Author Archives: matushkaanna

About matushkaanna

Orthodox clergy wife, mom of seven, reader, knitter, blogger, skywatcher.

Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month

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It hurts

It hurts. I felt exactly the same way after we lost Andrew, our second loss in 8 months, and with no explanation.

Every early afternoon, I would walk over to her grave, lay down across it, and listen to Marillion’s Afraid of Sunlight.  Sometime in the hour or so visit, I would just raise my fist to the sky and scream at God.  “You gave me one job, God, to be a father to this little girl, and you took it all away.” In my fury, I called Him the greatest murderer in history, a bastard, an abortionist, and other horrible things. I never doubted His existence, but I very much questioned His love for us.

Read the whole article here.

It does get better. I can’t logically convince anyone of that, but it does. God is merciful to have taken all of my rage and flailing about and love me anyway. I know all of this now, but reading the essay I look back and viscerally remember the pain. Lord have mercy.

Russian Orthodox Church approves rite of burial for unbaptized infants

July 14, Pravmir. The Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church has approved the rite of the burial of unbaptized infants during their meeting on July 14, 2018.

It was reported by Priest Alexander Volkov, Press Secretary of His Holiness, Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia.

According to Fr. Alexander, this rite will become mandatory for all parishes of the Russian Orthodox Church.

“As you know, earlier the Church did not have the opportunity to celebrate a burial service for unbaptized infants. Sometimes infants are stillborn or die shortly after due to various circumstances that cannot be overcome by human power. Naturally, grieving parents come to a church and ask priests to officiate at least some rite for their departed children and seek their own consolation,” the RIA news service quotes the priest.

Read the rest here.

O Death, where is your sting?

O Death, where is your sting? O Hell, where is your victory? Christ is risen, and you are overthrown. Christ is risen, and the demons are fallen. Christ is risen, and the angels rejoice. Christ is risen, and life reigns. Christ is risen, and not one dead remains in the grave. For Christ, being risen from the dead, is become the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. To Him be glory and dominion unto ages of ages. Amen.

-except from the Paschal sermon of St. John Chrysostom

Remembering 

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. 

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