Author Topic: What Is a Christian Response to Miscarriage?  (Read 7748 times)

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Offline LBK

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What Is a Christian Response to Miscarriage?
« on: October 26, 2009, 10:04:01 PM »
This thread started here on the Prayer Forum:  http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,24039.0.html  -PtA


If it's any comfort to the couple, the loss of this baby means that it was "not meant to be". Nature/biology has a way of working out whether a foetus is "viable", and what are known as "lethal abnormalities" usually result in miscarriage. It's not a judgement, it's biology.

Particularly for the mother, guilt over a miscarriage through natural causes can be one of the most destructive forces in a marriage. Both my grandmothers lost five children between them by miscarriage; my sister-in-law lost her first conception this way (she now has two boys), and her sister lost one after her first pregnancy (she has two sons and a daughter). Another friend had four miscarriages before she was able to conceive. I could go on, but I won't.

« Last Edit: October 27, 2009, 09:12:09 PM by PeterTheAleut »
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Offline mike

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Re: What Is a Christian Response to Miscarriage?
« Reply #1 on: October 27, 2009, 03:59:06 PM »
Lord have mercy upon your handmaiden, who unintentionally has committed murder and miscarried the life fertilised by her. Forgive her all sins, safe her from devil activities, cure her illnesses and strengthen her body and soul.

Offline Papist

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Re: What Is a Christian Response to Miscarriage?
« Reply #2 on: October 27, 2009, 04:12:16 PM »
Lord have mercy upon your handmaiden, who unintentionally has committed murder and miscarried the life fertilised by her. Forgive her all sins, safe her from devil activities, cure her illnesses and strengthen her body and soul.
You are kidding me right? What murder was commited?
« Last Edit: October 27, 2009, 04:12:59 PM by Papist »
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Offline mike

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Re: What Is a Christian Response to Miscarriage?
« Reply #3 on: October 27, 2009, 04:24:45 PM »
I took it from my Euchologion. As I mon an English native speaker my translation can be wrong. I apologise for that.

Offline PeterTheAleut

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Re: What Is a Christian Response to Miscarriage?
« Reply #4 on: October 27, 2009, 08:41:56 PM »
I took it from my Euchologion. As I mon an English native speaker my translation can be wrong. I apologise for that.
Tragically, I think your interpretation may be correct.  I remember Matushka Jenny Schroedel (St. Juvenaly Mission, Kona, Hawaii) speaking about the subject of miscarriages while she was visiting my church to promote her latest book, Naming the Child, on an Orthodox response to miscarriage, stillbirth, and infant death.  I think she mentioned that some of the prayers of the Church do speak rather harshly of the mother who loses her baby to miscarriage.  Not exactly what a grieving mother needs to hear, which explains why I moved this block of posts out of the Prayer Forum.

For the record, I don't blame you for doing anything wrong.  I'm just not sure you were fully aware of the impact of your words, partly due to English not being your first language. :)
« Last Edit: October 27, 2009, 08:44:43 PM by PeterTheAleut »
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Offline Justin Kissel

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Re: What Is a Christian Response to Miscarriage?
« Reply #5 on: October 27, 2009, 08:44:19 PM »
I don't think we're dealing with outright murder here, and I don't think mike meant to imply that. However, Eve Levin did report in Sex and Society in the World of the Orthodox Slavs, 900-1700 that at least certain Orthodox in the past have blamed miscarriages on the Mother. For example:

"Another possible result of the parents' immorality was the loss of a child, whom the parents had shown themselves unworthy to have. A miscarriage had to have been the result of the woman's sinfulness. She was required to confess her sins and do penance. Service books included an extensive set of prayers for purification: 'Lord our God, who was born of the Ever-Virgin Mary, the Holy Mother of God, and who lay as a baby in a cradle: Today, out of your great clemency, have mercy on this your servant N., who has fallen into sin and willful murder, and aborted that which was conceived within her. Forgive her her willful and unwilling sins, and preserve her from all Satan's deceptions. Purify her of obscenity and heal her sickness... for we are born in sin and lawlessness, and we are all defiled before you.'" (p. 67)

