[quote="DL82, post:1, topic:251758"]
I don't really know what to say here, except that my wife and I recently had an early miscarriage. It was terrible, and has been such a blow to us. We were so looking forward to having a child, but now realise how naive we were in thinking this would all be joyful.
At the end of the day, as Catholics, we have children to raise up saints, and we both take solace from being parents of a little saint - one who didn't sin and who is now with God. At the same time, that means being like Mary and saying 'yes' to bearing into life one who is born to die.
Knowing how hard this has been for us, I can't imagine it happening again, or worse a stillbirth or the death of an infant, yet (globally) about 5% of children die in infancy, that's 1 in 20. In America it's 1 in 200, but that's still a lot. I can't imagine putting my wife at risk of that, it seems such a heartless thing to do.
Is it true to say that a couple isn't ready to have a child until they are ready to lose a child? If that is the case, I can't think of many married couples who are ever ready to make that commitment. I certainly don't feel personally strong enough, emotionally or psychologically, or strong enough in my ability to support my wife through such a loss, even though I love her more than I have ever loved anyone in my life.
Africans have a concept 'Ubuntu', that personal value derives from the community. While this is often presented as if it were a philosophical position, I tend to think it is more likely the psychological effect of living with high levels of infant mortality - if you know your child is as likely as not to die before the age of 5, you are going to be scared to attach until it is older, therefore the child grows up without a sense of personal attachment until it is old enough to talk and see its role in the community. You could say similar things about the harsh and cold way older Scots and Irish people were raised - they saw their responsibilities before their rights, because their parents didn't want to place too much personal value on their lives until they were old enough to be past the major diseases that picked of children in infancy. I can now see why people were so cold - it's not heartlessness, it's psychological survival.
To those who are stronger than me - how do you get to the stage where you are ready to lose a child? How do you cope when it happens? When you get there, can you ever really attach to and love the child you have if you know you may lose them?
First of all, I am so very sorry for your loss and the obvious suffering which it is causing you.
I don't think anyone can ever be ready to lose a child, it is unnatural. There is no way to prepare yourself for the death of a child. It is a devestating event. Do not feel that you are in some way unusual for being surprised and devestated by this loss. Your fears that you cannot become attached to a child because they might die are a normal result of what you've gone through. If we all refused to love someone, because they might die, we would all be lonely and miserable. Give yourself time to adapt to this loss, I would strongly recommend counselling. If someone has said this phrase about not being ready to have a child unless you're ready to lose them, that is utter rubbish. I have seen parents who lost their child after years of knowing that it would happen, even they couldn't be "ready" to lose them.
As for your ideas about the how older Scots and Irish were raised (I'm Scottish), I do not think it had anything to do with high levels of child mortality. I think it was due to the religious atmosphere. My grandmother is 95 and lost two of her brothers in childhood, both deaths devestated her mother, the second actually may have hastened my great-grandmother's death. Life was often harsh for people then, and this probably affected their behaviour too.
I do not think that African tribespeople love their children any less than we do. I think the community value is down to the need to co-operate with others in order for everyone to survive. I am sure that some poor Somali mother, who is watching her child die right now, feels as devestated as you or I would in that situation. I think that in the West we often assume that somehow people in the Third World don't feel the loss of a child they way we do.
I remember watching a report from East Africa about ten years ago, when there had been another terrible drought and many people were starving. The reporter and camera crew had met a woman collecting food for her two daughters at a relief centre. The woman said that her daughters were almost dead from starvation, the reporter and crew took her home and were going to film the two children. When they entered the house, the mother found that the younger girl had died while she was out. The reporter said that they had been going to stop filming and let her grieve in private, but that this woman asked them to keep filming. She was utterly distraught but said to the reporter that she wanted him to show people in the West her suffering, so that they might understand what was happening and send aid. This woman was every bit as attached to her daughter as a mother in our countries would be.
I will be praying for you and your wife. I hope that God will bless you with another child, to bring some joy into your sorrow.