Tears in Heaven: A LDS Perspective on Stillborn and Miscarried Babies

I have a box tucked in the back of a closet with his sonogram, a white Winnie the Pooh onsie he never wore, a statue of a baby angel, a sympathy card and the book Gone to Soon: The Life and Loss of Infants and Unborn Children by Sherri Devashrayee Wittwer. There is no other earthly record of his short life. Some might even debate whether he had been a life at all.

Our LDS doctrine gives us the reassurance of the sealing power, which promises us that our dead belong to us, and we to them. Others, not of our faith, do not have the knowledge of the promise of heavenly belonging. Rock musician Eric Clapton’s young son tragically died in 1992. Clapton wrote the song Tears in Heaven to express his thoughts about the sudden death of his child. Tears in Heaven expresses the hope of reuniting in the afterlife without the promise. As the mother of a stillborn baby we named Baby Jake, Tears in Heaven represents the unknown I felt  after his death.

Would you know my name

If I saw you in heaven

Will it be the same

If I saw you in heaven

I must be strong, and carry on

Cause I know I don’t belong

Here in heaven

Only the parents of a miscarried or stillborn child understand the magnitude of the bonding, which occurs in the womb and the loss felt at the death of a fetus. I was surprised at the magnitude of loss for a child I had never seen with earthly eyes. After my stillborn child died, I grieved alone. I was unsure of Jake’s status as a person. Sadly, members of the church are uneducated on the legitimacy of these children’s place in the eternities. As a parent sealed to her children for eternity and finding myself questioning a fear that the short time I had with Jake was the only time I would ever have with him, made his loss all the more profound.

I questioned if Baby Jake would be reincarnated similar to Baby Emily in the LDS Musical Saturday’s Warrior? The body I made for him discarded for another body, in which he would take his first breath of air outside the womb. If I had no other sons, would his spirit instead belong instead to another mother?

Was it possible he had accomplished his life mission and received the body my womb made for him? The utmost question on my mind was did his spirit exist and if so what was our eternal relationship? Would he know me, and would I know him in Heaven? Would our relationship be the same as with my other children? I outwardly stayed strong during the day, not so much at night.

Time can bring you down

Time can bend your knee

Time can break your heart

Have you begging please

Begging please

I cried quietly to myself for months. Poor Mike, did not understand the magnitude of my grief and not knowing how to help he would ask; “Do you need to see a therapist?”

This question made me mad. “No, I just need my baby back”. Tired of grieving, I wanted answers and peace. Thru those long months I was brought to my knees in prayerful agony. I abandoned the formality I had been taught as a child to address our Father in Heaven. I railed angrily at Him. Chest heaving with no tears left in my broken heart, I begged please, please, tell me if I would know my child someday, or was he just nothing but dead tissue?

I had accepted the death of his earthly vessel. The daily reminders: pulling a seatbelt across my now smaller abdomen, baby things put up for now; nausea, once my constant companion, now gone; the confused looks of others I had not seen in awhile when they saw I was no longer pregnant. I became painfully aware at the birth of babies who would have been his peers. I felt the horror of my child lost to me somewhere on earth, lost to me in heaven, or worse, a nothing?

Summer came and my oldest son went to day camp. The camp had a female spaniel named Sam. Sam was a favorite of the kids at camp and especially my boys. She tucked away in her doggie brain the memory of our family from year to year. One week Sam was not there to greet us. I searched for her in the kennels. I found her lying forlorn on the ground. I sat on the ground near her. She came over to me in a painfully slow fashion and put her head on my lap.

The director of the camp came up behind me and softly said, “Poor Sam was expecting a fine litter of pups. Something went wrong and they were born dead. Poor grieving dog”.

I looked into Sam’s brown eyes. She in turn locked her deep sorrowing eyes into mine. We understood one other. Two grieving mothers with empty hearts.

Would you hold my hand

If I saw you in heaven

Would you help me stand

If I saw you in heaven

I’ll find my way, through night and day

Cause I know I just can’t stay

Here in heaven

Few answers given by others satisfied to my yearning to know where my child was. I found Gone to Soon: The Life and Loss of Infants and Unborn Children by Sherri Devsashrayee Wittwer at Deseret Book on a trip to Utah in the months after I lost Baby Jake. This book brought me peace and hope, and let me know I was not alone in my feelings. From the General handbook of Instruction found in Wittwer’s book, “The loss of a child prior to birth is an event requiring emotional and spiritual support for grieving parents. Memorial or graveside services may appropriately he held according to the parents: need and desires. Although Temple ordinances are not performed for stillborn children, no loss of eternal blessings and family unity is implied. If they desire, the family may record a name for the stillborn child on the family genealogy group record form followed by the word stillborn in partheses”.

President Joseph Fielding Smith gave it as his opinion that these little ones would receive a resurrection and belong to us. Brigham Young taught that a baby’s movements are the spirit’s entering the body in preparatory to the immortal existence. With modern technology we know that a beating heart, which is movement, begins in the first month of life. If their opinions were correct, then the tiniest of babies would be eligible for the resurrection.

And finally the scriptures give hope.

For all old things shall pass away, and all things shall become new, even the heaven and the earth, and all the fulness thereof, both men and beasts, the fowls of the air, and the fishes of the sea; 25 And not one hair, neither mote, shall be lost, for it is the workmanship of mine hand. (D&C 29:24-25)

The soul shall be restored to the body, and the body to the soul; yea, and every limb and joint shall be restored to its body; yea, even a hair of the head shall not be lost; but all things shall be restored to their proper and perfect frame. (Alma 40:23)

For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.  My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them. (Psalm 139:14-16)

Time passes and time can heal. Mostly. I have taught all of my children in Primary, I watch the babies Jake’s age grow. He would now be a Deacon passing the sacrament, perhaps enjoying scouts like his brothers. He would have been a nice bridge between sons who are now sixteen and nine.

