Experiencing a stillbirth made me go beyond the vague illusion of an ideal and stereotyped sacred feminine that, now, has been shattered.
And yes, I’m thankful for that. I’m thankful for having been crushed and torn to pieces; I'm thankful for life's raw and visceral power.
Throughout my entire journey as a woman, my call has always been to peel off layers and remove masks, personas, and scripts. And I continue, after experiencing this strong rite of initiation, to discover the numinous and dark aspects of the body I inhabit.
When I was 2 weeks pregnant, before missing my period, I had already confirmed the positive result. In four weeks, I found out I was expecting twins. In seven weeks, I found out one had died. In the beginning of week 18, I found out the second baby had died at week 15.
And there was I, having an ultrasound of two lifeless babies, with no fetal movement or heart beat: legs, arms, nose, mouth… all lifeless inside my womb. A miscarriage that had happened over 3 weeks earlier.
I had never imagined how great the divine power of this life-death-rebirth passage was in the journey of a woman.
We have a womb. A womb that blossoms and fades at every new cycle; a womb that bleeds and brings forth life. Not surprisingly, a womb that also, for some wise and silent reason, also experiences the bitter taste (as that of any good medicine) of death, such as Pachamama itself.
At moments of vulnerability, fear, and weakness, I hesitated… I forgot my strength; I forgot how hard I want to live; I forgot the beautiful landscapes I still want to contemplate, and all the trails I still want to hike up the mountains and down the rivers. Life became gray, my body weakened, my tears almost dried. How can I be a woman like that? How can I move on? What can make me feel again?
I looked down and saw two little legs hanging while her head didn’t pass through my cervix, waiting for the next contraction to push the rest of her lifeless body out. Meanwhile, my partner, holding me up while I squatted, gave me a smile and told me how beautiful my hair looked.
Yes, I’m learning that. We have to include men in the process; they have to experience that just as we do.
I heard most couples break up after losing a child. And it seems obvious to me that their roles are not respected.
Women need to have their tears seen, their moans heard, their anger embraced, their fears witnessed, and their soul contemplated while they open their bodies to allow death to make its way. We need to be embraced while we die a little together with our babies. Only then, this relationship can be reborn with new hope and trust. I'm deeply grateful to this dad-to-be for reading me Clarice Lispector while I writhed in pain. I thank him for smiling and staring at me with his colorful eyes to encourage me at every push. I appreciate him for telling me how love grows through adversity when my cry woke him up in the middle of the night, and recognizing the power and the beauty of a woman who gives birth without bringing forth life and gives birth to herself as many times as necessary as a woman who is constantly reborn.
I allowed myself to be held in my soul sisters’ and my mother’s arms. Becoming small again was and is a very important part of this process.
You have to let people know what’s going on. No wake, funeral, or ceremony is enough to help people understand this process. However, women can't and shouldn't experience this loss secretly, privately. You have to name the baby and legitimize your loss before those who can’t see how dark it is to lose someone who never came.
Still, the journey through this dark forest is lonely, as it dwells in such private universes that we wouldn’t be able to name or characterize even if we wanted to make them understandable. The portal we pass through requires us to throw up our hands and pick up our pieces during long nights of oblique and painful silence, when there's not much else that can be done.
... While moaning hoarsely, calling for life power, I regained strength and stood up, moving my womb and breathing at every pain and contraction in my womb and my heart.
Suddenly, life pulsated, pushed her out, and pushed me forward. It made me bleed and purified me: I choose to become even stronger. I choose, once again, to bow before the magic and mystery of this alchemical womb that deeply and viscerally looks me in the eyes and teaches me an authentic, timeless, eternal, and raw wisdom.
I feel the strength of so many women who have already been through that before me. Now, they support me in resignifying this experience to future generations. I feel the blessings of Nanã, who, in her muddy waters, holds me in her grandmother’s arms, reminding me that awakening is simply letting go of any resistance to become who you are, just as you are. I feel the strength of my womb that echoes in a whisper why I’m here: to witness and facilitate the experience with this powerful and wild strength that inhabits the body of a Woman Being.
Thus, I continue peacefully, as someone who has surrendered completely and courageously to life. I chose to be here; I chose to experience that; and I continue to choose to be thankful and seek wisdom in every bit of life I experience.
**Text by Morena Cardoso: body therapist, writer, activist, mother, woman, visionary and facilitator at DanzaMedicina. For over a decade, Morena has traveled to sacred places around the world and met different cultures and ancient traditions, acquiring ancient knowledge about the Sacred Feminine and healing tools based on the psychotherapy of body and movement, which today she shares with hundreds of women through workshops and retreats.
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