Along life's journey, loss is inevitable. We experience many kinds of losses: loss of loved ones, relationships, positions, dreams, body parts, and so forth. Loss can “crush” the spirit.
One of the most tragic and painful losses, however, is the loss of a child. Statistics show that couples who lose a child are at higher risk for separation and or divorce. They are also at higher risk for depression, isolation, and other physiological and psychological maladies.
Harder yet may be the loss of an unborn child. Sadly, frequently, people minimize the pain women and their mates endure as a result of perinatal loss. Insensitive comments such as, “well, at least you didn’t get to know the baby,” or “well, at least you have other children,” or “ ‘it’ was not really a baby yet…” are not uncommon.
For clergy women, this grief is often hidden due to perceived and real pressure to "grin and bare" it as a "woman of faith."
The “call” does not exempt a woman from grief, anger, depression, and befuddlement. It can be even more complicated when the woman is a pastor. Over the next two weeks Shepastor will share insights about the "elephant" of perinatal loss and women clergy. A new book entitled Still a Mother: Journeys through Perinatal Bereavement, by Rev. Joy Freeman and Rev. Tabatha Johnson will soon be released by Judson Press. The interview shared in two parts will address this sensitive and important topic from the hearts of these authors who themselves have endured the pain of perinatal loss.
Here are a couple of quotes from the upcoming interview…
There's so much pressure to be clergy-to represent God, the church, our ministry. We can fall into a trap of feeling the need for perfection. I can't speak for my male colleagues, but I know as a clergywoman I feel the pressure to have everything together all the time-both at home and in ministry. It's hard, I think, to show how human we really are and that to be a clergywoman does not mean we are not first a woman…
Society in general and church specifically, I believe, are extremely uncomfortable discussing this matter...discussing the very intimate but painful details of medical processes that surround fertility issues and perinatal loss. There is very little understanding of what it means physically to experience this type of loss. The result can be a distinctly felt shaming of reproduction issues and difficulties that go along with them and so the personal challenge is dealt with in a very isolated manor…Even if you have never experienced this kind of loss, you probably know women who have. Encourage them and others to “tune in” to the interview conversation over the next two weeks on Shepastor.
Post a comment or send me an email at Shepastor1@hotmail.com
Until next Wednesday,
In Faith, Hope and Perseverance,