Ten years ago, I lost our sixth and last baby in an early miscarriage, a baby who was planned, wanted, loved. I’ve never written about it here. In a very dark period of my life during which I lost first the baby, then my dream home, and finally almost every possession to fire, it was and remains by far the most painful of the losses I suffered. I don’t like to talk about it and I’ve never wanted to write about it.
But I decided to share just a little today in the hopes of helping ease the burden of others who have lost babies. There are so many of us, which is something I hadn’t realized until I miscarried and women started whispering words of commiseration: “It happened to me too. It is hard but it will get better.”
When I was deep in grief–a longer period of time than I would have expected–when all I could do was lie in bed and sob while clutching a board book, the only thing I had bought for the baby, I felt very alone. I looked online for resources, as one does these days, and found very little. Eventually my husband and I conducted our own private little ceremony of praying together and naming the baby. This did bring closure and healing to him, but my grieving process was very different.
I wish that I’d had a copy of Grieving Together: A Couple’s Journey through Miscarriage. This is the book you never want to need, but are so glad exists if you do.
Reading it even now, I felt affirmed, comforted, accompanied.
Laura and Franco Fanucci have authored a much-needed treasure, a companion and guide to grieving together as a couple. Having experienced infertility, miscarriage, and infant loss in their own marriage, they know intimately the grief of their readers. That experience informs the book and their empathy is tangible. Reading a book from people who have been in your situation is uniquely comforting.
I was impressed by the book’s breadth–it starts with the more practical aspects of miscarriage: what it is, what the experience might be like, considerations of medical treatment and funeral arrangements. But this section is anything but clinical–it is still animated by Laura and Franco’s love and concern for their readers. The next section covers grief, including the ways the grieving process may be different for each partner. This is followed by a section of practical suggestions of support from friends, family, the community, and the Church, making this a book that’s valuable to more than those who have suffered loss themselves. Finally, the last section discusses life after miscarriage, whether your path includes adoption, another pregnancy, or no more babies.
This is a Catholic book, published by Our Sunday Visitor, with Catholic prayers and rites, concrete ways parishes can help, saints to pray to for comfort and guidance, and more. Other than our pastor’s sincere sympathy, my parish offered no support to us when we lost our baby, and I suspect that is pretty standard. So this book would make a great gift for your pastor, along with a suggestion for a ministry to serve couples who have suffered miscarriage. The Catholic Church is well known for concern over unborn babies threatened by abortion, and sponsors ministries for post-abortive women; her concern for babies lost involuntarily and their parents should be a natural outgrowth of these pro-life convictions.
Grieving Together is available now on Amazon. (If you purchase it through links on the blog I will receive a small commission.) I received the book free in exchange for my honest review.
Or you could enter the giveaway below and win a copy for yourself, a friend, or your parish.