Monday, June 14, 2010

The God post

Okay gentle readers. What I'm about to write about may shock you. Perhaps I will lose some of my 13 (!!) followers...I must confess to you, and I hope you will stick with me...but I don't believe in God.

*Cue lightening bolts and thunder*

The reason this is such a confession on my part is that it feels very rare in babylost land. I have read many blogs, and most writers seem to have an underlying belief, if not an outright proclamation about their belief in God. And when it becomes clear that they believe and I don't I feel somewhat of a disconnect. Because they view their babylost-ness in a way I never will.

I don't believe Aidan is in heaven. I don't believe I will ever see Aidan again. I don't believe he is watching me. I don't believe God is taking care of him for me. I don't believe he died for a reason. I just don't believe.

To explain my lack of faith I could point to my parents. Growing up, my Dad's family never attended church. My Dad told me he remembers once going with friends to Sunday school. His thoughts on it were "This is just like school. Why would I want to go to school on a Sunday?" He left and went home on his own. To this day, he continues to have no place in his life for all things religious. He doesn't dislike people who are religious...he just can't understand them. If you don't speak Swedish, you just don't understand Swedish conversation. And (to continue with my metaphor) he feels no need to learn Swedish. I suppose I'm much like him in this way.

My mother, is an aspiring yoga teacher. She's into all the breathing, meditating, and spiritual energy that is a big part of yoga. She did grow up going to church on occasion...but remembers it more as a place to sit and chill, and hang out with friends than as a religious experience. Today she views our life after death as more of a transfer of energy. I suppose I'm much like her in this way.

I'm cool with my lack of faith also perhaps because I'm Canadian. Not that being Canadian means you can't be religious...far from it. But being without faith in God here in Canada, especially in the city where I live, is never questioned. It's not seen as a problem. No one cares. I don't run across placards in my city announcing that the "end is near" and that I must "repent my sins". Local celebrities are not church elders. My whole community does not turn up at a church on a Sunday, necessitating that I go if I want to 'fit in'. We're a little more chill here in Canada about God. Maybe this is different in other parts of Canada...but I don't, and never have, lived there. Perhaps it is also because I live in a city where there are many people of different faiths and from different parts of the world. Being 'non religious' is just another way to be.

So, in case you were wondering. I was never baptised. I have only been to church a handful of times in my life and it's never been a spiritual experience for me. I had no intention of taking Aidan to church or baptising him. It says on my marriage certificate under religion "agnostic". My husband went so far as to say "atheist". We sleep in late Sunday mornings. I have no idea what John 12:4 refers to (if there is even a John 12:4?). I can eat meat (pork/beef/or fish) or not, any day of the week I choose.

I admit...there are something things about religion that are wonderful. Religious belief spawned many of the beautiful art pieces in history that I am mad for (Raphael, Ghiberti, Michelangelo, Bernini, Da Vinci, ah the list could go on forever!) . Churches are some of the most beautiful buildings on earth. But these are the outcomes of religion...not the religion itself. Maybe it would be nice to believe that when I talk out loud to Aidan (and I do, although always in private so I don't seem ya' know...crazy), that he could hear me. That he is 'watching' me and 'helping' to make good things happen for his mommy and daddy. I admit, I even tossed a prayer up to God/'whomever might be up there who could help' during my awful pregnancy with Aidan in the hopes that maybe a prayer might help save him (it didn't). Sometimes it would be nice to truly 'believe'. But I just can't get there.

And some things about an afterlife in which we 'know' one another are kind of creepy in their own way. Although it would be wonderful to 'reconnect' with those whom I love who have died, including Aidan, my Papa & Nana, and two of my could also be kind of awkward. For example, what would I say to my mother's father who was by all accounts a really shitty human being? "Um...nice to meet you. By the way, you know you royally screwed up your wife and kids lives there for could you just leave me alone while we're up here together. Thanks". Or, what if you met someone in heaven who, while a perfectly okay human being, you just didn't like. Such as a co-worker who drives you crazy. "Um...I know we had to sit beside each other every day in the typing pool...but I really don't want to associate with you up here in heaven for all eternity, m'kay?"

And if heaven exists, is Aidan up there right now missing me the way I'm missing him? That's an AWFUL thought. As a child, if my mom went somewhere, even out for an evening, I would worry about her and wish that she was home. I remember distinctly staring out my bedroom window, wondering where she was, and wishing she was there to tuck me in. Needing her, just because she was my mom. I would hate to think of a heaven where Aidan is aware that we aren't together. Because if he was aware enough to know that, then he would be aware enough to know that I'm his mommy and that he needs me. And that I'm not there.

