Miscarriage: your story
To mark Baby Loss Awareness Week, we want to give a voice to women who have experienced miscarriage. We are so touched that eight women came forward to share their hearts with us and it is an honor to share their story. Please keep Margaret, Mari, Alexandria, Lacey, Annie, Dara, Jen, Anne and their families in your prayers. We pray that if you have experienced miscarriage yourself, you will read this and know that you are not alone in your grief. It is also our hope that those of you who haven’t walked this path before will find this a helpful guide in preparing you to comfort and support any friends or family members carrying this cross.
Did you name the child(ren) that you carried?
Anne: We chose the name Faustina because we miscarried on Divine Mercy weekend and because one of my Lenten practices had been praying the chaplet daily for my marriage and family. I grew a strong devotion to the Divine Mercy and really feel these things happening together are no coincidence. I don’t know yet what God is trying to tell me through this, but it is so clear to me that it is in His hands.
Alexandria: We named our baby Francis Kolbe. We lost our baby at 7.5 weeks, so we don’t know if our baby was a boy or a girl and we wanted a name that could work for either. Francis is my husband’s confirmation name and St. Maximilian Kolbe holds a special place in our hearts as one of the Polish Saints (I’m 100% Polish and my husband has Polish heritage as well). Several months after the miscarriage, we realized that the name of the man St. Maximilian Kolbe saved by offering to die in his place was Franciszek, which is the Polish version of Francis. My husband and I believe that God was sending us a signal grace to let us know that we chose the perfect name for our little one.
Dara: We named our babies Anne, Jude and Joseph.
Mari: We called our 4th baby Abraham.
Jen: We are still in the process of naming our 4 babies.
Annie: We simply call them our saints.
What do you do to honor the memory of your child(ren)?
Anne: My husband bought me a “Tiny Saint” Faustina, to honor our tiny saint. I’ve attached it to my rosary so I have it with me always.
Alexandria: We pray for our Francis Kolbe’s intercession every night when we pray as a family. We will remember him or her in a special way on All Souls’ Day, visiting their grave and remembering their short but impactful life.
Mari: I light candles for them. I share my experiences and support other women.
Margaret: I have a box of ultrasound photos, pregnancy tests and letters that I wrote to my baby.
Lacey: I pray for my baby almost daily. June was my due date and honestly, I just thought mostly about how I should be bringing my baby home. My husband and I have discussed doing something in the future.
Annie: A close friend of mine who has walked the journey before me bought me a necklace that I wear daily: one charm has 3 marigolds stamped into it for the 3 children we lost and one has a single rose stamped into it for the children we hope for in the future. I also have a print with 3 rose buds that an artist made for us for our lost babies and I continue to have them remembered by having Masses said, candles lit, and the project Danielle Rose is working on.
Dara: We buried two of our children in our local Catholic cemetery and had a funeral service with our pastor. I have jewelry with their names and we pray for them by name each night.
Jen: I am in the process of naming our babies, at the recommendation of my psychologist. With our first loss, we had a private ceremony and burial at the baby crypt at our local Catholic cemetery with our priest.
How did this experience impact your faith?
Lacey: I spent a lot of time angry with God. I even went to confession because I was just so mad. That’s when the priest told me that even anger is a form of prayer and God will never abandon me. Just hearing that, when all I was doing was pushing God away, changed my entire mindset and I started leaning more into my faith. I have since learned to trust His plan for me and tried to focus on the bigger picture when I can.
Jen: It has definitely tested my faith but I have tried to keep my faith strong through novenas, praying rosary early every day with the @manyhailmarysatatime group in Instagram, and now a new daily devotional book.
Alexandria: I think it would be easy for this experience to test anybody’s faith and although it has been a trial for me, no doubt, it has also pushed me to rely more deeply on God and to surrender as best I can to Him and His holy will.
Annie: It actually tested it but then made it stronger. I’ve focused on the stories in the Bible of women who lost babies or struggled with infertility, and realizing how many of them there are (especially in the Old Testament) helped me realize there are generations of women who have been in my shoes and felt the same way. Turning to scripture was grounding for me and gave me the resources to reignite my faith. Discovering Our Lady of La Leche has been powerful. For so long I thought she was just for mothers who had living children but she is also for mothers who have lost children and those who desire children. Being able to pray at her shrine with my husband, have candles lit and Masses said has been incredibly life-giving.
