Empty crib, broken heart - Counseling Today

The following was a college essay written by Mary Biese. It has been edited and approved by Ariel Hobbs. If you have a Theology essay that you would like published that received a grade of an A- or higher, please be sure to contact us.

By Mary Biese, Notre Dame

The ritual is “an elongated moment… of transition that can… promote… emotional and spiritual healing.”[1]  In this paper, I will explore the “elongated moments” that different religious communities use in the West to promote healing for those who have experienced perinatal loss.[2] After a brief overview of how these losses have been perceived historically, I will discuss the modern theological and societal issues surrounding these liturgies. Then I will cover some rituals performed in the West within the Catholic, Jewish, Muslim, Greek Orthodox, and Buddhist traditions. Finally, I will analyze the effects of liturgy for women who suffer perinatal loss.

PART I: History and Context

 We have little historical data on liturgies for pregnancy loss, “an age-old, and typically hidden, part of women’s lives.”[3] In Roman culture, infants were commonly exposed or aborted.[4] While “Christianity condemned infanticide and abortion from its very beginning,” “there was no Christian funeral rite for unbaptised infants and such infants were buried in unconsecrated ground” before Vatican II.[5] We have very little information on medieval reproduction because the “store of female knowledge” about reproductive health “was likely [only] shared orally.”

Theological Christian reflections on this topic culminated with the 2007 Vatican document, “The Hope of Salvation for Infants Who Die without Being Baptized,” which highlights the urgency of “the reflection on the possibility of salvation for [non-baptized] infants,” whose “number… has grown considerably.” The “new Canon Law prescribes that if parents had the intention of baptising their child, the stillborn [can] have a clerical funeral.”[6] These theological developments are a reaction to modern medical developments such as ultrasounds, which have changed society’s “perception of when a fetus becomes a child” and “reduced the age at which premature babies can be kept alive.”[7] What “used to be a common tragedy, is made statistically far less likely… and is thus experienced as an unthinkable, unacceptable, unnatural tragedy,”[8] especially for those undergoing fertility treatments like IVF.[9] The “movement to commemorate pregnancy losses is driven in large part” by these modern realities.[10] Thus, perinatal-loss liturgies are relatively new phenomena dealing with relatively new circumstances.

Modern Western society’s perceptions of perinatal death are strongly affected by “Catholicism and its traditions,” which “are still part of a shared cultural identity.”[11] This cultural identity is reflected in delayed pregnancy announcements, which often result in isolation for those experiencing perinatal loss: “women are counseled to avoid formal announcements… until… 8 weeks. In the face of this social expectation, mothers who miscarry… are stripped of the space to confront any feelings of sadness they may have.”[12] Catholics formerly believed that ensoulment occurred after forty days, while now they place ensoulment at conception; however, this echo of ancient Catholic thought, possibly reinforced by a more general cultural avoidance of the topic of perinatal loss, remains today. Similar problems arise in Jewish communities, where, as one mother relates, “if you tell others about your blessing (of pregnancy), the evil eye might overhear and change your luck. Soon after the first trimester, you start to show… so the concern about the evil eye lessens… When I miscarried, only a small group of people knew about my pregnancy. How could my tight-knit Jewish community support me through this trauma when only a handful… knew that I was pregnant?”[13] The privatization of pregnancy announcements often leaves women and their families isolated in mourning.

The “liminal” or “transitional” nature of pregnancy, and the argument over the personhood of the prenate, further contributes toward this isolation. As O’Donnell puts it, “the dead baby is an actor that is stuck in the middle of an uncompleted rite of passage; ‘when pregnancy ends without a live birth, there are no rites to reincorporate the woman [into society].’”[14] Live birth is “a transitional phase during which a baby is ritually prepared… [and] granted a social identity and… recognized as a member of a particular social collectivity.” When birth is suddenly combined with death, whether death-rituals should be used becomes a question. “Stillborn children are easily excluded from… rites of incorporation,” and in the eyes of many “these demises do not count as ‘real’ deaths.”[15] The child’s societal status complicates the use of initiative liturgies, which are in themselves societal.

