The important life and death of my baby.


I am still not really ready to write this post. But I want to anyway.

About 3 weeks ago I had a miscarriage. It was very early – I only knew I was pregnant for about 10 days. But from the moment I saw a positive result on the pregnancy test I loved this child as much as my other 3 children. I immediately consecrated my child to Mary and loved him with all my heart and soul.

Like my other children, this baby was planned and very much wanted. But it did take an almost heroic leap of faith for me to consent to being open to life a 4th time. My husband now works from home, but was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome 4 years ago – 3 months after the birth of our 3rd child. He has been unable to work at all for most of the last 4 years. But pretty much as soon as he got his home business up and running we both knew we had to take that leap of faith and try for, perhaps, our last child. I will be 39 this year, and I went into this 4th pregnancy in full knowledge of the toll it was going to take on me physically, and all the risks involved, but we still wanted another baby so much.


On the night I began to miscarry, I told Jesus I was scared about what was going to happen to my baby. He told me “Look Clare, he is either going to be with you, or with Me.” Those words gave me a huge amount of comfort in the very worst of circumstances. Whatever was going to happen, my baby would be safe.

The next few days I just cried and cried. Tears of grief that only the women in this special ‘club’ will understand. A club nobody wants to be a member of. My husband felt disappointed, but did not feel the need to gieve like I was. And that is fine. Everyone handles it differently. But he does respect my grief, and is being extremely supportive.

A few days in and I start with the anger – mainly at God. “So where the F**K is my baby?” Refusal to pray, refusal to receive Him in the Eucharist, storming out halfway through Mass. Worry about how I am going to raise my kids Catholic now I hate God. Worry that I will have to close my business because I will never be able to make another vestment ever again. Paralyzing fear He will take my other kids. Terrible, terrible guilt and loneliness because I cannot bear to be with the God who ‘took my baby’. I still believe in Him, I just HATE Him.

We did not get the chance to baptise our baby… where is he? The church teaches that in the case of unbaptised infants, we must ‘rely on the mercy of God’. The same mercy that permitted my baby to be taken from me? I’m not sure I am interested in that sort of mercy. I no longer have any desire to enter heaven when I didn’t even know where my dead kid is. My plan was to go looking for him after I died. (Can I just make the point here that pastorally speaking, the Church fails spectacularly in reassuring mothers of dead unbaptised infants.)

I asked for prayers and I got them. I can only thank those who have been incredibly patient and loving with me during the last few weeks. I was truly humbled by the huge outpouring of love from the online Catholic community. I have never realised how much I rely on my brothers and sisters love until now.


When the depression hit I knew I had to quit work for a while and the only thing I could think of doing was something physical. So I started going to the Gym 5 days a week. It was a great idea and has really stemmed that depression, and has also given me a great outlet for the anger.

One of the most painful things for me was when people tried to downplay the importance and uniqueness of my baby when they said stuff like “Oh, well, it was very early…” and “obviously not meant to be…” and “you’ll have another one…”. No! I’m sorry, No! My kid WAS, I mean IS important! There will never be another human being like him! He will not be able to be ‘replaced’ with another baby – EVER!

The turning point came for me when a friends teenage son tried to commit suicide twice in one week. I suddenly realised that my child was already safe. He would never be in danger of Hell. He will never suffer, or know sin or pain or sadness or grief. But more than that I realised that my child could possibly intercede for my friends son. I just turned round one day and told my kid “Sweetheart – we’ve got work to do!” But I needed a sign from God that he was in heaven.

My sign came that Sunday evening when I was granted to be with my baby during Mass. Except he was not a baby at all. He was the fullness of who he was as a human being – a young man. Since then he has been with me every day, and will continue to be with me everyday for the rest of my life until he comes to throw his arms round me when I die. I am looking forward to that day immensely, but I have some more stuff to do here first, like raise his other 3 siblings! The relationship I have with him is obviously different from the relationship I have with his siblings, but nonetheless it is a relationship, and it will continue to grow and develop.


Since then I have had other people come to me asking for my son to intercede for them. I have found this rather strange, but moving, and also I think it is helping me reach some sort of level of acceptance of the situation – of which I am still grieving. Everytime someone does ask, it affirms that my sons very short life and death, does have infinite meaning and purpose, and this is extremely important to me. He WAS meant to be.

To have a son already in heaven has built a bridge for me between this life and the next which can never be broken. Heaven no longer feels so far away. The veil that separates this life from the next just got that bit thinner.



Feminist Rage and the Power of Meekness.

Meek (miːk/) – adjective: quiet, gentle, submissive.

This morning I was sitting staring out of the window with a worried look on my face, biting my nails. “What on earth is wrong?” my husband asked me.

“I have to write a post on meekness.” I said.

