Ken Harbaugh has it right. Who is Ken Harbaugh? He is a commentator for National Public Radio whose “right-on” piece on the segment All Things Considered captured the essence of grieving when it comes to miscarriage.
Miscarriage is a loss which has no official ceremonial protocol attached to it. Ken had it right because he and his wife created their own ritual when they planted a bulb in their yard, and took the time to honor and metabolize their feelings of loss. The symbolism is obvious and perfect.
I have always been in full support of creating rituals where none except the need exists. They help us get to the other side of tough emotional experiences. Like rites of passage, which typically involves death in some form which clears the way for rebirth, creating a ritual which has your personal “stamp” on it gives closure to the death of both a baby and a dream, and opens a path for a new beginning.
Some things have changed. When I first went into practice in 1979, full-term or premature still births were often whisked away from the parents as if cleaning up after cooking dinner. Now, hospitals are set up to help people deal with a real death including facilitating the planning of funerals. Miscarriage has not caught up to the human need to put feelings to rest if not bodies. Therefore, like Ken Harbaugh, it serves a real purpose to take things into your own hands.
And if this has been your fate, my sincere condolences.
Read or listen to Ken Harbaugh’s commentary here:
And, read about the creation of my healing miscarriage ritual in the preface to my book, On Fertile Ground: Healing Infertility.