If you or someone you know has a lost a baby, born or unborn, celebrate their life.
Three days after Christmas, the Church celebrates a feast day for the Holy Innocents. What does that mean?
Well, the day commemorates all the babies and toddlers who were put to death by King Herod in his attempt to get rid of the baby Jesus. He heard that Jesus was supposed to be the Messiah and King, and he didn’t want anything to threaten his rule.
It is hard to imagine the pain and terror of someone showing up at your door and killing your child because the current ruler finds him a threat. But many of us have experienced the pain of the loss of our own innocent child.
If you or someone close to you has lost a baby through miscarriage, stillbirth, or abortion, today is a good day to remember those babies.
The shock of losing a baby whom you haven’t gotten to know yet, who was alive one day and then dead the next, is unexpected and hard to understand. You can’t grieve in the same way as you would if you had lost a child post-womb. So, it is important to make time to grieve, and a feast celebrating the lives of babies taken too soon is a perfect opportunity.
Here are 5 ways to make the day a special time of remembrance for anyone who has lost an unborn baby.
1. Visit a memorial for the unborn near you
Many Catholic cemeteries and some Catholic churches have a special statue or place set aside that honors the unborn. If you were able to bury your baby somewhere, try to visit that spot today instead. Take some time to say a few prayers or just sit in silence, reflecting on the love and mercy of God, a God who cares for the sparrows and who knows the hairs on your head, knows your pain and your baby, better than you do yourself. Slowly read through Psalm 139 to help you pray and grieve.
2. Send a note to a friend who has lost a baby
Reminding people that you know about their suffering can help them feel accompanied in their pain. If you are not particularly close to someone but feel drawn to send them something, try sending a physical note in the mail. It is not common practice to respond to a card in the mail. So, if you send a card, then you take the pressure off the recipient (she doesn’t have to respond like she might feel obliged to if it were a text) and she can just have the note and appreciate the sentiment.
3. Pull out any physical reminders of the baby you have lost
I have special items from miscarried babies that I pull out from time to time–pregnancy tests, a few notes from friends, some simple journals I make when pregnant, and any ultrasound pictures I have.
4. Celebrate their short lives with something joyful or festive
Have a cupcake or buy some flowers. Listen to some beautiful music. Be with someone you love and do something fun together to remember the life of your child and to savor your own life.
5. Reflect on what good God has brought out of your loss
You may have already realized something beautiful or meaningful that God has brought from your pain. But, the more you reflect on your experience, and your life since your loss, the more you will uncover — God’s goodness is so great, even (and especially) at our darkest times.