Four years ago when Jake would have turned nine, I was called to be the Primary teacher for a class of nine year olds. The age group was split into two classes. I was given the special needs group of Asbergers and ADD kids. Because of their needs, I adopted unorthodox teaching methods. Most of the time we sat on the floor, one child fidgeting with his shoelaces tying and untying and finally winding and weaving the laces thru the legs of his chair, a child stood on her head, another spinned. We talked about the doctrines taught in the lessons. Often we diverted off onto other topics. There were a few rare moments in which the spirit was so powerful that we all felt it. On two of those occasions, a heavenly spirit, passing thru on a heavenly errand, lingered for a few moments brushing across my cheek. My mother spirit heard my child whisper softly in my ear. His message to me was, Jake had come to visit his mama and for those visits I was his primary teacher too.

Over time, my grief received comfort in the knowledge of Baby Jake an Angel living in Heaven with Jesus, watches over us. More importantly, I am his Mama and he is my child. I believe I have the promise of knowing him in the next life. A loving God holds our earthly sense of belonging in His merciful hand. The answer was given and finally I was at peace.

Beyond the door

There’s peace I’m sure.

And I know there’ll be no more…

Tears in heaven

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About JA Benson

Joanna entered the world as a BYU baby. Continuing family tradition, she graduated BYU with a degree in Elementary Education and taught for several years. Growing up in Salt Lake County, her favorite childhood hobbies were visiting cemeteries and eavesdropping on adult conversations. Her ancestral DNA is multi-ethnic and she is Mormon pioneer stock on every familial line. Joanna resides in the Southeastern USA with her five children ranging in age from 8 to 24. Her husband passed away in 2009. She is an avid reader and a student of history. Her current intellectual obsession is Sephardic Jewish history, influence and genealogy. She served as a board member for her local chapter of Families with Children from China. She is the author of “DNA Mormons?” Summer Sunstone 2007 http://www.bycommonconsent.com/2007/04/dna-mormons/ and “Becoming Hong Mei`s Mother” in the Winter Sunstone 2009 http://theredbrickstore.com/sunstone/becoming-hong-meis-mother/.

77 thoughts on “Tears in Heaven: A LDS Perspective on Stillborn and Miscarried Babies

  1. Thanks for this. Thanks for sharing your feelings in such and eloquent and poignant way. Our oldest would’ve been 33. I wish that I would have been more aware of my wife’s emotions and heartache at the time.

  2. Joanna, this was very touching, especially because my wife and I have suffered through several miscarriages. All of them were early, less than three months, but they still are painful. I often wonder if we will see those spirits again or not, and I’m sad to say I’m not sure.

  3. You’ve touched me deeply, Joanna. It’s very clear to me that deceased family members are ours not only in the resurrection, but even while we linger here in mortality. I think this is sometimes true of departed loved ones who are not even related to us. Beautiful!

  4. When our fourth child died due to a cord accident during the 7th month of pregnancy, I went through a similar experience of emotional and physical devastation. That song always makes me cry. And you’re right, there is little definitive doctrine about unborn children. What little I have found speaks mostly about infants and children, but doesn’t shed alot of light about children who are stillborn or lost because of miscarriage. But we are a prayful people, blessed with Priesthood blessings and temple covenants, who believe in personal revelation. I can’t imagine a merciful Father in Heaven not being generous with blessings of inspiration those who have borne this indescribable grief. I know I experienced my own personal miracles during such times, and enjoyed reading about yours as well.

    One article that was shared with me when our daughter died 12 years ago, written by Dale C. Mouritsen, “The Sprit World, Our Next Home” says, (quoted from the Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith) that if we have a claim on our Heavenly Father for anything, it is for knowledge on this important subject. But, I do wish we could get further official revelation relating to our babies who died in utero. The big question mark about her status, resurrection, and part in our eternal family would be settled once and for all. I can imagine no greater comfort.

  5. Thank you Brian, Ben, and Kim. I miss having a Deacon right now. 13 is one of my favorite boy ages.

    John, I wish I had not been so mean to Mike. The death of an unborn child resonates differently with men. Mike felt bad, but his grief was not as intense or as prolonged as mine. I do not think that the new baby becomes a reality for him until he sees the ultrasound and more-so when the baby is born.

    Thank you CiCi well said. I pray for *further light and knowledge* in this area of knowing too.

    Geoff, If anything we share empathy with the questions other people of other faiths have about their eternal relationships. I wish you and your wife peace in knowing.

  6. I wonder sometimes what will become of the 4 brothers and/or sisters that my mother miscarried. My family is not LDS and once the miscarriages occurred nothing more was said about the baby that would have been. My mother never even acted as if she cared. Even now as an adult I look back at those times and no one in my family seemed to grieve the loss of the babies. How sad. But I remember how disappointed I was to find out I wasn’t going to be a big sister. Isn’t that strange? I wish endowments could be done for the miscarried and stillborn. How else will I know them?

  7. Thank you for sharing these beautiful feelings. I’ve had 7 miscarriages. Even though they were early in the pregnancy it was still painful to deal with the disappointment of dreams and hope gone. I never found out the sex of any of my losses but each one is special and I know that Heavenly Father knows I love each one of them. He knows them and someday they will be revealed to me. Only once did I have the Relief Society come to my home and try to comfort me. The other times I grieved alone. Even in the church there is so little said on this subject. Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts and feelings.

  8. Thank you, Joanna. It’s amazing to me how strong my emotional reaction to your post was, even thirteen years and one month (to the day) after our (almost) oldest daughter was stillborn. I love your optimism and I too hope that she will join us in the eternities.

