The church and trauma

God and the church are touchy subjects in the babyloss community (really, in every community, amirite?). I bristle whenever I hear someone trying to make themselves feel better by telling a babyloss mom that “It was God’s will” or “God needed another angel.” I have trouble understanding people who still have faith that God is good and in the power of prayer, since I really struggled with that after Ander died.

In fact, after not getting my miracle, after being a “good girl” and still having my prayers go unanswered, my relationship with God felt pretty dead. Yet I still kept going to church. In fact, we were in the process of joining a new church when I started having complications, and we religiously (pun intended) continued going to Newcomer’s classes, even on days when I cried just introducing myself. There were two main reasons I felt like I needed church, even though I had lost faith: one, I was so angry at God, and what better place to feel in God’s presence (and therefore better able to yell at God) than in a sanctuary? And two, in the community of people at church, I found some of my closest friends and the best therapy.

Don’t get me wrong: going to church doesn’t and shouldn’t replace professional therapy. It doesn’t replace working towards getting policies and procedures changed so that future people don’t have to have the same experience you did. But as our pastor said, “The church can offer safe spaces for people to confront the trauma of their lives and their communities… What church offers is different than the important ways therapy and policy and other sectors of society can work towards the healing of trauma. The church helps uncover our eyes so that we can see beyond the loop of trauma to witness where God is already present and at work in our lives, helping us to imagine and create new stories.”

What this means to me is simply this: the church – my church, at this particular time in my life – offered hope. It gave me people I could count on for compassion and for support when we started trying again. It gave me three pastors who are already jokingly fighting over who gets to baptize our next child. It showed me that despite this trauma, within this trauma, there is a beyond; there are good people who want to walk with us and support us and show us that they love us, even when we believe God doesn’t anymore. It offers healing, and a community in which to belong when we feel so distant from those who used to be friends, but who drifted away in the “after” of our loss.

I am so lucky to have found them.

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3 Responses to The church and trauma

  1. Kerri says:

    This has been a big struggle for me the last few days as I am starting to enter the “angry” phase of our loss. It’s been a little more than a month since we lost our son. I feel as though this was written for me as it is what I needed. Thank you!

  2. J says:

    I am glad you have found support and love. The hardest part for us is that we are not angry at God, but our church has not been supportive or loving (more guilt-tripping us into not being sad anymore). So that has been hard! 😦

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