This coming Thursday, November 5, 2020 was the due date for the child we lost, Claire Francis Buzza. I can’t help but mourn that this day is lot different than I anticipated it would be when we found out Claire was with us. In the 7 months it’s been since the day we faced our loss, I’ve learned a lot, both joyful and sorrowful.
Something so close to my heart is so close to Jesus
Just a few days before we lost our baby, I received communion for the last time before we would undergo more than three months without in person Mass. A day or two after the loss, which fell on a Wednesday, we received news that public Masses were canceled indefinitely as lock downs began. Admittedly, I felt abandoned in my grief. The one place I had always gone when I felt I could go nowhere else was now closed off.
Without the support of my loving husband, the joy my living son bring us, and the actions of my father, I can’t imagine what the first two weeks after the loss would have been like. When I woke up from surgery I found out my dad was boarding a plane to come be with me as I recovered. This was an immense consolation and had he not done this I know this time would have been much worse than it was, as after he left I began to feel weight of isolation much worse than before.
The first two weeks after the loss and surgery, I spent most of my time focusing on physical recovery and began to feel anger as society imploded in fear. A fear I felt at the time, took away any sense of compassion from what we had just gone through. As I tried to process what had just happened all anyone talked about was how it was unsafe to receive or give physical presence, the thing I craved most. And as it became the societal doctrine that anyone who deviated from this “new normal” of social distancing was a “selfish murderer,” none of it set right with me. I cried myself to sleep for 2 weeks due to feelings of abandonment ( and in part due to post-pregnancy hormones no doubt). I wondered if anyone else was feeling this way as the (in hindsight what could only be described as) militant “Quarinteam” posts flooded my social media accounts.
Around the third week after the loss, I felt I was pretty well recovered physically. It was around that time I began to really grieve the loss of the baby. I relived the day of the loss praying we had navigated everything in a way that honored our child. I felt like every time I closed my eyes I saw the image of the ultrasound that told us the pregnancy was ectopic. As I looked at my 1 year old living son, I began to feel a sense of guilt and sadness over how much love I could show him that I felt I would never be able to show the other child.
A few weeks after we lost Claire Francis, a local parish began perpetual adoration (outside of course) in light of the pandemic. My husband and I immediately ran to this. Our first visit to the Eucharist was filled with clarity and peace.
While ideally, having had recourse to the Sacraments after a loss such as ours would have been preferred, would I have searched for God in the same ways I did without them? I don’t know. But in this heightened longing which was brought about by the loss amidst social isolation, my desire for God was increased and not my desire for the world that will continually disappoint. And in that came good.
As we continued to visit the Eucharist, I came to know and feel that our little one was in the arms of Jesus through the forms of prayer that I see Jesus most. And every time we visit Jesus in the Eucharist, we also visit Claire Francis who I have no doubt is praying for us as he or she lays in green pastures and praises our Lord with the Heavenly hosts in an even more beautiful life than would have been had on Earth. Jesus holds on to a part of me that is so dear. It is through Jesus I can have a relationship with a child I didn’t give birth to, but gave life to. And in that I find joy.
Out of this experience I have had the opportunity to form relationships with others who are navigating how to grieve losing a baby in pregnancy, in a world that only recognizes the value of a baby in utero in certain cases. This is obviously problematic.
Miscarriage is a pain that’s not allowed to be expressed (and a lot of women are suffering)
After the loss, I was encouraged to join a support group of Catholic women who have had similar or identical experiences. Around the time of COVID many women voiced similar feelings of abandonment and inhumane treatment when it came to their loss.
Aside from the COVID mentality, one of the most common grievances I have heard among women who have experienced loss is the fact that these women aren’t allowed to express their pain. Because in doing so, it illegitimizes abortion and a “woman’s right to choose.” There is not a single woman I have spoken in this group who views a child as disposable. There is not a single woman I know whose experienced a loss and doesn’t feel the immense pain that comes from death within one’s very body.
The great logical fallacy that a baby is a person if it is wanted versus if it is not wanted cannot continue. WOMEN ARE SUFFERING (also PEOPLE ARE DYING). We can’t continue to ignore this suffering simply because it makes us uncomfortable. We can’t continue to redirect oppression simply so women can have “better lives.” (Not to mention a majority of women who have abortions suffer from it in the long run anyways.) Perhaps we should value human life for how precious it is and honor women for their inherent ability to bring about life. Had Claire Francis never existed, I would never have known this unseen struggle of women facing miscarriages in a society that is now indifferent to the right to life.
On November 5, 2020 a precious life I once carried might have been born. But I now call upon that life to pray for the unborn and all mother’s feeling like their only option is abortion. I hope and have faith that Claire Francis’ proximity to Jesus allows these prayers to be better heard and felt.