After my recent retreat with Return to Zero Healing Center, I imagined what it would be like if, in her grief, every babyloss mama could enter sacred space for a time, supported in her healing and surrounded by other bereaved mamas. I call this tribe the Clan of Brave Mothers.
I found my babyloss mama tribe after my baby died.
A part of me died then, too, and I no longer knew how to live in the world as I had before. I needed a safe place to fall to my knees and grieve fully. To say my baby’s name out loud and tell our story without shame, guilt, or blame. I needed to be welcomed with open arms, given soft shoulders to cry on, and strong hands to hold mine while I learned to walk upright again. That’s when I joined the Clan of Brave Mothers.
Brave Mothers come from near and far to be together. We are all ages, colors, and creeds. Some have children from before or after our loss, some have only the ones we grieve. We may have partners, husbands, fathers, or other mothers to our children. Some mother our babies all on our own.
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What we share is the love we feel, a love that fills us so full that it spills out in tears of grief and longing, in shouts and songs of sorrow and mourning. When we come together, we see that deep love reflected back at us in each other’s eyes. It reveals to us our own strength, bravery, grace, and compassion.
We meet each other on sacred land.
Held by the beauty and simplicity of Mother Earth, we can step away from the stressful demands of life. We turn off phones and take time away from work. We don’t need to respond to emails, answer phone calls, or try to have a conversation with a grocery store clerk about how our day is going “great.”
Instead, we breathe fresh air, walk barefoot on green grass, and curl our toes in the dirt. We stretch our arms in the sunshine, feel the cleansing mist of rain on our faces. We shelter in the cool shade of the forest and lean into the eternal strength of stone. Healthy, wholesome meals await us, as we learn how to nourish ourselves again. We relearn how to stretch and move in bodies that may have grown rigid with grief. We dance and breathe again, moving stuck energy out to let new life in.
Each day begins with a candle lit in our children’s memory.
We say their names, and hear them echoed aloud by all the other Brave Mothers. We speak of our children’s legacy, and how we mother them from afar. Though our arms may be empty, we will carry them in our hearts forever. We learn how to mother ourselves, too, through this time of suffering. By caring for each other, we see that we are also worthy of being cared for.
Eventually, we must return to our lives, to the outside world, to work, routines, and family. But we will always be members of this babyloss mama tribe. We are changed forever by our loss, but also by the experience of community, healing, and nourishment. We’ve gained strength to tell our stories, speak our children’s names, and fiercely care for ourselves with gentleness and compassion.
We’ve looked inside our broken, healing hearts and found the light within. We learn to carry the “both/and” of life after loss, as we allow joy and sadness to co-exist. As we return home, we find ways to let our light radiate, filling us with love, hope, and gratitude.
Have you found your babyloss mama tribe? What experiences have filled you with light and hope after your loss?
Feature Photo by Robynne Knight, L.Ac.
Robynne Knight is a writer, educator, and acupuncturist who lost her daughter, Zoë, to stillbirth in 2011. She is passionate about sharing her experience with grief and loss, and helping others find growth and healing through her writing, private practice, and sharing support and resources through The Zoë Project.