"Even a spontaneous miscarriage was sinful, and carried a penance of a year's exclusion from communion." (p. 176)

Having had a wife who had a miscarriage, and gone through that painful experience, I found this idea particularly hard to swallow.
« Last Edit: October 27, 2009, 08:46:28 PM by Asteriktos »
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Re: What Is a Christian Response to Miscarriage?
« Reply #6 on: October 27, 2009, 08:58:00 PM »
I don't think we're dealing with outright murder here, and I don't think mike meant to imply that. However, Eve Levin did report in Sex and Society in the World of the Orthodox Slavs, 900-1700 that at least certain Orthodox in the past have blamed miscarriages on the Mother. For example:

"Another possible result of the parents' immorality was the loss of a child, whom the parents had shown themselves unworthy to have. A miscarriage had to have been the result of the woman's sinfulness. She was required to confess her sins and do penance. Service books included an extensive set of prayers for purification: 'Lord our God, who was born of the Ever-Virgin Mary, the Holy Mother of God, and who lay as a baby in a cradle: Today, out of your great clemency, have mercy on this your servant N., who has fallen into sin and willful murder, and aborted that which was conceived within her. Forgive her her willful and unwilling sins, and preserve her from all Satan's deceptions. Purify her of obscenity and heal her sickness... for we are born in sin and lawlessness, and we are all defiled before you.'" (p. 67)

"Even a spontaneous miscarriage was sinful, and carried a penance of a year's exclusion from communion." (p. 176)

Having had a wife who had a miscarriage, and gone through that painful experience, I found this idea particularly hard to swallow.
Not having had any children, I'm not exactly an authority on this, but I would think a much better response than the cold, hard judgment of some of our prayers is to name the miscarried child and give him/her a proper Orthodox burial, all the while granting comfort to the grieving family in this and other ways.
« Last Edit: October 27, 2009, 08:58:45 PM by PeterTheAleut »
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Offline Mivac

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Re: What Is a Christian Response to Miscarriage?
« Reply #7 on: October 27, 2009, 09:18:45 PM »
I don't think we're dealing with outright murder here, and I don't think mike meant to imply that. However, Eve Levin did report in Sex and Society in the World of the Orthodox Slavs, 900-1700 that at least certain Orthodox in the past have blamed miscarriages on the Mother. For example:

"Another possible result of the parents' immorality was the loss of a child, whom the parents had shown themselves unworthy to have. A miscarriage had to have been the result of the woman's sinfulness. She was required to confess her sins and do penance. Service books included an extensive set of prayers for purification: 'Lord our God, who was born of the Ever-Virgin Mary, the Holy Mother of God, and who lay as a baby in a cradle: Today, out of your great clemency, have mercy on this your servant N., who has fallen into sin and willful murder, and aborted that which was conceived within her. Forgive her her willful and unwilling sins, and preserve her from all Satan's deceptions. Purify her of obscenity and heal her sickness... for we are born in sin and lawlessness, and we are all defiled before you.'" (p. 67)

"Even a spontaneous miscarriage was sinful, and carried a penance of a year's exclusion from communion." (p. 176)

Having had a wife who had a miscarriage, and gone through that painful experience, I found this idea particularly hard to swallow.
Not having had any children, I'm not exactly an authority on this, but I would think a much better response than the cold, hard judgment of some of our prayers is to name the miscarried child and give him/her a proper Orthodox burial, all the while granting comfort to the grieving family in this and other ways.

My wife and I went through a miscarriage during our first year of marriage.  It is a sad event for everyone, being  harsh and judgmental would only give opportunity for satan to take hold in a person imo.  I like to think that God wanted them created, but called them to Him sooner and someday I will get to meet him/her.  Not sure of the sex since the child was only at seven weeks.