So you may be wondering "what do you believe Emily?" (or perhaps you've reverted to referring to me in your head as 'that heathen').

I guess I go back to the principle of energy. The laws of physics, chemistry and biology state that energy is never created nor destroyed. It is just transferred. It becomes movement, heat, light, biological growth. The body that belonged to Aidan was cremated and the energy released became part of the surrounding world. His energy would have been small, because he was small, but it was there, it existed. I guess I believe that one day, the energy that I hold within my body will too become part of the surrounding world. I can even go one step further and think that maybe the energy that was him and the energy that was me could blend together. Our energies would not 'know' each other in the way humans are familiar with...but they may find that they work well together. Just as the molecules of sodium and chlorine find they are more stable when added together, or the way oxygen and hydrogen find a harmony that is water. My energy and Aidan's energy may find we 'fit'. Perhaps someday our energies may combine again to create something new...a molecule of a giant redwood tree, a whisker on a cat, a raindrop, a grain of sand, a cell in the body of new baby. That which was me will not 'know' Aidan, nor will he 'know' it is me...but we might get to reside together, brush up against each other again, somewhere, out there...sometime.

So gentle readers, if you do not share my outlook, if you feel somewhat of a disconnect, then that's okay. I understand. I'm glad that you can go on believing that you will see your baby again. Of course, I could be all wrong. If I end up in heaven, with angel wings on my back, and see Aidan flying towards me across the clouds yelling "Hey mom! You're finally here! Come watch me play!", I will try to remember to think back on all your babylost blogs and give a little smile "you were right" and race along joyfully after my son.

If you're willing to share, what do you believe? How does this affect your babylostness?


  1. You know, jury's still out on what exactly I believe. I was brought up in a very religious family, so our backgrounds are very different. I think I can say I believe in God. The question is what I believe his role in my life/the world is (if any). I believe Stevie had a spirit, and I believe her spirit lives on. I don't believe she's an angel flying around or "watching me" or that she somehow has the power to make things happen for me. I don't really know what her little soul is doing, but I like to picture her somewhere having fun being a kid. Who knows if that's what heaven is, but it's a nice image for me so I'll continue to us it. :) I am still trying to work out my whole faith thing, so we'll see where I end up.

    As far as the disconnect goes, I don't feel disconnected to you because we share different religious beliefs. We have both lost a child and because of that, I feel as though we are kindred. I appreciate your honesty and 100% respect your beliefs, even if they're not my own. It's refreshing and commendable that you can put this out there, knowing you might be in the "minority."


  2. I can understand how you sense that disconnect. I have felt it too. Despite there being many common thoughts, feelings, and experience with babyloss, those with a present, profound belief in a God I think have a different outlook on it.

    I think my babyloss pushed me farther into agnosticism. If there is a God, I'm not on speaking terms, at the moment. So it is odd for me to see the blogs of those who have God and their religion leaking out of ever pore.

    I too do not believe that Caleb is waiting for me in heaven. That just seems odd. And the blighted ovum? Christianity would have me believe that despite there never being a baby there, that there was a life and a soul there that was lost. Both of these would be odd. Someone that was nothing I ever knew would be like "Hey mom, what's up! I'm your blighted ovum, by the way my name is Steve!" Like, how does that even WORK? Is the soul of a lost baby an adult that can communicate? Is there some sort of weird soul-beamy understanding and no need for language? or is there a little blighted soul?

    All way too weird for me.

  3. No offense taken. ; ) I think we all find our own ways to deal with death & grief. I am mildly religious. I was brought up Anglican & have attended on & off as an adult. Sometimes I find it comforting, sometimes it's painful. I think it was Gandhi who said he loved Christ, but Christians, he had a problem with. ; )

    It's nice to think all the people we loved are still with us & that we will see them again someday -- but who really knows?? I do not believe that things happen for a reason (what reason would be good enough??) & that I should take comfort in the idea that my daughter is in heaven (she should be here with me -- end of story). I always said that if there is a God & I get to see him in a future life, we are going to have a LONG talk. ; )

    I did enjoy reading "When Bad Things Happen to Good People" by Harold Kushner after my daughter was stillborn. He's a Jewish rabbi who lost his teenaged son to a rare illness. His logic made more sense to me than anything else I've read before or since.

