Thoughts, Musings, & Ramblings of a Catholic Housewife


Blessed Are Those Who Mourn…

Today is National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day.  A day to remember all babies whose parents and families have had to say goodbye, sometimes before they’ve been able to say hello.  Lets be honest, if this is a cross you are carrying, then you remember you baby (or babies) everyday.  You don’t need a day to highlight their memories.  What is great about today, though, is that it sheds light (for the rest of the world) on what can be something very difficult to talk about.  Something that is almost treated as taboo, perhaps because people just aren’t sure how to help.  They can’t make it better and death is messy stuff (just like life).  It’s uncomfortable to wade through that mess with somebody else, especially if you never had to deal with it yourself.  Today I think of the Beatitudes, especially “Blessed are those who weep and mourn, for they will be comforted.”

Dear families who are on this journey, who’ve been given this cross, please know that you are not alone.  You may be in the absolute deepest depths of weeping and mourning.  You may be surrounded by this mess but you are not alone.  There are millions of us on this journey with you.  Please, know that we are here for you, for each other, and let us comfort each other on this journey.  What’s more, know that our Blessed Mother understands our hearts and our pain.  She, too, buried her child.  No, she didn’t lose her pregnancy to a miscarriage and no, Jesus didn’t die as a young babe or child.  But, she said yes to God’s will and all that it entailed.  She gave herself wholly and completely to God, offering up EVERYTHING she was and had to Him.  We do that, too, when we say yes to life.  When we are willing to allow God to work in our wombs, to participate in creation with Him, we are offering up EVERYTHING we have and are to Him and the new life (lives) He is bringing forth in us.  We are given the great blessing of being life-bearers, of being co-creators with God.  Rain & rainbows, blessing and suffering – they come hand in hand.  We are guaranteed that there will always be some bitter sprinkled (or poured) upon us with the sweet.

There is a famous 80’s rock song…you know the one. “Every rose has it’s thorn.  Every night has it’s dawn.”  No matter where you are on your journey, no matter how normal or not your “new normal” feels, no matter if you feel like you are in the middle of the darkest night or thickest thorn bush, please know this.  Roses will bloom, the sun will rise, and you are allowed to find comfort & joy in your life and whatever new blessings you are given.  Weep, mourn, scream, pray, talk…do what you need to do and know that we are here, all around you, ready to embrace you, to weep, mourn, scream, pray, and talk with you.  You are not alone.  You are never alone.  You have all of us, along with all the angels & Saints, and our dear Blessed Mother walking with you, praying for you, and offering whatever comfort we can.

The end of this world, this temporal life, will eventually come for all of us.  May we live lives that lead us and our families closer to Christ, into His loving arms.  May we be hidden and comforted in His sacred heart.  When each of us are called, may we find that we are happy and our family is whole.

Victor's Marker

Victor’s Marker

Jesus, we trust in you.  All the holy innocents, pray for us.

Let Them Be Saints!

{I’ve been praying about this post and trying to write it in such a way to convey my feelings and what, I feel, is something very important, while remaining charitable.  I don’t want to offend anyone but I do want to make people think about their choices.  To really consider the implications of what, for many, are things that they don’t give much thought to.  If we are to be people of Christ, true & authentic Christians, then we are to live in the world but not be of the world.  We live our daily lives in the world, loving our neighbors & being the hands and feet of Christ to all we meet, without buying into the materialistic urges & idolatry that saturate this world.  We are to live our lives with an eternal mindset, keeping our focus on Heaven, because we know that this is not the end.  Not by any means.  With that in mind, I think it’s good to talk about Heaven and Hell.  It’s good to examine our lives and talk about how we can choose to be saints and how we can let our children be saints.}

