I have never liked visions of heaven that have it be a separate place, a place where we float as souls disconnected from our bodies. You know, the halo, the harp and the clouds? A priest I used to know preached that heaven and hell are in us now as we work out our salvation, not a separate plane of reality.

This year we experienced a particular sharp, unhappy separation — a miscarriage. A baby we had never met died before we could hold him or her. Babies who do not make it are sometimes called “angel babies,” but I wanted to be careful not to use that term for our child because angels, in Scripture and religious literature, are creatures who never had physical bodies. I did not want to forget our brief connection with the baby here.

Our religion teaches us the way to connect to one another and to God is to pray, the most important service that we can perform for the world. I believe that we should pray, and this would connect us to our child, but I am still pretty bad at it. I believe in God in my heart, but in my head, I am still a returned Peace Corps volunteer, coming up with programs and campaigns to heal the world’s injustices and ills. When a friend asks me to pray for their distant relative with a health problem, do I remember to say his or her name before bedtime? Usually not.

When we found out that we were expecting our second child, we wondered when to tell people…[View the rest of this post on PreemieBabies101, where it was originally published]