  9. I hope you don’t mind if I chime in again. This subject of loss and how to handle grief and comforting those who grieve is so near & dear to my heart. Paula – I once heard it said that you can’t measure grief by the number of gestational weeks of the pregnancy. In Dr. Seuss’ “Horton Hears A Who”, Horton sums it up best when he says, “a person’s a person, no matter how small”.

    One thing I think is really important is to understand the nature of grief itself. The problem is that dealing with loss is so foreign to most people that it’s rare to have someone empathetic enough to just come up and and express love and use your child’s name (if that applies) thus recognizing both your pain and their existence.

    Perhaps the biggest obstacle to overcome is the common belief that we will eventually “get over” the loss, especially when other children come along. It’s hard for some people in my ward to understand why there is a group of ladies in my ward who get together once a year for a lunch in memorial of our angels and 13, or 30 years later, fresh tears may fall on the anniversary of our child’s death.

    I came across this definition of grief that I think explains it best; I hope this isn’t too long:

    Grief is often thought of to be a period of time in which someone is sad over the death of one with whom they had a close relationship. It is not that simple. Grief is not a behavior. Mourning is a behavior that occurs within grief. Generally people believe that when the socially recognzied period of mourning has ended, so does grief. Grief continues, with episodes of mourning.

    Grief is not a condition that can be treated. Grief can precipitate deep depression and physical ailments, which are often treatable, but grief itself cannot be treated. One cannot engage in a series of exercises to “get over it”. Grief represents a life change. When one has experienced the deat of someone close to them the environment of their life changes. Just as adulthood or marriage or career represent changes, grief represents changes. Grief is not a desired change however. When it occurs, a person is bereaved for life. Bereavement is a status representated by periods of grief and mourning.

    Recognizing that 1) there is no time limit to grief and 2) that grief changes who a person is, makes dealing with grieving people more understandable.

  10. From my contacts with grieving parents in the past, the main thing I hope newly grieving parents realize is that men and women grieve very differently.

    The differences in how men and women grieve has split up many marriages after a child dies.

  11. Mindi, I believe that God loves His children. He will allow us to know our loved ones. Women of previous generations were taught to hide their feelings. Your mother may have grieved silently.

    Thank you Bruce, MMiles, Paula, Taylor and Jennifer.

    Thank you CiCi for your input on grief. That was valuable information. Hopefully others will read the thread and benefit from your knowledge.

    You are right Bookslinger.

  12. You article touched my soul. My oldest daughter was stillborn 15 years ago. Two years later, I was pregnant and on a Caribbean cruise. My husband and I shared the table with 8 LDSers. I didn’t say anything about my pregnancy because I didn’t want to get into the whole “How many children do you have? Is this your first?” etc and I was a nervous wreck about the entire thing. One of the women was about five months pregnant. One night, during dinner, she turned to me and told me how comfortable she was with this pregnancy. She then said “Because of my beliefs, I know that even if my child is stillborn, we will be together again in Heaven.” It was like God, or my precious angel in Heaven or SOMEONE knew that I needed to hear those words. She could see the astonishment on my face when she made this statement. I then told her everything – about my stillborn baby and about my new pregnancy. Her amazing statement to me, that night, 13 years ago has brought me so much peace in the years that have followed. I just wanted to share with you.

  13. My baby boy, Keith would have been on May 4, 2009. While I was laboring, I played this song (Tears in Heaven) over and over. I didn’t want any other music or songs. I was angry at God and wanted to know Why me? Since then, I’ve done much grieving, praying, and soul searching. I still don’t have the answers I want, but as the song goes “Beyond the door, there’s peace some more and I know there’ll be no more tears in heaven”. Thank you so much for sharing this.

  14. Oh Heather. I am so sorry. Your loss is fresh and your grief is raw. It is okay to be angry with God. Anger is part of the process. The Jews call it wrestling with God. Working thru your mourning will help your grief. Do not be afraid to express your pain and feel your sorrow.

    If you need help, there are those who can help. Google “Parenting After Loss” at ivillage This is a good support system. This is a community of people who have recently been thru what you have just been thru. I can put you touch with CiCi if you need some more help. Please email me at Joanna Benson at comcast dot net just leave out the spaces. God Bless you and know that Baby Keith is in His hands and you my dear, are in His heart.

  15. Thank you for sharing your experience. I do not have friends or family who have experienced this loss, so they have not been able to understand my pain. To keep from being committed, I learned to hide my grief. They have told me to move on many times over the last five years, but move on to what – the words alone still make me angry because I do not want to move to a place where my son was not real. They remind me that he was born to soon, but he took his first and last breaths in my arms.

    It is comforting to read that I am not alone, and to have my feelings validated. I still can sit in a room a picture him playing with toys on the the floor in front of me – at the age he should be. The moments are sweet until I remember that I can not hold him.

  16. Hi Cris,

    I am sorry for your profound loss. How heartbreaking. I have a dear friend in her late seventies. She still grieves over her son; he was born too soon like your baby boy. A cousin of mine lost her baby, he was only a few months old, to a sudden illness. She has great difficulty. An elderly aunt lost her son as a child and still has trouble talking about it. I do not believe any of you will ever ever be able to “move on”; whatever the heck that means. I am sorry those around you do not understand this.

    I believe that eventually you will have better moments that turn into better days. You will always remember him and the pain will not be as bad. You may need counseling to get to that point. Please do not feel that you need to be committed. Your feelings are real and normal. It is ok to think of him in the terms of how old he would be now. We all do this.

    Try this bit of mental imagery. When you especially feel his loss or when you are having a spiritual moment (i.e. blessing or temple etc), hold one or both of your hands out in cupping fashion. Tell him out loud that this is your signal to him for him to hold your hand. You do not need to tell him everytime he will hear you once and know. Then just imagine him there with you holding your hand. You will probably not feel his hand, just know that he is there with you. You are his Mama and it will always be so. The mother-child bond is so great, not even death can erase it.