“Bwwaaaaaaahhhh!!!” He guffawed. “But honey – you’re all brash and rumbustious! How are you gonna do that?!”

Yes, well… He’s got a point. Meekness does not come naturally to me. I’m more of a bull-in-a-china-shop sort of girl (and obviously a nightmare to live with! My husband is a SAINT!)

I seriously had no idea where to start. I Googled “meek” and it took me straight to the Beatitudes:

“Blessed are the Meek, for they shall inherit the earth.” – Mathew 5:5

Part of my commitment to becoming a secular Carmelite is to live the Beatitudes. And to be honest – I’ve always generally just skipped over that one because I didn’t really know what it meant and I knew I probably wasn’t ‘it’. Meekness has always struck me as being a bit boring, a bit girly. And it seems I’m not the only one. For many, it is simply assumed that meekness is weakness, and surely not a virtue. The irony is that meekness, indeed a virtue, is the one virtue above all that allows us to remain ourselves in the midst of adversity. It allows us to maintain self-possession when adversity strikes, rather than becoming possessed by the adversity itself. A priest friend of mine described meekness to me as ‘quiet strength’.

Meekness seems to be more synonymous with empowerment than it is with weakness because, as St. Thomas Aquinas wrote, meekness makes a man self-possessed. According to St. Hilary, Christ dwells in us by our meekness of soul. When we are overcome by anger, we lose that sense of ourselves that allows God to dwell within us. Anger excludes God; meekness invites His presence.

Meekness is not cowardliness, timidity, or servility; it’s the power that restrains the onslaught of anger and subjects it to the order of reason. While it may be more natural to express anger when one is assaulted, meekness is the higher path. The world witnessed a perfect example of this in April 2014 by Belgian Archbishop André-Joseph Léonard.


Archbishop Léonard was participating in a debate on blasphemy at the Free University of Brussels on April 23rd 2014 when he became the target of the anti-Catholic feminist group Femen. Four topless women emerged from the attendees and mobbed the prelate, dousing him with water from bottles shaped like the Virgin Mary and screaming accusations of homophobia against him. Their bodies were smeared with slogans such as “my body my rules” and “anus dei is coming.” Throughout this barrage Archbishop Léonard remained calm, his eyes closed, his hands folded. A silent pillar of strength. After the bare-breasted protesters were evicted by security, Archbishop Léonard picked up one of the Marian bottles they had used to insult him with and kissed it.


And while Femen do not represent all feminists, I think it is safe to say that the women who attacked him were not displaying a whole lot of meekness as far as I can see. Instead they were displaying rage and vengeance. They presumably justified their rage on the basis of the acceptability of revenge for perceived injustices. But in this way Femen are casting themselves into the role of victim (which never ceases to fascinate me about angry feminists. I have noticed this trait of victimology A LOT within the feminist argument, which ironically is often in complete juxtaposition to their outward aggressive persona. And even though I am in no way-shape-or-form an angry feminist myself, I’m shamefully realising that my own brash and rumbustious behaviour is just another example of this.)

In their eyes they had won a victory that day. They had asserted themselves angrily, aggressively, forcefully and pride-fully. They had displayed their ‘strength’ as independent women and as a group. But was it real strength they were displaying?

Archbishop Léonard could have justifiably retaliated and had those women arrested and charged with assault if he had wanted to. But he chose not to humiliate them any further than they had already humiliated themselves. He rose above the situation and refused to cast himself into the role of a poor victim. He did not react with anger or seek vengeance. In an age when victimology is temptingly trendy, Archbishop Léonard stood quiet and still, quietly proving that meekness is a truly anti-modern virtue that can help us address many of the behavioural problems of our post-modern age.

It seems that meekness is actually the complete opposite of weakness. It seems to be great strength imbued with utter magnanimity. It is a paradox, but nonetheless true, that meekness demands largeness of heart and a generosity of spirit towards ones oppressors. The post-modern world thinks of strength in terms of individual power, of ability, self-assurance and aggressiveness. But as Archbishop Léonard demonstrated, real strength – quiet strength – comes from God, and is truly manifested when we submit our will entirely to His.

A dear friend of mine illustrated this description and explanation of meekness beautifully:

“Talking of ‘meek’. I came across an interesting thing recently. Apparently the ancient Greeks used the word ‘meek’ to describe a warhorse, bridled and compliant, ready for battle. If you look at some wonderful dressage clip, you’ll see the horse, bridled and compliant, fully accepting the bit, listening and in tune with his rider, and the result? Beauty, balance, freedom of movement, perfect synergy between horse and rider….. This is ‘meek’. Jesus, ‘meek and humble of heart’ is like this; compliant to the Father’s Will, he is strong, courageous and invincible in battle. We are called to be the same.”

Perhaps it’s time I let God tame me?