Sunday, January 18, 2009

Spirit Babies

Jizo Bodhisattva, The guardian of infants*

I hope you'll indulge me. This is a passage from one of my favorite books Baby Catcher: Confessions of a Modern Midwife by Peggy Vincent and has been on mind quite a bit today. Peggy is a legendary Berkeley home-birthing midwife. In this passage, she has recently had a miscarriage and her son is explaining the story of Spirit Babies as he implores her to have another baby.

"So my first child, this not-yet-teenaged boy, pulled a wooden chair to my side and draped his thin arm across my shoulders , saying "Well, Mom, here's how it is. See, I was one (Spirit Baby) myself, so that must be how I know. Anyway, every woman has a circle of babies that goes around and around above her head and those babies are all the possible babies she could have her in whole life. Every month, one of those babies is first in line. If she gets pregnant, then that's the baby that's born. If she doesn't get pregnant, the baby goes back in the circle and keeps going around with all the others. If she gets pregnant but something bad happens before the baby's born...now listen Mom, here's the really cool part- it goes back into the circle, but it becomes a Spirit Baby, and all the other babies give it cuts. Each month it's always first in line. Isn't that great?"

A year ago I had a miscarriage. I looked at the calender today and noticed the date. Obviously there has been a lot to celebrate in this past year, but I had to stop and pause for a moment to think about our little Spirit Baby. Is our little Luca Bean the Spirit Baby that got cuts? I don't know the answer to that but that story warms me deep inside.

At the end of this particular chapter of the book, Peggy asks her son why it is so important for her to get pregnant again... his reply is "Oh, for the joy of it!"

Oh, the joy of it indeed.

* After our loss last year, a caring friend told me about the Jizo Bodhisattva, a Japanese enlightened being who has special significance to pregnant women and to those whose children who have died. I've kept this little Jizo statue on our kitchen window sill above our sink. It's a sweet reminder to me of the caring beings that are out there to watch over all of us.

16 comments:

jumbleberryjam said...

What a beautiful story. I'm so sorry to hear of your loss last year. How wonderful to think that Luca might have been given "cuts". Hugs to you.

jumbleberryjam said...

I've just looked all over the Internet for a Jizo, but don't see any I like as well as yours. Would you mind sharing where you got it? :-) Thank you!

cat said...

that story is what got us through this last year with our two losses...i love that luca came into your world..:)

Marina said...

Thanks so much Jumble *hugs*. Here is where you can order them from:
http://www.zendust.org/zenworks/jizo.htm

My friend had also sent me this article about Jizo and miscarriage:
http://www.peggyorenstein.com/articles/2002_mourning_miscarriage.html

..and Cat, dear heart... I thought of you and your spirit babies especially today as well...much love and hugs

Nicole Spring said...

oh marina, i didn't know! i am so sorry!!! *big,long,overwelming hugs to you!*
that is a beautiful story. thank you for sharing!

jumbleberryjam said...

Thanks so much for the links :-)

Pinkpeone said...

That was such a beautiful story Marina! It melted my heart and gives me hope.

I am sorry for your lost.

RunninL8 said...

Wow! Great blog! I'm so glad i found it through flick!
I was wondering, where do you get your Buntspechte toys.

RunninL8 said...

Never mind! I just perused your sidebar!

Marina said...

Nicole and Pink- Thanks so much for your sweet thoughts and hugs. It really wasn't my intention to make anyone sad for me for even a moment. I conceived again within 2 months of the loss and I have this happy picture of Luca Bean shoving his way to the front as a Spirit Baby yelling "I get cuts! It's my turn again!" :)

Runninl8- so glad you found me! Watch out for Buntspechte.. it's a seriously addicting habit. Thanks for visiting!

Jen said...

Hi Marina,

M-Thanks for sharing your story. I'm so sad for your miscarriage. Here are some long distance hugs.

I just read An Exact Replica of a Figment of My Imagination by Elizabeth McCracken. It is a beautiful love letter to her stillborn son. Even though it is a tear-jerker, I highly recommend it.

hillary said...

i am sorry for your loss and love that you are honoring it. i've heard of the idea of the boy in baby catchers mentions. actually, i think i read something like that in ina may's guide to childbirth book. children know!

cat said...

i think i need to find a similar statue. where did you get it? it would fit perfectly on my little kitchen alter..thanks again for sharing your story and how wonderful for little luca to have taken "cuts" as it were...:hug:

cat said...

you know..i never saw your comment here to me...you are truly an angel my dear...much love. :)

Cathy~Silva said...

Hello Marina,
First let me say, I am sorry for your loss.
I came across your blog when I did an image search for Jizo for inspiration for creating my own. I recognized your Jizo because I have spent time in the Zen Works ceramic studio where they are made. Zenworks is part of the Zen 'work practice' at the Great Vow Zen Monastery. Jan Chozen Bays, the co-abbot there created that Jizo, she and the residents of the monastery paint and fire them.
I sent her a link to your blog to let them know the impact their efforts are having. In her response she thanked me and said she would pass it on to those working on the Jizo statues. She replied, "These affirmations always warm our hearts."

Peace, health and happiness to you and your loved ones,
Cathy

Cathy~Silva said...

Cat,
Here is where you can find the Jizo statues that Chozen and the residents create.
http://zendust.org/zenworks/