As women we actually experience death on a monthly basis with the release of the egg and the nest that is no longer needed. While this by no means belittles the experience of the loss of a child through miscarriage or still birth, or a baby that is born premature or with special needs, it helps us to realize the ever returning spiral of life.
Out of death, comes rebirth - of knowledge, experience and understanding. When we trust in the journey and the overall Plan of God, there is growth. In death as in birth.
Each of us will deal with the loss of our child, the loss of an expectation, the loss of an experience, differently, based on our beliefs. But whatever our belief, death may be viewed much the same as birth – complete surrender, no fear, the only certainty is that growth will occur afterward and that God/the Universe has a plan if we simply allow ourselves to completely surrender to the journey. For example, from miscarriage or stillbirth we learn that we are indeed mothers (no matter how long that was initially for) how do we consciously draw on that for nourishing ourselves and others? From the loss of an expectation such as when we give birth to child with special needs we are given the opportunity to consciously learn and grow in incredible compassion and patience….
The subject of death and unexpected outcomes is still a taboo topic in our society yet so has birth and breastfeeding and women’s mysteries been. But in all of these things a leaning on God, support from loved ones, support from loving community, is vital. Go back to birth. How do we nurture the birthing woman, the birthing family? How do we nurture the grieving woman, the grieving family? Just as we honoured the rite of passage of a maiden to mother with the Blessingway, this simple gesture can also be adapted to a situation of loss whether it be in the form of a memorial service. Acknowledging the journey is a vital step in healing and regrowth.
Thankfully, our society is starting to get the message that acknowledgement of these aspects of life brings strength and a number of support and information groups have emerged for the very purpose.
If your child is born prematurely, or has been born with a congenital condition this does not change the way you prepare during pregnancy, for the birth or in the year beyond. It does not change the way we were designed to parent our babies. In actuality these situations give us the opportunity to apply these design principles more deeply and with enhanced compassion.