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Re: What Is a Christian Response to Miscarriage?
« Reply #8 on: October 27, 2009, 10:22:19 PM »
^Does anyone know of any woman, whether now or historically, who has been banned from the mysteries for any amount of time due to miscarriage?
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Offline believer74

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Re: What Is a Christian Response to Miscarriage?
« Reply #9 on: October 28, 2009, 12:03:45 AM »
That "prayer" is by far the most misogynistic thing I've ever read. So is this part of an official canon? Is this still recited? Please God, tell me no? Sigh.

Offline Justin Kissel

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Re: What Is a Christian Response to Miscarriage?
« Reply #10 on: October 28, 2009, 12:47:33 AM »
Quote
^Does anyone know of any woman, whether now or historically, who has been banned from the mysteries for any amount of time due to miscarriage?

I don't know of anyone personally, I only know of Levin's claims (which are referenced, though I'm not able to check her references).


Quote
That "prayer" is by far the most misogynistic thing I've ever read. So is this part of an official canon? Is this still recited? Please God, tell me no? Sigh.

It's been about 5 years since I heard the prayers, but I don't recall anything along those lines being said when we had a miscarriage. If memory serves, the prayers that were used were more about the healing of the mother, and didn't bring up the possibility that the mother was at fault.
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Offline ialmisry

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Re: What Is a Christian Response to Miscarriage?
« Reply #11 on: October 28, 2009, 12:50:21 AM »
^Does anyone know of any woman, whether now or historically, who has been banned from the mysteries for any amount of time due to miscarriage?

No, and I've had the misfortune of knowing many.

I don't think we're dealing with outright murder here, and I don't think mike meant to imply that. However, Eve Levin did report in Sex and Society in the World of the Orthodox Slavs, 900-1700 that at least certain Orthodox in the past have blamed miscarriages on the Mother. For example:

"Another possible result of the parents' immorality was the loss of a child, whom the parents had shown themselves unworthy to have. A miscarriage had to have been the result of the woman's sinfulness. She was required to confess her sins and do penance. Service books included an extensive set of prayers for purification: 'Lord our God, who was born of the Ever-Virgin Mary, the Holy Mother of God, and who lay as a baby in a cradle: Today, out of your great clemency, have mercy on this your servant N., who has fallen into sin and willful murder, and aborted that which was conceived within her. Forgive her her willful and unwilling sins, and preserve her from all Satan's deceptions. Purify her of obscenity and heal her sickness... for we are born in sin and lawlessness, and we are all defiled before you.'" (p. 67)

"Even a spontaneous miscarriage was sinful, and carried a penance of a year's exclusion from communion." (p. 176)

Having had a wife who had a miscarriage, and gone through that painful experience, I found this idea particularly hard to swallow.

I couldn't even tell my ex what I knew that blood clot was, and for that reason not retrieving him from the toilet.

I don't remember the book in detail, but I seem to recall thinking it resembled Boswell's "scholarship."
« Last Edit: October 28, 2009, 12:55:16 AM by ialmisry »
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Offline Justin Kissel

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Re: What Is a Christian Response to Miscarriage?
« Reply #12 on: October 28, 2009, 01:10:16 AM »
If you are referring to John Boswell, then I would probably disagree with the comparison. Admittedly, I've only read one book from each author, but still, I found Levin to be more scholarly than Boswell. In Amazon.com I did spend over half of my 3-star review of Levin's book criticizing her for not substantiating certain underlying assumptions, but in the end I still thought the book was a wealth of information.
« Last Edit: October 28, 2009, 01:32:57 AM by Asteriktos »
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Re: What Is a Christian Response to Miscarriage?
« Reply #13 on: October 28, 2009, 01:30:04 AM »
That "prayer" is by far the most misogynistic thing I've ever read. So is this part of an official canon? Is this still recited? Please God, tell me no? Sigh.

