Friday, October 19, 2012

Mizuko jizo: water child: revisited


In the summer of 2008, Will and I traveled to Japan with Will's parents. It would be our last major trip with both his parents before his father would become too ill to travel overseas. We had a wonderful time, but it was a trip I had mixed feelings about going on. I was reeling from our second miscarriage in six months. My loss felt raw and poignant.

Here are some excerpts from a post I wrote about it at the time:
"As we arrived in Japan, I had just stopped bleeding from the D&C... We found when we arrived that Japan has space in its culture to acknowledge pregnancy loss in ways that don't exist in the United States...
'Mizuko' is the Japanese word for a miscarried baby. It translates to 'water child' because in Japanese Buddhism it is believed that the soul flows slowly into a child, the child becoming more solid as they age. In this way the mizuko is somewhere on the spectrum between being and nonbeing, neither a full person nor a nonperson. I loved this conceptualization. It seemed to fit perfectly with our experience of these betwixt and between lives. These losses that were so real but also felt vague and undefined. 
You can make an offering to Jizo, a Bodhisattva who will help your mizuko find a second way into being, helping it to either return to you in the form of another baby, or to find another family...We had read in a Peggy Orenstein essay about her miscarriage in Japan that we could also leave toys with a Jizo to help our two lost babies find a way back into being. So amid our other sightseeing, we detoured to a toy store and bought small gifts." 
Will and I in 2008, making our offering of baby toys in front of a Jizo statue in Tokyo
"Later in our trip we found ourselves at the top of a hill... We found a Nanairo-no-yadorigi tree and read that this tree is famous for its symbolic ties to fertility and pregnancy. You can write a wish on a piece of paper and twist it around a tree branch to help you conceive and protect an unborn child.
So we tied our offering to this tree, a prayerful wish that we would conceive a healthy child. The custom is that when our wish is granted we should return to the tree and find and untie the paper."

Tying our wish for a healthy, living child to the Nanairo-no-yadorigi tree

I am certain our original note has long since vanished from this tree. Four years have passed, and Japan has been ravaged in the meantime with its own disasters.

As I wrote this post four years ago, my heart was so broken, but still so hopeful. And as many of you know, my heart continued to be broken again and again - over six lost babies, and many other times over failed IVF cycle after cycle where there was no glimmer even of a life.

I often thought about our prayerful offerings, our wish tied so hopefully to a tree. Wondered why no one heard our wish. Why we couldn't find our way out the other side, no matter how much we longed for it, no matter how much we tried.

And now here we are... It feels like a lifetime from then.

It is Fall of 2012. My own body is full, overflowing with child. A child who has felt to me to be made of water throughout the pregnancy but whose soul has been quietly flowing into her as the months have passed. A child whose body has become more and more solid until now, when she is about to be born.

Born in just a few days.

Here.

At last.

Mo

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67 comments:

Allison said...

I got chills. What an amazing post. I've often wondered why miscarriage is often not accepted or understood as a full "loss" in our society. I cannot wait to see your birth story. What an emotional day that will be!

sprogblogger said...

Oh yes. Yes to it all. Will be thinking of you pretty much constantly these next few days.

Danielle said...

So beautiful, Mo. Our home is full of mizuko jizo, and we named our first lost baby Kai, which means "water" or "sea." This has always resonated with me more than anything our culture has to say about loss and babies who don't get to come home.

Waiting with you and sharing in your wonder.

Jennifer C. said...

What a beautiful story...very happy for you and best wishes on Monday.

jenicini said...

It seems to explain it so perfectly. I'm so happy for you two! Good luck!

Anonymous said...

transformation.
we all feel it happening for you, mo. you, and magpie, and will. monday cannot come soon enough.

sending you so much love, from maine. monday is a great day to have a baby!

Aspgriswold said...

This post brought tears to my eyes. So incredibly excited for you. Can't wait to hear about the moment you get to hold sweet litlte magpie.

kim2649 said...

That was beautifully written and I'm getting all teary-eyed. I'm so very happy for you and I'll be thinking of you all weekend. Monday is going to be wonderful!

Jesse said...

Beautiful.

Cassie said...

Such a poignant post. You are such an inspiration to so many people. I can't believe you are going to be holding your little Magpie in just a few days. So happy for you!

Unknown said...

Weepy here. Clicked over and saw my name along with so many other familiar ones in the comments. I'm honored to have shared this journey with you, and to see it reach this joyful moment that is so very close.

Once you've settled in with your girl, please giver her a kiss on the forehead, and tell her it's from The Internets, who love her, too.

Dora said...

Ugh! That was me. Google login issue.

Reagan and Trevor's Mommy said...

This is the single most beautiful post I have ever read. I am beyond happy that your wish is coming true in just a few short days. So much love from around the world will be there to greet her. I wish you a speedy and wonderful delivery.

glamcookie said...

Beautiful post. I'm so happy you are at this point. Can't wait to "meet" your gorgeous girl.

Rebeccah said...

