Miscarriage is the Loss of a Real Child

The following is an excerpt of Fr. Frank Pavone’s moving article on miscarriage in a recent issue of LifeSite News:

While there are no magic formulas, there is one fundamental truth that needs to stay front and center: a miscarriage is the loss of a child who is just as real and has just as much value as any other child of any age. A woman who has a miscarriage is a parent who has lost a child, as is the father of the child as well.

In a society which continues to have a legal and cultural blind spot for the unborn, many suffer from the illusion that miscarriage doesn’t grieve a parent as much as the loss of, well, a “real child.” And that is precisely what hurts so much. We can never console someone in grief if we imply, even remotely, that the person they lost wasn’t real.

As someone who has lost seven babies through miscarriage and ectopic pregnancy, I can tell you that the grief is real. I began writing in a journal to ease the grief I was feeling as the result of having several miscarriages in a row. This journal led to the writing of my first published article in 1995,
“Five Little Souls in Heaven.”

Thanks, Fr. Pavone, for the moving article.

To read the article in its entirety, please click on the link above.

Photo copyright Ellen Gable Hrkach

Special Cyber Monday Offers

Full Quiver Publishing is offering three deals for Cyber Monday (this Monday, November 28):


Offer #1 Stealing Jenny print edition is available for 6.50 and shipping is free! Usual price is 12.99 plus shipping so that’s less than half-price! Email us at
info @ fullquiverpublishing.com with your address to receive your free book. LIMIT ONE PER FAMILY.

Offer #2 Stealing Jenny Kindle edition is FREE on Monday, November 28th. To receive your free Kindle book, just send your email address to info @ fullquiverpublishing.com.

Offer #3 Buy Stealing Jenny either print or Kindle and receive a FREE PRINT copy of Come My Beloved: Inspiring Stories of Catholic Courtship. To receive your free book ($13.00 value),
send your Amazon order confirmation email to
info @ fullquiverpublishing.com.

Favorite Advent Books

Advent is almost here and I’m over at the Amazing Catechists website with a list of my favorite Advent books:

Welcome Baby Jesus by Sarah Reinhard
Sarah Reinhard’s new book, Welcome Baby Jesus: Advent and Christmas Reflections for Families, takes a refreshing, unique approach to Advent.

There are many children’s Advent/Christmas books out there, but this delightful book includes activities and reflections for the entire family.

From the author: “Advent is a season that’s almost forgotten by the secular world. You’ll find Advent calendars, to be sure, but they are really an adornment for the “Christmas season,” which begins sometime after Halloween and ends on Christmas Day.”

Each section encompasses three different activities: Think, Pray and Act. Each Sunday has its own theme. The First Sunday of Advent and the week following is “Get Ready.” The Second Sunday and following week is “Repent.” The Third Sunday’s theme is “Love,” and the fourth Sunday, “Anticipate.” The Christmas season has its own theme:” Rejoice.” There are also stories and activities for the Feast of the Epiphany.

What sets this apart from other Advent preparation books is that it has reflections and activities for the entire family (parents included) so that both parent and child can prepare for the celebration of Christ’s birth.

Sarah Reinhard’s beautifully-designed book is an ideal gift for those families who wish to embrace the true meaning of Christmas and to grow closer to Christ. I highly recommend this wonderful book to everyone!

I also reviewed Joy to the World by Kathleen Basi last year on Amazing Catechists. Great book for the entire family!

My all-time favorite Advent book is called “Donkey Bells” by Catherine Doherty, foundress of Madonna House. This gem of a book is filled with stories, traditions, meditations and customs. I highly recommend it!

Do you have a favorite Advent book? Feel free to comment…

Contraceptive Pill Linked to Increased Prostate Cancer

Interesting article on LifeSiteNews about the connection between the oral contraceptive pill and the increased risk of prostate cancer:

Researchers have found yet another link between the contraceptive pill and cancer – this time, a cancer in men.

A study conducted at Princess Margaret Hospital in Toronto that looked at 87 countries found a statistically significant relationship between use of the contraceptive pill and prostate cancer.

The researchers speculate that the results, which have been published in the journal BMJ Open, may be explained by the fact that women on the pill excrete estrogen in their urine, which then finds its way into the water supply, where the estrogen is ultimately ingested by men.

If correct, the result would be consistent with other studies showing that men exposed to estrogen-containing pesticides are also at higher risk for developing prostate cancer, according to CBS news.

The newly-discovered relationship between oral contraceptives and prostate cancer adds yet another adverse health effect to the long list of medical problems caused by the pill.

Studies have linked the use of the pill to breast cancer, cervical cancer, liver cancer, bladder disease, heart attacks, and other health problems.

To read the rest of the article:

LifeSiteNews article on Increased Prostate Cancer

Along the River Road Book Review

My latest review for Catholic Fiction is for a book entitled “Along the River Road” by Isaac Morris. It is a compelling read and, for the most part, I enjoyed it. The author tackles the controversial issue of priest sex abuse and, overall, I think he did a good job.

The novel begins with a screaming woman whose husband is trying to kill her. I was hooked.