The issue of prenatal personhood is naturally related to the controversy surrounding abortion. Some argue that Western liturgies are not well-developed because a “politically charged atmosphere is not conducive to the creation of gracious liturgical language.”[16] Others are wary about monuments built for miscarriages and abortion, since in such cases “spontaneous losses typically are not given the same priority as abortion.”[17] This choice can be interpreted as too political or too focused on post-abortive guilt (which is often a significant hindrance to healing from perinatal loss). In addition, the debate over the existence of “postabortion trauma” still rages today.[18] While some lament that not enough scientific studies “acknowledge the… loneliness and… long range spiritual repercussions of abortion,” others assert that “the mainstream psychology community has rejected identifying a specific form of postabortion trauma.”[19] O’Donnell gives a sort of middle ground, claiming that while “not all women who lose a pregnancy feel grief or distress… This project is primarily intended to speak to those who do.”[20] Likewise, this paper focuses on those who do grieve perinatal loss.

Does abortion necessitate guilt? Miscarriage, sorrow? When is a prenate a person? These questions vary between and within religious traditions. Pope John Paul II deals with some of these tensions in his encyclical Evangelium Vitae, inserting a note “to women who have had an abortion” amidst his strong invective against the practice. He notes “the many factors” that went into the women’s decisions and “the wound… [that] may not yet have healed. Certainly what happened… remains terribly wrong. But do not give in to discouragement.” He encourages these women to trust in God’s mercy and to actively continue their new “commitment to life.”[21] Discussing perinatal loss requires delicacy amidst these medical realities and political tensions.

PART II: Modern Rituals

This section is a sampling of some modern rituals performed in the West by various traditions: Catholic, Jewish, Muslim, Greek Orthodox, and Buddhist. Each tradition, rooted in its theological tenets, takes a slightly different approach to commemorating perinatal death. In Catholic theology, the tensions between the need for baptism and the mercy of God, compounded with the aforementioned historical and social issues, make these liturgies difficult to formulate or standardize. The International Theological Commission explains that the situation of baptized infants should not be used to deplete “the necessity of sacramental Baptism… of its existential significance by being reduced to a merely theoretical affirmation… On the other hand,” it explains, “God’s freedom over [His] saving means… must be… respected.”[22] This allows the Church to maintain the necessity of its initiative sacrament and, simultaneously, to rely on God’s “unfailing mercy” towards unbaptized prenates.[23]

The standardized liturgies the Catholic Church provides are a “Blessing of Parents after a Miscarriage or Stillbirth,”[24] a “Mass of the Angels,” and a “Funeral Mass for unbaptized infants.” The first technically excludes those who have had abortions. Grounded in Biblical themes,[25] this blessing is bestowed on grieving parties to “enlighten their faith, / give hope to their hearts, / and peace to their lives.”[26] The second, “owing less to theology than to cultural discomfort… has rarely been offered to families for comfort after a pregnancy loss.”[27] The third, found in the 1970 Roman Missal, seems the most helpful modern option. Its flexibility allows for customized liturgies such as a parish Mass for generalized pregnancy loss or the funeral Mass for the fetal corpses recently found in an Indiana abortionist’s home. These Masses often have broad scope, personalized prayers, and ritual additions (such as places to write the lost prenates’ names, small representative candles, speeches from mothers, and receptions).[28] These Masses, often specifically requested, require a priest’s cooperation and ingenuity. The Funeral Mass for the fetuses found in abortionist Klopfer’s home in Indiana was singular in its press coverage and interdenominational nature. One post-abortive rape victim, who attended Klopfer’s facility, related that “she felt ‘violated all over again’ when she heard about the fetal remains found on Klopfer’s property, and wondered if her aborted baby was among those found.”[29] The lack of an identifiable body—a significant element of funerary rituals—can intensify grieving parents’ distress. This liturgy was a response to a specific kind of grief for a specific localized community.

