This talk was given by Shirley and Russ Hannan as part of a presentation by the Miscarriage Awareness Committee to the ordained and lay leadership of the Diocese of Saskatoon (Fall 2011).
We joined this 25% of the population back in 1981, and again in '82 and '85 and then again in 2004. We tell you this not for a reaction or for anyone to feel sorry for us but to let you know that these are etched in our lives. For so long no one ever talked about miscarriages. I don't really think people thought of it as a loss for a family, because there was no birth and death.
We have been taught that life begins at conception and we really need to step up and show that we believe this by recognizing them at their time of loss with compassion and understanding.
Russ and I really did not talk to many people about our losses until the last one in 2004. I guess maybe this was because we were older and our situation was different. Being that we were both about to enter our fifties when this happened, having three grown children and two grandchildren this miscarriage came as a complete shock to us. We ended up in emergency with the remains of a tine baby that fit in the palm of our hand. We were very fortunate that we had a wonderful nurse that explained some option for us, it took a while for everything to sink in as everything happened so fast. Not knowing that we were even pregnant and now dealing with what needed to happen next. Not everyone is as lucky as us to have someone explain options and how hard that must be for them.
Our options were explained that we could donate the remains to science, arrange a service of our own, or have it interned to the shared garden plot. We could either be there when it was interned or not be there. Our choice at the time was the shared plot and not be there. As we were still in disbelief as to what had just happened.
After about a week we were driving down 33rd street and saw Woodlawn Cemetery and it was then it hit me. I felt like we had given them our baby to throw away, and then we looked into the shared plot and found out about the June service they have. That June I attended the service by myself as Russ was out of town. Father Kevin McGee led the service that day. When I went, there was a lot of people, more than I could have thought, it was nice to know that we were not the only ones to have gone through this. Each person's story is different but they all have a loss of life, whether it was 2 weeks or full term, it was a life began and a life ended. The pain is all the same.