    LDS Grief Support:
    http://www.ldspail.com/index.php

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  19. I’d like to share my experience. Reading your article made me tear up. It brought back memories of two miscarriages we had after the birth of our 3 daughters. The first was a girl, and the second was a boy. Don’t ask how I know the 2nd is a boy, but before the first miscarriage, a little girl came to my wife at night when she was in bed and said it was going to be okay, mommy. We were 12 weeks or less, but I completely felt the pain of loss, and spent hours and hours alone at the computer, listening to the song, Hello/Goodbye by Michael W. Smith, my favorite Christian artist. I even inserted my child’s name when I sang along. Even now, I’m balling my head off with a pain that is indescribable. The pain never goes away.
    One night a few months back, I had a dream that I was at some sort of family event, and looked down at this girl that I didn’t recognize, but somehow knew she was my daughter. I thought it odd that I didn’t know her birthday. Then it dawned on me that it was Emily Anne, then I woke up. How I would have given a million dollars to go back to sleep to that dream!!! I wanted to go back so bad, to see my little girl. She seemed to be around 7 or eight years old. I know she’s there, and that I will see her again, and I only thank my Heavenly Father for that little glimpse. She is alive, and I will live with her someday, and I want to shout from the roof that it is true, and I hope anyone who reads this will gain comfort from that. I have not shared this with anyone before. To all of you out there who are hurting and wondering, I hope you find peace. I know she is my child, because I have paid for her with heartache and tears. I love you Emily Anne.
    Dad

  20. Our little Savanah Lily would be 2, October 21. I know now that personal revelation is what is important when it comes to these little ones. It was not until my daughter was born already gone that I had the oppertunity to search church docterine and ponder my own feelings and after many battles with in my self ( as I am sure some of you know well) that I came to KNOW that my daughter is alive and well. She is our little slice of Heaven in our home and there have been times when we know she is with us. It took some time to come to this but when it was all said and done everything pointed back to the fact the she was and will be mine forever in a better time and in a perfect body. For those of you who have had a baby born, then given the title “stillborn” Be at peace, we will have our time to raise our babies, If you feel peace with this fact and know in your heart to be true, I believe that is what Heavenly Father is telling you. It took some time for me to know and come to peace with this, but I know it now and I have been given so many personaly experiances that bring peace to the truth of it.
    My love is with all of you who have experianced this loss.
    Our babies are still for now but not forever.

  21. Thank you, Joanna. You have given me great comfort. I lost my triplet boys at 4 1/2 months, but my fourth lived and is my miracle baby. I love him to pieces, but there are days where I cannot stop thinking about those precious little ones that I saw every 2 weeks on ultra sound surrounding him. They moved and “played” and you can’t tell me that there was not bonding going on – they had to have little spirits in them. I have only wanted to know if they are still truly mine and will be a part of our family for eternity, and your beautiful words have given me encouragement that they will be. Thank you so much.

  22. Thank you Karma for stopping by to comment. I pray you find peace and comfort. I think the invention of the ultra sound was given to us by God to counterbalance abortion. It showed the humanness of babies in utero. What a blessing to have the memories of those pictures.

  23. With all the miscarriages my wife and I have had, Karma’s comment made me weep a bit to think of those babies in the womb playing together. :(

  24. It goes against nature for children to die before their parents. My little brother commited suicide a year and a half ago. Even though he was 25 my mom still struggles with the thought that he passed before her. I had a miscarriage at 12 weeks so I never knew the sex(even though I felt strongly it was a boy), but I do still wonder if I’ll ever see that baby again…I also wonder however if I would have had my second child if I would have had the baby I miscarried since I didn’t want a large family. I also wonder if my son is the child I miscarried, that he just wasn’t ready to come to me yet. Lots of questions, but I keep the thought that we are promised that we will be happy.

    I also wanted to comment about the temple ordinance thing. I personally think these spirits are truly little spirits. I saw my baby I miscarried 3 times on ultrasound and his little heart beating away. They are alive. I don’t think there are temple ordinances available because if that’s the case, it’s like a child passing before age 8. They are so perfect they only needed a body, therefore no temple work is necessary.

    I also think it’s harder for the woman since we carry them in our wombs, feel them kick, throw up for them. We are already bonded to them before they are born, men bond after they are born, so it is a little different for them.

  25. Thanks Uncle Nette for your sweet thoughts. You are right, women usually have a stronger bond with the unborn. I think the bond grows with the father as the baby grows gestationally.

  26. Thank you for your stories and comments. Our doctor was unable to find a heartbeat today, and I’m so grateful for the comfort your words have provided. I do believe I will see this little person again, and that I do have two children, just only one on earth right now.

  27. KB I am so sorry for what you are going thru. Please know you are in my thoughts and prayers.

  28. My daughter Trish N. just sent this to me and I felt every word in my soul, thank you for expressing yourself (my feelings exactly) so beautifuly. We lost a a baby 13 weeks old and then a 6 month PG both so difficult. Time has helped to heal the pain but the memory will never faid and we look forward to a beautiful reunion.

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  30. Joanna, thank you so much for this post. I know from my own experiences that our angle babies are ours thru the power of the sealing coventants we made, but it’s just so good to hear that repeated, and to know that many of us are not alone in our grief. Thank you so very much. I know I say this every time you post, but I just learn so much from you, thanks! :)

  31. Joanna,
    Thank you for sharing your story. We have three girls and were very excited to be having a little boy. We lost our little Phoenix during delivery. It has been a very emotional and painful trial for our family. It has been one year and we are trying to cope, deal and move on. I too wondered if he would be ours and would I be his mother. I have a strong belief and Faith of the eternities and know that through temple sealing, families are together forever. I am excited to see my Phoenix, wrap my arms around him and have the time to be with him, experience him and see all the work that he has been doing for the Lord.
    Again, thank you for sharing your story. Even thou I hate that others have experienced the grief, pain, sorrow that I have experienced, I am glad that I am not alone.
    Kathy

  32. Kathy, How traumatic. No you are not alone and I believe in the next life we will see how Christ has walked with us during times of profound grief. For all of us I hope 2010 is a much better year. God Bless.
    Thank you Stephen for stopping by the comment. I know you are someone who has walked the long path of sorrow multiple times.

