, healing can be found. While you may feel moments as if God has abandoned you, it is our faith that can bring great comfort. We know how the story ends. Our children are not gone, yes from this earth, but they live on in eternity. Images of us before the face of God, eternal souls waiting for us on the other side of the veil.
Our beloved babies have become our intercessors, our path to heaven in more than one way. We can name our babies, even the ones we have never met, and ask for their intercession in our lives. Tiny Saints in heaven that can pray for us. Saints who reflect us in some way and are still a part of our family, especially when we invite them to intercede for us. They are children who are not loss, but rather have gained heaven as small souls.
In addition to a spiritual connection with our little ones, there is a physical one that many may not know about. As mothers we carry cells from our babies in our body for the rest of our lives, even those babies who were miscarried or stillborn their cells are still with us. The scientific term for this is microchimerism. So while we may think of our babies as departed, they are literally a part of us. Much nearer to us than we could ever imagine. They truly are never forgotten.
After Servant of God Chiara Corbella Petrillo gave birth to her precious Maria who only lived 30 minutes after her birth, she beautifully declared:
The day of Maria’s birth I shall always recall as one of the most beautiful days of my life, and I shall tell all my children that the Lord wishes to send us that they have a special sister who is praying for them in heaven. (Nursery of Heaven: Miscarriage, Stillbirth and Infant Loss in the Lives of the Saints and Today’s Parents)
Affirming the gift of each child, these words from Servant of God Chiara both comfort and give hope that our baby is never forgotten.
What I wish to say to the mothers who have lost children is this: we have been mothers; we have had this great gift. The amount of time does not matter: one month, two months, a few hours. What matters is that we have had this gift…and it is something that can never be forgotten. (Nursery of Heaven: Miscarriage, Stillbirth and Infant Loss in the Lives of the Saints and Today’s Parents)