Other Catholic ritual practices include Project Rachel and Rachel’s Vineyard, two closely-related organizations geared towards ritualized “post-abortive” healing, are “aimed at bringing about a new understanding of abortion experiences… through stories, symbols, prayers, and liturgical actions that attest to God’s… mercy.”[30] Catholic pregnancy-loss memorials, on the other hand, focus “more… on individual acts of commemoration than on communal ritual performances.”[31] These monuments emphasize reconciling oneself to God and to one’s lost prenate; this entails receiving the sacrament of Reconciliation and naming the prenate.[32]

Jewish communities face similar problems when it comes to perinatal loss. Due to the issue of abortion, the Jewish “Committee on Law and Standards has rejected” formal use of “traditional [Jewish] bereavement rituals” for pregnancy loss.[33] In addition, the “strictest interpretation of Jewish law,” dictates that “a person must live 30 days outside the womb before the family may hold a funeral, say Kaddish, the prayer for the dead, or observe shiva, the traditional seven-day mourning period.”[34] This is supported by the Jewish theological assumption that “up through 40 days after conception… the embryo is… merely water.”[35]

However, many rabbis claim that Judaism doesn’t have “a definitive set of do’s and don’ts” for these women and that “rabbis can help by developing a concrete set of ways to mourn” for those experiencing this loss. [36]One rabbi explains that she “didn’t lose a baby… [or] even a fetus. [She] lost an embryo… but that embryo was supposed to… grow into a fetus. [She] would have delivered a baby.” Many grieving parents use modified versions of traditional Jewish practices, usually with a rabbi’s cooperation. For example, this woman attended the mikveh[37] to “acknowledge that [her] body, which was supposed to create life, had in fact held a sort of death. [She] needed to… wash that away… to be ready for new life again.”[38] These makeshift rituals can involve “readings from the Bible… words of shared anguish,” “formal funeral services… quiet meditations and candle-lightings… poems… cast off to sea,” a buried lock of the prenate’s hair, planted flowers over makeshift graves, “keria’ah, the symbolic tearing of a garment,” letters written to the prenate, and funerary meals.[39] These rituals, rooted in traditional Jewish practices, are oriented towards healing for grieving mothers.

Western Muslim mourners encounter this dilemma more acutely because most believe “that ‘life’ begins when the ruh (spirit) has been breathed into the baby…  at the 120-day point.”[40] A prenate is culturally only considered a child after 120 days, a much later starting point than most other traditions. Most Western Muslims believe that the “most important marking of Islamic personhood” (the az ̄an) and a Muslim burial (a  jan ̄aza) can only be administered to a living fetus.[41] Therefore, “Parents of miscarried or stillborn babies, or babies who die before receiving aza ̄n, are… denied public recognition of both their child’s personhood and their own bereavement.”[42] It is culturally defiant to even name your dead prenate if it was born before 120 days, although Islamic orthodox scholarship technically allows for naming and for jan ̄aza (even without aza ̄n).[43] Muslim culture strongly condemns abortion and similar practices (leading many to hide their abortions) and considers failed pregnancy proper justification for divorce; both beliefs put women who have experienced perinatal loss under additional suspicion and distress.[44]

Different “interpretations of the Quranic verses and Hadith” cause these discrepancies “between local customary practice… and Islamic orthodoxy.”[45] Most deceased prenates, in accordance with cultural norms, are buried in a separate Muslim cemetery with no identification or ceremony, which can further aggreviate mothers’ suffering.[46] To combat this, mothers with precarious pregnancies will do all they can to ensure that the child will survive and receive aza ̄n. Though some interpretations do allow for Muslim funerals for prenates, this fact is either unknown or ignored by the broader community. Even if this were culturally accepted, other initiation rites (such as naming, circumcision, and head-shaving) would still be missing for the Muslim prenate.