  33. I am an LDS mother of 2.I have never miscarried, but at 14/15 wks pregnant with my 2nt child it was a big threat.I will never know what the pain was like for mothers who have lost their {born too soon babies},but i do know the devastation i was feeling at the thought of loosing my CONCEIVED and precious baby!I have always believed these {born too soon babies} will be reunited with their eternal families.My personal belief is, once conception has happened, that life will be known in the eternities.Im sorry but, no one can tell me,that a conceived baby ,that does not get a chance of life here on earth, is nothing!

  34. Thank you LDS Mum for your kind words. Sadly, some LDS people do not believe what you and I know to be true. Once in RS, the wife of a Temple Presidency member strongly made that assertion. Some of the women in that room cried and others walked out. Like you, I was in danger of losing my youngest son. It was very frightening indeed. I am so happy your experience ended happily.

  35. After four kids, my husband and I miscarried twice before getting our now two year old. The first time was devastating, we just herd the heartbeat. We had just told our families. My husband’s grandmother was sending flowers. The very next day we lost the baby. I have no idea if it was a boy or girl. The flowers came with a different card. I would go sit at my husband’s work so I wouldn’t have to look at them. Then we finally had Evelyn, and after her we have had three more miscarriages. Now we are pregnant again. 7 weeks. My husband won’t let me lift anything it is so cute. But I haven’t forgotten my other children. I haven’t stopped grieving my other children. And come the Millennium I have a whole houseful to raise. My husband and I are looking forward to it.

  36. Your letter was touching about the loss of your child. I also lost several children to miscarriage and have written a book, We Lived in Heaven. It is a collection of accounts of families who have had the opportunity to meet the souls of their sons and daughters before they were born. It includes vivid memories of life in heaven by young children and stories of prayers answered by guardian angels who watch over us, our unborn children. It has been helpful for many people in the grieving and recovery of miscarriage.
    I would love to send you a book if you would like to e-mail me at [email protected]

  37. Sorry phxrisingangel I just noticed your comment. I hope all is still well with your new pregnancy. Your story is heartbreaking and I hope you will find peace. Your little ones are in God’s hands and well cared for.

    Thank you Sarah for stopping by to comment. I have ordered your book and look forward to reading it. Thanks again.

  38. One of the most tender renditions of “Tears in Heaven” was sung by a then 13 year old boy named Andrew Johnston on the second episode of Britain’s Got Talent of a couple of years ago. You can still find it on Utube I think.

    Try this one:

  39. Remember your babies are in heaven with God. He instructs us to grieve, but through him you can move farward. God will never bring something to you that he doesn’t bring you through it. Always find Joy in today release the past. For he is the savior and the only way to eternal life. Romans 5:8; 6:23; 10:9-10; 10:13.
    For comfort read Psalm 9:9; 23; 30:5; 37:39; 46:1-2; 55:22.
    May you seek the Savior for comfort.

  40. Thank you. I was only 6 wks along when I found out we were expecting and had an ultrasound to confirm. I heard my baby’s heartbeat. Saw the flutter in their chest. 3 days later I miscarried. No one mentions it or asks me how I’m doing. Almost like because it was so quick, it never happened. My only other child is the highlight of my life. I love him more than almost anything else. I know my angel baby would have had the same effect. With so little material about miscarried or still born babies, especially so early on in pregnancy, I have had a really hard time finding peace. Will I get to hold that baby in Heaven or see their first smile? Be the person they reach for? It’s hard to imagine that this would not be so, but I haven’t found my own confirmation yet. Thank you for sharing your story, it bouys my spirit to think those children are in Heaven and they are still linked to us. Thank you.

  41. Pingback: Lost, Latter Day Saints and Eternal Families « Symphonyofdissent

  42. Thank you for sharing your story and your beautiful insights. I found this post looking for something that might comfort my friends who are grieving their stillborn baby. I printed a copy to share with them.

  43. Very touching stories by all those who have commented. Joanna you have an outstanding way of communicating. Blessings on you. One of the most beautiful renditions of “Tears in Heaven” is sung by a 13 year old English lad, Andrew Johnston, and is found at:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e0hAJq528CI&feature=related

    Congratulations for another outstanding epistle.

  44. Thank you for sharing your feelings and inspiration. This article was wonderful and I felt so many of the same emotions you described. From my own experiences with miscarriages, I wrote a book just published, “Lost Children: Coping with Miscarriage for Latter day Saints.” Writing this book was a long process–a healing process as I continued to learn more and more and understand more about the love our Heavenly Father has for each of us and the beauty of the plan of salvation.

  45. Thanks for your beautiful article. We have a daughter in heaven (we’ll celebrate her eight birthday next month.) We too have had times where we have felt her spirit near. Sometimes I think of all the children who have died in infancy and how they will pull on the rest of us to attain heaven as well so we can be eternally linked as families.

  46. My daughter is pregnant for the 3rd time and all is going great. 21 weeks today. Goes tomorrow for ultrasound and hopefully will find out gender of baby. She has suffered two stillbirths, a girl and a boy. I had the “priveledge” of delivering the little boy, as there was no one else in the room when the time came. My initial search that brought me here was about the soul of the stillborn. You see at the time he was born it was as if I felt a presence coming to get him. It was beautiful. This was the most bittersweet moment of my life. Not even something that I’ve been able to talk about with any one. I’ve wondered if once the tie was broken with the mother if the soul was released. I don’t know, but I sincerely beleive when I get to heaven I will have two beautiful grandbabies wating there for me with my second hugs.

