I Love You Andrew Mary {Honoring Our Baby and an Honest Miscarriage Conversation}

+J.M.J.+

I will always love and miss my little baby, Andrew Mary, whom we have had to give back to the loving care of Jesus. This post will share about our loss, how we are honoring our baby, a conversation on miscarriage, and some resources for people dealing with miscarriage or stillbirth.

When I started bleeding this pregnancy, myself and the nurse at our birth center thought it was a subchronic hematoma like I had with Zelie. An ultrasound a few days later revealed that our baby had passed away and been miscarried at 7 weeks.

Naming Our Baby

We had already decided on the name Andrew for our first boy, and while I don’t know with absolute certainty what our baby’s gender was, I felt very distinctly from the start it was a boy- no questions in my mind, so we decided on Andrew.

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I have had this photo of St. Andrew since I was pregnant with Philomena. We hang a photo of our baby’s patron saint above the cosleeper the day they are born, so I’ve had this in case we had a boy. I’ll frame it now and hang it in our home.

For the middle name we chose Mary, as my miscarriage began on the Immaculate Conception, and I knew with certainty our baby was gone on the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. With only a couple minutes of discussion we easily named our little Andrew Mary.

Honoring Our Baby

We do not have a physical place to visit as far as burying any remains that may have been left of our baby – I did not understand I was miscarrying until the process was complete because of confusing it with the bleeding complication I had experienced my last pregnancy.

I do grieve not having a place to go like my mother and sister have, but I made a keepsake box to honor our baby so I could have a physical place he is remembered.

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I lined this little chest with a scrap of material from my wedding dress, something very precious to me.

Inside are dried flowers from an arrangement sent to us from Andrew’s chosen godparents, the positive pregnancy test, the little onesie I had set aside years ago as the first outfit for our first boy, and a few other mementos. (I know a few other special things are coming from friends and family that will be added when they come).

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I also got a little ornament for the tree with this year on it with his name written on the back, and a little baby stocking. My mother keeps a stocking on the wall for my lost sisters and I have always loved them being remembered with the rest of us.

Another way we have honored our baby is having his name enrolled in the Shrine of the Unborn at the Church of the Holy Innocents in New York City. You can find their website and online enrollment here.

Telling Our Girls

Several people on social media were wondering if the girls knew about Andrew, and if so, how we told them.

Philomena and Zelie were well aware I was pregnant and were so very excited. When we got home from the ultrasound I sat down with them and was very honest. I told them I was so sorry, but that the baby had gone to the care of Jesus.

I expected them to become very upset, but in their childlike innocence they so easily entrusted Andrew to God’s loving care. “Oh mommy, it’s okay! The baby is playing with cousin Monica now I bet. Jesus is just holding our baby!”

Zelie did ask a couple times “That baby isn’t in your tummy now?” and I confirmed both times that the baby had gone to Jesus’ care. She would say, “oh that’s so sweet, Jesus is so sweet to love our baby.”

The girls have seen me cry some this last week, and have been so empathetic and loving. I think it’s been good for their emotional growth to see that pain and loss is real, but so is our faith and trust in God, our support system, and our healing.

My mother was always very open with us kids about my sisters whom we never got to hold, and I’m glad that my girls know of their sibling.

A Conversation About Miscarriage

There are a lot of painful things that happen on this earth which are really uncomfortable to talk about. Cancer, abuse, human trafficking, starvation, addiction, tragic accidents… there is no shortage of painful events that we are usually willing to bypass the awkwardness of in order to support those whose lives have been forever altered as a result of them.

But miscarriage is often times seen as different. Even though it affects an estimated 1 in 3 women, with as many as 25% of pregnancies ending in a tragic loss, the topic is still quite taboo.

I completely respect the privacy of others who do not wish to grieve the loss of their babies publicly. I don’t mean to in any way allude to any moral or societal obligation to disclose information about your babies that you are not wishing to share with others.

That being said, I am also unapologetic in being open about my own loss.

I believe the societal norm of avoiding this topic stems primarily from our culture being uncomfortable dealing with it. For so long almost nothing has been said about it, so people don’t know what to say. Acknowledging someone who is suffering from this loss is hard. But you know what, a lot of things in this life are hard. We can do hard things.

We shouldn’t feel that we can’t or shouldn’t say something about losing a baby because others may have a hard time responding. The people that really love me and my family would rather be there to comfort and pray for us, than not know of our pain at all.

I have had probably 10 women message me since I shared our miscarriage, saying that they wish they’d just told people. They felt they weren’t supposed to because it just isn’t often done, and that it kept them from really processing and grieving.

Being open that our baby passed away has lead to so much love and support. Countless prayers and Rosaries have been offered for our family. We’ve been touched by cards, flowers, sympathetic ears, and prepared meals. I don’t know what I would have done without the love and support we have received, and it has been incredibly healing for me.

I received so many beautiful messages that comforted me. From one about just being open and saying yes to God in creating this life was all He was asking of us, to another on how losing a baby during Advent is so similar to walking with Our Lady – she was rejoicing in His birth, while knowing that He would also be taken from her. She experienced joy and sorrow together, just as we did this Advent.

Perhaps one that spoke the most to me was from my maid of honor. She told me that Andrew was loved and KNOWN. And I am just so grateful for that, that my baby is known.

If you do not feel that grieving privately is the best way for you to process this loss, you are not alone. Please reach out to me, to your loved ones, your priest, your friends. Don’t feel as though you need to walk this road in silence if that is not best for you.

Resources

The following are a few resources that may be helpful to you if you are experiencing or have experienced miscarriage or stillbirth:

Please know if you have had to give one or many babies back to the care of Jesus, I am so sorry for your loss, and you truly are in my daily prayers.