The Greek Orthodox Church does not distinguish on the basis of baptism; it only has “one funeral rite for infants whether baptised or not yet baptised, and the Church prays for all deceased infants that they may be received into… eternal life.”[47] “The Service of Burial of an Infant” reflects the Church’s belief “that life begins at conception.” One Greek Orthodox mother, the wife of a New York Orthodox Priest, asserts that mourning perinatal loss is both common and Christian, citing Jesus weeping in John 11:35. On the “Orthodox Church in America” website, she gives practical tips for organizing an annual “Service of Prayer” and for assisting grieving couples.[48] She also includes a link to namingthechild.com, where mourners can share their story of perinatal loss via letters, poems, photos, or videos. Run by a Greek Orthodox mother (also a priest’s wife), this website provides an online community and “Hope-filled reflections on Miscarriage, Stillbirth, and Infant death.” The main page features letters, poetry, articles, archives, and a “99 balloons” video, documenting the short but joy-filled life of a disabled infant. These ritualized behaviors, which include prayer, naming, and various forms of commemoration, is similar to that of other faith traditions.

The Buddhist ritual of mizuko kuyō in an American context is “human-centric, not only for the families but also for the redirected” fetuses.[49] These “remembrance rituals… [provide] structured support to families in their efforts to mourn” and commemorate lost prenates. Unlike the other traditions, these rituals are based on the impermanent, non-individualistic, continuous “self,” as well as the counteraction of bad karma. Akin to “the Western philosophy of Utilitarianism,” Buddhism allows for a looser definition of permissible abortion. Japanese-American Buddhists follow the general pattern of the traditional mizuko kuyō without the connotations of avoiding “spirit attacks.” The ritual, requested by a mourner and executed by a Buddhist priest, occurs in the main part of the temple and involves chant, intercessions, and “offerings of toys and food.” In addition, the woman prays to a small statue of “the patron deity of deceased children and aborted fetuses.” The liturgy is designed to reconcile “past bad fortune” and prevent “additional acquisition of bad karma.” The absence of an individual soul and the presence of (albeit abstract) karma make these rituals stand out among those previously discussed.

PART III: Liturgy: “Another Part of the Healing Process”[50]

These rituals bring about healing for mothers dealing with perinatal death by firstly, acknowledging the prenate and the sorrow of those suffering its loss (especially mothers); secondly, reframing the loss within a context of hope; thirdly, providing concrete meaning for an under-ritualized event; and, fourthly, reinstating the prenate within a non-liminal societal context.

Through ritual memorialization, the fetus is usually acknowledged as a child; by extension, the woman is acknowledged as a mother.[51] Liturgies acknowledge the child’s loss and affirm mothers’ “continuing worth within…  communit[ies].”[52] They “change how pregnancy-loss experiences are understood… by reframing them within… narratives of forgiveness and healing.”[53] Not only are the rituals filled with hope, but the mourners themselves are given “a new way to imagine and to live amid pain and fragmentation.”[54] Rituals “provid[e] the comfort of [religious] tradition” and allow women to recognize their losses as real and valid in the context of their religious beliefs.[55] This acknowledgement and reframing is crucial to healing for those who have suffered perinatal loss. These rituals and liturgies “have ‘an imprint of the ages, but allow flexibility and personalization to be meaningful.’ ”[56]

Rituals also provide a concrete way of processing grief and providing non-discursive meaning for an under-ritualized event. “Concrete physical acts” “all give spatial veracity to the marking of time in the elongated moment” of liturgy.[57] These rituals provide reconciliation between the mother and her prenate,[58] as well as “a sense of control” for mourners who feel “like they have lost any semblance of control of their world.”[59] As Debora J. Brin says, “The basic process of creating ritual is part of our continual search for meaning” in a world filled with “tension and ambiguity,” especially as concerns perinatal death.[60] Rituals, especially in a liturgical context, embrace these tensions and ambiguities in a way that cannot be accomplished by bare “discursive argument” or empathy-sparse theological treatises.[61] These elongated moments embody the inner and outer conflicts associated with pregnancy loss and provide a concrete way for women to process their grief.