  47. Maw Maw, Thank you for stopping by to share your poignant witness. Bless your daughter’s heart for her courage in trying again. Her desire to be a mother is a wonderful thing. I pray that all goes well this time. I am sure your grandchildren in heaven love you dearly and look forward to your reunion in the very distant future :). In the meantime, let us know how she is doing.

  48. Thank you for your beautiful words and to all who have commented. I lost my baby (only 9 weeks pregnant) a week ago tomorrow. The pain is incredible and so real. I am having a hard time finding uplifting messages of hope. I am so grateful for your words which gave me comfort. Like others have said, I am so sorry for any one who has had to go through this, but thank you for sharing your experiences as it helps to know that we are not alone in this.

  49. Oh Robin! I am so sorry for your pain. I think you are amazing for trying to find comfort so soon after such a loss. Please know I am thinking of you. No, we are not alone. So many other parents, and grandparents, have felt as you do now; and most importantly our Saviour empathizes and has already suffered for your sorrow. God bless you.

  50. My 4th child, Joseph Carson, was stillborn and we had to burry him the day before Christmas eve. The hardest thing I hope our family will ever go through. He would have been born next weekend and the greif process seemed to start all over again. I know without a shadow of a doubt that our heavenly father has a plan for him and the 5 other babies that my husband and I have lost. In my renewed pain I received a blessing from my bishop in which he blessed that I would have another healthy child to raise on this earth. I know that we will have that blessing and feel such an overwhelming comfort from that blessing.
    The sacrifices of this life can be so intense yet the promise has been made that in the next life all wrongs will be made right (not sure where I was told that in my days of grief) I know this to be true. We can find great comfort in sharing the experiences of others but must not forget that christ felt our exact and individual pain and if we turn to him he can give us the comfort and strength that no one else can. Greive, be angry if you feel it, question if you must but please never deny or forget the love of our Heavenly Father and saviour Jesus Christ.
    One comfort that has helped me signifantly, my husbands grandma had also had a stillborn and as she neared her time of death the viel became very thin for her and she began to speak with her deceased husband and also kept repeating bring me my baby, my baby is crying please bring me my baby. I beleive with all my heart that she was able to receive her baby and finally got to hear those wonderfull cries that were so silent on this earth. We will be with our little ones agian. With god there are no accidents, we must fully trust in his plan and do our best to live worthy of his many blessings.

  51. Julie- I am sorry for what you are going thru. The due date is an especially difficult day. I pray you will receive comfort. Despite your grief, your words give comfort and bring hope to others. Thank you for sharing your story and your witness. G-d Bless you.

  52. In looking on the web for an LDs perspective for the fate of babies who die before the age of accountabiltiy, I find your page, but I am unclear on which of the 4 main positions you take. Here they are, and below the positions, is a link to the Theological position paper I wrote, defending position 4 as Biblical.

    Please let me know your disposition on this matter:

    Source: http://GordonWatts.com/theology/WhenBabiesDie.html or:

    http://GordonWayneWatts.com/theology/WhenBabiesDie.html

    or even: http://gordon_watts.tripod.com/theology/WhenBabiesDie.html

    Summary: There are at least four (4) major positions on the end-fate of babies who die before the age of accountability (which includes both unborn babies killed via abortion, miscarriage, stillbirth, or even Early Infant Death -AND ALSO persons born with mental disabilities who subsequently die –and by extension, this may possibly include: Peoples who have never heard of the Gospel of Christ -such as remote tribes of the world:

    * Position 1: Babies who die before the age of accountability go to heaven. God’s “grace” and “mercy” is the argument most commonly used -God would not send them to hell if they had not heard the Gospel and understood it.
    * Position 2: Babies who die before the age of accountability go to hell. God’s “holiness” and “justice” is the argument most commonly used -God could not send them to heaven if they were born into sin.
    * Position 3: Babies who die before the age of accountability go to purgatory. This is a Catholic belief, and the argument most commonly used -God would have to be “fair” and not do 1 or 2 above -and allow these children to work out their sins.
    * Position 4: Babies who die before the age of accountability go to heaven for the time being, but they eventually end up in the 1000-Year Millennium Reign of Christ Jesus –and are afforded an opportunity to hear the gospel. Since they never had an opportunity, this is not a “2nd chance”: This is those children’s *first* chance & opportunity to hear the Gospel of Christ Jesus -and to be raised with their family -from youth up to adulthood. It is this 4th position here that I take -and defend with exegetical support from the Bible -and using commonly accepted hermeneutic principles of scriptural interpretation.

    My reasons for writing this position paper -and taking position #4 above:

    * Many mothers (and fathers) think they can ‘send their children to heaven’ by killing them. (This applies to both ‘unborn’ children parents might want to kill via abortion -and killing of ‘born handicapped’ kids. Yes, this happens! — See e.g., “APPENDIX-A” news reports if you don’t believe ‘baby killing’ is running rampant here!) While the kids will go to heaven “for the time being,” the parents CAN NOT force their eternal state in this fashion, and thus I write to show the fallacy of this so-called logic -and save some kids’ lives in the process.
    * Some parents have lost children -and wonder about their fate. Here are solid, Biblically scriptural answers -from the Word Of God.
    * This is a genuinely interesting point of theology -and a good spiritual (and mental) exercise. YOU need the exercise -and will enjoy reading the ‘back story.’