It is dogma of the Catholic Church that original sin alone is enough to condemn a soul to hell & we all have the stain of original sin on our souls from conception.  Baptism is the only means of cleansing a soul from original sin.  Knowing this, as a parent who’s lost a pregnancy to miscarriage, this dogma could haunt me.  After-all, what does this mean for my son?  Could my son, my precious innocent son, who was guilty of no personal sin, really NOT be in Heaven?  Where would his soul be then?  For a long time, theologians speculated that all babies who die without being baptized and without committing any personal sin of their own (prior to the age of reason, which is around 7) did not go to Heaven (by virtue of being stained by original sin) or Hell (by virtue of being innocent of any personal sin).  They went to limbo (for lack of a better word).  Limbo is a state outside of the beatific vision and heavenly glory but also removed from torture and damnation.  It is a place of eternal natural happiness.  Some say limbo is on the absolute, outermost fringes of Hell because they are still absent from God, as God and sin can not co-exist.  However, nobody told us that our son was probably spending eternity in limbo.  Everyone seemed certain he was in Heaven.

Why was everyone so certain?  Why am I confident that our son is enjoying the beatific vision and being cradled by our Blessed Mother whenever I ask her to?  I am confident because I trust in the mercy of God and know that our desire for Victor to be baptized is enough.   The church teaches that the desire for baptismespecially in times when baptism isn’t possible (miscarriage, stillbirth, early loss, living someplace where baptism is unavailable, dying on the way to be baptized, etc.), is enough.  God knows that if we were given the chance, our boy would’ve been baptized.  He also knew that we weren’t going to have the chance to have our son baptized.  God is love.  He loves all of our children so much more than we ever could & will always take care of them.  We wanted to baptize our son.  We desired for that saving grace to be poured upon him and weren’t given the chance.  I trust that God absolutely knew our hearts, our desire, and our son was saved.

We trust the church’s teaching and in God’s love and mercy.  We trust that our desire was enough because desire is all we had, we had no other choice.  I don’t understand and my heart breaks for families who must trust that their desire was enough, not because they didn’t have another choice but because they delayed having their healthy babies baptized when they had the chance.  Parents put off baptizing their children for numerous reasons.  They can’t get everyone together, the grandparents, the godparents, etc until baby is older – perhaps even a year old or more.  The space they want to rent for the after-party isn’t available until 6 months down the line (or the caterer/dj/whatever).  They’re just busy with life, caring for a newborn, perhaps caring for other children, and just don’t get around to scheduling it.  Perhaps, one parent doesn’t want their child baptized.  I can’t imagine the pain of suddenly losing your child coupled with the knowledge that they hadn’t been baptized.  I am thankful that a desire for baptism is enough to save a child and I pray that every unbaptized child, who is innocent of personal sin, had someone who desired baptism for them.  I imagine most parents wouldn’t put off baptism if they knew their child only had a few months to live.  {These scenarios are different from the cases where parishes or priests make it difficult for parents to get their children baptized quickly.  Perhaps they don’t allow parents to attend prep classes before the baby is born, or don’t offer a varied schedule of prep classes to make it easier for parents to find a class that works with their schedule.  They have one Sunday every 3 or 4 months where all the babies (who’s parents have gone through prep) are baptized.  You could have a long wait in a parish like that, depending on the prep class schedule and when your baby is born.  While you could argue that parents in situations like these could just go seek out a different parish for their child’s baptism, that isn’t really appropriate.  A child should be baptized in their family’s parish, where they will regularly attend Mass.  To be honest, if we were in a situation like that I would seriously consider just baptizing our child at home, myself (or having my husband baptize them).  It might be illicit but it would be valid.}

I recently involved in a discussion of when to schedule a baptism.  The question was whether the family should wait to have their baby baptized until they would be able to travel home to their family, as they felt it was too much to ask their families to travel to them for the baptism, or not.  I voted for not waiting.  I said their family *should* understand.  Not long ago (i.e. less than 50 years) parents would never dream of waiting for their children to be baptized.  They understood the great importance of this Sacrament in their child’s life.  I’ve heard of babies being baptized mere HOURS after birth – and not because they were in danger of death but because their parents knew this was an absolutely vital Sacrament.  Fathers would take their babies to be baptized without their wives (aka baby mamas), if they weren’t recuperated enough to journey to church.  If parents understood the great importance of this Sacrament so much that a mother would not delay her baby’s baptism so that she could attend, then why are we delaying so that extended family, godparents, and other friends can be present?

