by Lisa Meyerson LAc
Recently, NPR presented a show on the Japanese buddhist ritual for women
who have had miscarriages and pregnancy losses. Around that time, I saw
a patient who was on her way to Japan to participate in the ceremony.
She had a late term miscarriage and was devastated to return to work and
share the news with her coworkers. Because of the late stage of pregnancy,
She was not able to grieve privately. The ceremony in Japan provided her
with this opportunity.
For anyone who has experienced a miscarriage, the pain is difficult to
articulate and hard to explain to one who hasn’t gone through it.
Although it my be described in words, no one can really understand it
unless they’ve experienced this kind of loss themselves. It’s
similar to Persephone, possibly, after she was dragged into the Underworld.
I imagine that, upon her return, no one could really understand where
she had been unless they’d gone to that place, too. And it is likely
the pain of a miscarriage or pregnancy termination is even too painful
even for mythological comparison.
In Japan, the ritual called Mizuko kuyo was created during the Edo periiod
(between 1603 and 1868). Mizuko translates as ‘water fetus’
or child who died. In the ritual, an offering is made to Jizo, a bodhisattva
believed to protect children.
You can listen to the NPR story here:
Or read more about loss ceremonies here: