Have you Experienced Miscarriage, Stillbirth or Perinatal Loss?

We are seeking your input in order to help others

Healing from Perinatal Loss

My husband Joel and I are collaborating with others to form a diocesan-wide support program for families experiencing the loss of a child through miscarriage, stillbirth, or other type of perinatal loss (more info here).

Joel is currently in deacon formation, and this work is an extension of his diaconal studies. We have felt called to develop such a ministry given our personal experience with miscarriage and the lack of support we received — medical, physical, and spiritual.

Question: If you have experienced a loss, what type of helpful support did you receive? (If you didn’t receive much support, what would have been helpful?) Click here to leave a comment. To leave a private reply, please use this contact form. We look forward to reading your pearls of wisdom.

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Comments

    • says

      Thanks for sharing. And I agree, Theresa. We have heard from others who journeyed through their grief “silently” because they weren’t sure how/who to reach out for help.

  1. says

    What a beautiful ministry and so desperately needed! We did experience the death of our son when I was 14 weeks pregnant and though the grief can never be taken away, I feel like we received every kind of support we needed to process our loss. Let me think about it and talk about it with my husband to give specific ideas.

  2. says

    I love the post and I hope I can help encourage others that have been through the same experience that we (myself and family) went through.

    I also had a miscarriage about 14 weeks into my pregnancy. It took me almost a week to physically get over the loss. My condolences go out to the baby and our family.

    A few weeks before my pregnancy, I had attended a meeting for volunteers for a pregnancy center. The speaker told us that 1 out of 4 pregnancies result in a miscarriage. That is one reason why the birth of a child is so precious, since the rate is so high. The rate is highest within the first trimester.

    That is why it was “bad luck” to announce a pregnancy within that time frame. I made that mistake and had to tell everyone I wasn’t pregnant anymore. It was especially hard because I was working full-time at the time and had to tell people at work.

    We found a local ministry at the time but never had a chance to make it. I’m sure it would have been extremely helpful to have gone.

    Remember, a child is a blessing.

    My husband was so upset about the experience that he wanted another child right away.

    Now we have three little darlings. We are counting on our blessings and hope for more little ones.

    I hope this helped you!

    • says

      Thank you for sharing, Julia. I am so sorry about your miscarriage.

      You mentioned your husband . . . husbands and wives, while they are both grieving, typically do so differently, don’t they? This is another component that needs to considered for our group. Thank you for that reminder!

  3. Meredith Tapken says

    We experienced 2 miscarriages and a stillborn birth of our daughther at 21 weeks, 2 years ago. The birth and burial of our daughter was the hardest thing we have ever had to deal with. The grief was overwhelming. I am lucky to have family & fiends that are so supportive. They were always there to listen. We also prayed a lot for the strength to help us get through it. The nurses at the hospital were great, but after you left, you were on your own to work through it. You can only look at so many pamphlets…
    I think there is a great need for what you are doing and I commend you for starting this.
    We now have 3 healthy kids and are very happy!

    • says

      “You can only look at so many pamphlets…” Very well said, Meredith. We are prayerful and hopeful that this support group can serve as a cloud of witnesses to others in need for that very reason.

      Thank you for sharing your heartfelt story here. God bless your family!

  4. Jenny says

    Hello,
    I had a miscarriage at 8 weeks along in February of this year, and I received support especially from my friends from church and from dance class. I decided to deliver the baby naturally, and my friends really helped me during this time. I did not feel comfortable telling everyone about my experience as I conceived out of wedlock, so out of shame I did not share with many members of my church. I still felt supported by close friends and family. I found out from Catholic Charitites in Houston that there is a place to bury my baby in a cemetary free of charge. I buried Skyler there in the Garden of Angels in Houston. I was relieved and blessed to be able to do this. Thank you, also, Lisa, for your support! Blessings.

    • says

      Good to hear from you Jenny! You are most welcome. Thanks for pointing out the help you received from Catholic Charities — good resources there! You’ve been in my thoughts a lot. Hope you are well.

  5. Melissa Cesarano says

    Great idea! I have often thought there was not enough support during that horrible time. I gave birth to triplets at 20 weeks -This was 10 years ago and the NICU’s were not the level they are now.
    Of course – All the other posts are wonderful! The support of family and friends is so critical and so important. A time you need people to carry you through. It is so easy to get overwhelemed with emotion and you don’t even know what your needs are. Families and Friends are crucial.
    But looking back through a lens of time. It was the practical things that helped the most. Things you don’t think about in the midst of greif.
    #1 – Clothes (really tiny, tiny, doll clothes)
    #2 – Holy water for Baptism. (I know not technically needed, but it sure was a Beautiful moment.) Our priest baptized the first triplet, and three days later my dad baptized the other two. Through all the tears – It is a moment I was always cherish and remember my Dad.
    #2 – Photographs – Someone reminded me to take photos of them. We took photos with family Rosaries. At the time the photos were way to hard to look at. But now, I am SO grateful for those Photos.
    #3 – Footprints – for all Grandparents, families members
    #4 – Dinners and housework – the world doesn’t stop

    I recieved a beautiful cloth bag to keep all my memories, cards, pictures and clothes to dress them, blankets to wrap them by some Mormon ladies at the Hospital – I am very grateful for them.

