When my friend miscarried she was bereft and uncertain what to do. After weeks of loving that baby growing inside of her she couldn’t face it just being treated like medical waste. So she called her parish priest and asked him to bless what remained of her child. “I’ve never done a miscarriage before,” he commented before saying a prayer over whatever the doctor could bring him.
It’s always made me feel sad how miscarriage is treated in the medical community and it’s only been in recent years we’ve started to honour those lost children and the profound sadness those prospective parents will live with forever.
Writer Angela Elson was 10-weeks-pregnant when she suffered a miscarriage. She describes how shocked she and husband Brady felt in an article she wrote for the New York Times. “A miscarriage at 10 weeks produces no body, so there would be no funeral. “What do we even do?” I asked the doctor. She wrote me a prescription for Percocet: “Go home and sleep.”
Lisa Wilkinson talks about her miscarriage.
Angela says she did go home but didn’t sleep and she and husband Brady struggled through their individual journeys with grief. “I had all this sorrow and no one to give it to, and Brady couldn’t take it off me because his hands were already full of his own mourning,” she wrote.
“We knew miscarriage was common. But why wasn’t there anything people did when it happened?”
That’s when she and husband Brady remembered an experience they had while travelling through Japan. They were on a date in a cemetery in Japan at Mount Koya that doubles as a tourist destination. What captured her attention was hundreds of “Jizo statues” lining the path. In Japan, a Jizo represents the souls of babies who are never born.
That’s what she wanted. A physical representation of her child, the grief and the loss. She needed something to give her grief to. Angela and her husband ordered a Jizo statue on the internet.