It was written hundreds of years ago before people had a grasp on all matters biological.  It is not, however, misogynistic. For instance, there is also a canon that penalizes a man who has sex with his wife when she is pregnant and then she miscarries, because the assumption was that the man caused his wife to miscarry by that act.  Saying that a prayer that was written hundreds of years ago before people understood biology is by far the most misogynistic thing you've ever read is quite anachronistic.
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Re: What Is a Christian Response to Miscarriage?
« Reply #14 on: October 28, 2009, 01:33:00 AM »
Before we all jump on the bandwagon of "boy those people were stupid back then," let's consider the fact that there ARE people -- both men and women -- who cause miscarriages through negligence.

Let's also consider that involuntary bodily functions may still be the product of our fallen nature and sin in a general sense.

As such, there may be cases where a prayer that speaks about involuntary murder is appropriate.

At the same time, for the vast majority of women for whom this prayer would be insensitive, inadvisable, traumatic, and inapplicable, there is nothing to stop a bishop or Synod from making his/their own new service that meets the need of today (and perhaps there are local usages already).  After all, the Euchologion is not a "closed canon."
« Last Edit: October 28, 2009, 01:39:24 AM by Fr. Anastasios »
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Offline Justin Kissel

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Re: What Is a Christian Response to Miscarriage?
« Reply #15 on: October 28, 2009, 01:49:14 AM »
Fr. Anastasios,

I do not consider them stupid, nor do I want to judge them anachronistically, but I thought Orthodox morality came from God? Isn't the Church the "pillar and foundation of truth" (1 Tim. 3:15)? Isn't Jesus the head of the body of Christ (Col. 1:18; Rom. 12:4-5)? Doesn't the Holy Spirit guide it into the truth? (Jn. 16:13)  The impact that this one issue had on me is probably relatively small in the whole scheme of things, but I must admit that, when I was an Orthodox Chrisitan, Levin's book* shook my faith in Christianity's ability to discern what was truly the correct thing to do when it came to moral issues.


*Taken as a whole, not just with this miscarriage issue.
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Offline Alveus Lacuna

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Re: What Is a Christian Response to Miscarriage?
« Reply #16 on: October 28, 2009, 01:54:32 AM »
Eve Levin did report in Sex and Society in the World of the Orthodox Slavs, 900-1700 that at least certain Orthodox in the past have blamed miscarriages on the Mother.

Eve Levin teaches at my university.  I was considering doing a readings course with her next semester on Russian Orthodoxy.

Offline ialmisry

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Re: What Is a Christian Response to Miscarriage?
« Reply #17 on: October 28, 2009, 02:15:05 AM »
Fr. Anastasios,

I do not consider them stupid, nor do I want to judge them anachronistically, but I thought Orthodox morality came from God? Isn't the Church the "pillar and foundation of truth" (1 Tim. 3:15)? Isn't Jesus the head of the body of Christ (Col. 1:18; Rom. 12:4-5)? Doesn't the Holy Spirit guide it into the truth? (Jn. 16:13)  The impact that this one issue had on me is probably relatively small in the whole scheme of things, but I must admit that, when I was an Orthodox Chrisitan, Levin's book* shook my faith in Christianity's ability to discern what was truly the correct thing to do when it came to moral issues.


*Taken as a whole, not just with this miscarriage issue.

So the Scriptures should be a gynological text book too?  Btw, this is one reason why the Euchalogion is not canon, Scripture is.
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Offline Justin Kissel

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Re: What Is a Christian Response to Miscarriage?
« Reply #18 on: October 28, 2009, 02:17:25 AM »
Quote
So the Scriptures should be a gynological text book too?   Btw, this is one reason why the Euchalogion is not canon, Scripture is.