Margaret: It made my faith stronger.
Mari: I have found my relationship with God.
Dara: It has been challenging but God never promised us that this world would be easy. We are called to share in Christ’s suffering so that one day we can get to heaven. My faith helps me because I believe that I will see my 3 babies again!
Anne: It has definitely helped me grow in prayer and trust, although there have been many times when I’ve faltered in both.
What was the most difficult part of this experience for you?
Mari: Seeing other women announce their pregnancy.
Anne: One of my closest friends has been pregnant along the same “timeline” as I would have been, and many of my other friends are having babies.
Alexandria: Not being able to hold my baby in my arms in this life.
Margaret: Feeling alone and unable to share my loss with people other than those very close to me.
Lacey: Feeling like I don’t deserve to grieve our loss.
Annie: Figuring out how to move forward, especially as milestones were hit. When I thought I was in a good place grief-wise, something else would trigger it and send me spiraling back to the beginning. This was especially true as we approached our due date and my husband and I felt like we lost our baby all over again.
Dara: There have been many difficult parts, but having two successful surgeries for endometriosis with NaPro-trained surgeons and then finally conceiving after long periods of infertility, only to lose the babies to miscarriage, was heartbreaking. One was a missed miscarriage which was discovered on ultrasound, which was very painful.
Jen: Losing my best friend who was not understanding of my grief and emotions, after she had 2 pregnancies within 18 months (during which time I had my 3rd and 4th losses).
What has your grieving process looked like?
Anne: In the beginning I didn’t really allow myself time to grieve, and tried to “keep face” at work and with friends. As I have been able to share with more people it has gotten easier to go through the steps and natural processes of grieving.
Jen: It's been a rollercoaster. I am still struggling 2 years after my 4th miscarriage. I did begin therapy with a clinical psychologist who specializes in infertility and pregnancy loss, and that has helped the grief process.
Margaret: At first I felt extreme heartache and self blame. The heartache is still there, but as time goes by I have come to appreciate that pregnancy and having held that baby in my womb for 9 short weeks.
Mari: With my first miscarriage there was a lot of confusion, depression and sadness. With the second I felt pain and sadness but was very hopeful overall. The third time shattered my soul. Over time with prayer and healing I recognized how strong I had become. The fourth time, thankfully I was closer to God and I saw his grace upon me.
Alexandria: It was so hard at first. We knew from the beginning that the pregnancy was not going well, but I was still hoping and praying for a few weeks that it would be resolved and I would still get to hold my little one in my arms one day. When we couldn’t find a heartbeat at our second visit to the OB/GYN, it wasn’t unexpected but it was still crushing, more so than I thought it would be. In the weeks that followed, I was able to feel the prayers of those around me, lifting me up and God granting me peace, as Francis Kolbe was delivered and laid to rest at a memorial for miscarried babies and babies born sleeping, all through the help of our wonderful OB/GYN. I was able to find peace and trust in God in new-found ways. I felt better for a little while. Then I had several friends announce their pregnancies, all due around the same time I would’ve been due with Francis. That stung. I was able to put it out of my mind again for a little while, then my niece was born and I struggled to be around this beautiful new life and to even hold her. Now my due date is approaching, as is All Souls’ Day; my husband and I haven’t been able to conceive again since the miscarriage as well, all of which are weighing on me. I think it will continue to be a pattern of ups and downs like this for some time, especially when anniversaries approach. I believe it will be easier to bear as time goes on but will never completely go away.
Lacey: Accepting the good days and the bad days. Praying. Sometimes just sitting in silence with my eyes closed is just so healing for me.
Dara: Recurrent pregnancy loss has been very difficult. Grieving involves a lot of tears, anxiety and anger. I have had to work on not blaming myself for what has happened. Some things are out of my control. Faith in God and heaven has helped with knowing that my babies are safe with Jesus and that I will see them again.