 

14 thoughts on “I Love You Andrew Mary {Honoring Our Baby and an Honest Miscarriage Conversation}

  1. Thank you for sharing. This is a much needed prolife message that needs more attention.

    I went to a in person group on grieving the loss of a stillborn for bereavement doula training. It was eye opening.

    You and all women carrying this cross are in my prayers.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for reading and for your prayers, Rachel. It has surprised me overall how taboo miscarriage can be, even in such very pro life circles who recognize life begins at the moment a conception. I hope my own sharing in this conversation can help others who need to take part in it.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. First off, I am so very sorry for your loss. Wishing you, your husband, and all your family, the time and space you need to grieve and heal. Posts like these are really helpful for preparing others for miscarriage before it happens and sharing your experiences is a beautiful gift you can give to those who still need healing and for those who may need this information in the future. It sounds like your own mother gave you a precious gift in her example of grieving and remembering her unborn children.

    I was very private about my first miscarriage at 9 weeks due to a lot of factors like denial, fear of being criticized for wanting a fourth child, and just plain being a private person. Opening up to SAFE people, first just friends who had openly shared about their own miscarriages was a very important part of my process of grieving and moving forward. Sadly, I experienced another miscarriage 6 months later but was able to make lots of good friends uncomfortable by honestly letting them know what was going on with me! And they could and did handle it! Later, two of those good friends, who were sort of awkward at my honesty, experienced their own losses. I was able to be there for them in a way that they truly weren’t able to be there for me (through no fault of their own). It was another part of my healing to realize that my suffering and sadness allowed me to better understand and support them.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh Mariette, I’m so sorry for the loss of your sweet Andrew Mary. Thank you for this post, it was beautifully written and eye-opening. I’ve been wrestling with when to announce pregnancies, but this has inspired me to announce early, to celebrate however long God allows us to have the baby here on earth before taking them to be with Him. You will all be in our prayers. ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I am so sorry for the loss of your precious Andrew Mary. ❤ I'm crying as I read your post because this issue always cuts straight to my heart with both compassion for the grieving family as well as still remembering my own pain, though mine was over 4 years ago. One of the most comforting things I was told after we miscarried our Ignatius was that he was "loved and carried his whole life." So true. I'm so glad to hear people are reaching out to you and acknowledging both your loss and your child. You're right that the culture just doesn't talk about it or know what to say…I believe a lot of that has to do with our country's lack of care for the unborn…our culture has ruined our ability to grieve the loss of unborn human life because it denies that the life is human at all in the issue of abortion. 😦

    Anyway, I agree with those who have said that Grieving Together is an incredible book. We send it out through our miscarriage ministry. I'd be happy to send you a free package if you like. It's the least I can do to honor your baby.

    Hugs and healing to you, although you will always remember your child– and that is a gift. They wait for us and pray for us in heaven someday.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello Laura,

      Thank you for sharing all your thoughts. I love especially the idea that Ignatius and Andrew were carried and loved their whole lives. What a wonderful thought. I’m so grateful for you messaging and I’ll email you about Grieving Together. How generous and kind of you for caring for others going through this pain!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I first want to say I’m sorry for your loss. Secondly, thank you for sharing this. Thirdly, I too suffered a miscarriage 6 years ago. It was my first pregnancy. Hope Zelie. I have since been blessed to bring 3 more beautiful children into the world. The youngest being 3 weeks old. I will say that since my miscarriage, I struggle with the fear of losing another to miscarriage. You may experience the same thing. I’ve learned to put these fears in the arms of Jesus and Mary. It helps me every time.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Thank you for sharing! I had a similar experience to other commenters – some of my friends were only able to open up about their losses because I first shared mine. Our little John passed away in October 2019 as a missed miscarriage. We were able to bury the “products of conception” but couldn’t find or identify his little body. But we know he was there. We decided to do an early pregnancy announcement and are so glad that we did. He was cherished and celebrated for his entire life, short as it was.

    A woman at the cemetery was really cruel to us, saying that “you can’t just bury anything!” Unfortunately witnessing to the truth of the dignity of all life from the moment of conception will bring added pain on top of losing a child. We will come up against the enemy, and the anger of others who have likely been so wounded by the lies our culture tells us.

    Thank you for sharing your story so beautifully! I will keep your little Andrew Mary in my prayers.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Thank you so much for sharing Andrew’s story. I know he was loved and cherished by you and your family. And I am so happy you have taken the opportunity to honor him.

    We have lost two babies Gerard Thomas(5 wks? ) in 2015 and Ella Rose(died at 6 wks; miscarried at 10 wks) in 2018. I didn’t grieve with Gerard like i still do with Ella. I think it is because I anticipated her so much (with Gerard i didn’t know i was pregnant until i started bleeding.) The trauma of being in the emergency room twice due to excessive bleeding also plays a role. That was a blessing though because at the hospital they were able to save her tiny body for us.

    There are many things I wish we could or would have done. Miscarriage is not a conversation people want to have. And I feel that if a miscarriage is early it’s almost written off not being important sometimes even in Catholic circles. I also wish we had explained about Ella to our older children better. We hadn’t told them I was pregnant yet so then I didn’t know how to explain it. I am so glad you are reaching out to us and sharing about life.

    Congratulations on your upcoming pregnancy! What a joy! We have been blessed with 2 babies Felix 17 months and Clara 2 months since Ella. They are a joy along with our 7 older children (ages 2.5 to almost 11). God is so good!

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    1. I am so sorry for your losses! It’s so hard to figure out what works for each family, but I do feel there is a lot of peace when we pursue what we think is best for our families. God bless you and your sweet babies!

      Like

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