    (*) To clarify: When babies die, they probably *do* go to heaven –at least for the time *being* -a place analogous to the Abraham’s Bosom mentioned in Jesus’ parable about the rich man and Lazarus…

    For Bibical support of position 4, please visit my website linked above and/or linked on my name. It is filed in the ‘Theology’ section of my personal blogs, GordonWAYNEWatts.com and GORDONWatts.com

    Is my paper correct -after having read it? (Maybe printing it offline would be convenient -it should take no more than 23 pages to print –and less if depending on your web browser.)

    Thank you,

    Gordon Wayne Watts
    LAKELAND, Fla., U.S.A.

  53. As the others: I am sorry to hear of your loss, but Jesus has your beloved right now … and (as Joseph Smith says), you will get a chance to raise any son or daughter you lose. Smoth is correct — see my update here — but still need your help in understanding the LDS perspective.

    UPDATE: I found this quote for Joseph Smith:

    “”What will happen to children in the Resurrection? President Joseph F. Smith wrote: “Joseph Smith taught the doctrine that the infant child that was laid away in death would come up in the resurrection as a child; and, pointing to the mother of a lifeless child, he said to her: ‘You will have the joy, the pleasure, and satisfaction of nurturing this child, after its resurrection, until it reaches the full stature of its spirit.’ There is restitution, there is growth, there is development, after the resurrection from death. I love this truth. It speaks volumes of happiness, of joy and gratitude to my soul. Thank the Lord he has revealed these principles to us.” ( Gospel Doctrine, pp. 455–56.)””

    http://institute.lds.org/manual/doctrine-and-covenants-institute-student-manual/dc-in-131-137.asp

    Comments: Joseph Smoth is correct, but that would mean D&C 137:10 disagrees with Smith: {{“”10And I also beheld that all achildren who die before they arrive at the byears of accountability are csaved in the celestial kingdom of heaven.””}} The children, if they are raised as Smith claims (he is correct!), will grow up to have a chance to reach the age of accountabiltiy -and may –or may not acceot Jesus Christ.

    http://lds.org/scriptures/dc-testament/dc/137.10?lang=eng#9

    So, they CAN be saved, but are no more guarenteed of salvation than you or me: It must be a personal choice.

    So, who is correct? D&C 137:10- or Joseph Smith??

    Please see the whole counsel of God on this matter -and let me know if I ‘got it right’ — Thx!

    Please let me know your disposition on my research below.

    Source: http://GordonWatts.com/theology/WhenBabiesDie.html or:

    http://GordonWayneWatts.com/theology/WhenBabiesDie.html

    or even: http://gordon_watts.tripod.com/theology/WhenBabiesDie.html

  54. Gordon-Thank you for taking the time to comment. I enjoyed reading your posts. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to hopefully clarify my beliefs. Your view points are very similar to LDS ones. Here are two “official” statements regarding the Salvation of Children:

    http://lds.org/ldsorg/v/index.jsp?hideNav=1&locale=0&sourceId=51a5f48fa2d20110VgnVCM100000176f620a____&vgnextoid=88021b08f338c010VgnVCM1000004d82620aRCRD

    http://www.lightplanet.com/mormons/basic/doctrines/stillborn_children.htm

    As LDS people we believe our children born and adopted to us are “sealed” to us by the ordinances of the Temple. This sealing means the relationship between husband and wife, parents and children are eternal. For example, my late husband Mike and I were sealed/married as a young couple in the SLC Temple. This ordinance gives us the promise, if we live worthily, we and all our children, born and adopted, will “belong to each other” in the next life.

    The status of miscarried and stillborn babies are a bit more ambiguous. When I was a teen in the 1970′s, there was a popular LDS play called “Saturday’s Warrior”. It tells the story of a family both in the preexistence, earthly life and afterlife. One of the characters, Baby Emily is a miscarried baby, and later “resurrected” as a live birth at the end of the play. I do not think this is so. I believe the unborn remain our children in the next life. They belong to us just as our other live children do. Whether I raise my unborn son or not in the MIllennium is not a personal worry for me, I wanted the assurance ( l believe I have that witness) Baby Jake is my child and “belongs” to me as well.

    SO I definitely feel that deceased children, both live births and stillborn/miscarriage, do not go to hell, but to Paradise/afterlife before Judgement, until the Millennium where G-d will sort it all out; whether I raise him or not, is not a concern of mine personally, only that he is my sealed child.

  55. Thank you for the links — I have saved the pages & plan to check them out ASAP.

    I just looked at the time-stamp, of my last post, and it was in the wee morning hours of 3-23-2011, but as of late that afternoon, I had updated my page –and it looks like you saw the most current ‘update’ of my page, where I relate a personal visit from Jesus, Himself, suggesting last-minute modifications and tweaks to my page.

    THAT doesn’t happen so often -a visit from the Big Boss, Himself!! –but I mentioned this in case you either logged onto my page right before I updated it -or in case you (or others) missed it on first pass.

    Yes, I admit that I am glad to have a stamp of approval for my research, but making up somethinmg like this is not in my nature –besides, it is so wild, I almost could not have even imnagined it -even WERE I to be incined to lie about it: Indeed, truth *is* stranger than fiction.

    Thx again, Joanna — I hope to check out your links real quick.

  56. My daughter is in the hospital right now told last night that her little oy had already passed through the veil and will one endure labor knowing that in this life she will never hold her little one. Thank you for the comfort this article brings.

  57. John, your daughter will be just fine — she will get a fair shake by Jesus.

    By the way, Jesus Himself visited me to share a few Bible verses I forgot in my original publishing — see my updated research paper:

    Source: http://GordonWatts.com/theology/WhenBabiesDie.html or:

    http://GordonWayneWatts.com/theology/WhenBabiesDie.html

    or even: http://gordon_watts.tripod.com/theology/WhenBabiesDie.html

    NOTE: Jesus only visited me twice in my life in this manner — once in the above, and once to show me the girl for me in re marriage.