We have a small jizo statue in our home - a bittersweet reminder. I'm looking at it now as I nurse my daughter. May your meeting your daughter be joyous!

Jjiraffe said...

Beautiful post. I read Peggy Orenstein's book and she talked extensively about this custom, and it left me wondering why there wasn't any equivalent in Western culture...

Jenna said...

Been silently reading your blog. This story is beautiful. The perfect words to symbolize a miscarriage, the works I have been looking for since May. Thank you for sharing and I wish and pray for everything wonderful for you two (or should I say three?)

Blessings.

mommyhoodafterfertilityfrustration said...

I'm loving this post!!! So beautiful! I'm so excited the little magpie is almost here...praying the next few days bring you peace!!!

manapan said...

You just made me cry at work! :)

So happy that you're finally at this point. I can't wait for you to welcome your sweet, long-awaited, precious little girl!

Anonymous said...

I stumbled across your blog a couple years ago after my first miscarriage when I was simply looking around for ways to cope and have silently followed it ever since shedding tears along the way. When I finally fell pregnant in October last year I still followed your posts still except i followef also feeling guilty at my own success as my pregnancy progressed and you still struggled. Well I have to say I am so unbelievably happy for you that you have reached the end of your pregnancy and am days away from meeting your baby girl!! All along i thought I'll speak up and congratulate you once your past 3 months.. Then once you made that I thought oh I better wait till 27 weeks and so it continued.. Until now.. I want to pass on a huge congratulations to you! And thank you for sharing your journey. You do not realize how many people you have helped along the way, myself included. You put thoughts and feelings and emotions into words I could not and having someone feel the same way I have has really helped me in my own journey to motherhood. So sincerely thank you from a total stranger from Sydney, Australia who you have deeply touched. Your an amazing inspiring woman and I can't express how happy I am for you! Congratulations once again! Tanya xxx

Jessica said...

Tears... what a beautifully written post, Mo. And what a beautiful time ahead for you and Will. Magpie has been a long, long time coming and I can't imagine a more wanted, already-loved child.

Kristen {www.buckupbuttercup.net} said...

I got all teary reading this...lovely post. And I wanted to tell you I was also induced and for me too not how I pictured the birth...but for me in the end it so didn't matter...all of the magic of the experience was still there. Good luck...will be thinking of you...so incredibly excited for you!

Danielle said...

Two days. She'll be here in two days. How very, very beautiful.

Maggie said...

Beautiful. I am so very happy for you and Will. Your sweet girl is going to be amazing and I can't wait for you to kiss and hug and love her.

TurtleMama said...

Beautiful post - gave me chills. I love the imagery - so happy for you and Will that your baby is almost here into this world!

newbie said...

Beautiful post Mo. I can't believe it's happening for you so soon! You are about to be so happy, new motherhood is amazing!

Lyndsey Davis said...

First of all, congratulations! I've been following along for a while and I am so excited that you've made it. You've been through more than I think I could handle and I commend you for never giving up. Secondly, I write for selfish reasons. ;) we are looking into getting tested for immune issues and I wanted your advice. I know the research doesn't support it but there are so many people like yourself that it has worked for. I've only lost 3 babies but I really don't want to add any more. Our RE suggested donor eggs/embryos but if my body is killing babies that won't help. If you don't have time to comment because you are getting ready for your life-changing event, I will understand. :)

Lydia said...

This post is so beautifully written it made me cry. You are an inspiration to the entire community.

Anonymous said...

Fellow October 2012 mommy and longtime reader here. So, so happy for you. Can't wait to hear about your delivery. Enjoy your last child-free weekend!

Augusta said...

what a moving post, Mo. Magpie will be here in all her glory so very soon.

poppy.f.seed said...

Really lovely! I love hearing about these traditions.
I had many quixotic dreams and feelings about our angel baby while about to deliver Acorn.
So happy your journey is about to make a big leap forward!

Linda said...

I have been following your blog for years, yet I don't comment much. I am sitting here bawling right now because I am so happy that your dream of having a baby is finally coming true!! This is your time!! Can't wait for you to be snuggling with your little miracle on Monday!! We will be praying for you!

Anonymous said...

Beautiful!

Kahla said...

<3 Gives me goosebumps. I am so, so very happy and thankful for your little blessing. Miracles happen and wishes do come true. Your sweet baby girl is proof!

babyinterrupted said...

Well, now I'm just crying. But with a great deal of joy - for our water baby, and yours. Will be thinking of you on Monday.

luna said...

exquisite. perfect. yay.

Anonymous said...

hey mo!
good luck tomorrow-
whatever happens, its going to end with little magpie on the outside, and that's the best!
its so awesome to see your pregnancy counter at 6 days! and its happening tomorrow!

maybe one last picture of you and that beautiful magpie-belly?

in any case, congratulations to you and will! please update as soon as you can!

Anonymous said...

One day!! How are you preparing?

Katy said...

