By Catherine Daub
Life Is Precious, a parent-guided pro-life unit study for elementary students, is a springboard for some pretty amazing conversations with your children. It can strengthen bonds between mother, father, and children as the days and months before birth are recalled with fondness. It can offer adopted children extra encouragement, reminding them that their lives from the moment of their creation were and are special, unrepeatable, and precious. And it can offer the family who has experienced miscarriage an opportunity for some healing conversations.
When I started the study with my own kids, I knew we’d have fun recalling stories of pregnancy and birth. Going through Lesson One made conversations flow easily and naturally, and as an added bonus the older kids became intrigued and joined in on the fun. They laughed as I recalled one son who, even in the womb, seemed to climb, kick, and live life with endless energy.
We fondly remembered our now five year old who, as a newborn, would suck his thumb only during bath time. He could be wide awake, but the moment he hit the warm water, his eyes closed, he nestled in, and began sucking his thumb. He was remembering life in the womb, and I had the sonogram image to prove it!
Something I wasn’t prepared for as I used this study with my own children was the opportunity to discuss our miscarriages. Talking about how at the very moment of creation a unique, valuable human person is formed made the questions begin to simmer in the minds of my children.
“How many babies do we have in heaven?”
Seeing how tiny, yet fully formed babies are at eight weeks gestation and identifying them as brothers and sisters was both healing and bonding. Amidst the questions about their own development as preborn babies, there was some pretty intense discussion and reflection about their siblings who are now in heaven watching over us all.
Miscarriage can be a difficult subject to discuss with children, especially when there is lingering pain and heartache. But going through the first lesson of Life Is Precious made it easy and comfortable to discuss and share feelings and thoughts that I had never really shared with my younger children.
After all, miscarriage is painful and heart-wrenching and I didn’t really want my children to feel that pain. They knew they had siblings in heaven; they just didn’t know how many. So when we began to dig deep into Life Is Precious and the accompanying crafts, I wasn’t totally prepared for the questions:
“So how many babies do we have in heaven?” asked an intrigued 11 year old.
I took a deep breath before replying, “Eight.”
“I didn’t know we had eight babies in heaven.”
“Well, I didn’t tell you all because I didn’t want you to be sad. Mommy and Daddy were so sad each time and we didn’t want you to have to be sad too.”
“Sad?” He almost looked confused. “They are part of our family. They are our brothers and sisters.” He was recognizing the communion of saints, that this life here is only temporary and that we can form bonds with family who may be in heaven. All of a sudden I was the one learning!
Then the eight year old piped up, “So wait, we have 15 kids in our family. And eight of them are saints? That’s really cool.”
For the first time I thought, yeah that is pretty cool. Not having miscarriages—just accepting them and knowing that these tiny members of our family are safe in heaven with Our Lord. Recognizing the humanity of each little life and his or her impact on our family helped bring us closer and helped ease the pain. From there we talked about their names, how old they were when we lost them to miscarriage, and why God needed them in heaven.
A blessing in disguise
The conversations were sweet instead of sad and brought joy instead of pain. I wouldn’t have thought that a lesson about the development of preborn children could bear so much amazing fruit, but it did. And that was just Lesson One! There are four lessons covering four weeks of discussion and crafts while reading popular picture books.
I completed Life Is Precious with my children over a year ago, right before CLSP began selling it. But the conversation never stopped. It was just the thing we needed to open the door naturally and beautifully to topics that can be difficult to begin, but are so necessary. These conversations help our children develop an appreciation for the gift of every human being’s life and a passion to restore our country to a culture of life.
Life Is Precious is sure to bless your family if you let it. Join us as we build a culture of life. Order your copy today. You won’t be disappointed.
If you’ve already been blessed by Life Is Precious, please share your story with us in the comments.
If you are struggling because you have had a miscarriage, or if you know someone who is struggling after a miscarriage, please contact Elizabeth Ministries. This organization has some beautiful, healing resources for families who have lost children at all stages of pregnancy. It even offers for sale a miscarriage delivery aid and burial kit.
Catherine Daub is a proud wife and mother, and the director of American Life League’s Culture of Life Studies Program, which stresses the culture of life as an integral part of every academic discipline. CLSP is dedicated to helping students become effective communicators of the pro-life message. Sign up for our e-mail newsletter to see how we can help you foster a culture of life at home and in school.