“Nothing Will Be Impossible For God” (Luke 1:37)

Looming somewhere in the background was the question, “why?” but this was quickly replaced by the prayer, “Jesus, I trust in You!”

We have been married for almost four years. We have no children here on earth, but we do have two little daughters with God in heaven: Marysia and Magda. I had my first miscarriage in January of 2009 (at seven weeks) and another in October of the same year (at 11 weeks). Those were hard times for us. Looming somewhere in the background was the question, “why?” but this was quickly replaced by the prayer, “Jesus, I trust in You…” But to begin at the beginning.

If I had not been charting my menstrual cycle, I would never have known I was pregnant the first time, for two pregnancy tests had proved negative. Thanks to my measuring my temperature, I knew I had conceived a child in my womb. At the time we had been offering up a novena leading up to the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. My husband and I discovered I was pregnant during our novena to the Child Jesus. Can we speak of a coincidence here? I will only add that we had been trying to conceive a child for nine months. I had even begun to worry a little, since nothing was happening. And then, what do you know? Mary gave us such a splended surprise.

Alas, I did not bear the child long. I miscarried in the seventh week. As my husband and I drove to the hospital, we prayed the rosary. I was calm on entering the hospital building, even though I had no idea what to expect (I had never in my life set foot in a hospital). My first surprise was to discover that I felt quite at home there. Surrounded by excellent care, I was not afraid. I was calm. Since this was a very early pregnancy, there was no need for a D and C, and I was released the following day. The Sunday after the miscarriage turned out to be the Feast of the Baptism of Our Lord. My husband and I went to the nearby cathedral for Holy Mass. During the homily, the celebrant cited the words, which God the Father spoke to Jesus during His baptism in the Jordan: “You are my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Mk 1: 11). The priest sought to assure those gathered for the Eucharist that God addressed these words to each and every one of us. Mentioning several names―mine first of all!―he said, “You are my beloved child, whom I have chosen.” These words moved me very deeply. I felt they had been addressed to me personally―to me alone! The experience reinforced my conviction that for reasons known only to Him, God had chosen us to undergo the suffering of losing our unborn child. He chose us―which means He trusted we would not break down, that we would not curse Him, that we would not ask, “why?” but rather that we would bow our head before His omnipotence. What a great lesson in humility that was for us!

Since one miscarriage did not mean there would be problems in the future, my husband and I tried to conceive another child. On our third wedding anniversary, our spiritual director offered up a Holy Mass for our intention through the intercession of the Servant of God, John Paul II. I made a novena leading up to the Feast of the Assumption of Our Lady and prayed a rosary for her intentions. I said to the Mother of God in prayer: “I am praying for your intentions, and I beg you to pray and intercede for us, especially in the matter of conceiving another baby.” On Fridays I fasted on bread and water―again for Mary’s intentions. And our prayers were granted. I conceived a second child. When the doctor confirmed that a little human being was developing in my womb, I began to keep a little journal for the child. I felt it was a girl and that she was inside me. Every time I touched my still flat tummy, it responded with a surge of love. No doubt every mother who has carried a child in her womb will understand me. I felt such joy, such gratitude to God that He had bestowed upon us the grace of a new life. One day, I stopped feeling the presence of the child. I thought to myself, “Maybe I only imagined I felt it inside me.” We made another visit to the doctor. He informed us that the child was developing too slowly and that perhaps it was no longer alive. My premonition anticipated the doctor’s diagnosis. Together we determined that what we needed was divine intervention, and so we quickly sent SMS messages to our friends with a request for prayers for our child. My husband and I began a novena to Saint Rita, since the next visit to the doctor―the deciding one―was to take place in nine days. We took this as God’s invitation to us that we should offer up petitionary prayers for our Little One. I felt a great trust in God’s Providence. I prayed as follows: “Lord, you can do all things. You raised up Lazarus and the daughter of Jairus. So you can raise up our Little One as well. But not my will, but yours be done.”

At that deciding visit to the doctor, I learned that the child had in fact died.  I was directed to the hospital for a D and C. When I walked out of the clinic, my feet instinctively carried me to a nearby little church with an image of the Merciful Jesus on the main altar. I knelt down and began pray through my tears: “Jesus, I trust in you. Though I do not understand what has happened and why, yet I trust in you, for you know what is best for me.” That was a special moment for me. An important one, which gave me the strength not to fall into despair, but rather to meekly submit to the will of God, who is all-powerful and can do all things. At that moment I freely entrusted our Little One to Jesus for the sake of any child that might be facing an abortion.

During my second stay in that hospital, the place I frequented most often apart from my own room was the chapel. There, with the other patients, I attended Holy Mass, praying, “Lord, I unite myself with you in my suffering knowing that there are other women who are suffering even more than I.” I thought of the women who feel their children stirring within them, and yet lose them; of the women who are forced to bear still-born children. Then I thought, “Dear God, I thank you for allowing me to carry this child in my womb for at least a few weeks.”

Throughout this time my husband was a great support to me. His masculine, common-sense approach to life helped me to endure those difficult moments. It helped me not to give in to despair. He allowed me to weep when I was sad; but, at the same time, he would not allow me to wallow in self-pity. This helped me a great deal. His support proved the saying, “to share in someone’s sorrow is to halve the sorrow.” In hindsight, we can see that that difficult experience brought us closer to each other. We became more loving, more understanding of each other. Perhaps thanks to those difficult moments, we know what is really important in life and why it is not worth making mountains out of molehills (for example, trivial quarrels arising from petty reasons can be taken to the level of serious problems).

We are now undergoing fertility tests. We have taken pains to ensure that these tests do not contradict the teachings of the Church. By this I mean testing my husband’s sperm samples. This we have categorically rejected. Instead we had a postcoital test taken, even though this meant traveling to a city eighty kilometers from where we live. In this our spiritual director proved very helpful, for he found us a place to stay with wonderful, good people. We have also taken his advice to make a nine-month novena for the intention of conceiving another child. Our priest informed us that doctors may only remove the organic obstacles to the conception and normal development of a child. Only God is the giver of life. Whether of not He will grant us the grace of our own offspring depends on Him alone.

This period of preparation for another conception is a very rich experience for us both. We have come to know a wonderful person―our NFP instructor―from whom we have learned more about naprotechnology to which we may yet resort. We continue to pray and have entrusted ourselves to Jesus and Mary. I might add that God does not “pamper” us with experiences of His presence. Things are as they ordinarily are, without sublime feelings and with the usual cares of every day that we must struggle with. But did John Paul II not say that daily struggles with life were the “normal way of achieving holiness.”

Sometimes people say to me, “How hard it must be for you. You have gone through so much and bear such a heavy cross.” I feel like answering, no it isn’t hard for us. When you join your suffering with Jesus, when you offer Him your cross, He takes it up Himself, and then you do not feel its weight. Besides, the Lord gives you the grace of overcoming the hardship with courage, if only you will entrust all your cares to Him. My husband and I have recently come to understand the words of Jesus: “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for your selves. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light” (Mt 11: 28-30).

This may surprise some, but it is thanks only to my miscarriages that I have opened myself completely to the gift of offspring. Before that, I dealt with obstacles of a spiritual nature. I did not feel psychologically prepared for being a mother. Only the experience of losing our children caused that invisible wall to crumble, with the result that now I desire offspring more than ever before.

Dear parents who have lost your children! We join with you in your suffering. But let us remember to unite this suffering with Jesus. Then it will not have been in vain.

Joining with you in prayer,
a married couple