    Also – the Planning of the Funeral Liturgy was the Hardest thing to go through. Getting to choose the readings, the music, the casket, Everything. This was REALLY hard and everyone wanted to sheild me from it or do it for me. But looking back THIS was the beginning of the healing process. Being able to offer our suffering and loss at the table of the Eurcharist, was the moment healing began. Tailoring that specific liturgy so that it was very personal to our family was very healing.

    What a great ministry! I hope this helps.

  6. says

    I had a miscarriage at 12 weeks in December 2006, and one at 5 weeks in 2009. These comments primarily refer to my first miscarriage. It was a missed miscarriage, diagnosed via ultrasound, and I ended up having a D&C.

    What was helpful:

    My midwife gave me the ultrasound photo and said, “I know you probably don’t want this now, but I think eventually you’ll be glad to have it.” She was so right. It’s the only picture I have of our child and I treasure it.

    Simple expressions of condolence from friends and family. Our priest was so incredibly kind and caring during this time as well.

    The hospital giving us no trouble about having the baby’s remains released to us after my D&C & all necessary testing had been completed. It was an unusual request (or so we were told) but they honored it.

    The funeral home and cemetery kindly waived their fees so we could bury the baby (there was a special section of the cemetery just for miscarried babies). We were poor at the time so we were very grateful for the accommodation.

    Several friends attended the graveside service, which was a sweet gesture. Several others gave us sympathy cards, which I still have.

    What was NOT helpful:

    Family/friends who completely ignored our grief. Even a simple “I’m sorry” would have been welcomed.

    Family/friends who said, “It was God’s will” or “There was probably something wrong with the baby anyway.” Neither of these statements made me feel any better about what had happened.

  7. says

    With luck we will be meeting each other next week at the Pregnancy & Infant Loss Mass. Without going into all of the details we lost 2 babies to early miscarriage before having our 2 healthy, living children.

    On July 6, 2012, 13 weeks ago tomorrow, I gave birth to our little angel at 25.6 weeks. She was stillborn. Right now I should be 38 weeks pregnant and preparing for a baby to join our family. Instead, I am grieving the one that was too beautiful for earth. The pain and grief are very fresh and raw but the hope that we will be reunited someday carries me through each day. Knowing that our dear Mother Mary is mothering her for me until then is a huge consolation. Knowing that she never experienced the pain and sorrows of this world gives me peace.

    I have written at length on our blog about our experience(I have a lot to say and it has been good therapy) but I haven’t begun to give the props due to Mercy Hospital in Des Moines. We had no idea going into this that they have a Perinatal Hospice Program in place but we were blown away by their compassion and care during the worst days of our life. They took their cues from us and walked along side us every step of the way. Our families that came to visit us there were so moved by the nurses and staff during our time there.

    The nurses took care of every detail. Things that we had not even had time to think about or consider, they knew and they did. Pictures, clothes, blankets, hats, everything we didn’t have a chance to get ready, they had for us. They cried with us and helped us understand what was happening every step of the way. I could never thank them enough for the way they truly gave meaning to the hospital’s name.

    When you go through something like a stillbirth or infant loss you simply don’t know HOW to do it. Having people there that have experienced helping others and have been trained on the best ways to help was amazing. Most importantly, they let us do it however we felt was right. They made suggestions or gave us information but never pressured us into anything.

    As I said, I have written about this at length on our blog. Rather than restate what I already have there you are invited to check it out if you wish. I posted specifically on how family and friends can help us here: http://www.ourheavenlyhomestead.com/2012/07/3-weeks/

    Thank you for all that you share through your blog. I actually know several of the people that have posted for you too but somehow only recently found my way here!

    God bless,
    Maria

  8. Alicia says

    After reading some of the stories, I had to share our story. We lost two babies to early miscarriage, before having our two healthy kids.
    As a woman when you experience something like this is devastating and specially if it is your first pregnancy, there is some much hope, plans and dreams and in one day everything is over. After our second miscarriage, I found a support group in our community that I didn’t even know it existed for women who had experience the lost of a baby either to miscarriage or stillborn. They suggest that I symbolize the babies with either a baby cloth or something that I will find unique to the two of them, and write them a letter with all my hopes and dreams. It was the best therapy , at least for myself and my husband.
    I have two angels in my room that represent the 2 babies we lost, and I know in my heart I will see them again some day.
    Once my kids got older we told them about it and they wanted to know all the details, so we pray to them often and they asked questions if it was a boy or a girl and I tell them we will know once we see them in heaven. For now I know the Blessed Mother watches over them.
    Thank you for having this blog.
    God bless,
    Alicia

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