Pregnancy loss is a normal occurrence.
It happens in 1 in 4 pregnancies; as well, about 4 in 10 unintended pregnancies end in abortion. However, “the loss of a pregnancy is a life crisis that is largely ignored by modern society: the zygote/embryo, and sometimes even fetus, is regarded as a nonperson. Thus, its loss is a nonevent. Society denies the importance of what has happened and discourages the expression of grief by letting the woman know that she didn’t really lose anything; she can always try again soon.”(from Surviving Pregnancy Loss, by Rochelle Friedman and Bonnie Gradstein)
What has resulted is that women have been cut off from one of the most important parts of the healing process – grieving. Too often, women accidentally flush embryos down the toilet or miscarry without much acknowledgment and then carry on with their lives without tending to the very real sense of loss that they now must also carry.
In their book, Surviving Pregnancy Loss, Rochelle Friedman and Bonnie Gradstein also point out that, “Some women experience severe grief at the loss of a pregnancy; others feel disappointment that is less marked. It is not unusual to mourn for weeks or months after losing a pregnancy or having a stillborn child. It is important to remember that mourning is a slow, painful, but important process of coping with loss. It is not only acceptable to grieve; grieving must take place before healing can occur.” (page 10)
Other times, our loss isn’t punctuated by grief but rather by an odd feeling of bewilderment for not knowing how to honor this rite of passage. As western women, we’ve been disconnected from the power of loss and the naturalness of death. In the pit of our guts, we may feel a need to memorialize or mark as special our experiences, but without many models to look towards we can feel bereft about where to begin or what to do.
When we allow ourselves to move through and process our loss as well as our grief (no matter how big or how small it may appear), we can also experience a strange surge in energy. Through crafting and telling our stories, we can transform our loss into a magnificent tale of gain and sacrifice, learning and expansion.
No matter what our belief systems are, we can come to accept our losses as not just par for course for being human – and a woman at that! – but as a profound gift offered to us by the Divine, Spirit, God/dess or Source energy (whatever you call it). It is up to us how we receive and work with this raw material.
Another intention of this site is to be an online repository for Ritualizing Pregnancy Loss Stories and a place where women around the world can drop in, visit, read and know that they are not alone. Our loss and grief can be a connection point between us, but only if we are willing to do the work and tell our stories. The world needs your story. Speak up! Your voice counts.
Our 6-week, online journey helps guide women through the five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. Participants do the actual work at their own timing & in the comfort of their own homes. However, our group will meet, either via tele or video conferencing, for a weekly, coaching call in order to foster connection and feel comforted by the stories of other women also in their healing processes. We conclude each course with a sharing of our pregnancy loss story.
We also offer birth workers, ‘miscarriage doulas’ or women who seek to support other women in their journeys through pregnancy loss, a 4-week, online course. In our intimate group, we learn how to make a poultice wrap for the now-empty womb space, including the use of herbs and oils for a grieving woman’s optimum healing; how to use the expressive arts for making meaning in the midst of loss; and how to create unique memorials that speak to each individual’s human expression.
Ritualizing Pregnancy Loss was created by Cara H. Cadwallader in her attempts at normalizing loss. A mother to a three-year old, she has intuitively led herself & her family through their own pregnancy loss rituals twice now. She lost two, first-term pregnancies – both embryos perishing at around 7 weeks in utero.
Our Ritualizing Pregnancy Loss offering comes from Cara’s heart to yours, and is in recognition of the deep needs we women have that have gone unaddressed for too long. If need be, all of the handouts we use for our 6-week, group coaching course are available to you, free of charge, for you to DIY (do it yourself).
May we all know Peace in our Hearts and Unconditional Love in our Homes.