Not really, on both counts.
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Offline Eugenio

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Re: What Is a Christian Response to Miscarriage?
« Reply #19 on: October 29, 2009, 12:38:55 AM »
There is a book out, called "Naming the Child", written by an Orthodox woman who has insight into miscarriage.

http://namingthechild.com/

Amazon.com has this to say about this book:

"Hope and healing for those who suddenly find themselves in the most terrible sort of grief
For those who have experienced miscarriage, stillbirth, or the death of a child within the first year, this gentle resource offers:
    * stories of hope and wisdom;
    * practical advice and guidance, based on the experience of many;
    * comfort and ways to honor and remember.

Naming the Child creates a community of love and support for bereaving parents and siblings, written with a light touch and sensitive spirit."

Author:
Jenny Schroedel has published essays and book reviews in a variety of magazines, including Books & Culture, Portland Magazine, and First Things. She has a Masters in Theology from St. Vladimir’s Seminary. Her fifth book, Naming the Child (Paraclete Press) is due out this spring. She lives in Hawaii with her husband John, an Orthodox priest, and their two daughters.
« Last Edit: October 29, 2009, 12:40:13 AM by Eugenio »

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Re: What Is a Christian Response to Miscarriage?
« Reply #20 on: October 29, 2009, 01:48:14 AM »
There is a book out, called "Naming the Child", written by an Orthodox woman who has insight into miscarriage.

http://namingthechild.com/

Amazon.com has this to say about this book:

"Hope and healing for those who suddenly find themselves in the most terrible sort of grief
For those who have experienced miscarriage, stillbirth, or the death of a child within the first year, this gentle resource offers:
    * stories of hope and wisdom;
    * practical advice and guidance, based on the experience of many;
    * comfort and ways to honor and remember.

Naming the Child creates a community of love and support for bereaving parents and siblings, written with a light touch and sensitive spirit."

Author:
Jenny Schroedel has published essays and book reviews in a variety of magazines, including Books & Culture, Portland Magazine, and First Things. She has a Masters in Theology from St. Vladimir’s Seminary. Her fifth book, Naming the Child (Paraclete Press) is due out this spring. She lives in Hawaii with her husband John, an Orthodox priest, and their two daughters.
Mat. Jenny and her husband, Fr. John, are both personal friends of mine dating back to a few years before they went off to seminary.  Very good people they are.
« Last Edit: October 29, 2009, 01:49:51 AM by PeterTheAleut »
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Re: What Is a Christian Response to Miscarriage?
« Reply #21 on: May 19, 2010, 02:17:39 AM »
This thread started here on the Prayer Forum:  http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,24039.0.html  -PtA


If it's any comfort to the couple, the loss of this baby means that it was "not meant to be". Nature/biology has a way of working out whether a foetus is "viable", and what are known as "lethal abnormalities" usually result in miscarriage. It's not a judgement, it's biology.

Particularly for the mother, guilt over a miscarriage through natural causes can be one of the most destructive forces in a marriage. Both my grandmothers lost five children between them by miscarriage; my sister-in-law lost her first conception this way (she now has two boys), and her sister lost one after her first pregnancy (she has two sons and a daughter). Another friend had four miscarriages before she was able to conceive. I could go on, but I won't.



Miscarriage can happen for a variety of reasons. My husband and I have lost 4 children (3 pregnancies) to miscarriage. Although some miscarriages are due to fetal abnormalities, some are due to hormonal issues as well. All my miscarriages were due to low progesterone. As long as I am on a progesterone supplement for the first trimester I can carry a pregnancy to term. Many miscarriages are due to maternal clotting factors.

Saying it "wasn't meant to be" is simply a kick in the gut to anyone that has had a miscarriage. I highly suggest the no one ever say that to a woman that has had a miscarriage. It may sound comforting to you, but it may be the worst possible thing for the mother/father to hear.