  4. I struggle with what I belief, as it seems you do. I like your thoughts on energy, though it makes me sad to think that I won't get to hold my daughter ever again.
    I was firm on the belief that when we die, our soul moves along to something else, somewhere else and we generally have no recolection of our past life. When my Alexandra died, I simply could not accept that I would never see her again. I have made it my mission to find out what as many religions believe about death as I can. I started with my fiance's family and what native people believe. I found it to be similar to Christianity, with different names for things. I'm onto the bible and next the book of Mormon and then the Qu'ran and then a book I have on Wicca...I don't know where I'll go from there, but I have to believe that the answer is out there and if I look hard enough, I'll find it...and maybe find my little girl, whereever she may be.
    Thank you for sharing your blog with me.

  5. I really enjoyed reading your post. I think that you are a beautiful writer, and do such a wonderful job of conveying your emotions.

    One of the things I love most about this blogging community is that everyone is so open to other's beliefs. On my blog I talk a lot about God (well, not a lot but I mention Him quite a bit) and I have people of all sorts of backgrounds write me and give me encouragement. I feel comfortable going on other people's blogs who do not believe in God, and I still know that we share something in common that is so big. When people write about their beliefs, it doesn't offend me at all. Our blogs are our place to just get it all out.

    I am a Christian. I get angry with God a lot. My miscarriage (at only 6 weeks) seemed to ruin my life. It was a downward spiral. And then I get pregnant again 9 months later, only to have it be a horrendous pregnancy, in which we still don't know how it will turn out. I am still angry with God. I have moments when I am really angry and want to turn away, and sometimes I can feel Him near me. I don't know why He allows things to happen. I believe that He has power over everything and can have any situation turn out the way He believes is best. I don't know if He causes things to happen or if He lets things happen. I don't have answers and I never pretend to.

    Regarding my miscarried child, I believe I will see them again in heaven. My aunt passed away, and before she went, I told her to tell my child in heaven that I love them tremendously. It brings great comfort to my heart to know that I will see them again. With the baby I am currently carrying, I pray that God will please let me be with her in this life. I don't know why He has allowed me to suffer a miscarriage and now this. But I will find out someday.

    There is a song about when we go to heaven, we will have a whole slew of questions to ask God, but we will be so in awe of Him that we won't have the words or even the desire to ask.

  6. i don't believe in god at all. it helps to know that it's not just me.

  7. I was raised Catholic, but I don't know what I believe anymore. I did not feel drawn to God or our church when my child was in the nicu.
    That God would allow children to suffer and die is just not something I can accept. I have a similar view as you in terms of the energy and the possibility of more.

  8. You'd never frighten me away by being agnostic, atheist, anything. : ) I'm very similar to Kristin it seems, beliefs-wise. Have you read "An Exact Replica of a Figment of My Imagination?" (recommended by Kristin!) Its a refreshingly completely non-spiritual memoir of a stillbirth and subsequent pregnancy. I think you might love it as much as I did. <3

  9. I am somewhere between a non-practicing Catholic and agnostic. What I believe varies day to day, it seems, but one thing never wavers: I do not believe that any God gave me this baby, and I do not believe that any God took away this baby. I can't. I can't believe in a God that would give a baby to me AND to a crack head mom on the street, and then take away MY baby and let hers stay (not that ANYONE deserves to go through this, but you know what I mean). I can't believe that babies are handed out to test people or to make their beliefs stronger (as I've heard from people). A baby's life is more than that. Any life is more than just a test. I am fine with people who lean on their religious beliefs to get them through this, but I will not and cannot believe that Caleb was taken from me. I am also often turned off - well, turned off isn't the right word. Felt disconnected from? Left out of? - from all the baby lost mama blogs that are out there that are so heavily religious. I'm always glad to see others who are closer to my boat.

  10. THANK YOU for writing this post

    im right there with you on energy. i was brought up catholic and have lapsed on believing much of the teachings, but they are comforting in the same way all the things from my childhood are. i certainly cannot say that i believe in a certain thing, though i tend towards thinking the same as you with energy, but my ideas of energy are more in the way of positive and negative energies, constantly moving and whirling just outside of our perception. the only place my babies are is in my thoughts and my love, and gentle on the breeze and in the quiet sunlight.

    i get a little weary of reading about "how god must have wanted my dead baby and so he took him" and so on and so forth. though i can't bring myself to speak badly about others' beliefs, i just don't get it. if i did believe in one god who controls all, i would be pretty f*&^king pissed off at him right now.

  11. I very much enjoyed reading your post...I dont know where I am on the faith meter but I do believe our souls go somewhere and that the ones we have lost are with us in some way forever. Through all this the one person I wanted to blame was God but just couldn't. If the God I was taught to believe in is the same one that is around today, he would have never taken my son for no reason, there just had to be a teaching involved. I dont know if I make myself believe these things to feel better or if they are truly what I think. Probably a little bit of both.