The acknowledgement of loss must go beyond the mother and into the broader community in order to escape the liminal space in which these prenates have previously been situated. Liturgies, especially funerary ones, turn “the physical death of a stillborn child into a socially recognised death,” into the loss of a community member.[62] They affirm “the worth of the deceased in the eyes of all who participate,” leading to an acknowledgment of a real loss and to a “wealth of support.”[63] In the case of a funeral for multiple lost prenates, shared liturgy makes these losses public and, more importantly, shared.[64] “These institutionalized practices” alter “the ‘culture of secrecy’” surrounding perinatal loss, especially in its delicate modern framework.[65] This “double rite of passage” socially integrates prenates “into the worlds of both the living and the dead,” which is almost insurmountably difficult to do with pure dialogue.[66] The social acceptance of the child helps bring about healing and unity within the woman and within her social and religious communities. When it comes to perinatal loss, it seems that “everybody needs a ritual… whether they admit it or not.”[67]

Bibliography

Brown, Hannah. n.d. “Key Tenets of Classical Buddhist Dharma Leave Space for the Practice of Abortion and Are Upheld by Contemporary Japanese Buddhist Mizuko Kuyo Remembrance Rituals.” Journal of Religion and Health 58 (2): 476–89. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10943-019-00763-4.

Cherry, Mark J. 2011. “Sex, Abortion, and Infanticide: The Gulf Between the Secular and the Divine.” Christian Bioethics 17 (1): 25–46. https://doi.org/10.1093/cb/cbr005.

Cozen-Harel, Jill. “How Jewish Rituals Helped Me Mourn My Miscarriage.” Forward, The (New York, NY), October 25, 2019. NewsBank: Access World News – Historical and Current. https://infoweb-newsbank-com.proxy.library.nd.edu/apps/news/document-view?p=WORLDNEWS&docref=news/176CB2D96A946BD0.

Deborah J. Brin (2004). The Use of Rituals in Grieving for a Miscarriage or Stillbirth, Women & Therapy, 27:3-4, 123-132, Published 25 Sep 2008. DOI: 10.1300/J015v27n03_09.

Eilberg, Amy. 1992. “”Jewish Rituals Affirm the Essence of Grief Which Needs to Be Acknowledged Immediately after a Loss”.” Women’s League Outlook 62 (3): 15. http://search.proquest.com/docview/218358772/.

Ellercamp, Amanda. Diocese of Bismarck, nd. “Mass for Children Who Died Before Baptism.” https://d2y1pz2y630308.cloudfront.net/2950/documents/Family%20Ministry/MassforChildrenWhoDiedBeforeBaptism.pdf

Fein, Esther B. 1998. “For Lost Pregnancies, New Rites of Mourning.(Metropolitan Desk).” The New York Times, 1998.

From the Book of Blessings, © 1988, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Washington, DC. “Blessing of Parents after a miscarriage or stillbirth.” http://www.usccb.org/prayer-and-worship/bereavement-and-funerals/blessing-of-parents-after-a-miscarriage-or-stillbirth.cfm

International Theological Commission (ITC), “The Hope of Salvation for Infants Who Die without Being Baptized,” 2007, http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/cti_documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_20070419_un-baptised-infants_en.html.

Kack-Brice, Valerie. 1997. “The Poetics of Abortion.” Women & Therapy 20 (3): 79–95. https://doi.org/10.1300/J015v20n03_06.

Kraus, Matushka Dennise, 2010. “October: Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month.” Orthodox Church in America, https://www.oca.org/parish-ministry/familylife/october-pregnancy-and-infant-loss-awarenEss-month

N.a., n.d. “Patron of the Unborn,” Oblates of St. Joseph. http://osjusa.org/about-us/apostolates/patron-of-the-unborn/

O’Donnell, Karen. 2019. “Reproductive Loss: Toward a Theology of Bodies.” Theology & Sexuality 25 (1-2): 146–59. https://doi.org/10.1080/13558358.2018.1548161.

Peelen, Janneke. 2009. “Reversing the Past: Monuments for Stillborn Children.” Mortality: Mortuary Rituals in The Netherlands 14 (2): 173–86. https://doi.org/10.1080/13576270902808043.

Ramshaw, Elaine. 1988. “Ritual for Stillbirth: Exploring the Issues.” Worship 62 (6). http://search.proquest.com/docview/1300083511/.

