Viv Mayer shares her thoughts on marking a loss, following a visit to Japan:
Japan’s miscarried (and aborted) embryos, fetuses, stillbirths and neonatal deaths, all have a unique name: ‘mizuko’, which translates as ‘water child’ or ‘water baby’. The rows of baby-like statues, which can be seen at many Buddhist temples in Japan, are called ‘mizuko Jizo’ – water child Buddhas. The Jizo serves a double purpose; the image both represents the soul of the deceased infant or fetus and is also the deity who takes care of children on the other world journey.
It was the mizuko Jizo that first drew me to visit Japan. I wanted to see first-hand these shrines to pregnancy loss, to watch women paying their respects and acknowledging their grief in a way that we are denied in the West. I wanted to imagine what it might be like to have a place like this to go and grieve, remember and acknowledge early pregnancy loss. To the best of my knowledge, Japan is the only country in the world that has a specific word for the lost life of the unborn.
Read the full article from the Miscarriage Association here.
More information on Jizo here: