Support during miscarriage

Whenever I’ve written here or on Facebook about pregnancy loss, I’ve heard a clear request for more support for Pagans experiencing loss, specifically support that isn’t overwhelmingly Christian in language and ideas. I think The Amethyst Network is one organization that can help. Their mission is to provide doula support and “to break the social taboo surrounding talking about miscarriage, and to support, advocate, educate, comfort, and share our stories of loss, grief, and hope.”

I find it promising that they have Paganism on their Spiritual Journey page, even though they don’t have anything to share about Paganism yet (they’re a pretty new organization so most of these sections are still blank).

So I decided to work on getting listed with The Amethyst Network as a loss doula, via their Ruby Path for people who already have doula training (did you know I’ve trained as a birth doula and an abortion doula?). My first step was reading After Miscarriage, which is a book full of useful information especially for people who have endured multiple miscarriages and want answers.

Today I want to share some of the ideas the book offers for ritualizing a loss or memorializing the baby. It might feel right to:

  • Name the baby
  • Get a special piece of jewelry, perhaps with the baby’s birthstone
  • Plant a tree or other plant (trees are a popular idea, but consider what kind of gardener you are and how you’ll feel if your plant doesn’t thrive)
  • Write a poem or a prayer or the story of your pregnancy
  • Envision your baby as a person
  • Donate to a charity, especially one that helps mothers or babies
  • Get a tattoo
  • Release balloons
  • Light a candle
  • Name a star
  • Keep ultrasound pictures somewhere special

Or maybe none of these feels right. In many cases memorializing the baby won’t make sense and that’s ok too.

If you like what The Amethyst Network is doing, consider donating to the Indigogo fundraiser campaign they’re running for the next week. With this kind of work, a little bit of money can go a long way.

PS. Maybe you already realize that our own Molly is a founding member of The Amethyst Network, but she doesn’t know I’m writing this.

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About Sarah Whedon

Sarah Whedon is founding editor of Pagan Families, the author of Birth on the Labyrinth Path: Sacred Embodiment in the Childbearing Year, and former Chair of the Department of Theology and Religious History at Cherry Hill Seminary. Sarah’s teaching, research, and advocacy work center around topics of spirituality, feminism, and reproduction. She makes her home in the Boston area with her partner and their children.

  • http://talkbirth.me Molly

    I’m so glad to see this and I didn’t know! Interestingly, I was getting ready to write my follow-up miscarriage rituals post today, since today is The Amethyst Network’s first Day of Hope and Healing. Thanks for posting and for your support!

  • http://talkbirth.me Molly

    Oh, and I’d love to collect ideas from the readers here on materials to include on the spirituality section of the TAN website!

    • Sarah Whedon

      That’s a great idea Molly! I can also suggest a couple.

  • http://talkbirth.me Molly

    Please do! :)

  • Jenni

    Sarah thank you so much for writing this. :) (I’m one of Molly’s co-founders at TAN). We would love to have some input on what should go into the pagan page. We really want our site to have information that is specific and inclusive. Several of us are christo-pagans and had already noticed that there’s not much out there for pagans who miscarry. (We also feel strongly about having some good resources for atheists and agnostics, as well as some eastern religions, since it seems like what is out there thus far is pretty much all Christian.) Every mother has a right to grieve–and be comforted–in the ways that work for her. In the midst of grief, she shouldn’t have to try to adapt someone else’s paradigm.

    • Sarah Whedon

      Hi Jenni, I think it’s great that you’re thinking about how to serve diverse people.

      You might check out Our Spirit Babies, which is a San Francisco ceremony, not specifically Pagan but some of the leadership is Pagan. http://spiritbabies.org/Welcome.html

      The Pagan Book of Living and Dying has a short section on miscarriage, stillbirth, and infant death.

      Birthrites by Jackie Singer isn’t specifically Pagan, but it’s quite Pagan-friendly and has a section on miscarriage.

      Pagan Pregnancy has a section on miscarriage, but I’m not sure whether to recommend it because it makes big assumptions about the experience. The opening line is, “No matter when in a pregnancy it may take place, miscarriage is a tragic occurrence that wounds all the people involved deeply.” I disagree! Change “is” to “can be” and I’m on board.

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