Baptism is our birth into the body of Christ and is the only means of removing original sin, making our souls absolutely pure.  Hence, the white baptismal garment is put on AFTER baptism.  Once you are baptized and up until you are guilty of any personal sin, you are a saint.  You are HOLY.  If you happen to die in a state of grace, free from all sin and the stain of sin, if you are a saint when you die then you go straight to Heaven.  No layover in Purgatory.  When we are baptized, we receive graces from Christ – these graces are what wash us clean & will help us throughout our lives as we strive to remain close to Christ.  Our souls are marked for Christ.  Considering all the graces that come with Baptism, I simply don’t understand putting it off.  You wouldn’t dream of putting off the baptism of a baby who is a preemie or very sick at birth, would you?  No.  {In cases where someone is in danger of death, ANYONE can baptize.  So, parents, if your baby is a preemie or very sick at birth – sprinkle water on them and baptize them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit!  It counts!}  So, why put off your healthy baby’s baptism?

I’m obviously questioning the logic of putting off baptism and encouraging you not to.  So, what if you have an excuse, a reason to put off your child’s baptism?

What do you do if your spouse does not wish to have your child baptized?  Well, you probably knew this might be an issue when you married them.  If it wasn’t likely to be an issue at that time, then you probably saw signs that it could be an issue as your marriage progressed (maybe one of you converted/reverted to the church, or fell away from the church, etc.)  Unequal yokes suck.  Sorry about that.  Pray for your spouse and go get your kid baptized.  The church says that only one parent needs to consent to the baptism of a child.  If your spouse didn’t bother to use a seat belt would you consent to not buckling your child into their car seat?  I’m gonna say no.  You wouldn’t let your spouse’s quirks put your child’s physical safety in danger, don’t let them put their soul in danger, either.  (You could have a small, very private baptism, even in secret from your spouse (although you would eventually need to tell them), if you really aren’t ready to fight the fight over having your child baptized.  Talk to you parish priest about your situation & pray for the Holy Spirit to turn your spouse’s heart & mind.)

What about planning the party?  Well, frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn about your party and you really shouldn’t either.  If you have extended family with wild and crazy expectations about the party then let them put it together, but don’t put off baptism in order to have the perfect party.  (Think about this – especially if people aren’t able to be there for the baptism, you could throw a party later on to celebrate with them when they can travel in.  Godparents could pray over the baby, you could look through photos, and enjoy each other’s company.)  Sacraments are these amazing and powerful vehicles of grace.  They are tremendous gifts that God has given us.  Baptisms, First Communions, Confirmations, Weddings, Holy Orders…they aren’t about the party (I didn’t mention Anointing of the Sick or Confession because we don’t tend to make a hoopla out of receiving them).  All of our Sacraments are about the life-changing & saving grace that is given to the persons receiving them.  By the way, it isn’t just Baptism that is lost to the idea of the party.  Truly, First Communions (which aren’t any more important than your second or third or thirty-thousandth communion – you’re are receiving the body, blood, soul, and divinity of Christ EVERY time), Confirmations, and Marriage are all sacraments that can easily be overshadowed by the party that usually comes with them.)

Finally, what do you do if your child’s godparents need to travel in for the baptism and can’t make it until baby is a few months old (or older)?  Did you know that you can use PROXY godparents?  You can!  You can have people stand in for your chosen godparents, if they aren’t able to attend.  Perhaps it isn’t ideal but it doesn’t negate who your child’s godparents are or release your child’s godparents from the spiritual responsibility of being a godparent (after-all, the proxies make this promise & accept the responsibility on the godparents’ behalf).  Isn’t the grace and the saving work of baptism more important than having everyone in attendance?  Surely your child’s godparents would understand.

I am begging you, PLEASE don’t put off your baby’s baptism.  The Church even says that baptism is so important that parents should not delay getting their children baptized.  No reason is good enough – not waiting on everyone to be there or planning the perfect party or anything.  After-all, the Church even says that you don’t have to wait for a priest to baptize your child in cases where death may be likely.  Please, get your babies baptized as soon as possible!  Claim them for Christ, cleanse them of original sin, and have those graces poured over them.  Let them be saints for as long as possible.


