When I lost my second child to miscarriage nearly 20 years ago, I searched Catholic bookstores in vain for a book on miscarriage.
I suffered interiorly for years, until my parish held a healing Mass on Feb. 2 (feast of the Presentation) for mothers who had lost a baby. It was an extraordinary evening of grace. We named our babies, writing their names on certificates which were laid upon the altar as we entrusted them to Christ.
Relishing the peace I found in this Mass, I thought, Someone should write a book for Catholic mothers who have miscarried.
I am grateful that such a book has been written by gifted writer and devout Catholic Karen Edmisten. It is an exquisite collection of reflections that tenderly embrace the bruised soul of a grieving mother.
Edmisten generously opened her journal to share the painful memories of her own losses, infused with hope from her reflections. The contributions of other Catholic writers reflect the myriad experiences of mothers who have lost children. These meditations are interspersed with Scripture verses, poetry and quotes from spiritual writers like C.S. Lewis (who knew a thing or two about grief).
This book surprised me with the gift of tears as I read it, as it’s been over a dozen years since I miscarried, yet I too found tears of healing within its pages. My emptying nest has reawakened my regret at the loss of the many children I sought to fill up my home. Edmisten, too, wanted a large family and was blessed with few children.
Many of us unconsciously think of “good Catholic families” as large families. But good Catholic families come in all sizes. When the number of children is “only” one or two children (or none at all, in the case of infertility), it might be the visible sign of parents who have suffered.
I do have a large family, but mine isn't visible to the world. As Tom and I suffered through our miscarriages, we gained powerful prayer warriors in heaven, but since they can't be seen, they sometimes don't seem to “count.” And that sometimes hurts. Questions such as “Did you want more?” or "Only three kids?” weren't meant to wound, but depending on the day or my mood, or how recently I'd experienced a loss, they could be devastating.
After Miscarriage: A Catholic Woman's Companion to Healing and Hope is a loving gift for a mother whose precious babies are awaiting her with Our Lord, but whose arms ache with emptiness on their anniversaries or on Mother's Day. If you have lost a baby before birth, it is a gift you should give yourself. It is never too late to journey toward healing the loss of your child, and this book is both a practical and meditative guide which will accompany you as you run into the arms of the Savior who heals our broken hearts.
Register correspondent Leticia Velasquez writes from Canterbury, Connecticut.
A Catholic Woman’s Companion to Healing and Hope
By Karen Edmisten
132 pages, $12.99
To order: franciscanmedia.org