Babies who die in utero


I am sorry for your loss and send you my heartfelt condolences and will remember you in my prayers. I cannot even begin to imagine your suffering.

As I understand the Church’s teaching we do not know the fate of any individual who died. While there are “rules” laid down by the Church about baptism it can hardly apply to an unborn child. The Church does not teach the unborn infants who die in the womb are damned. Remember, too, that God in his loving mercy is not bound by our rules. He is merciful.

I do not know what happened but the Church does encourage people to name a miscarried child and can offer a funeral. The Book of Blessings offers a blessing for parents after miscarriage. Talk to your priest about how you feel.

The worst thing to do is bottle up what you feel. I do not, and neither need nor want to know, where you are, but there will be organisations where you live that support parents in these most awful circumstances. For you own personal wellbeing I encourage you to seek them out and take their help. If you cannot find one ask for support from your family doctor, midwife or gynaecologist. I really hope they did not leave you to cope with this alone.


GOD does not damn the innocent. HE is a just and loving GOD!


It doesn’t have to be every day for it to be depression. Please get evaluated by your doctor and talk to someone about your grief.

And NOT taught by the Church. That’s the key point. You are focusing on something NOT taught by the Church and being upset by it.

Or you could ask to talk to your pastor who is trained to help people in spiritual crisis.

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I am very, very sorry for your loss. The Church’s current teaching on unbaptized infants is that we entrust them to God and hold out hope for their salvation.

There were various, theological speculations in the past on what happened to unbaptized infants. I don’t know if it’s proper to just blankly state it was “never a teaching of the Church…” perhaps we could say it was never a Teaching with a capital T, or one that never required absolute assent, but certainly many past theologians have written on it. Saint Thomas Aquinas’ position on “Limbo” was that unbaptized infants would be resurrected without the supernatural happiness of the beatific vision but that they would have a plenitude of natural happiness, that they wouldn’t suffer any pain of loss or suffer at all, and they would still rejoice (in a natural way) at God’s goodness.

That said, let me return again to my first paragraph, in which the Church professes that we hold out hope for the salvation of unbaptized infants and their reception of the beatific vision.


Have you sought counseling?

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I’m very sorry for your loss.

We entrust unbaptized infants to God’s Mercy. There’s nothing Official that proclaimed them as damned. With the exception of Canonized Saints, we DO NOT know the salvation of individual souls.

I would suggest Grief Counseling as soon as possible.


I can’t imagine how this feels but I will be praying for you. Later down the road when/if you are ready I would like to connect with you about your situation as you have said so many things I have personally related to - not for me to discuss here and anyway is not as important as you knowing that we are thinking of you and are here for you xxx but you’re not alone


God can reach where Baptism cannot. In the Summa, St. Thomas says the following to counter the objection that since Baptism cannot reach within the womb, the sin of Adam (which does reach there) is more powerful than the salvation of Christ:

St. Thomas Aquinas:

Children while in the mother’s womb have not yet come forth into the world to live among other men. Consequently they cannot be subject to the action of man, so as to receive the sacrament, at the hands of man, unto salvation. They can, however, be subject to the action of God, in Whose sight they live, so as, by a kind of privilege, to receive the grace of sanctification; as was the case with those who were sanctified in the womb.


I went to a funeral Mass for two babies who had died at 6? 7? months gestation. I don’t know if there had been the opportunity to baptize them before they passed, but at the end of the Mass (where the announcements usually go), the father gave a very inspiring address regarding how much the twins had accomplished in their lives and in their marriage— even without ever having been born.