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Re: What Is a Christian Response to Miscarriage?
« Reply #22 on: May 19, 2010, 09:24:00 AM »
Fr. Anastasios,

I do not consider them stupid, nor do I want to judge them anachronistically, but I thought Orthodox morality came from God? Isn't the Church the "pillar and foundation of truth" (1 Tim. 3:15)? Isn't Jesus the head of the body of Christ (Col. 1:18; Rom. 12:4-5)? Doesn't the Holy Spirit guide it into the truth? (Jn. 16:13)  The impact that this one issue had on me is probably relatively small in the whole scheme of things, but I must admit that, when I was an Orthodox Chrisitan, Levin's book* shook my faith in Christianity's ability to discern what was truly the correct thing to do when it came to moral issues.


*Taken as a whole, not just with this miscarriage issue.

If I remember correctly, the "murder" language came to be there because of suspicion that women with miscarriages were covering for having abortions. 

There is no real way for non-medical people, especially back in those days, to tell the difference between a woman who has miscarried through natural causes, and one who has an "induced miscarriage" - drinking pennyroyal tea or using other abortifacient drugs - and has murdered her child.
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Offline Liz

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Re: What Is a Christian Response to Miscarriage?
« Reply #23 on: May 23, 2010, 05:06:56 PM »
I clicked on this thread hoping it would give me some ideas as to how to comfort a friend who has been informed that her baby is dead, at 8 weeks gestation. Thank goodness for Quinault, because otherwise my impression of this thread is horrible. My friend has done all she could to keep her baby and she wanted it very much. She is in the sad position where the baby is perfectly healthy but she herself is just not able to maintain a pregnancy easily. I am aware I am not Orthodox so this is not really my business, but I cannot believe that any understanding of God could lead one to think that a mother or father should be implicated when a miscarriage happens.

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Re: What Is a Christian Response to Miscarriage?
« Reply #24 on: May 23, 2010, 05:41:55 PM »
I clicked on this thread hoping it would give me some ideas as to how to comfort a friend who has been informed that her baby is dead, at 8 weeks gestation. Thank goodness for Quinault, because otherwise my impression of this thread is horrible. My friend has done all she could to keep her baby and she wanted it very much. She is in the sad position where the baby is perfectly healthy but she herself is just not able to maintain a pregnancy easily. I am aware I am not Orthodox so this is not really my business, but I cannot believe that any understanding of God could lead one to think that a mother or father should be implicated when a miscarriage happens.

May the Lord have mercy on your friend, and comfort her in her time of sorrow.

FWIW, I agree with you 100% -- miscarriages are a tragedy and sorrow of life that no one asks for. I pray that your friend may heal in both heart, body, and soul from this heartache.
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Offline Liz

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Re: What Is a Christian Response to Miscarriage?
« Reply #25 on: May 24, 2010, 03:13:38 AM »
I clicked on this thread hoping it would give me some ideas as to how to comfort a friend who has been informed that her baby is dead, at 8 weeks gestation. Thank goodness for Quinault, because otherwise my impression of this thread is horrible. My friend has done all she could to keep her baby and she wanted it very much. She is in the sad position where the baby is perfectly healthy but she herself is just not able to maintain a pregnancy easily. I am aware I am not Orthodox so this is not really my business, but I cannot believe that any understanding of God could lead one to think that a mother or father should be implicated when a miscarriage happens.

May the Lord have mercy on your friend, and comfort her in her time of sorrow.

FWIW, I agree with you 100% -- miscarriages are a tragedy and sorrow of life that no one asks for. I pray that your friend may heal in both heart, body, and soul from this heartache.

Thanks Handmaiden. I hope she's feeling better today.

Offline NorthernPines

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Re: What Is a Christian Response to Miscarriage?
« Reply #26 on: May 24, 2010, 10:20:18 AM »
^Does anyone know of any woman, whether now or historically, who has been banned from the mysteries for any amount of time due to miscarriage?



