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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

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RememberingĀ 

Today is October 15th, Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. It’s been over six years since we lost Innocent and this site was started, nearly six years since we lost Andrew, over three since we lost Gabriel, and almost exactly three since we lost Demetrius. So much water under the bridge, so many tears, so many blessings. 

I know that every day people come to Lost Innocents who are losing or who have just lost one or more babies. For you, this time is probably a mixture of pain, sorrow, confusion, denial, anger, despair, and shock. The statistics say that one in four women will experience at least one loss. Something that affects a quarter of all women sounds pretty routine, pretty common. For the woman in the maelstrom of loss, it is anything but common. This is not just a pregnancy, not a bit of tissue, not a clump of cells. This is her baby, her irreplaceable child. The loss of this child is heavy enough to tip the scales even if the entire world were hung on the other side. This baby exists for all eternity and matters as much as any other soul created by God. A mother instinctively knows this.

The old saying, “time heals all wounds”, is unfortunately true. In the midst of the acute pain of loss it seems impossible that life will ever contain happiness again. I can solemnly promise you that it will. I didn’t believe it either when other experienced mothers tried to comfort me, but they were right. Joy does return.

I say “unfortunately” because however we may want to escape the grief, there is also the fear of forgetting. Most people around us will forget. There is the worry that if we don’t remember our babies every day, then they will, in a sense, cease to exist. Even if this is not a rational thought, or even a conscious thought, I guarantee you that the majority of women will have that fear. One day we will all die. Our children may remember the sibling(s) in heaven, but after that? Who will keep their memory alive?

There is One whom we can trust with our babies without reservation. The One who created them, who holds them still. As Orthodox Christians we say “memory eternal” when someone dies. Despite what you may think, this does not mean that we wish the departed to be remembered forever by other people. No, we say “memory eternal” because the soul of the departed is with (and “remembered” by) God for all eternity. Our babies will never be truly lost, never forgotten. It is safe to allow God to heal our hearts so that one day the memory of our babies is a sweet one. We do not have to cling to grief out of fear. His remembering is sufficient.

May God give you peace today and every day. 

New beginningsĀ 

As you can see I have moved Lost Innocents to a new platform. The move is not complete and you may run into some dead links. I am still in the process of sifting through everything, cleaning up pages, etc., and I will need to rewatermark all of the photos. I hope all of this will be finished in good time. 

You may still contact me through the contact page here or by emailing lostinnocentsorthodox (at) gmail (dot) com. I am always honored to consider photographs and stories for submission. 

Photographs and Stories updates

Many thanks to Molli, T., and Amber for sharing photographs of their babies. Molli’s baby, George, died at 8 weeks, 4 days, and his story is on the Your Stories page. T.’s baby is the earliest miscarriage included on the Photographs page at 4 weeks and 2 days. Amber’s baby, Rowan, died at 8 weeks, 5 days, and is the older of twins, his twin having died at 6 weeks.

May their memory be eternal!

These stories and photographs help more people than you can possibly know. I get emails all the time from people thanking me for providing the information and photographs on this site, and that help is largely due to the gracious submissions by parents like you. At the very least (and this isn’t a small thing) these photographs and stories give other grieving parents the consolation that they are not alone, that their babies did and do matter. Thank you so much for your assistance.

Comments problem

There is a bug with Blogger such that I can no longer access comments directly on the Photographs page. Some problem kicked in after we reached the (apparently magical) number of 200 comments. In fact, in desperately trying to read the rest of a recent long comment I accidentally deleted it. šŸ™ So I’m just letting everyone know that until the bug is worked out I can’t respond to comments on that page. If you’re in need of a response, you can email me at lostinnocentsorthodox (at) gmail (dot) com.

Innocent: The Baby at the Beginning

Five years ago today I sat in the cold, scuffed exam room with my purse clutched in front of me and heard the words, “I’m sorry, there was no movement [on the ultrasound].” When we got to the car I cried so hard I thought I would tear the lining of my throat out, as if by wailing, I could will my baby back to life. The unthinkable had happened: My baby died.

In the days following I was thrust into the world of loss, the harsh clinical world of “pregnancy loss”, “tissue”, “products of conception”, “spontaneous abortion”, etc. I fought for the only thing I had left that I could do for my baby: honor his or her body. I had joyfully carried him while he was alive, nourished his growing body, prayed for his health. Now his soul had departed, but the body remained. And the last thing I was going to do is let some unfeeling and efficient doctor tear him out of me.

I needed information. I needed support to labor and deliver my baby on my own since the medical field had abandoned me. Kind friends and even some strangers reached out and told me the details of their own losses. For some I know the memories were probably almost unbearably painful to dredge up, but they did it anyway. With their love, support, prayers, and the information I had gleaned from them and from painful internet searches, I prepared to honor my baby’s body. Late one night, after I had almost lost hope, my body finally relinquished its grip and I held my son in my hands. My beautiful baby.

This is a journey I have made four times now. Thankfully after the first time I did have support and care from medical staff. Their love and respect has gone a long way toward healing the festering wound left by the first doctor. And, I dare say, by traveling this road with me they too have learned something about human dignity.

Lost Innocents was born of this pain. It was born of the need to honor the women who had gone before me and then supported me in my agony. It was born out of a wish to provide others with the same information and support. It was born to honor the love for my son Innocent, and then in turn, Andrew, Gabriel, and Demetrius.

Innocent did not live long by human standards. He was less than 13 weeks in this life and never took a breath. He did not hear me sing to him, never felt me kiss his head. But this tiny baby, this miracle created in the image of God, has birthed an entire ministry to bereaved parents and their precious children.

Today is the feast of St. Innocent in the Orthodox Church. I gave my son the name Innocent in his honor and today I remember him. May his memory be eternal!