Annie: My first two miscarriages were back to back with no pregnancies in between. Those two were gut punches and I was being treated by a regular OB/GYN who essentially blew me off. That made me angry and carried deeply into my grieving process. After that, I switched to my NaPro practitioners and we thought we had uncovered all the reasons for the first two losses and had corrected or were addressing them. But I still lost my third baby. That loss happened just as the pandemic began and so the isolation and closed churches compounded the feelings of despair. I cried a lot. I also acknowledged that baby more, sought for my babies to be remembered and prayed for by friends, family and the Church. I was also a lot more open about my experience on social media and in my job. I felt like in that period of time where everything was locked shut, I wanted not only for me to be seen, but for my lost baby to be seen. Our due date would have been Nov 1, 2020, so that October I was much more open than the I had been after my second miscarriage. It just felt much more important and it mattered.
Who or what brought you the most comfort during this experience?
Alexandria: Leaning on God and my husband has brought me the most comfort. Recognizing that I’m not alone in my grief and that I can surrender my suffering to Him has been a tremendous relief. Going to Mass has been both difficult and so necessary. A priest friend once told me that during the consecration at Mass, when the priest lifts the host, all in heaven and those present at the Mass on earth gaze at Jesus in the Eucharist at the same time and our loved ones in heaven will meet our gaze in Christ. It has brought many joy-filled tears to my eyes to know that my baby and I are able to adore Christ in the Eucharist together and meet each other’s gaze in that little white host.
Margaret: Being able to bury my baby brought us comfort.
Lacey: My husband has been an absolute rock for me. I would try to apologize for losing the baby because I just felt like I had to, it had to be my fault somehow, but he always makes sure to help me out of that mindset.
Annie: My pastor. I met with him when I could and his support and love for me and my husband helped us grieve and learn to adapt to that missing piece in our life. We also sought therapy individually after our third miscarriage. My husband and I grieved entirely differently and we needed that alone time with our own therapists to help us navigate our relationship, our emotions and how to continue to move forward as a couple.
Anne: My sister and my husband. My sister has experienced a miscarriage and has been so loving and supportive, offering help and prayers and strength. My husband has been so patient and loving. I know he is affected but I also realize it’s very different for him. But he never questions my need for quiet, a hug or to cry.
Mari: God, my husband and family.
Dara: My husband has been a great source of comfort to me because he is strong, loving, compassionate, a good listener, and has a deep trust in the Lord and His plans for our family.
Jen: Going through therapy with a clinical psychologist who specializes in infertility and pregnancy loss.
What piece of advice would you offer for supporting someone through miscarriage?
Margaret: Listening is the best thing you can do.
Lacey: Listen. Just listen. You don’t need to have answers. You don’t need to give advice. Just listen and make sure they feel love and support.
Mari: Listen and ask them questions. Let them feel heard and offer help. If they allow you to pray with them or for them, do so.
Jen: Listen and be supportive. Don't try to minimize the pain that is felt with miscarriage. The grief is real no matter how far along one is when the loss occurs.
Anne: Ask their baby’s name and call them by name. Listen, don’t try to fix. Pray with them and understand that this will be something they hold forever.
Alexandria: Many times a listening ear and loving arms are what those of us who have experienced miscarriage need most. Be there for us as we grieve and if you can, remember special dates and anniversaries; we want most to know that our little ones are not forgotten.
Annie: Do some research on what to say/not say, how to comfort, and how to walk with someone. Realizing my friends read articles and books and blogs and scoured social media to be there for me was a powerful witness of how much they love me and wanted to make sure I wasn’t alone. Put in the effort and the work to show that and you’ll be surprised by the amount of love you will receive.
Dara: I would say that you just need to be there in the way your friend needs. Do not try to offer solutions on how to have a successful pregnancy in the future, or minimize the loss in any way. Listen and offer compassion. Acknowledge how hard this time is and how sorry you are that they have to go through it.
What piece of advice would you give to someone experiencing a miscarriage?
Dara: I would urge you to accept help, do not blame yourself because it is not your fault, and make sure that you find support from caring family, friends or a counselor if needed. You do not have to go through this alone!
Lacey: It’s okay, no matter what stage of pregnancy you were in, to grieve. Grief does not have rules and you shouldn’t feel guilty or invalidated by how far along you were.
Margaret: It’s ok to be sad, it’s ok to grieve for as long as you need to. Know that your perfect baby is living with God now, something every parent aspires for their child.
Mari: Talk it out. Find your support system and talk about what you have experienced, your feelings, and your hopes. At first I would only talk to my family, then I started to share with friends and more people. The support you receive is unbelievable. The connection you make with other women who have experienced hard times is comforting.