Shaw, Alison. 2014. “RITUALS OF INFANT DEATH: DEFINING LIFE AND ISLAMIC PERSONHOOD.” Bioethics 28 (2): 84–95. https://doi.org/10.1111/bioe.12047.

Theresa Olohan, “Klopfer’s Abortion Victims Receive Local Funeral,” Rover (Notre Dame, IN), Feb 27, 2020. https://irishrover.net/2020/02/klopfers-abortion-victims-receive-local-funeral/

Walsh, M. (2017). Emerging Trends in Pregnancy-Loss Memorialization in American Catholicism. Horizons, 44(2), 369-398. doi:10.1017/hor.2017.63.

Edited By: Ariel Hobbs


[1] Deborah J. Brin (2004). “The Use of Rituals in Grieving for a Miscarriage or Stillbirth.”

[2] In this paper, “perinatal loss” refers to a lost pregnancy or conception. Walsh explains that “While the anguish and grief that often accompany infertility are undeniable… they are different in nature from [that] experienced by women who are able to conceive yet go on to lose or terminate a pregnancy” (Walsh, M. (2017). “Emerging Trends in Pregnancy-Loss Memorialization in American Catholicism”).

[3] Walsh, M. (2017). “Emerging Trends in Pregnancy-Loss Memorialization in American Catholicism.”

[4] Cherry, Mark J. 2011. “Sex, Abortion, and Infanticide: The Gulf Between the Secular and the Divine.”

[5] Cherry, Mark J. 2011. “Sex, Abortion, and Infanticide: The Gulf Between the Secular and the Divine.” International Theological Commission (ITC), “The Hope of Salvation for Infants Who Die without Being Baptized,” 2007.

[6] Peelen, Janneke. 2009. “Reversing the Past: Monuments for Stillborn Children.”

[7] Fein, Esther B. 1998. “For Lost Pregnancies, New Rites of Mourning.(Metropolitan Desk).” The New York Times, 1998.

[8] Ramshaw, Elaine. 1988. “Ritual for Stillbirth: Exploring the Issues.” Worship 62 (6). http://search.proquest.com/docview/1300083511/.

[9] In-vitro fertilization.

[10] Fein, Esther B. 1998. “For Lost Pregnancies, New Rites of Mourning.(Metropolitan Desk).” The New York Times, 1998.

[11] Peelen, Janneke. 2009. “Reversing the Past: Monuments for Stillborn Children.”

[12] Brown, Hannah. n.d. “Key Tenets of Classical Buddhist Dharma Leave Space for the Practice of Abortion and Are Upheld by Contemporary Japanese Buddhist Mizuko Kuyo Remembrance Rituals.”

[13] Cozen-Harel, Jill. “How Jewish Rituals Helped Me Mourn My Miscarriage.” Forward, The (New York, NY), October 25, 2019. NewsBank: Access World News – Historical and Current.

[14] O’Donnell, Karen. 2019. “Reproductive Loss: Toward a Theology of Bodies.” Theology & Sexuality 25 (1-2): 146–59. https://doi.org/10.1080/13558358.2018.1548161.

[15] Peelen, Janneke. 2009. “Reversing the Past: Monuments for Stillborn Children.”

[16] Ramshaw, Elaine. 1988. “Ritual for Stillbirth: Exploring the Issues.”

[17] Walsh, M. (2017). “Emerging Trends in Pregnancy-Loss Memorialization in American Catholicism.”

[18] Ibid.

[19] Kack-Brice, Valerie. 1997. “The Poetics of Abortion.” Women & Therapy 20 (3): 79–95. https://doi.org/10.1300/J015v20n03_06. Walsh, M. (2017). “Emerging Trends in Pregnancy-Loss Memorialization in American Catholicism.”

[20] O’Donnell, Karen. 2019. “Reproductive Loss: Toward a Theology of Bodies.”

[21] Pope John Paul II. 1995. “Evangelium Vitae.” Origins 24 (42): 689, 691–730.

