In two weeks, I'll be co-presenting with my dear friend and colleague Rev. Margaret Northall, RN, at the Parliament of the World's Religions on the topic: Reclaiming Dignity in Silenced Perinatal Grief: An Interfaith Approach. The vision for the project was birthed into being last year during our pilgramige to Crete, the home of Knossos and the Minoans, the last of the goddess-based civilizations. Since the day this photo was taken in a tiny seaport town of Loutro, this picture has served as our mandala for our journey of reclaiming silenced perinatal grief.
The presentation will offered in two parts: first, a didactic exploration of the complex dimensions of disenfranchised grief and perinatal loss, uncovering its impact on the health and well-being of women, and on our society. This will be followed by an Interfaith healing grief ritual, intended to faciliate a spiritual healing for those grieving perinatal loss and those who love someone who is. We are bringing everything we need to create sacred space and faciliate a process of healing for those attending, including quartz crystal hearts, feathers, candles, and my Native American flute, which I will play at intervals throughout the ritual.
Just today, Margaret and I had the opportunity to interview Rev. Louise DiMattio, a retired RN and fellow alumna from the Chaplaincy Institute, by Zoom about both her extensive career as a Labor and Delivery nurse and manager and now chaplain ministering to a similar population. Rev. Louise affirmed the practice of naming ceremonies other rituals to help women and families cope with loss. Only by first affirming the existence of a relationship, can one begin the process of truly grieving it. Rev. Louise shared the many ways she and her staff took time not only to help meet and support families in their grief, but also the ways in which staff was supported in order to promote resilience and care of soul. Margaret and I hope this is the first of many meetings with Rev. Louise!