Motherhood doesn’t always turn out how we think it will, especially for those facing miscarriage, stillbirth, infertility, and infant loss. But there is beauty in the pain and the sorrow that can overwhelm us, as Chloe Langr points out. Our life without those babies may be a journey of grief and sorrow, but it leads us to redemption – to our destination with the Christ and the babies we love.
My husband, Joseph, and I married young – and we’ve only been married for a year and a half, so we’re still getting into the swing of things. Before we got married, we’d talked about how we both wanted to raise little people together. God blessed us with a sweet little honeymoon baby just a month into our marriage.
We didn’t know what to expect, but we were excited. I remember joyfully calling our wedding party and telling them all the good news. About six weeks into the pregnancy, we wrapped up baby outfits for our parents and told them we’d brought them back a gift from the honeymoon. It’s incredible how you learn to love a little soul so fast and so much as they grow within you.
Falling into Redemption
At our eight week check-up, Joseph and I waited to see our little baby’s flickering heartbeat on the sonogram screen. I was nervous going into the appointment, and my heart rate reflected my nerves.
The doctor didn’t say anything for a while, and in that one instant, joy-filled anticipation crashed into tearful heartache. It looked like our little baby wasn’t growing. In a blur, we scheduled another sonogram, and after the doctor left, I slumped to the floor. I thought if I could just lay there, on the floor of the doctor’s office until October, everything would be okay and we would be able to hold our little baby.
I made it to the car before I started yelling at God and asking Him, no demanding for Him, to tell me why. Why me? Why this hardship? Why this cross? Why so soon? We’d hardly settled into to calling each other “Mr. and Mrs. Langr” and already we were navigating the stormy waters of grief and worry together.
The following days were full of community, prayer, and waiting. But by that next Saturday, I woke up to blood. I knew that these were the last few minutes that I had with our baby that I could pretend that this wasn’t happening. Those moments would end when the doctor picked up the phone and said the words I was hoping, begging, pleading she wouldn’t say.
Up to that point, I could excuse away things and tell myself everything was fine, everything was going to be fine. But then, that Saturday morning in March, it wasn’t fine. I concentrated on whispering ‘I love you’ to the little person inside of me. Those were the last words I wanted our baby to hear. That he was loved and that he was going to be missed so much.
But it wasn’t the cramps or the feeling that I was going to faint that ached the most – it was my shattered heart, breaking into smaller and smaller pieces that I really wanted someone to fix. But that couldn’t be fixed in the ambulance ride to the ER, or the next 9 hours that we spent in that room. After all, the greater your capacity for love, the greater the capacity for suffering.
The night of our miscarriage, I walked out of the emergency room, eyes glued to the floor because I didn’t want to look anyone in the face. I didn’t want to share the news weighing on my heart and soul, I just wanted to go home and sleep and sleep and sleep away this nightmare. Maybe, just maybe, I would wake up and it would be a bad dream.
It wasn’t. Our baby’s death was the reality. We named him Marion – a name we had thought about before knowing we’d have to name our baby 8 months earlier than we expected. His name means ‘sea of sorrow’ and ‘the child that was wished for.’
The Journey, Not the Destination
There is comfort knowing that God didn’t take Marion – He took him in. In the days following our miscarriage, I found myself wishing for God to take me in, too, so that I don’t have to feel the heartache and empty, lonely days without our baby here inside me. Other days I realized that, in light of the eternity that our family will get to spend together in Heaven, this is just a blink of an eye.
Praise God that He offers us a faith that says that this earth is the journey, not the destination. He strengthens families, He doesn’t tear them apart. He blesses the children within us. He doesn’t take them from us, he takes them in.
Now, a year and a half after our miscarriage, Joseph and I continue to remember Marion. We intercede to our little saint – and he’s a great incentive to get to Heaven. Since we’ve lost Marion, we’re now experiencing a season of infertility. The Lord is asking us to abide with Him and helping us realize that our marriage is called to be fruitful in so many ways.
Finding Joy in the Journey
Although I come from a large family (I’m the oldest of eight), one thing I’ve struggled with after losing Marion is wondering how to interact with the babies around me. Friends and family members are bringing children into the world. At Mass on Sunday, we usually end up sitting behind a family with little people in the pew. I want to scoop their littles up, help that family out whose littles are a smidge rambunctious. But I approach them with caution and usually end up being awkward, beating myself up afterward, wishing I had my own son in my arms.
Then I think of getting to Heaven and being greeted by the Blessed Mother. Her face glows, and wrapped in her mantle, held against her chest, is Marion. And as I run up to both of them, she reaches out and puts Marion in my arms, where he snuggles up against my chest. There isn’t any awkwardness, or wondering how to interact. Instead, there’s a joy – my baby.
Catholic motherhood doesn’t look like what I thought it would.
But as the mother of a little saint in Heaven, I know that Marion makes me desire sainthood. His story and short little witness here on earth are redeeming my heart and soul. So while Catholic motherhood looks different in my life than I expected, I am beyond blessed to be experiencing the beauty of redemption through the story of our sweet baby who waits in Heaven for his parents to join him.
Chloe Langr loves all things old-fashioned, but shares a penchant a for the modern, too. She explores the feminine genius on her blog, Old Fashioned Girl, and her podcast, Letters to Women. Connect with Chloe on Facebook and Instagram.
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