Not sure about specific individuals, but indeed it is a "holy Canon" of the Church that a woman who has a micarriage is to be excommunicated for one year. (see the Canons of John the Faster for details) It just goes to show just how truly human the Church really is and how absurd some of those Canons truly are for the times we live in.


Offline Orual

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Re: What Is a Christian Response to Miscarriage?
« Reply #27 on: May 24, 2010, 11:38:43 AM »
^Does anyone know of any woman, whether now or historically, who has been banned from the mysteries for any amount of time due to miscarriage?



Not sure about specific individuals, but indeed it is a "holy Canon" of the Church that a woman who has a micarriage is to be excommunicated for one year. (see the Canons of John the Faster for details) It just goes to show just how truly human the Church really is and how absurd some of those Canons truly are for the times we live in.



Again, I'm pretty sure the blaming and "murder" language is because they thought some of these women had secretly aborted.   There was no way to know for sure.
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Offline Justin Kissel

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Re: What Is a Christian Response to Miscarriage?
« Reply #28 on: May 24, 2010, 12:41:28 PM »
^Does anyone know of any woman, whether now or historically, who has been banned from the mysteries for any amount of time due to miscarriage?



Not sure about specific individuals, but indeed it is a "holy Canon" of the Church that a woman who has a micarriage is to be excommunicated for one year. (see the Canons of John the Faster for details) It just goes to show just how truly human the Church really is and how absurd some of those Canons truly are for the times we live in.



Again, I'm pretty sure the blaming and "murder" language is because they thought some of these women had secretly aborted.   There was no way to know for sure.

I'm not sure how that helps matters. "Oh, we're not sure, so we'll just accuse you of murdering your own child". Seems like the Church comes out rather tyrannical in that one...
"My doubt in Christ is not like that of a child; it was forged in a furnace of faith." - Dostoevsky

Offline Quinault

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Re: What Is a Christian Response to Miscarriage?
« Reply #29 on: May 24, 2010, 01:18:39 PM »
I clicked on this thread hoping it would give me some ideas as to how to comfort a friend who has been informed that her baby is dead, at 8 weeks gestation. Thank goodness for Quinault, because otherwise my impression of this thread is horrible. My friend has done all she could to keep her baby and she wanted it very much. She is in the sad position where the baby is perfectly healthy but she herself is just not able to maintain a pregnancy easily. I am aware I am not Orthodox so this is not really my business, but I cannot believe that any understanding of God could lead one to think that a mother or father should be implicated when a miscarriage happens.

Much of this (in my opinion) is misunderstanding. After a woman delivers she has certain prayers said over her. The prayers sound pretty harsh to be honest. My priest explained that giving birth to a child is such a high honor that none of us are worthy of this gift. Children are a tremendous blessing. The focus should be the blessing of having a child, not the words about the sin of the mother.

I would offer this Orthodox prayer for her instead;

"O Sovereign Master, Lord our God, Who was born of the all-pure Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary, and as an infant was laid in a manger: do You Yourself, according to Your great mercy, have regard for this Your servant (Name) who has miscarried that which was conceived in her. Heal her suffering, granting to her, O Loving Lord, health and strength of body and soul. Guard her with a shining Angel from every assault of sickness and weakness and all inward torment. You who accept the innocence of infancy in Your Kingdom, comfort the mind of Your servant and bring her peace. Amen."
« Last Edit: May 24, 2010, 01:21:30 PM by Quinault »

Offline Liz

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Re: What Is a Christian Response to Miscarriage?
« Reply #30 on: May 24, 2010, 01:38:44 PM »
I clicked on this thread hoping it would give me some ideas as to how to comfort a friend who has been informed that her baby is dead, at 8 weeks gestation. Thank goodness for Quinault, because otherwise my impression of this thread is horrible. My friend has done all she could to keep her baby and she wanted it very much. She is in the sad position where the baby is perfectly healthy but she herself is just not able to maintain a pregnancy easily. I am aware I am not Orthodox so this is not really my business, but I cannot believe that any understanding of God could lead one to think that a mother or father should be implicated when a miscarriage happens.