    Be blessed in Jesus, my friend.

  58. Thank you for this article. Two nights ago I miscarried twin boys that would be 14 weeks tomorrow. I was at the hospital and basically in labor with severe pain and minimal medication. I was able to see them both briefly and did find out they were both boys. Ironically one boy name I had chosen was Jake, like your son. The second boy was briefly moving in the doctor’s hands before subsiding and the cord was cut. I didn’t see that part but it will be burned in my husband’s mind forever. Today I am home and recovering. I still have a lot of questions and grief but was looking for an LDS perspective to help me and was uplifted by all the comments here. In my heart I do believe I will have a chance to see and raise these boys after this life.

  59. I lost my child “GRACE” Dec.27,2010. That was the hardest thing i ever experienced in my 24 years. The pain runs so deep my heart feels so empty. It’s not a day that goes by that i dont think bout her and miss her. I cry so much it feels like ill be crying my whole life. I worry about her all day i just want to know if she’s ok, I pray the same prayer everynite….I ask GOD to please send me a sign or let her visited me in a dream i want to know if she safe and did she make it to Heaven. I think this could be the sign i’ve been asking GOD for! I think you much for this blog i really need this push into my healing! Its time to pick myself up and start to move through my healing!:) I long for the day that i can hold my child in my arms, kiss her cheeks and tell her how much i love her and missed her!

  60. Mrs. Warren,
    My oldest daughter died in the spring of 2005. You can read about her here:
    http://www.jrganymede.com/2009/05/04/happy-birthday-betsey-pearl/

    In the months before she died both I and my wife had intimations that her time was short. We both got really worried that after she died she’d be scared and lonely. It really bothered me and I prayed a lot about it.

    One night I had a dream. I saw her coming into heaven with a whole crowd of people waiting for her. In my dream they were her ancestors and relatives, who loved her, and were waiting to welcome her to heaven. But in my dream, each one of them looked exactly like Christ. The knowledge was communicated to my mind that this was a symbol of the great and pure love that each one of them had for her.

    The night after she died, my wife and my mother-in-law both dreamed that they saw her playing in a meadow of daisies with the pioneer children who had also died young.

    Not one of these little ones is ever lost.

  61. Cheniece Warren, you will see your child again in the Millennium Reign of The Christ, if you are saved.

    So, make sure you don’t give up!

    However, you will not “lose your salvation” unless you FORCEFULLY yank free from God’s loving grip of a loving Father:

    You are safe in God’s hand — and in JESUS’ hand:

    JOHN 10:28-29, Holy Bible, KJV:

    28And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.
    29My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.

    See also my research linked above –and double-linked in the ‘Theology’ section of my namesake, personal blogs — Google me to find them if u like — or better yet, just scroll above & click & print out to read offline in the comfort of your own home.

    Be blessed in Jesus.!

    (-:

    Gordon Wayne Watts
    LAKELAND (between Tampa & Orlando), Fla.

  62. Thank you Adam and Gordon for your comforting words. I hope that both Debbie and Cheniece and John are able to find peace in the knowledge their dear babies are with Christ and other loving spirits. I know we will see them again and come to the knowledge they have walked many a footstep with us, in spirit, in this life.

  63. Hello Joanna and all,

    I’ve been sealed my husband for just over three years and we had been trying for a baby for around a year. As you can imagine, all of our friends now have children or are in the process of having children so it’s been hard enough to watch them and put up with all the usual tactless comments. Last week I was overjoyed to find out I was pregnant (approx 6 weeks) and thought that the abdominal pains were part of early pregnancy symptoms so refused to complain about them because I was just so happy to know that we could have a child. Sadly, this week I miscarried and found all the doctors and midwives sympathetic but also very matter of fact about it (if I had £1 for each time I’ve been told “it just happens and the positive is you CAN have kids so try again later” I’d be a very rich woman indeed). I have spent alot of time grieving, angry with my father in heaven and generally angry with everyone. People say that at 6 weeks it’s just a bunch of cells and not a real person, I’m not sure it even has a heartbeat or a soul of any kind but it is still a loss I feel acutely. All I know was that I felt something changing and then it was gone.

    Did my baby have a soul? Am I going to be reunited with my child in the eternities or was it all just too soon to know? No one can seem to give me the answers or comfort I need. Please please help a broken hearted young woman;.

  64. Kate, I am so sorry for your grief. Unfortunately this earthly life does bring it’s share of pain, doesn’t it. It is ok to be sad. Feeling grief and anger is normal. You can’t move past or try to skip stages of grief, just move thru it in your own time. A six week old baby has a recognizable human body with fingers and toes and a beating heart. Your baby moved/quickened and this body was an earthly vessel for a spirit who has finished it’s earthly sojourn.

    What has helped me is to, speak aloud to your child’s spirit and tell them how you love and miss them. Tell them when you hold your hand like this (demonstrate with your hand), you would like for your child to put their spirit hand in yours. I have never felt a hand, but somehow it does give me a feeling of closeness.

    Perhaps a big part of your pain is the misdirected comments from others, who in trying to make you feel better, minimize your baby and and your relationship as mother and child. That would make me mad too! Know they are not trying to be unkind.

    Instead pick out a name for your baby; create a memories box and put whatever you want in it. Visualize this child in your mind and know this special spirit will walk with you thru life. Also know you are not alone, Christ is also with you. He has suffered for your sorrows and deeply understands your sufferings. Call on Him to send relief from the Comforter.

    Also know that your loved ones, in the spirit world, also surround you at this time. The veil is thin, especially during the times when our loved ones come and go from this mortal existence. Let yourself be comforted by their presence. You are loved by your family, G-d, Jesus, and your little one. I am sure your baby loves you and appreciates the sacrifice you are going thru to give them a body. Let us know how you are doing.
    Blessings,
    JOanna

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