Sunday, May 24, 2015

Welcome

If you have found this site, you most likely have lost a baby or are losing one. I'm so very sorry. I hate that anyone would need the information on this site, but I pray that it is helpful to you.

I'm aware that quite a number of non-Orthodox people have accessed this site and found it helpful and that's good. It was never my intention to be exclusive about who is welcome here! Even if you don't share my faith, please do avail yourself of the rest of the site. The pages that are most specific to Orthodoxy are Prayers and Liturgics and the Touchstone article. The Actual Process is entirely medical in nature and the Photographs page is just that. In addition, while many of the stories are about Orthodox families, not all of them are. All of this is simply to say that you should be able to find what you need comfortably without feeling like I'm forcing my faith upon you.

This site is always going to be a work in progress as more parents add their stories and photographs. In addition I will add any relevant news items here on the main page under this post. If there is anything you think should be added here or any corrections you would like to make, again, feel free to email me.

May the most Holy Lady Theotokos, the Mother of God, comfort you in your grief, as she has comforted me in mine.

-Matushka Anna


Wednesday, May 13, 2015

A Kind Email

Letter published with permission from the author:

Hello,

   I tried to leave a comment on your site, but I don't think it worked. I want to tell you how much you have helped me.

   I miscarried our fourth child at 8 weeks in August 1994. I had been brought up to believe that at this early stage there was no baby, just a clump of cells. So, I didn't think to look for our baby, and put the grief to the back of my mind. August 1995 saw the safe arrival of our daughter. Family life continued and every time thoughts of our missing child arose, I ignored them.

   In October 2008 our eldest child died aged 21. In coming to peace with this, the earlier loss was harder to ignore and I started mentioning the miscarriage to family and friends.

   In September 2014, I developed post viral fatigue and have had to stop rushing about. I spend much time meditating and just thinking quietly about things. My little one kept coming to mind and I have recently been drawn to the you tube videos made in memory of angel babies. I suddenly knew that little one had not been just a clump of cells and I really needed to see what he/she would have looked like.

   I searched " what does an 8 week gestation baby look like." And your site was the one I looked at. I cannot start to tell you how helpful I have found it. 19 years later, I can finally grieve for my baby. Even though I am not yet able to talk about this with my family, I know through the stories and photographs that I am not alone, that little one was a real baby. I never held him/ her but he/she grew next to my heart and will always be there.  I take comfort from the fact that my two children in heaven have each other.

   The strength of my reaction suggests to me that part of my health problem has been caused by being in denial for all these years. I am confident that my health will improve. I love knitting and crocheting and will be making hats, blankets etc for preemies as well as angel babies as a way of honouring the lives of my two in heaven.

   Thank you so much for being there.

Peace and love

Fiona

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Nicki's story: Forgiveness

Many thanks to Nicki for sharing the story of the loss of her baby, Forgiveness, at six weeks and two days, delivered much later at home. May Forgiveness's memory be eternal!

I am anticipating a few more stories and photos will be submitted soon, so there should be more site updates before long. Thanks to everyone who has submitted their stories and photos, or commented on the pages, offering comfort to others and even sharing their own stories in the comment sections, or who have emailed me to let me know how helpful this site was. As you can imagine, while the role of managing this site isn't exactly cheerful, it is very rewarding and those words of encouragement certainly help! Lost Innocents has been online for almost exactly four years and in those four years many babies have been honored and many people have found some measure of peace (and help). While I started this site, it is by no means a solo work. Again, thank you all. May God reward your labors!


Friday, March 20, 2015

Cards to acknowledge pregnancy loss

I saw this card at Walmart a month ago or so, and snapped a photo of it today. You know the culture is changing when you can find a card to commemorate a miscarriage, not at a specialty shop. I remember a time not long ago when I had to find general sympathy cards or blank cards to send friends who had lost a baby.


This is a good opportunity to point out that there are sources for cards to acknowledge the loss of a baby before birth, including subsequent birthdays, loss of multiples, cards in Spanish, etc. One good source I found recently is A Loss Remembered on Etsy. The cards are very reasonably priced and can be ordered in bulk at a discount.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

In the news...

(Source, and additional photos)

   A subcommittee of the Committee for Pastoral Practice of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops was convened from March 12-14 in Antiochian Village in Pennsylvania for the purpose of addressing the current lack of a common service for miscarried or stillborn infants and associated pastoral guidance. In attendance were: (L-R) Mat. Elizabeth Lein (OCA), Mat. Anna Crawford (OCA), Fr. Peter J. Gillquist (AOCA), Bishop Mark (OCA), Archbishop Benjamin (OCA), Fr. Ian Pac-Urar (AOCA), Kh. Linda Ellison (AOCA) and Dr. Phillip Mamalakis (GOA). [Mat. Jenny Shroedel (OCA) was present by skype.]

   It was a very positive and productive conference. The completed work will be a booklet for Orthodox pastors to address the following topics: basic medical information including a glossary of terms, suggestions for pastoral care of grieving families, guidance on burials, etc. The second half of the booklet will consist of prayers appropriate to a variety of circumstances and a service of burial and memorial service. This will be presented to the parent committee in May, and then, if approved, to the Assembly of Bishops in the fall. In the meantime a separate booklet for women and their families will be in progress.

   Please keep the committee members in your prayers as they address this important work.






Site Updates

Crystal is sharing photos of her baby, Amos, who departed this life at 11 weeks, 5 days, and was born at 14 weeks, 1 day. [She also thoughtfully included a photo of her placenta to aid in identification. This can be seen on the Actual Process page.]

Brittany had just previously shared photos of her baby, Sprout, who departed this life at 9 weeks, 1 day. Now she is sharing the photos and story of her first baby, Marshall, who departed this life at 24 weeks.


Many thanks to both Crystal and Brittany for generously sharing their children on Lost Innocents. May the memory of Amos and Marshall be eternal!



A helpful reminder: both photos and stories are arranged in order of gestational age at time of death, beginning with the earliest.