Sunday, October 23, 2011

In memory of the Family of Babies Children and Adults who are Buried in The Bog Meadows area of Miltown Cemetery and Throughout the Island of Ireland

Written by Aine Mac Aohda


Sister Monica had a special box
sat on her wooden desk beside her cane
her roll book, rosaries and bible.
Collections for the little mites
limbo babies
pagan babies
lost souls
the unbaptised
Nothing more to be said.
At age six we prayed hard for the babies
nameless and godless and without
questioning the word of God
or Mother Monica we felt loss.
I held an image of a lost soul in my mind
carried it with me into secondary school.
In childhood overheard muttered prayers
A grandmother weeping
a trail of tears when thought un-noticed.
Visits to ancient church ruins
flowers laid by the old stones
prayers said while watching the invisible
blow leaves around the ruins.
Babies denied recognition
Buried on the outer edge of their parish churches
Babies who had no place in heaven.
Their sin, still born, unbaptised at the time of death.
Parents lost in the mire of faith, grieved alone.
Under the landscapes of boundaries
and fields many mass graves lie denied.
For them I mourn…


  1. I lost my first baby through miscarriage on St. Valentines Day 1992; I remember where I was, what I was doing and how it happened. The most depressing thing about the loss of my child (I still think of this baby as my child) was that no one wanted to talk to me about why I had miscarried. I needed to discuss it with my family and friends, but everyone said that I had to be positive. People casually commented to me ‘Perhaps god saw something bad ahead of it.’ or ‘Perhaps there was something wrong with it.’, ‘It was never meant to be.’

    The use of the term ‘it’ instead of ‘baby’ was like a knife in my heart, I hadn’t been pregnant with an ‘it’ I’d been pregnant with a human baby; I had not misplaces some nondescript object, I had irretrievably lost my child who had become the focus of my hopes and aspirations for the future of my little family. Even my sisters repeated my mother’s sentiments and I became aware that my entire family had discussed the event surrounding the loss of my baby among themselves, but it was not discussed with me.

    The only person to come to me, hold me and tell me how sad they were was my father. I had been busying myself with some meaningless activity in the kitchen while what seemed like an inordinate amount of people were in my living room ‘comforting’ me, when dad walked in and said in his usual quiet, soft way how sorry he was for my loss. I stood there in the kitchen holding on to his jacket like it was a life line, and cried silently with tears flowing nonstop down my face for what seemed the longest time; he didn’t say another thing, just held me until I had finished crying. When I had, he whispered ‘I love you darling’ and walked out of the room, closing the door softly behind him and giving me the time to gain my composure.

    Six months later I lost twins, again at 20 weeks. My second experience of miscarriage was not improved by familiarity. The medical staff I came in contact with as a result of this second miscarriage where just as uninformative and unsupportive second time around. All through these grief-stricken events my husband had been in the back ground, I was so wrapped up in my own grief that I did not realize he was suffering too. When we talked about it later he commented on how helpless he had felt throughout both miscarriages; he had felt lost in this situation and had been worried about interfering in some way in an area he considered to be strictly the domain of the women in the family, so he had stood back and let the female members of the family close ranks around me unaware that I was desperately lonely in the midst of the crowd absorbed in my own grief and oblivious that he equally needed me to comfort him.

    When I discovered that I was pregnant again in early 1993, I found it difficult to relate to my new baby. I would not allow myself to have any expectations of this pregnancy, as this was my third inside a period of twelve months and the thought of what might lie ahead did not bare thinking about. I distanced myself from the baby in my own mind as a strategy of self protection. I remember going into St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Donegal Street, Belfast and sitting there in silence. I prayed that if I was also destined to lose this baby, let it be soon, don’t drag it out and I decided that if this was the case I would not get pregnant again.

    I gave birth to my son James Michael Maguire on the 23rd of October 1993 and with his arrival the dark place which I had been in for so long melted away and life for my husband and I began again.

  2. It's hard when you lose the ones you love, specially the babies. They say that it is more bearable when you lose a baby rather than losing someone you've been with for a long time. But i think both hurts the same, the idea of losing someone is really heartbreaking and even if sometimes you've been able to prepare for the death(loved ones undegone severe desease like cancer, etc.), it still hurts the same.
    Funeral Adelaide

  3. Our babies are REAL, I often say to people. The fact that they are gone too soon DOES NOT MAKE IT EASIER. All our hopes and dreams and plans are there in that little person. I have found really understanding folk at who know and understand our grief and pain.
    I love Aine's poem, her words say it all.