Monday, October 09, 2006

ShareWalk: Eyebrows Blew It

I promised, ages ago, that I would promo ShareWalk, which occurred Saturday, on my blog. Share is an organization that provides resources, networking, and support to women (and their families) who have suffered the loss of a pregnancy or an infant. Losing a life that has hardly begun - or never had a chance to begin - is particularly and horribly wrenching, and made all the worse because our society, which doesn't deal well with death in general, has really no idea how to cope with the loss of pregnancy or a newborn infant. In a society that hardly allows mourning to continue past the funeral, we have no real venue for the public mourning of a lost pregnancy or infant.

This was a topic particularly dear to my heart because I did my master's thesis in theology on the lack of liturgical recognition of pregnancy (I'll blog more later on my specific thesis if anyone's interested), and my thesis advisor, Karen Westerfield-Tucker, had written the first Methodist liturgy for pregnancy loss (that is, miscarriage or stillbirth) -- it's "A Service of Hope after Loss of Pregnancy," in the United Methodist Book of Worship. My friends began having babies while I was in graduate school, and since I was at that time doing a master's in theology, I became very interested in the theology and liturgy surrounding pregnancy and liturgy, though I had not been pregnant myself. (And again I resist the temptation to go off on a long theological tangent because that's not the point here.)

While working on my thesis, one of the major topics my liturgy had to confront was the fears unique to pregnancy -- the fear of miscarriage, of mental or physical defect, of pain, or labor, even of death. (Pregnancy is still a dangerous time for a woman.) Even in our churches (and synagogues and mosques -- I looked comparatively at Jewish and Muslim resources), we have hardly any resources to talk about the fears of pregnancy, and almost none at all to talk about the grief of miscarriage.

Miscarriage is the death of hope. It's a loss of a life before that life had a chance to begin. It's hands never held, kisses never given, sweet baby breath never breathed. It can be physically very painful, hormonally nightmarish, and bodily confusing. (Pregnancy, even when it doesn't come to fruition, moves things around in there. Fat migrates. Pants don't fit.) But it's the death of hope, the emotional devastation of the death of a child you already loved when it was in its blastocyst form.

So when some of my local friends involved with Share approached me about promoing ShareWalk on my blog, I was enthusiastic. ShareWalk is a walk of remembrance and hope for women, families, and friends who have suffered pregnancy loss. These local women have started a ShareWalk here in Peoria for those of us affected by miscarriage. I was pleased and excited they asked me to help through my blog.

Well, last Thursday I came down with a nasty head cold that got into my ears, and I spent most of the weekend wishing I could amputate my head or at least my ear canals, and blogging fell to the bottom of my list. (The missing stuff post was a desperation post because I felt the non-blogging guilt.) So the walk was Saturday, October 7, and I totally blew it on promoing it, because this is the first day I've been into my e-mail and a real member of the human race since last Thursday.

So anyway, even though I was late on blogging the walk, I urge you all to support the work of Share and our local Share chapter, to check out their events in the future, and to be aware of the terrible emotional toll pregnancy loss can take on a family. If you have a friend or relative who's lost a pregnancy or infant, give them a hug for me and then be there for them.

1 comment:

DeDe said...

I really appreciate your comments. Thanks.

Have you seen this before?

It's beautiful and helpful to ministering to others.