Turn to these women, who personally know your heartache.
Despite miscarriage being a heartache that one in four women experience, losing our son at eight weeks gestation was incredibly isolating. Even though almost every woman I interacted with in the emergency room while I was miscarrying knew exactly what I was going through, after I came home from the hospital, I didn’t know where to turn.
Most women I knew seemed to operate on a “12-week rule” — they didn’t mention they were pregnant until the first trimester was behind them, just in case something happened in the early stages of pregnancy. As a result, I didn’t know who to turn to to process my grief. Although I brought the pain of our miscarriage into conversation and prayer with my husband, both he and I processed Marion’s death differently. I desired to be surrounded by a community of women who knew what I was going through, but I had a hard time finding women who wanted to discuss the subject with me.
One immense comfort in healing after losing our son was knowing that I wasn’t alone when it came to saints in Heaven. If you are experiencing the pain of losing a child through miscarriage, know that you’re not alone – you’re surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses who know the exact ache your heart is feeling. Here are three saints to turn to when grieving the loss of your sweet little one:
St. Gianna Beretta Molla (lived 1922-1962, Italy)
In the first four years of their marriage, Gianna and Pietro had three children: Pierluigi, Mariolina, and Laura.
“Pietro and Gianna’s was a deep love, but it was not an easy thing because Pietro was away a lot. He had to travel extensively because of his job with a matchmaking company,” Father Thomas Rosica, a close friend of the Molla family, writes. “When you read the love letters they sent to each other, you sometimes get the sense that there were also times of great pain because he was away and she was raising the kids.”
But in the next two years, Gianna would miscarry two children. She became pregnant again in 1961, but complications came with the pregnancy. When she was eight weeks along, her doctor realized that Gianna had developed a fibroma tumor in her uterus. Although the tumor wasn’t cancerous, the doctor recommended that Gianna go into surgery for immediate removal of the growth. Her doctor also recommend that Gianna and Pietro abort their child to guarantee that Gianna would recover, or to undergo a hysterectomy which would still kill their child.
Gianna opted for a surgery that would remove only the tumor, and the operation was successful. However, when Gianna delivered her fourth child, Gianna Emanuela, on Good Friday, she developed a septic infection. One short week later, Gianna died from septic peritonitis. Her sacrificial love for her child prompted her dear friend Father Olinto Marella to start a grassroots movement for the cause of her canonization in the 1960s.
Only 16 years after Gianna’s death, a Brazilian woman prayed for Gianna’s intercession for help during a pregnancy riddled with complications. Miraculously, the dying pregnant woman recovered. The miracle caught the attention of Pope Paul VI. Gianna was later beatified by Pope St. John Paul II in 1994. At her canonization Mass in 2004, Gianna’s husband and her three living children were present to witness the pope declaring their wife and mother a saint.
Reflecting on Gianna’s life, St. John Paul II recalled a letter Gianna had written to Pietro before they were married. In the letter, she wrote, “Love is the most beautiful sentiment the Lord has put into the soul of men and women.” The pope drew attention to the sacrificial life Gianna went on to lead, saying, “The extreme sacrifice she sealed with her life testifies that only those who have the courage to give of themselves totally to God and to others are able to fulfill themselves.”