9 Comments

  1. This is a really interesting thing to think about. I think there is definitely a ministry need for both groups, them working together could have a lot of benefits and healing for everyone but it would take special people to lead this and help guide any difficult emotions.

  2. Mark Campbell

    I’ve been pondering this a good portion of the day because I really want to chose my words carefully on this subject. I would hope that miscarriage and abortion grief could peacefully coexist. I have met women who have made the regrettable decision to have an abortion. While I can’t know how they feel, I can empathize with the pain of losing a child. Here’s where I hope I’m able to communicate correctly- redemption begins the moment the parents begin to grieve the aborted child. I could grieve alongside someone who has lost a child to abortion, while also finding hope in the fact that a lost soul has a chance to find their way back into God’s grace. God is merciful, but how will they know that if we are not willing to stand beside them?

  3. Annie Doyle

    The two are inextricably linked. It is every bit as tragic to deny a post-abortive mother or father their grief as it is when someone behaves as though miscarriage is “no big deal” or even, in some cases a “blessing”. To deny the grief of either is to deny that there is anything (or more specifically, anyone) worth grieving. While it is often painful to those of us who have lost children through no fault of our own to imagine someone intentionally terminating a pregnancy, we should embrace those brave souls willing to share their regret and grieve with them. The first feelings I have experienced with each of my pregnancies has been a mingling of fear and joy; I can only imagine what it must be like to experience the fear without the joy. The 56 million babies aborted in this country since Roe V. Wade are a stark reminder that 56 million times, we have collectively failed our sisters. Part of how we move forward from that failure, is how we minister to the millions of post-abortive parents in our midst. It begins with sharing our grief.

  4. For my husband and I, trying to start our own pregnancy loss ministry in central IL, we have come across this question as well. The analogy we like to use is that there are two very sick/broken souls we are dealing with. If someone had a broken leg and the other had cancer you would not treat them with the same medicine. Both are sick and need healing-but the treatment is different. For our ministry we have said no to the post-abortive women who have inquired and instead directed them to a Rachel’s Vineyard Retreat. We have also ran into the issue of letting non-married couples come to our couples retreat. With that we do allow them because we see them both as the mother and father and though they are not married, they still have a relationship that has been broken because of their loss. We have also thought about what if the issue of same-sex couples seeking our ministry comes up, so far that hasn’t happened-nor do we have an answer for that yet! So, that’s something else within this ministry that could pop up. So many things to pray about. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this.

  5. I would hope and pray that any parent grieving the loss of a child could grieve alongside another. No matter the reason for the child’s death. Yes, it is incredibly difficult that the reality of life is that some parents who want their children cannot have them and others who could have them choose not to. It is difficult. It is maddening. But if we believe that those babies are life, how could anyone be denied the opportunity to grieve? You cannot hold an infant loss mass and exclude those infants lost to abortion.

    Peace.

  6. Juliana

    I love that you are trying to help these families! I have some very personal thoughts on this subject that have sat inside me for about 8 months. Please excuse the length.
    Loosing a child is an extremely painful experience no matter the stage of life the child was in. And they are extremely unique situations. There is a connection that mothers and fathers have when the child is unborn (whether wanted or unwanted). My husband and I lost our first baby through miscarriage and it can’t be compared to anyone else’s loss.
    My husband and i are from particularly strong catholic roots and after our miscarriage the response we received from family and friends was surprising. My family is openly pro-life and participates in numerous activities for at risk mothers and abortion victims. I know a lot about the organizations that reach out to these mothers and I love that fact (maybe not personal parishes but they have the ability to refer anyone to the organizations).
    Although my family sees an unborn child as a unique person, I received “heartfelt” comments such as….
    “you can try again”, “i know its hard but it happens to 1 out of 3 women”, “its mother natures way of saying there was something wrong, you should be grateful”, “it was God’s will”, “you are so young”.
    WOW! I was flabbergasted! how is it that people who care so much for unwanted unborn babies didn’t care for mine?
    It’s true that there was anger in my heart towards women who aborted, but it wasn’t because of what they did. At the time I felt like they were getting more help and better treatment than I was. I felt so betrayed by the Church. My own parish priest gave my husband and i a blessing and patted us on the back… that’s it!
    Miscarriage is terrible but being treated like that makes it 10 times worse.
    i didn’t feel like i was able to say i was a mother who lost her child, because i felt like that was cheating. I never met my child. But i loved my child terribly. I felt a stigma that says that i am not that same as a “real” grieving mother. And mothers who abort feel the same way. Maybe they did love their babies but life was cruel and so they became cruel. Or they learned to love there baby only after they lost them. Either way, there is a connection. They are both invisible mothers who aren’t given what they need.

    The truth of what i have experienced is that priests need to be trained on how to love these groups of people practically. Parishes need to become transparent and say… ” if this is you ___ , come and speak with us and we will help you heal”. Form sharing and grieving groups and allow them to be specific. there are more than enough parishioners who have suffered from these pains and really do want to speak about it.
    In terms of the mass it should not have a distinction between wanted and unwanted babies. Have it named as
    “The Holy Innocent Mass, Children who have died before birth”. Let their be equal grieving for all who have suffered. But I think that would only work if both groups of people are already being minister to by their parish. It hurts to be lumped together once a year then forgotten about.

    Thanks a lot for the great post. There is a lot of healing that needs to happen for these groups of people. I am glad to hear that it has started on other places. Luckily i have no more feelings of anger and have found so much peace. Continue this work please.

  7. Grace

    The green little humanoid speaks the truth — “Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.

    The pain of losing a child is a devastating experience no matter the type of loss. A piece of yourself dies and you are forever changed. While I think that a grieving post-abortive mother would need a different type of support group and therapy I also feel that it wouldn’t hurt to welcome her and let her grieve and find comfort into your local parish group of women who had a miscarriage. We can learn a lot from each other if we are less fearful or judgmental and more open and inclusive.

    As you mentioned, “Many women who have suffered miscarriages report feelings of anger, and even jealously toward women who have had abortions”. Well, the very place where anger and jealousy resides is precisely the birth place for love and forgiveness. Jesus Christ makes impossible love possible. Deus Caritas Est.

  8. MsBlue

    I found this article while in the beginning stages of writing a letter to the pope. Maybe it’s futile, but I hear he reads many of the letters he receives, and I feel he would truly understand the feelings of miscarriage suffers, but may be unaware of how the focus in the Church in the U.S. is on abortion and there are few if any resources for miscarriage.

    I personally don’t feel that badly towards people that chose abortion that they couldn’t be in the same mass as those of us who suffered miscarriage. Why would anybody need to know who’s who in that mass anyway? Again it comes back to there needs to be better preaching from our priests, deacons, religious and lay ministers; the focus of my letter to the pope. Teach people to care for life from an early stage and maybe you’ll naturally reduce the incidences of abortion. And if we teach people not to judge so much, maybe they can put themselves into somebody else’s shoes be it someone who suffered a miscarriage, or someone who felt their only choice was abortion. The Church is truly lacking in it’s approach to infant loss and nothing will improve until that approach is made more whole.

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