[22] International Theological Commission (ITC), “The Hope of Salvation for Infants Who Die without Being Baptized,” 2007.

[23] From the Book of Blessings, © 1988, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Washington, DC. “Blessing of Parents after a miscarriage or stillbirth.” http://www.usccb.org/prayer-and-worship/bereavement-and-funerals/blessing-of-parents-after-a-miscarriage-or-stillbirth.cfm

[24]  Ibid.

[25] Ibid. The prayer invokes “God, who throughout the ages / has heard the cries of parents” and the Virgin Mary, “who grieved by the Cross of her Son.”

[26] The alternate form of the prayer acknowledges more of the sorrow involved, imploring God to provide “peace in our sorrow, / consolation in our grief, / and strength to accept his will in all things.” The mourners’ trust in God is always added to the main, more consolation-based portion of this blessing.

[27] Fein, Esther B. 1998. “For Lost Pregnancies, New Rites of Mourning.(Metropolitan Desk).” The New York Times, 1998.

[28] Ellercamp, Amanda. Diocese of Bismarck, nd. “Mass for Children Who Died Before Baptism.” https://d2y1pz2y630308.cloudfront.net/2950/documents/Family%20Ministry/MassforChildrenWhoDiedBeforeBaptism.pdf

[29] Theresa Olohan, “Klopfer’s Abortion Victims Receive Local Funeral,” Rover (Notre Dame, IN), Feb 27, 2020. https://irishrover.net/2020/02/klopfers-abortion-victims-receive-local-funeral/

[30] Walsh, M. (2017). “Emerging Trends in Pregnancy-Loss Memorialization in American Catholicism.”

[31] Ibid.

[32] N.a., n.d. “Patron of the Unborn,” Oblates of St. Joseph. http://osjusa.org/about-us/apostolates/patron-of-the-unborn/

[33] Eilberg, Amy. 1992. “”Jewish Rituals Affirm the Essence of Grief Which Needs to Be Acknowledged Immediately after a Loss”.” Women’s League Outlook 62 (3): 15. http://search.proquest.com/docview/218358772/.

[34] Fein, Esther B. 1998. “For Lost Pregnancies, New Rites of Mourning.(Metropolitan Desk).” The New York Times, 1998.

[35] Cozen-Harel, Jill. “How Jewish Rituals Helped Me Mourn My Miscarriage.”

[36] Ibid.

[37] A traditional bathing ritual for Jewish women that is aimed at ritual cleanliness.

[38] Cozen-Harel, Jill. “How Jewish Rituals Helped Me Mourn My Miscarriage.”

[39] Deborah J. Brin (2004) “The Use of Rituals in Grieving for a Miscarriage or Stillbirth.” Fein, Esther B. 1998. “For Lost Pregnancies, New Rites of Mourning.(Metropolitan Desk).” The New York Times, 1998.

[40] Shaw, Alison. 2014. “RITUALS OF INFANT DEATH: DEFINING LIFE AND ISLAMIC PERSONHOOD.” Bioethics 28 (2): 84–95. https://doi.org/10.1111/bioe.12047.

[41] Ibid.

[42] Ibid.

[43] Ibid.

[44] Ibid. It should also be noted that “some Muslim scholars have issued authoritative alternative interpretations of the Islamic position on abortion. These interpretations include fetal abnormality as a reasonable ground for abortion before 120 days of conception.” At least on paper, the religion does not condemn abortion entirely.

[45] Ibid.

[46] Ibid. Few prenates are buried in the primary Muslim cemetery. This situation may be influenced by “other potential constraints on publicly acknowledged Muslim burial of infants, such as the cost of interment in the Muslim cemetery.”

[47] International Theological Commission (ITC), “The Hope of Salvation for Infants Who Die without Being Baptized,” 2007.

[48] Examples include an anniversary “card, call, or visit” and keeping in mind the grief felt by the prenate’s father and siblings, who are “very often overlooked” (Kraus, Matushka Dennise, 2010. “October: Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month.” Orthodox Church in America, https://www.oca.org/parish-ministry/familylife/october-pregnancy-and-infant-loss-awareness-month).