What about our non-Catholic Christian brothers and sisters, who don’t practice infant baptism?

In thinking about and preparing for this post, I put out a request to non-Catholic Christians for information about what they believe regarding baptism.  I knew that some denominations baptized infants while others do not.  I was wondering why, if they understand baptism the same way that we understand it, why wouldn’t they baptize all their babies immediately?  Why not save them as soon as they could?  After all, Christ’s death redeemed all of mankind making it possible for us to be saved.  Salvation is the work and acceptance of redemption.  Baptism is the gateway of salvation.  What I learned in asking my non-Catholic Christian friends about their beliefs on baptism astonished me.  Many denominations don’t practice infant baptism because they believe it is a public display of the believer’s personal choice to have a committed and personal relationship with Jesus or an outward sign of what God is doing inside the believer.  While many do believe baptism cleanses the baptized of sin, they don’t necessarily believe that baptism is needed for salvation.  I never understood why they didn’t practice infant baptism until I understood that they have a totally different understanding of baptism.  Obviously, if they don’t believe that baptism is needed for salvation, or that it is only a symbol of a believer’s choice to claim Christ, to lead a committed & dedicated Christian life then they would see no need to baptize their babies or small children.  It makes sense, now, why they would wait until a person was old enough to make that decision for themselves.  However, their babies are still stained by original sin and that alone is still enough to keep their children out of Heaven.  Would a loving and merciful God allow such a thing to happen?  If a family is being faithful to Him, striving to live out the truth as they know & understand it, would He allow their babies to be denied Heaven, should they die prior to baptism?  I don’t know.  I pray the answer is no.  We are bound by the Sacraments but God is not.  He’s God.  He can do what He wills.  I think that every non-Catholic Christian that I know, who doesn’t doesn’t practice infant baptism, are good Christians who are trying very hard to live holy and authentic, Christian lives.  God knows their hearts & their sincere desire for their children to be saved.  I would surmise that, if they believed what I believe and the Catholic church (along with some other non-Catholic  Christian denominations) teach about baptism, they would greatly desire it for their children and would not delay in having their children baptized.  I would also surmise that, even if they believe that baptism isn’t necessary for salvation, or that baptism is a choice that must be made by the person being baptized, they would still desire that all of their children are baptized because they would desire that all of their children claim a personal relationship with Jesus.  (I am also praying that the Holy Spirit will move in them and show them power and grace of baptism and they will become open to baptizing their babies.)

What about our non-Christian brothers and sisters?

I recently read a blog post by a deacon about desire and baptism and how our Rite of Baptism supports our teaching that the desire for baptism is enough to save a soul.  He mentioned that the one being, aside from a child’s parents, who has a vested interest in that child’s spiritual well being is their guardian angel.  Every child is assigned a guardian angel, who is tasked with watching over that child, helping them, praying for them, and guiding them to Christ.  It doesn’t matter what the child’s parents choose to believe or not.  EVERY child is given a guardian angel who stays with them throughout their life.  (It doesn’t matter what their parents believe or what they grow up to believe – their guardian angel will stay with them throughout their earthly life.)  The deacon mentioned that perhaps the desire of a guardian angel for their charge to be baptized would also be enough to save that soul, should they die prior to committing any personal sin.  I’d never thought of that before but it gives me such hope for the innocent children of my friends who are not believers.  It also gives me great hope for all of the babies who are victims of abortion.  I’ve also started to pray for these innocent souls, hoping that God may see my desire for them to be saved, and it may be enough.


Let us remember to pray for all the unbaptized, no matter their age, that their hearts are turned to Christ and that the desire for baptism grows in them or their parents.  May they all answer God’s call to come home to Him.  May we all be together with our Father, in Heaven, basking in His glory.


The day our daughter was baptized and became a saint.

