Friday, October 17, 2014

Remembering the Unborn


I was just over on Patheos reading this article, Remembering the Never Born: Claiming a Sibling as an Ancestor.  In it, the author describes different Ancestors that they honor in this season of Samhain, some of these terms I just learned this week when my friend and I took a class at The Magical Druid.

"I talked about all the different kinds of Ancestors and dead people I invite to my altar, to offer hospitality, conversation, and gifts of food, drink, scent, and colour. Similar to the categories described by Yvonne Aburrow in her latest post at Sermons on the Mound, these different non-corporeal persons for me may be:

  • Ancestors of blood and bone — my literal, genetic ancestors. For me, these include every life form evolutionarily upstream from homo sapiens sapiens, and the stars whose dust made the iron in my blood, as well as my closer personal ancestors;
  • Ancestors of spirit and inspiration — those who have strengthened me with their words and actions, especially those who have been forebears in struggles of solidarity and justice, and those from whom I draw artistic, musical and poetic inspiration;
  • Ancestors of place — those who shaped the place, either literal or metaphorical, where I live and/or work;
  • My Beloved Dead — those whom I have personally known, or are directly personally connected to, who are now dead, usually family members or close friends (including companion animals);
  • The Mighty Dead — those who have gone before me in the Craft."

As I was reading, the author mentioned how their mother had a near-fatal miscarriage when they were young.  The whole experience was very difficult, but they considered their unborn sibling as an Ancestor and thus, honor them.  I became very emotional when I read this article, just thinking about the loss of my own first baby.

It made me think of the guided meditation, that we went on at The Magical Druid.  My friend said that when she met her Ancestors, her baby was there, too (she miscarried).

Between Samhain, her experience, October 15th (Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day), a photo of a 1 lbs. baby girl who died last night on my FB feed, and this article, I've been thinking a lot about the loss of my embryo.  Even though I have two beautiful, healthy little boys, I'm always going to think of the First.  Wonder what could have been...but I know that if that baby had been full term, then I wouldn't have my little Wolfman.  The two that I have now keeps me from dwelling on the could-have-been's.  Just as they chase the depression away.  They keep me in the present.  But I'm always going to keep the First in my heart and soul.

I'm probably going to always fear future miscarriages.  With my two boys, I didn't want to tihnk of their future just in case I lost them.  It's difficult when you walk into the nursery and see it all set up and ready and yet you're terrified to "see" them using it before they're born.  But I don't fear it so much as to stop having kids.  I want at 1-2 more.  My hope and love is stronger than my worry and fear.  I felt so betrayed by my body the first time, but slowly I'm gaining understanding and trust again.  My body can keep babies alive and, boy can it produce beautiful, healthy children!  Things happen for a reason.  I would've rather have lost that pregnancy than give birth to a child with serious complications.

There's not always an outside cause to loss, sometimes these things just happen.

When I had miscarried October 2011, I just threw and packed everything away that reminded me of the joy we had felt when discovering of the pregnancy.  I have a baby book still that brings up those emotions of disappointment and loss.  But I haven't thrown it away.  I can't bring myself to throw it away, honestly.  Although I had kept a baby journal on my computer that I did delete.  But that baby book, I just can't toss it.  It's the only physical thing that I have left.

I'm still pretty traumatized.

On my parenting blog, I have links for others who've gone through pregnancy and infant loss.  Often you'll find Goodbye Rituals, where parents say goodbye to their baby.  They physically bury objects or letters for/to their baby.  Or they may write a letter, tie it to a balloon, and release it to the skies.  Or burn the letter, sending it to the Spirit World.  I haven't done any of this.  I guess I'm just not ready, or maybe it's just not right for me?

Instead of doing the above, I think that I'm going to take that baby book and place it on my Ancestral Shrine.  Like the author, although not a sibling, the First has shaped me, too.  Like my friend who met her baby, I'm sure that if my the meditation worked, mine would've been there, too.   Instead of saying goodbye, I should say hello and visit them time-to-time.  But not get lost in that plane--it's not my plane of existence.  I still have a body and a family to take care of.  But I'll always remember them.  Every Samhain, I'll invite them along with other Ancestors to the house to hang out, feast, and be merry.


(also posted on Book of Mirrors for the Pagan Blog Project)

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