[49] For quotations for the entire paragraph, see Brown, Hannah. n.d. “Key Tenets of Classical Buddhist Dharma Leave Space for the Practice of Abortion and Are Upheld by Contemporary Japanese Buddhist Mizuko Kuyo Remembrance Rituals.”.

[50] Theresa Olohan, “Klopfer’s Abortion Victims Receive Local Funeral,” Rover.

[51] Walsh, M. (2017). “Emerging Trends in Pregnancy-Loss Memorialization in American Catholicism.”

[52] Shaw, Alison. 2014. “RITUALS OF INFANT DEATH: DEFINING LIFE AND ISLAMIC PERSONHOOD.”

[53] Walsh, M. (2017). “Emerging Trends in Pregnancy-Loss Memorialization in American Catholicism.”

[54] Ibid.

[55] Deborah J. Brin (2004). “The Use of Rituals in Grieving for a Miscarriage or Stillbirth.” See also Cozen-Harel, Jill. “How Jewish Rituals Helped Me Mourn My Miscarriage.”

[56] Fein, Esther B. 1998. “For Lost Pregnancies, New Rites of Mourning.(Metropolitan Desk).”

[57] Cozen-Harel, Jill. “How Jewish Rituals Helped Me Mourn My Miscarriage.” See also Deborah J. Brin (2004). “The Use of Rituals in Grieving for a Miscarriage or Stillbirth.”

[58] This can be accomplished through rituals such as writing letters to lost prenates, spending time at a pregnancy-loss memorial, and offering reparations via mizuko kuyō, which provides “spiritual contact” between the prenate and its parents.

[59] Cozen-Harel, Jill. “How Jewish Rituals Helped Me Mourn My Miscarriage.”

[60] Deborah J. Brin (2004). “The Use of Rituals in Grieving for a Miscarriage or Stillbirth.” See also Walsh, M. (2017). “Emerging Trends in Pregnancy-Loss Memorialization in American Catholicism.”

[61] Shaw, Alison. 2014. “RITUALS OF INFANT DEATH: DEFINING LIFE AND ISLAMIC PERSONHOOD.” Walsh, M. (2017). “Emerging Trends in Pregnancy-Loss Memorialization in American Catholicism.”

[62] Peelen, Janneke. 2009. “Reversing the Past: Monuments for Stillborn Children.”

[63] Shaw, Alison. 2014. “RITUALS OF INFANT DEATH: DEFINING LIFE AND ISLAMIC PERSONHOOD.” Fein, Esther B. 1998. “For Lost Pregnancies, New Rites of Mourning.(Metropolitan Desk).”

[64] Walsh, M. (2017). “Emerging Trends in Pregnancy-Loss Memorialization in American Catholicism.”

[65] Brown, Hannah. n.d. “Key Tenets of Classical Buddhist Dharma Leave Space for the Practice of Abortion and Are Upheld by Contemporary Japanese Buddhist Mizuko Kuyo Remembrance Rituals.”

[66] Peelen, Janneke. 2009. “Reversing the Past: Monuments for Stillborn Children.” Jill Cozen-Harel explains this struggle of telling people about her miscarriage after the fact: “I had to tell them three secrets at once: (a) I decided to try to become a parent (b) I had been elated that I got pregnant (c) I am now crushed because I had a miscarriage and now I need you to be gentle with me. Sharing pregnancy news – whether about anew pregnancy or a pregnancy loss – is an incredibly vulnerable act” (Cozen-Harel, Jill. “How Jewish Rituals Helped Me Mourn My Miscarriage”).

[67] Fein, Esther B. 1998. “For Lost Pregnancies, New Rites of Mourning.(Metropolitan Desk).”

I’m a junior computer science major at Franciscan University of Steubenville. I enjoy computer programming, spending time with friends, and being with Jesus in front of the Blessed Sacrament. I am very charismatic and long to see the Body of Christ united and the Kingdom of God alive, as all pour out their praises to the One who is their Love.

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