I’m very sorry for your loss, and wish you much love as you work through your grief. But I really, really, reaaaaalllllllyyyyy don’t think that the Church would ever say, “Let’s have a funeral Mass for these babies, and let’s say nice things about them. Too bad they’re going to hell…”

Having said that—

One thing I did notice, after becoming a mom, was that God worked through my kids in order to better understand my relationship with my parents, and my relationship with him. In those first few days/weeks/months/years, they helped me grow tremendously, each in different ways, just a constant flow of “Ahhhhhh” moments. You get to participate in Creation in a very unique way— it’s not a constant thing, or even a regular thing, but there are moments where you get to experience things that are even more beyond— like Love of God, or Connectedness of Created Things, or whatever. And it’s kind of like a different level of “Ahhhhhhh” moment.

For me, I felt like someone was missing. But DH was absolutely adamant-- when I was pregnant with my last, he told me he’d divorce me if I ever got pregnant again. I tried three years of bullying him, and three years of sitting on the couch and letting God wave a magic stick and take care of it. Now, I’m trying three years of actually paying attention to the family that I have, and not treating them like a checklist. :slight_smile: But you better believe for a good part of those six years, I was frequently in tears, because I didn’t want a baby— I wanted a person to have the chance to exist, who had something to accomplish, and that God wanted them to exist, and I was telling him no. And then I was worried that God knew I was going to say no, and had already given my kid existence with some other family. And what if he hadn’t had a good life, or they didn’t love him, or they didn’t raise him right, or they let him die, or, or, or, or, or— and it would all be my fault…

Ahhhhh, moms get to go over the awfullest scenarios in our minds regarding our children. And we wish we could break the fourth wall and find out what’s going on in the big picture…

And we trust our little ones to God. Whether they grow to adulthood, or are still just children, or didn’t make it to birth, or whether we’re not sure if they’ve ever existed…

But you know your daughter existed, and you had time with her. I hope you learned what her existence was supposed to teach you, and I trust that she’s in a beautiful place surrounded by family and God’s love, and I wish you much affection and love for yourself. :blue_heart:


I am so sorry for your loss, MrsAngelala,

Thank you for coming to us here at CAF and sharing yours and your daughter’s story. There are many women and men who need to here it. I can only hope that knowing that God may use the story of your daughter’s short life on earth to help others will be of some comfort to you. From personal experience, I know that God sometimes uses the lives of unborn children to change people’s hearts.

It is not easy to know that the Church does not teach that unborn babies go straight to heaven when they die. But in many ways, entrusting them into the Father’s care is not so different from what we have to do with any of our family members who die after having reached the age of reason. I have had to wrestle with such thoughts since my oldest child died in utero following an automobile accident. Many other women (and men) here at CAF have likewise struggled with the death of an unborn child.

Grief can be a complex mixture of all kinds of thoughts and feelings: sorrow, longing, bargaining, relief, adrenaline rush , depression… In the case of stillbirth there are also the hormonal changes that occur with any birth. Perhaps there some group that meets near where you live that helps parents who are grieving the loss of unborn and/or young children and help you as your learn to trust God to care for your daughter.


I would just like to add that the Church also teaches the following from the CCC#1260 which cites from the Vatican II document Guadium et spes, 22:

“Since Christ died for all, and since all men are in fact called to one and the same destiny, which is divine, we must hold that the Holy Spirit offers to all the possibility of being made partakers, in a way known to God, of the Paschal mystery”.


You may reach out to a group like MEND or ask about a miscarriage support group in your area.

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I knew a priest who spent much time in prayer and he always asked the Lord to baptize all babies who were going to pass away without baptism, and he did the formula for baptism. I am confident that our loving Lord and Saviour has poured out his mercy on those innocent souls.

My condolences on the loss of your baby.


I have always loved this.

St. Bernard of Clairvaux who wrote to a couple that had a miscarriage. In response to their question, “What is going to happen to my child? The child didn’t get baptized,” St. Bernard said, “Your faith spoke for this child. Baptism for this child was only delayed by time. Your faith suffices. The waters of your womb — were they not the waters of life for this child? Look at your tears. Are they not like the waters of baptism? Do not fear this. God’s ability to love is greater than our fears. Surrender everything to God.”