Sister Margaret Donovan is a former sheriff but is now Dominican nun. Because of the lack of priests, she is the administrator of a small town parish, which for all intents and purposes is like the pastor, except she doesn’t say Mass. The current priest is in poor health, so a retired Army priest is assigned to her parish. She takes an immediate dislike to him because he’s haughty, ultraconservative and pushy. She soon suspects that he is not as ultraconservative as she thinks.

Two suicides and a murder later, Sister Margaret is torn between trying to solve the mystery of the deaths and staying true to her vows.

This is a tough issue to deal with in fiction without coming across as ultra-liberal or ultra-conservative. I suspect that the author has liberal leanings from the way he has created his characters, but he doesn’t go overboard and, as a conservative Catholic, I appreciate that.

A warning: the book is explicit in parts and, of course, the subject matter is adult/mature. Also, many of the priests in this book are involved in some sort of “indiscretion.” The abuser talks about his teachers “taking an interest in him.” A present-day bishop in the same diocese leaves because of a scandal. Another priest thinks about his “indiscretions,” and justifies that it wasn’t a big deal because they were private. These sorts of scenarios could possibly lead a few unsuspecting readers (especially young adults) to believe that most priests are guilty of some sort of indiscretion.

I also found that the second half of this book was not as well-edited as the first half (typos, grammar issues etc). As well, the Kindle edition was not properly formatted so it made for a choppy read at times.

Overall, however, I found Morris to be a talented writer and I look forward to his future books.

Copyright 2011 Ellen Gable Hrkach

Sunday Snippets – November 20

Join me and other Catholic Bloggers at RAnn’s Place for Sunday Snippets, where Catholic bloggers come together and share posts from the previous week.

Here are my contributions:

Famous Self-Published Authors, my Catholic Writers Guild Blog post this week.

Stealing Jenny #1 on Amazon Kindle My third novel, Stealing Jenny, made it to Number 1 this week on Amazon Kindle (Best Fiction/Religious/Drama)!

God’s Surprise Gift, a story about my mom’s openness to a surprise pregnancy at age 47.

In Shepherd’s Clothing Book Review

In Each of Us Christ, God’s Plan For Marriage, my latest column from Catholic Mom, which is a reprint from an Amazing Catechists post from last year.

In Each of Us Christ: God’s Plan for Marriage

My column at Catholic Mom this month is a thumbnail of the basics of the Theology of the Body:

“Love one another as I have loved you.” John 13:34-35

As baptized and confirmed Christian/Catholics, Christ resides in each of us. If we consider the love that Christ gave us when he died on the cross was his freely chosen gift, totally given, faithful to the point of death and that gift was fruitful (redemption of mankind which opened up the gates of heaven), and if we consider that we are called to image Christ, then we must love our spouse in the same way.

Our love must be free. “I lay down my life…No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord.” (Jn 10:18) We cannot be coerced to love or forced to engage in relations, even marital relations. Our love must be freely-given. Couples who use contraception have the potential of being slaves to their passions. If one cannot say no to sex, then their yes means nothing.

Our love must be total. “Greater love has no man than this, than a man lay down his life for his friends.” (Jn 15:13) There can be no holding back. Within the context of the conjugal bed, this self-gift must be total: no contraceptives or contraceptive behaviors.

Our love must be faithful. “I am with you always to the close of the age.” (Mt 28:20) Christ was faithful to the Father and faithful to each one of us. In the sacrament of marriage, we have made a lifelong commitment/vow to our spouse and we must remain faithful in everything we do. It is obvious that we ought to be faithful with regard to the conjugal bed, but there are many other areas we can be unfaithful that do not include sexual relations (fantasies, flirting etc). The use of contraception or contraceptive behaviors separates a couple during their most intimate act.

Our love must be fruitful. “I came that they might have life and have it more abundantly.” (Jn 10:10) Christ’s death brought life to us and opened up the gates of heaven. Married love must also bear fruit. The most obvious fruit is the gift of children. Couples who contracept are purposefully thwarting this essential life-giving aspect of conjugal relations.

Following God’s Joy-Filled Plan for Marriage, that is, refraining from using birth control (and using NFP for serious need to avoid pregnancy) can, at times, be challenging and difficult. Without Christ’s grace, it would be impossible.

Christ trusted in the Father’s plan that he die for our sins…He didn’t really want to suffer, but knew that it had to be done (“not my will, but yours”). We, as married couples need to trust in the Father’s plan for married love which includes openness to life and, if there are serious reasons to avoid pregnancy, the use of Natural Family Planning. Even though NFP may be difficult, it will be worthwhile because if we trust God, God is very trustworthy and graces abound for the spouses individually and as a couple. The couple who trusts in God’s plan will be very happy together, are able to help each other get to heaven and will remain as good examples not only to their children but to all those around them.

As baptized and confirmed Christian/Catholics, Christ resides in each of us. With regard to God’s plan for married life and love, we need to love our spouses as Christ loves us: freely, totally, faithfully and fruitfully. We need to allow Him to work more in us and to trust His plan for us.

Text Copyright 2011 Ellen Gable Hrkach
Photo Copyright 2011 Josh Hrkach