Your heart fills with joy, ecstasy, pride, seeing the two lines on the pregnancy test. There is life within your womb! You call your family, friends, spreading the good news. You are overjoyed! But, for some, that moment of happiness is fleeting. With rising panic, you see the blood. Then comes the pain; both physical and emotional. The life within your womb is no more. Then comes the shame. You again call your relatives, friends… apologize for “getting their hopes up”… And then you begin to mourn. Well-meaning family members may ask: “Why aren’t you over it yet? It was just a miscarriage you know, it wasn’t even really a baby yet…”
No matter what legislature presently says about life in the womb, when you miscarry, you feel the loss of life; the loss of your child, very deeply, and you must grieve the death of your unborn child… But how?
In North America, women are liberated. Free. We are free to follow the careers of our choosing, wear the clothing we wish, live our sexuality as we see fit. We openly talk about menstruation, sex, pregnancy, and breastfeeding…. Yet somehow, miscarriage seems to get swept under the rug. A taboo. Women who miscarry are ashamed, feel like they’ve somehow failed in the task they were biologically designed for, feel like they have killed their child. So how the hell are you supposed to learn how to grieve if no one is willing to talk about their experience?
As cliché as it may sound, sometimes, bad things just happen. Sometimes the zygote doesn’t attach to the uterine wall properly, you may be lacking an essential vitamin and not be aware of it, your hormones may be unbalanced… A million factors can result in a miscarriage. A million factors that are NOT YOUR FAULT!!!
The females of our race have been having babies since as long as our species has existed. They have hunted, hauled in kills, ran from predators. In more recent centuries, they have worked on farms, ploughing the fields, taken care of homes with denizens of children underfoot. Even in the present day, there are women who birth perfectly healthy babies without ever realizing they were pregnant. Without prenatal care. Without watching their nutrition. Without bed rest. It’s not that one glass of wine you drank, or those cigarettes you’ve smoked that did it.
ITS IS NOT YOUR FAULT! YOU DID NOT KILL YOUR CHILD!
You are allowed to be sad, cry, grieve, for as long as you need to. Find an outlet for your sadness, Light a candle, and say a prayer for your angel-child. Talk to him/her. If you collected the foetus, dig a grave and give your child a proper burial. Don’t be afraid to mark the grave. This is a life you held in your womb, don’t be ashamed to honor that life’s passage, however brief it may have been. If the foetus was not collected, make something to represent the child and bury that instead.
Do whatever feels right to you. Grieve as you see fit, but do not grieve in silence, nor in shame. Though this is not a source of pride, there is no blame, no fault in a miscarriage. Speak out, ask for advice, and share your experience. It takes a village to raise a child, and it takes a village to grieve one as well.
I end this (longer than I expected) essay with the text from a Pagan Miscarriage Ritual from Lady of the Earth. The full ritual can be found at the following link: http://ladyoftheearth.com/rituals/dust-wind.txt
I am the Dark Mother. I am the Blood Mother. I am the Queen of all Creation, and I am the Guardian of the Graveyard. I have given birth to planets, to stars, to entire galaxies. All that is may call me Mother.
Yet I have also birthed the empty husks of dead worlds, and seen the light less voids in the universe where my children did not thrive. I have known the pain of losing a child unborn, or unconcieved, or of watching the dead body of my child emerge from between my thighs. My heart has stopped suddenly when I realized that my newborn child’s cries had stopped. I, who am the Mother of all – I who am the Great Goddess – have cried bitter tears over the loss of my children.
And to you who have shared in such loss, I say this: Your seed is not poisonous… Your womb is not a house of death.
Your child’s life ended before it was truly begun. But you did not kill your child. There is no blame. You gave all you could to your child, and now the child is gone. You did nothing wrong. The child did nothing wrong. There is no blame.
Every parent, even before the birth of the child, has dreams for the child, hopes of how the child will be treated and how the child will treat others. And each parent has a storehouse of love for each child. In time you may find that your hopes and dreams, dulled by pain and disappointment, will fade.
But do not let that love fade. Do not do as others may tell you, and give this love to your other children. Do not do as others may tell you and dedicate this love to the creative works of your hands and of your mind. This love is a gift your child has given to you; use it wisely. Do not waste it where it is not needed. Save and cherish this love as love for yourself. Love your body, your mind, your soul. Learn to accept yourself. For the sake of your child, love yourself.
Look to the stars at night and know that they are your brothers and sisters. They know your grief, and will help you bear your anger and fear. Look to the Sun and see the bright face of the Lord of Light; He will always be there to warm you against the shivering cold of loss. Look to the Moon and see Me; I will always be there to share your sorrow and to hold you when the pain is too much. But look, too, within yourself, to find the God and Goddess within you, and to find the love that makes you whole. Feel the fulness of all the love you have within you.
And know that your child loves you still.
Love & Light