MrsAngelala . . .

After yet another feast day spent listening to God’s plan for salvation through baptism – and I had to go to Mass twice today – I’m sinking fast.

Hang in there, keep praying and embracing the Catholic Christian Faith.

I suffered a miscarriage three months ago. She was my first child.

I am sooo sorry. (My wife and I went through this as well. I know of the pain.)

My prayers go out to all of you.

I suffered a miscarriage three months ago. She was my first child. My path to being open to life was difficult, so you can’t even begin to imagine my horror when I learned through these forums and the Catholic Answers archives that my child, whom I bore not from any personal desire but only in obedience (I’ve never wanted children), is damned . . . .
. . . imagine my horror when I learned through these forums and the Catholic Answers archives that my child, . . . is damned because God didn’t keep her alive long enough to be baptized. I have spent hours and hours screaming in agony over this.

This is not Catholic teaching.

I believe you MAY have been told this on forums, but it must be a mistake that you think Catholic Answers would teach this.

Could you please link to it, so that I can look at it and attempt to help you out on this?

Remember. We have MANY Old Testament Saints who did not receive Christian Baptism.

The Church does not teach miscarried little babies go to hell.

The Church merely teaches that She (the Church) knows of no other way to attain the eternal beatitude.

So we as faithful Christians take very seriously the need to be re-birthed of water and the Spirit.

That’s all.

Then the Church goes on to remind us that Jesus gives us these Sacraments, but He Himself is NOT BOUND by His own Sacraments. (Which is HOW the Old Testament Saints can get to Heaven AND how New Testament miscarried babies may be in Heaven right now!)

God bless.



CCC 1257 The Lord himself affirms that Baptism is necessary for salvation.60 He also commands his disciples to proclaim the Gospel to all nations and to baptize them.61Baptism is necessary for salvation for those to whom the Gospel has been proclaimed and who have had the possibility of asking for this sacrament. 62 The Church does not know of any means other than Baptism that assures entry into eternal beatitude; this is why she takes care not to neglect the mission she has received from the Lord to see that all who can be baptized are “reborn of water and the Spirit.” God has bound salvation to the sacrament of Baptism, but he himself is not bound by his sacraments.

(Italics original, bold mine.)


Trust that God, in his infinite love and mercy, does what is best.

If I die in friendship with God, I will then find out the fate of my unbaptized pre-born child. In heaven I shall be perfectly happy. If that child beside me is needed for perfect happiness, it will be so. If there is something else, I shall be perfectly happy with that. There is no agony, no tears, no pain in heaven. We simply trust God.


OP, I’m sorry for your loss.


I went to a funeral Mass for two babies who had died at 6-7 months gestation. I don’t know if there had been the opportunity to baptize them before they passed, but at the end of the Mass (where the announcements usually go), the father gave a very inspiring address regarding how much the twins had accomplished in their lives and in their marriage— even without ever having been born.

That’s beautiful. Thank you for sharing that.

I am surprised that no one on CAF has so far mentioned Invincible Ignorance. Or Baptism-of-desire.

When Jesus walked on this earth He blessed children who were not yet saved (Mark 10:13-16, Luke 18:15-17). Surely He loves children more than we mortals ever could. Surely He would bless your little one too.

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I am so sorry. This is an awful suffering. I remember that the muscles in my arms were cramping and aching to hold my babies. Instead my arms were empty. I had pounding headaches from all the crying, also a crisis of faith. I wondered why God did this to me. When I was around pregnant women I would get upset. If the pregnant women were complaining I would get furious.

You are not alone. I believe your precious little one is with my children, playing happily at the throne of God. Our children will never know fear, anger, sadness or sin. I believe they await us, they are precious souls praying prayers of intercession for us, until we meet in Heaven.

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Theologically, I believe it’s been held that these concepts cannot apply to unborn babies. Hence our reliance on God’s mercy, which I think suffices.

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