Thursday, March 13, 2014

Pregnancy Loss: Siblings & St. Therese

I'm reading the autobiography of St. Therese of Lisieux, The Story of a Soul, and came across a particular passage that really touched me as a mother who recently lost two children in the womb.  She wrote:
After Marie entered the Carmel, and I no longer had her to listen to my scruples, I turned towards Heaven and confided them to the four little angels who had already gone before me, for I thought that these innocent souls, who had never known sorrow or fear, ought to have pity on their poor little suffering sister. I talked to them with childish simplicity, telling them that, as I was the youngest of the family, I had always been the most petted and loved by my parents and sisters; that if they had remained on earth they would no doubt have given me the same proofs of their affection.  The fact that they had gone to Heaven seemed no reason why they should forget me--on the contrary, as they were able to draw from the treasury of Heaven, they ought to obtain for me the grace of peace, and prove that they still knew how to love me. 

The answer was not long in coming; soon my soul was flooded with the sweetest peace. I knew that I was loved, not only on earth but also in Heaven.  From that time my devotion for these little brothers and sisters increased; I loved to talk to them and tell them of all the sorrows of this exile, and of my wish to join them soon in our Eternal Home.

St. Therese's siblings did not die during pregnancy, but they did die in infancy/early childhood.  Therese, being the youngest of the family, never knew them and yet she knew of them and was able to form a relationship with them.  From a young age, she loved them.  She felt their love for her.  They continued to be a part of her life. 

I've been struggling quite a bit thinking of how we are going to talk about our babies with Lucia.  We told her that I was pregnant as soon as I found out and we told her afterward that the babies had gone to heaven, but I'm fairly certain she no longer remembers.  She also currently has no understanding of death or heaven or even of siblings.  So we haven't talked to her about her siblings since our last loss.  I'm not sure if we'll continue to be silent for a while until she has a greater understanding of these concepts or if we'll start bringing them up, perhaps during her nightly prayers.  What I am sure of is that I want her to have a relationship with her siblings like St. Therese had with hers, based on love and faith.

You can download a free copy of The Story of a Soul for Kindle here.  (You do not need a Kindle to do so, you can download the free Kindle Reading App to your computer, phone, or tablet.)


  1. I forgot about this part! Thank you for reminding me. So beautiful.

  2. Brought tears. So beautiful. Liana was 5 when I lost our baby, after a few months, we told her about the whole thing and she talks about the baby (who would be 3 1/2) from time to time. What a great reminder from the Little Flower. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Ah, I need to revisit this book! I love the idea of our babies on earth having a relationship with our babies in Heaven.

    I've always planned on telling Landon (and hopefully Chase and any other children) about their brother in Heaven, but I hadn't even thought about how/when/etc. That is a tough one…

  4. This is such a beautiful post and it made me think of my son and my mother. I know this isn't exactly the same thing but its close. Since my son was first born we've prayed with him every night and have always asked for my mother's prayers (she died when I was a little girl). I've always wondered about how exactly to teach him about her and the communion of saints but it turns out all I needed to do was pray to her with him regularly. He's only two now but he already knows who she is just by our prayers. A few months ago on our way to his room he asked to be held up next to a picture of her than hangs in our hallway. He'd never paid any attention to her pictures prior to this. When he saw the picture he pointed and said grandma. A few weeks after that he had a bad dream and when I went in to comfort him he asked to see her picture again. Once I gave it to him he hugged and kissed it and said "thank you Grandma". I realize he's still little but it obvious to me he knows her and is aware of her prayers for him. I think nightly prayers would be a great place to start with Lucia and her siblings. My sister-in-law once told me that children have a special knowledge of heaven and the saints that we don't, I wouldn't be surprised if on some level Lucia already knows her siblings and just isn't able to express it you yet. Thank you for sharing such a big piece of your heart!


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