|Our family altar on the day of the burial. We each brought a flower for the baby.|
It has been five and a half weeks since we found out we lost our baby, almost four weeks since I passed the baby, and almost two weeks since we buried our little John Paul.
The burial was probably one of the sweetest things the Church has ever done for me. Did you know that there is a rite of burial for an unbaptized child? That is what Fr. M prayed with us at the cemetery. The children were quiet and attentive, and Father reminded us of what we have been all too aware of these days: when choosing to be open to having children, we are choosing to be open to suffering. All parents go through suffering and loss to some extent over their children, some more tragically than others, and many before they every thought they would. Suffering comes with loving others.
When M and I broke up after the first time we dated, I had just read The Four Loves by C.S. Lewis. This quotation from it was central to my understanding of love at the time:
“Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket–safe, dark, motionless, airless–it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable…The only place outside Heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers and perturbations of love is Hell.”
-C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves
I think sometimes I fear having another child because I fear the suffering that comes with it, even pregnancy itself has its share of discomforts. And while I am still sorrowful from time to time about losing John Paul, I think now about the possibility of another pregnancy. It is hard not to worry about every little detail of possible future pregnancies. My co-writer at Truth and Charity wrote this sweet and realistic article about Choosing Hope while pregnant after losing babies. I know now is not the time to close myself from suffering, but I am being called to be even more generous to new life.
And then there is still the pain of our recent loss. I am pretty sure I need to have a good cry, but it has not happened since before the baby passed. In college I would have found my household sisters and asked them to pray over me until it happened. (Maybe I just need a phone call with my awesome friend C.) Further, I am still waiting for the completion of my post-miscarriage healing. When that occurs I know I will have a lot more peace about everything. I ask for your continued prayers, and am so thankful for the ones you have already offered.
And don’t worry too much about me, I am feeling particularly melancholic lately; just as long as I don’t stay here… 🙂