Much of this (in my opinion) is misunderstanding. After a woman delivers she has certain prayers said over her. The prayers sound pretty harsh to be honest. My priest explained that giving birth to a child is such a high honor that none of us are worthy of this gift. Children are a tremendous blessing. The focus should be the blessing of having a child, not the words about the sin of the mother.

I would offer this Orthodox prayer for her instead;

"O Sovereign Master, Lord our God, Who was born of the all-pure Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary, and as an infant was laid in a manger: do You Yourself, according to Your great mercy, have regard for this Your servant (Name) who has miscarried that which was conceived in her. Heal her suffering, granting to her, O Loving Lord, health and strength of body and soul. Guard her with a shining Angel from every assault of sickness and weakness and all inward torment. You who accept the innocence of infancy in Your Kingdom, comfort the mind of Your servant and bring her peace. Amen."

That's a lovely prayer Quinault, thanks.

I just find it all very sad - I know childbirth is wonderful and children are a gift, but it does seem tough that society doesn't really recognize the pain some women go through. She's had a lot of people saying things like 'oh, well, it was never really a baby was it?' - which is sort of true, but not at all how she feels, of course. Anyway, I'm rambling ... sorry I misunderstood earlier.

Offline Schultz

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Re: What Is a Christian Response to Miscarriage?
« Reply #31 on: May 24, 2010, 01:45:32 PM »
I clicked on this thread hoping it would give me some ideas as to how to comfort a friend who has been informed that her baby is dead, at 8 weeks gestation. Thank goodness for Quinault, because otherwise my impression of this thread is horrible. My friend has done all she could to keep her baby and she wanted it very much. She is in the sad position where the baby is perfectly healthy but she herself is just not able to maintain a pregnancy easily. I am aware I am not Orthodox so this is not really my business, but I cannot believe that any understanding of God could lead one to think that a mother or father should be implicated when a miscarriage happens.

Much of this (in my opinion) is misunderstanding. After a woman delivers she has certain prayers said over her. The prayers sound pretty harsh to be honest. My priest explained that giving birth to a child is such a high honor that none of us are worthy of this gift. Children are a tremendous blessing. The focus should be the blessing of having a child, not the words about the sin of the mother.

I would offer this Orthodox prayer for her instead;

"O Sovereign Master, Lord our God, Who was born of the all-pure Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary, and as an infant was laid in a manger: do You Yourself, according to Your great mercy, have regard for this Your servant (Name) who has miscarried that which was conceived in her. Heal her suffering, granting to her, O Loving Lord, health and strength of body and soul. Guard her with a shining Angel from every assault of sickness and weakness and all inward torment. You who accept the innocence of infancy in Your Kingdom, comfort the mind of Your servant and bring her peace. Amen."

That's a lovely prayer Quinault, thanks.

I just find it all very sad - I know childbirth is wonderful and children are a gift, but it does seem tough that society doesn't really recognize the pain some women go through. She's had a lot of people saying things like 'oh, well, it was never really a baby was it?' - which is sort of true, but not at all how she feels, of course. Anyway, I'm rambling ... sorry I misunderstood earlier.

I wonder how much of this is an Anglo-Saxon "stiff upper lip and all that rot" cultural way of dealing with things.  For those posters who grew up/live in non-northern European cultures, how does society in general and women in particular deal with miscarriage in your neck of the woods?
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Offline Liz

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Re: What Is a Christian Response to Miscarriage?
« Reply #32 on: May 24, 2010, 01:49:16 PM »
I think there's a lot in that, Schultz. I'm English, and I think lots of people wouldn't want to acknowledge that someone has miscarried - it's awkward to talk about, so people don't. I know a couple of women who didn't tell their husbands they were pregnant until the second trimester!