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In Western cultures it is not common to hold a ceremony or openly acknowledge
the loss of a baby through miscarriage. This can often result in women and their
partners grieving in silence and wondering whether the pregnancy ever existed. For
many couples it is important to acknowledge their loss. Below are 5 suggestions
on ways in which you can farewell your miscarried baby.
Melissa M. Roberts is a freelance writer, spiritual director, and teacher. Melissa
has a BA in History from Baker University in Baldwin City, KS, graduate coursework
in Medieval History from the University of Kansas, Lawrence, a Masters in Theological
Study from Virginia Theological Seminary in Alexandria, Va, and nine units Clinical
Pastoral Education, interfaith ministry and relationship training, from the Association
of Clinical Pastoral Education in Peachtree, Georgia.
A former hospital and hospice chaplain, Melissa now teaches meditation, world religions,
history, and violin. She offers stress management workshops, facilitates spiritual
retreats, and offers spiritual direction via phone, email, or in person within an
hour of Parsons, Kansas U.S.A.
A former hospital and hospice chaplain, Melissa now teaches meditation, world religions, history, and violin. She offers stress management workshops, facilitates spiritual retreats, and offers spiritual direction via phone, email, or in person within an hour of Parsons, Kansas U.S.A.
In Japan the loss of a baby through miscarriage is acknowledged by a ceremony.
The baby is called "mizuko" or "water child" and a ritual by the mother helps the
baby find another pathway into being. The mother places a statue of offering in a
sacred place as a spiritual acknowledgment of her lost child.
For those couples that have experienced miscarriage the road to healing is often
long. The journey is a very personal one, taking them down a dark and winding road
of emotional and physical pain. Going through the process of expressing and exploring
their feelings, moving the pain into some sort of acceptance and finally dealing
with the decision of trying to fall pregnant again is a long and exhausting battle.
Saying Goodbye to a Lost Baby
Farewelling a baby lost through miscarriage is a very personal and heart breaking
journey. Here are 5 things that you and your partner may consider when deciding to
farewell your precious baby.
Planting a Tree
Planting a tree or creating a special garden space can be a lovely, and natural
way, to farewell your baby. Consider a Bonsai as these plants can be an expression
of your entire life, not just a snapshot of the pain of losing your baby, and more
importantly you can take the Bonsai with you as you continue your journey through
life. The memory of that precious soul lost will live on through the beauty of your
Holding a memorial service is a way in which family and intimate friends can
share in your loss and contribute to the memory of your baby. You may choose to conduct
an informal service yourself, or have a celebrant or Minister of Religion conduct
a more formal service. Pick a place that is special to you and your partner, and
where you can leave a small memento of the service. You may choose to unveil a plaque,
plant a tree or return to the earth a small piece of your lost baby.
Book of Remembrance
This is a simple but poignant way to say farewell to a baby that died before you
had the chance to say hello. Purchase a beautiful book and have family and friends
write messages to you, your partner and your lost baby. Realise those unfulfilled
dreams through the love and concern of your family and friends.
A memory box can be as elaborate or as simple as you choose, and hold as many
memories as you wish to include. Some of the things that you may include are the
confirmation results of your pregnancy, your pregnancy record card, ultrasound pictures,
a list of potential baby names, any gifts that had been received and the condolences
sent at the loss of your precious one. You may also choose to include a special memento
such as a teddy bear or coin of remembrance.
Similar to the Japanese "mizuko" ceremony you may choose to perform a blessing
or say a prayer for your lost baby. Again, you may choose to write your own blessing
or a celebrant or Minister of Religion will be able to offer suggestions for prayers.
Following the blessing or the reading of the prayer, release white balloons into
the sky to help carry the spirit of your baby towards heaven.
Don't be afraid to acknowledge your loss. Even though you will never meet your precious
baby he or she has changed your life forever, and left an imprint on your heart.