Alexandria: Surrender your suffering to God; you are not alone in your grief, God is with you, as are so many other women and parents, more than you think. Lean on God and seek out the support system you need to endure this loss.
Annie: Don’t walk alone and don’t isolate yourself. It’s tempting because you feel like no one will understand your loss or your pain, but I was floored by the number of women (including my own mother) who came forward and shared that they had never been public about their losses, but let me know about them privately. Having that community of women who knew of my grief and could walk with me was important. Also, your friends who haven’t had miscarriages and have living children will desire to be there for you, but won’t want to make you uncomfortable. Guide them and foster those relationships - they are important. My best girlfriends took it upon themselves to learn how to walk beside me in my time of grief with words to say, questions to ask, and how to pray and comfort me. That’s been life-changing.
Jen: Take time to grieve as the grief is real, and name your baby. Also don't be afraid to seek professional help if needed. After 4 losses, I am now seeing a specialist psychologist who practices at my NaPro clinic, and it's been so helpful!
Anne: Take time for yourself and spend it with God. Don’t be afraid to take time off work or cancel things. People don’t have to know why unless you want them to, but it does get easier when you and others acknowledge it.
Alexandria: Losing my baby has been one of the most difficult experiences of my life but also one of the most fruitful. I firmly believe that although it was not the will of God for baby Francis to leave us so soon, God is working diligently through this experience to shape me. I’ve always had trouble surrendering to God and placing my full trust in Him; having experienced my miscarriage I realize now how little control I have in my life and how much that means I need to rely on God and lean into Him. I value and cherish my son who is here on earth with us even more than I did before. I realize now more than ever how precious the gift of life and the ability to carry a child is.
Lacey: I miscarried very early in my pregnancy, and I thought for quite a while that my grief wasn’t valid. I have struggled with infertility for 8 years and in the space of a week I went from planning for motherhood to a level of depression I had never felt. It wasn’t until I read other stories of early miscarriage that I started to feel like my feelings were valid.
Anne: I wish I had been more “prepared”. The moment of realization hit me and I didn’t know what to do or how to deal with my emotions and myself. In some ways I cherish the moments and the privacy I had with my husband throughout it, but in others I wish I had support from those around me. But I just didn’t know how to bring it up when they didn’t even know about the pregnancy yet.
Annie: Each of my 3 miscarriages was different and heartbreaking in entirely unique ways. Just like no two pregnancies are the same, no two losses are the same - expectations, emotions, feelings, experiences, protocol, etc. I grieved each of my miscarriages differently and carry each of those babies differently in my heart.
Jen: My first 2 miscarriages were missed miscarriages; I had no symptoms of a miscarriage and went to my first ultrasound only to find out that there was no heartbeat. It's something I will never forget and I have some PTSD around ultrasounds because of that. With my 3rd miscarriage, we were monitoring HCG so I knew sooner that I was going to miscarry. With my 4th, I had to have emergency surgery because the pregnancy was ectopic. The physical and emotional pain was different with each loss. It's still very raw and real a few years later as we continue to struggle with infertility.
Dara: Miscarriage is a traumatic experience that is often isolating for women. It should be acknowledged and recognized as the painful experience that it is. It causes deep grief and should not be minimized or brushed aside in any way just because the baby was not born yet. As soon as I found out that I was pregnant, I loved my babies deeply and I miss my babies every day.
Margaret: My miscarriage changed me. I am a new person because of my loss. I understand a sadness that unfortunately is felt by so many. I am currently 13 weeks pregnant with my rainbow baby. I feel a sense of peace and extreme gratitude that I didn’t allow myself to feel with my first pregnancy.
Mari: For anyone who is suffering during this time, pray for his grace! Seek God and his love for you. Truly open your heart to him. He will get you through this time.
“We shall find our little ones again up above.” St. Zelie
Please pray with us for all parents who have experienced the loss of a child. In your prayers, we invite you to ask for the intercession of these little saints, each of whom is loved and missed by someone in this community.
Jonah David Olson
Elizabeth Rose Post
Nellie Mae Main
Benedict August Mattice
Francis Kolbe Staniszewski
Sofia Cardosa Rangel
Emmanuel Jude Stewart
Geroge Stephen Bass