There Are Worse Things

{Lately, I’ve seen a lot of discussion about miscarriages on a couple internet groups/boards I’m a member of.  Ladies asking about healing after miscarriage or discussing their fears of miscarriage or asking about symptoms of miscarriage.  I keep thinking that I should share more about what happened to our family and how that’s changed my point of view.  Bear in mind, my point of view is very firmly grounded in my faith.  If we had suffered this without our faith, I’m fairly certain that I would not have made it through.}

My husband and I were married in April of 2010 and lost our first pregnancy to miscarriage in September 2010.  We hadn’t even been married six months and our relationship was being tested like nothing else.  Losing a child, whether they are pre-born, still born, juvenile, or an adult can tear a marriage and a family apart.  You tend to go into yourself and mourn.  The world around you goes on but yours stops and you can’t always understand why and how the rest of the world keeps spinning.

Our miscarriage was probably different than others in that we were expecting it.  My endocrinologist sent us to the high risk OB (not my regular OB) for an ultrasound maybe 5 days or so after we’d confirmed (via doctor’s office blood test) we were pregnant.  This was about 2 weeks after we’d had a positive home pregnancy test.  She wanted to get a good idea on just how far along we were.  According to the dating of my last cycle, we could be nearly 12 weeks but the HCG levels in my blood showed that I may be closer to 7 weeks.  I am diabetic and she’d had me admitted to the hospital to figure out my insulin doses (I’d never used insulin before and this was the safest way to figure out my doses and teach me.)  It was a Tuesday morning & we were excited to see our baby for the first time.  We had no idea what we were about to be hit with.

Hospital staff wheeled me down to the OB’s office & we joked about how silly it was because my legs weren’t broken, I was just pregnant.  I got prepped for the ultrasound & the doctor came into the room.  He introduced himself to us, reviewed my chart, lectured me for allowing myself to get pregnant without having my diabetes under perfect control, and then started the ultrasound.  He was very businesslike.  He said, “Here’s the sac, and there’s the baby, and we have a problem.  You’re baby is measuring 9wks 3 days and we should see movement of a heart beating.  There is no heart beat.  This is a missed miscarriage.”  Excuse me?  A what?  How can I be having a missed miscarriage?  I have no symptoms of losing the pregnancy.  I’ve had no cramping or bleeding or spotting.  He must be wrong.  He told us that we could schedule a DNC for that afternoon, if we wanted.  They would dilate my cervix and remove all tissue from my uterus.  Tissue?  TISSUE?  This isn’t tissue.  THIS IS OUR BABY.  I’m sure the look of shock and horror was easy to read on my face & he went on to say that it would be fine for us to just let things progress naturally.  He said that my body would likely take care of everything on its own.  Just over a week and a half later, that is exactly what happened.  I started bleeding, similar to a light – medium flow period, just before noon on a Friday.  I still had no cramping but seeing as we’d had another ultrasound that still showed no heart beat and no growth in baby’s size, I knew what this was.  I went home from work, not knowing exactly how long this process would take.  I bled for 24 hours.  I passed clots larger than anything I’d ever passed before but no baby (I was a little paranoid about my baby’s body being concealed by a large clot and was careful to make sure that I didn’t flush my baby’s body down the toilet).  About 24 hours after the bleeding started I got my first real cramp and with it a rush.  I ran to the bathroom and screamed for my husband.  You’ve seen a woman’s water breaking in the movies?  That sudden gush of liquid just pouring out of them?  That is exactly what this felt like.  I was in the bathtub with (what looked like) a river of blood rushing out of me.  The body of our son, Victor, passed within the first ten minutes.  His body was tiny and perfect.  I remember counting his fingers and toes.  He had ten each.  And his eyes, oh his eyes were the bluest blue I’ve ever seen.  We held our son and we mourned and I bled.  I don’t recall the pain being that bad in the first few minutes.  However, as the miscarriage continued, the contractions increased, plain tissue that was meant to provide nourishment for our son was expelled, and the pain intensified.  I was still bleeding and by this time screaming in massive amounts of pain nearly two and a half hours after Victor’s passing.  I was scared.  I was tired.  I was heart broken.  My husband helped me clean up & dress and then drove me to the emergency room.  By the time a doctor was able to examine me, the pain and the bleeding had stopped.  My body was exhausted, my womb was empty, and my yoga pants were ruined.  I was given a clean bill of health, a Rh shot (I have a neg blood type) and sent home to rest.  We buried our son the following Wednesday.