I am a long time lurker...this post really made it necessary for me to come out of my lurkdom. Your post brought tears to my eyes! I am so, so, so happy for you and your family! Congratulations and I hope everything goes smoothly. I love your imagery of the soul quietly slipping into your child. Just breathtaking. Xoxo!

gwinne said...

Lovely post.

I hope you and Will are enjoying this last day (!) as a family of two. Can't wait to hear about Magpie's safe arrival.

I think I want this day almost as much as I wanted Tiny Boy!

Anonymous said...

What an amazing post. I have been following your blog for years, and am SO happy for you. May this precious little Magpie bring an overflowing abundance of love and fulfillment to you and Will. I'll be thinking of you tomorrow. Thanks for sharing. Heather

nurslouisa said...

Very weepy, what a lovely true post. Thank you for sharing your journey you have given hope to so many. Good luck on Monday! I will be thinking of you and sending you many good thoughts!

Kate said...

thinking of you non-stop.
xoxo
kate

Anonymous said...

I've been following your blog for over 2 years. Sending lots of positive thoughts and prayers, knowing that you're finally, finally gonna get to experience life's greatest gift! Saw a really cute baby dress yesterday and thought about how much fun you're gonna have just dressing up little Magpie! Holding my breath waiting to see her first pics!!

Marie said...

I have been reading you for years and am so thrilled that tomorrow your day will finally be here. Wishing nothing but the best to you, Will and Magpie and will continue to read as you navigate motherhood and all the joys to follow. Bless you Mo.

Rebecca said...

Been thinking of you, Mo, as tomorrow is almost here. My third birth didn't go as I'd hoped it would. Far from it. And part of me is still very frustrated by that. But the thing that I've learned as a parent for the last 13 years is that few things really are as we expect them to be. Accepting that, for me at least, has made me a better parent.

I know tomorrow will be filled with joy, no matter what. You become a mother! Sending strong mama thoughts your way.

Anonymous said...

well, one last check in before tomorrow...

all my best to you and will!
mostly you, since you will be doing the birthing :)

Emily Erin said...

What a beautiful post honoring your water babies. Wishing you and Ms. Magpie well as you prepare for her birth. Holding you all up in good thoughts and praying for a joyful birth.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful post. Wishing that tomorrow is a healing experience for you after all the pain you've been through. So happy for you!

Kate said...

A lovely post. I am a long-time reader but infrequent commenter. I have been thinking of you and Will all weekend, looking to tomorrow and all of the wonderful new experiences that are on the horizon for your family. Best wishes for your first face-to-face meeting with Magpie tomorrow!

Kami said...

Yep. Tears of joy flowing from my eyes. I'm so excited for you. Praying for a smooth delivery tomorrow. Hugs!

Kami

CAS said...

Love this cirlcle back to the Japanese tree and here you are so close. Thinking of you and how everthing goes well with her birth.

Jessica said...

Mo, on the eve of your induction... I am praying HARD for you, for Will, for Magpie, and for the doctors and nurses who will attend to you. You will be on my heart all day tomorrow as you meet your daughter, who - I can assure you - will be worth every tear, every dime, and every minute. She will heal a part of you, not all, but some. Your greatest adventure begins tomorrow! Good luck and God bless!

Alexicographer said...

Thinking of you all, and will be tomorrow too of course. Here's to the arrival of a safe, healthy, and happy Magpie.

Soko's Journey to Parenthood said...

Good luck on everything tomorrow. Just try to enjoy every second as it will pass faster than it feels. You two so deserve this and the moment she arrives and you hear her cry for the first time is like nothing you will everbe able to put words to.

Keeping you in our thoughts and prayers. Keep us posted. Take care

Danielle said...

Thinking of you. So close now.

Sarah said...

Best wishes for tomorrow. You've been waiting so long for this day. Thinking of you and cheering Magpie on!

Clare said...

I have followed your amazing story - will be thinking of you and Will today so very much as you meet Magpie xxxxx

sonja said...

Thinking of you today and wishing you all the best of luck!

asrubin10 said...

Can't wait to read an update from you later! All the best to you today!!!

Gil said...

Today is the day. Sending love, prayers and best wishes to you and Will. May everything go smoothly and I hope to read an update in the coming couple of days. Huge hugs coming at you all! I am so excited for all of you.

Dora said...

It's Magpie Day! Hoping it's quick and easy, then just bliss (and a great latch!). Much love!

Heather said...

You were the first thing on my mind this morning (after coffee). Blessings on your special day and Happy Birthday to Magpie!

Roccie said...

What a magnificent post.

Oh my goose bumps, just thinking where you are right now!

Are you holding The Magpie?????

sprogblogger said...

Thinking of you all day today. Will continue to do so (though really hope that you're either fast asleep, or blissfully cuddling Miss Magpie.)

Lisa said...

Tears are flowing. What a beautiful post. I'm so glad your prayers have been answered and your wishes are coming true. I can't think of 2 more deserving people.

Meim said...

Mo, this is such a beautiful post! I have re-read it twice now.

Thank you for such beautiful words, and for another way of thinking of my own lost babies.

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