Miscarriages—the loss of pregnancy through the 20th week—remain quite common, with some estimating that up to 20 percent of early pregnancies are lost. Figures suggest that up to a third of all women experience a miscarriage or still birth during their childbearing years. Indeed, pregnancy loss is referred to as a silent epidemic in this country.
Professionals argue that in most cases, the loss of pregnancy was unavoidable; yet, a miscarriage often yields feelings of guilt, shame, depression, and isolation, particularly for expectant mothers.
The objective of a healing ceremony around pregnancy loss is to honor the grieving of the anticipated future with an unborn child, while reinforcing the sense of community among those experiencing the death. Obviously, this is a tender, intimate affair and can be as simple as a shared experience between the parents, such as a writing a letter or creating an art object of remembrance. A larger memorial or ritual, like a tree planting, can bring together the grieving parents and their closest family members and friends. There is no single way to recognize this complicated grief process; it only matters that we do.