The emotional pain of waiting for a miscarriage to happen, knowing it will but unsure of when, is debilitating.  The physical pain of the miscarriage itself is excruciating.  The psychological pain is torture.  I felt like I was floating in nothingness.  I was broken, speechless, and couldn’t understand how the sun kept rising day after day while everything seemed so dark.  Some days were okay and others I felt like I was being held under water, the pain stealing every last little breath, every last little bit of life I had left in me.  I knew that our son was in Heaven and took solace in that.  I made jokes about how having a saint for a son made me a relic.  Knowing our son was alive in Heaven, cradled in the arms of our Blessed Mother, gave me comfort but it also made me angry and sad.  She got to hold my son.  She got to know this precious soul and I did not…at least not yet.  This may sound crazy but there are ups and downs to this whole thing.  I felt honored to know that my son was a little saint.  We didn’t have to do anything, other than bearing a miscarriage, for our son to go to Heaven.  What was so wrong with me that my body couldn’t support him, couldn’t keep him alive on earth?  What was so wrong with me that I couldn’t be a “full” mother?  (I really struggled with viewing myself as a mother and nothing in our society supports the idea that a mother who loses a pregnancy is still a mother.  In fact, there are some who would say “it doesn’t count” because our baby didn’t experience life outside of the womb.)  These were all questions and thoughts that plagued me as time went by.  I tried to remind myself to behave in a manner befitting the mother of a saint.  I wanted to be worthy of such an honor.  My husband and I were drawn closer together.  Nobody quite understood what we’d been through, except us and God.  Even when you meet people who’ve walked this path, it’s different for each of us and while we can empathize with each other – none of us exactly KNOW what the others are suffering with.  We leaned on each other and Him.  We prayed more.  We learned how to communicate about things that most people would shudder to think about, let alone say out loud.  We faced burying a child & we survived.

What I have to say next will likely sound even crazier.  I am not afraid of suffering another miscarriage or burying another child.  Our daughter is less than a week shy of turning six months old.  Our pregnancy with her was pretty awesome and while birth didn’t go as we planned (I’d love to meet someone who’s birth did go exactly as planned and find out their secret) we were blessed with a beautiful, sweet spirited, tiny, healthy girl.  She was baptized at twelve days old.  One of the things I realized after our miscarriage, that really hit home with this pregnancy is this – every parent will suffer for their child(ren).  We suffer through pregnancies that may be very difficult, we suffer through labor & delivery that may be very painful, scary, and even life threatening.  We suffer sleepless nights.  We may suffer through breastfeeding or trying to breastfeed.  We worry about development and proper discipline and what we feed them and how they socialize with others and raising them up in the faith, etc.  As they grow and start to make their own choices, exercising their free will, we will suffer as we watch them fall to temptation and sin.  This may sound callous and may be difficult to understand but there are worse things in this world than miscarriages or early loss.  I used to fear losing a child.  I still get sad sometimes when I think about not being able to know my son in this life.  I greatly cherish the time I’ve been given with my daughter and pray daily for the strength, wisdom, and grace to raise her properly.  I pray that she will make good and holy choices in her life.  I pray that she will be a saint and I know that her big brother is praying for her, too.  I do not fear death – not for myself or my family.  Our children are alive.  Any life that we are blessed to participate in the creation of will live.  Giving birth is not an easy thing and whether these sweet souls are born onto this earth or straight into Heaven, they live!!

Losing the chance to know your child in this life hurts.  It is gut-wrenching and can be torture at times.  Don’t let that fear stop you from enjoying the gifts and blessings you have now.  Don’t let the fear of what might happen tomorrow steal the joy of what you’ve been given now.  Don’t let the pain of that loss prevent you from being open to love & joy.  What’s worse than not getting to spend your earthly life with your babies?  Not getting to spend your eternal life with them.

I’m in the process of learning to look at this world with eternal eyes.  I am pray for and look forward with excited anticipation to the days when my family members are called home from this world and reunited in the next.