“Why do babies die, Mom?”

My kids tend to zone in on the morbid. It’s wired into them, somehow … and it can pop into a conversation out of nowhere. I’m just saying.

Driving past an ambulance, the question comes from the back seat: “Why do babies die, Mom?”

That’s a good question. One that isn’t easy to explain even to another adult. But after a few days of thinking about it, I’m not sure I’ll ever come up with a better response than the one I gave off the cuff.

“Honey, each time God sends a child into the world, that baby takes three things with him (or her). She takes special gifts to share with others; and special challenges to make her strong and keep her humble. And she gets a job to do — a job that only SHE can do — for God. When that job is done, God takes her back to heaven to be with Him.

“For most people, that job takes a lifetime to do — most people are very old or very sick when their time comes. God gave me a job to be your mom, for example. But some get a job that doesn’t keep them here very long … The important thing is to share your gifts, work hard to live a life pleasing to God, and trust God with your story … to call you back to heaven when He’s ready for you to come.”

What would you have said?

This entry was posted in Adoption, heaven and tagged by hsaxton. Bookmark the permalink.

About hsaxton

Heidi Hess Saxton is an adoptive parent of two children, and converted to Catholicism in 1994. She is adoptive parent columnist at CatholicMom.com and CatholicExchange.com. She also writes for the Parenting Channel at AnnArbor.com. In her spare time, she is finishing up her Master's thesis at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit.

2 thoughts on ““Why do babies die, Mom?”

  1. I am comforted by your response to your child’s question. I am in the process of planning a Memorial Mass for my son.
    He was 51 yrs old and the second son we had to bury. He was pre-deceased by his younger brother who was killed 3 wks before his 8th b’day. in ’72. Their lives were very different and so were their deaths. Both boys were adopted. I agree with the 3 things you stated about their entrance into this world but I am most focused on the idea that they had a job to do….that only they could do,,, and that their job was done and God took them back to Heaven. I am comforted that both boys were consecrated to Our Lady. I am also caring for my husband of 59 yrs (June 16) who has Alzheimers…and has no idea who I am…except that I take care of him. I can only hope that I am doing my “job” in a way that pleases God.
    Del Cleary


  2. Dear Del: Thanks for taking time to write this. I’m so terribly sorry to hear about the grief you are carrying right now. No parent should have to bury a child … let alone two. May the Lord take them gently in hand till you can all be together again.

    My grandfather passed away from Alzheimers. I remember how grandma struggled to tend to his needs — I hope you are tending to your own needs as you look to your husband’s. Caregivers so often give themselves the short end of the stick — but you MUST tend to your own needs, as this is a marathon, not a sprint.

    God bless you as you persevere in the task at hand. Know that your angels are watching over you, and bringing your intentions straight to the heart of God.


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