Maybe, for you, it’s God with a capital G. Or perhaps it’s the Universe. Or Allah or Buddha or Shakti or Jesus or Gitche Manitou. Or the random spark of nature, of dust and regrowth free of myth. Or nothing.
For many of us, growing a headful of snakes through the experience of babyloss drums up a host of unanswerable questions: Why? Is there really anybody Out There? What’s the point of all this, and where do I go from here?
We thrash and cry and stomp feet and we may leave, answering what feels like abandonment with abandonment. Then we may find quietness, and we may find our way back to faith, or perhaps faith with a modified floorplan. Or perhaps not. Perhaps we are comforted with randomness, subscribing to no particular being who may or may not be responsible for who stays and who doesn't.
For the next while, babylost parents of varied faiths—Christian, Hindu, Atheist, Jewish, Buddhist, Islamic, Naturalist/Wiccan and more—will keep house here at Glow in the Woods. As guest authors, they’ll share with us how their beliefs have coloured their re-entry into the ordinary world and affected their path towards healing.
We'll be publishing them on the site through the month of October, and at any point we invite you to share your own story on your blog using the same meditations given to our guest authors:
- How has your religion or belief system helped you to contemplate the universal questions that babyloss props up so vividly in front of the heart?
- How did the institutions surrounding your faith (church, synogogue, temple, spiritual mentors) acknowledge your loss—or did they? If your beliefs are more freeform than institutional, what other sources of acknowledgement or comfort did you discover for yourself?
- Have you had episodes of startling clarity, or of being neck-deep in theological mud? Where did those episodes lead you, and for what purpose? How did they affect the kind of spirit-baby mother you are today?
- Trauma and loss can inspire moments of doubt and lapses in faith. What conviction, experience or encounter propelled you through that moment and brought you back into the fold—or helped you be okay with staying lapsed?
We're fascinated to see what comes to the surface for you. Don't feel you must explain why you believe what you believe. Just choose one moment, one idea, one teaching or mantra or sentiment that rang a bell in your heart—or simply tell us where you stand at this moment. The above are simply prompts from which you can explore as you wish.
how to participate
We’d love to see you all join in this conversation. Please share your reflections on your own blog by including your link in the comments of any are you there, god? post—either in response to a story written by an author who shares your spiritual background, or to explore new angles thanks to an author with a different perspective. Or, simply comment as you normally do, adding your voice to this space.
If you’re inspired to participate by posting your own story on your blog, the only rules of this exercise are word count—a maximum of 1000—and a few other points of commonsense.
- Be naked. Your writing need not be a religious hallmark card. The more authentic you are about what you know and what you don’t know, the more provocative and valuable this will be for everyone. Be open to talking about doubt, and uncomfortable lines of questioning, and episodes of therapeutic vice (we kid, but you get the idea).
- Please write in the context of your own experience, and refrain from using your beliefs as a basis to explain the spiritual fate of the loved ones of others.
- You’re all such clever mamas and papas we feel it’s almost unneccesary to qualify this, but we should: no proselytizing, please. Your intent is not to convince anyone of anything, nor to serve as an invitation to your faith. It is only to tell your story in the context of your beliefs.
The same groundrules will apply to all participants, contributors and readers/commenters alike. Please respect the sacred convictions and learning of everyone here by adding to dialogue rather than countering it with theologic generalizations or debate.
Let’s all subscribe to a Buddhist principle as we share: that of gentle speech. We are here to create a conversation that is non-divisive, encouraging, thoughtful, and reckoned and measured in accordance with solidarity and healing.
We’re curious to prove our hunch—that this gathering will serve to illustrate the oneness of parenthood, of love for children, of a need for light and hope that crosses all boundaries. That no matter what semantics we subscribe to and what shapes our beliefs take, we all share the same unanswerable questions and walk this path together.
The memory of birth and the expectation of death always lurk within the human being, making him separate from his fellows and consequently capable of intercourse with them. Naked I came into the world, naked I shall go out of it! And a very good thing too, for it reminds me that I am naked under my shirt, whatever its colour.
From E.M. Forster’s Two Cheers for Democracy: What I Believe