Today is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. It is celebrated in many countries around the world although not entirely internationally. You can read a history of the day here.
It is believed that at least one in four women have lost a baby through miscarriage, stillbirth or neonatal death. If it has not happened to you, then you almost certainly know someone for whom it has. I can almost count on one hand the number of friends I have who have NOT experienced it. Despite the overwhelming prevalence, it is a subject that is not often discussed publicly. Women who lose babies tend to suffer in silence. At a time in their lives when they desperately need support, advice and love, they hide away, ashamed and suffering. This is most true of miscarriage. Many in the medical field reinforce the common belief that miscarriage is not a big deal, not much of a loss, especially when it takes place early in the pregnancy. I am here to tell you that it is not the case. I suffered greatly over each one of my losses. Every one is an immortal soul, created by God, and a unique person. They are much-loved members of our family, even though they never drew breath.
I invite you to participate in the International Wave of Light from 7 PM to 8 PM your local time. Light a candle or candles in memory of those who have departed this life too soon. Say a prayer for peace for the grieving friends and family.
Here are a few things you may want to look at or ponder today:
Lost Innocents: For Friends and Family (good advice)
Faces of Loss (putting a face on miscarriage, stillbirth and infant loss)
Solace from Silence: Comforting the Bereaved (on the site, Naming the Child)
A Hidden Community (by Jennifer Hock on OCN)
Free e-books available today:
Remember, O Lord, Lover of Mankind the souls of Thy departed servants, infants who died accidentally in the wombs of Orthodox mothers from unknown cause, either from difficult birth, or from some carelessness and who therefore did not receive the Mystery of Holy Baptism. Baptize them, O Lord, in the sea of Thy compassions, and save them by Thine inexpressible grace. Amen.
Once, a lady came to my office to talk to me about the sadness she was experiencing for many years; she had had five miscarriages and was mourning the loss of her children. Her biggest difficulty with the issue, she explained, was that her children were condemned to hell because they were never baptized.
I asked her how she had come to that conclusion and she answered that she was taught early in her life that all people who die and have never been baptized go to hell, even infants, because of “original sin”.
The two questions I would like to raise here today are (1) “Where has this idea come from?” and (2) “Is this the teaching of the Ancient Christian Church?”
Read the rest.
[October 18, 2013 Syosset, NY] The Holy Synod of Bishops of the Orthodox Church in America concluded its fall session on Thursday, October 17, 2013. His Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon, chaired the session, which opened two days earlier.
According to Archpriest Eric G. Tosi, OCA Secretary, in addition to hearing the reports of the Chancellor, Secretary and Treasurer, the members of the Holy Synod took the following actions and decisions.
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The texts and order of two memorial services for pre-born infants—one that may be celebrated shortly after death, the other a funeral service—were approved for liturgical use upon the recommendation of His Eminence, Archbishop Benjamin.