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August 29, 2010 / Magic Mama

Jizo Bodhisattva

My JizoMy mom surprised me with a very special gift—this little guy. Jizo is one of the most beloved figures of Japanese Buddhism. He is recognized as the protector of children, expectant mothers, firefighters and travelers. But in the last few decades he has become popularly known as the protector of mizukos*, including miscarried, aborted or stillborn infants. In Japanese folklore, Jizo hides the children in his robes to protect them and guide them across the mythical Sanzu River into the afterlife, from where they can work their way back to earth in a future incarnation.

*Mizuko translates to “water child”. As author Peggy Orenstein explains in her article Mourning My Miscarriage, “Historically, Japanese Buddhists believed that existence flowed into a being slowly, like liquid.”

When researching more about Jizo, I also came across this separate, but related, Spirit Babies post by blogger Marina. She shares an excerpt from one of her favorite books—the author has recently had a miscarriage and her son is explaining the story of Spirit Babies as he implores her to have another baby:

So my first child, this not-yet-teenaged boy, pulled a wooden chair to my side and draped his thin arm across my shoulders , saying “Well, Mom, here’s how it is. See, I was one (Spirit Baby) myself, so that must be how I know. Anyway, every woman has a circle of babies that goes around and around above her head and those babies are all the possible babies she could have her in whole life. Every month, one of those babies is first in line. If she gets pregnant, then that’s the baby that’s born. If she doesn’t get pregnant, the baby goes back in the circle and keeps going around with all the others. If she gets pregnant but something bad happens before the baby’s born … now listen Mom, here’s the really cool part—it goes back into the circle, but it becomes a Spirit Baby, and all the other babies give it cuts. Each month it’s always first in line. Isn’t that great?

This is similar to an idea that my friend (another young ALD carrier—we met through an online forum, exchanged emails, and eventually enjoyed a couple long phone conversations together) shared with me after she had experienced a loss. And I like it very much.



Leave a Comment
  1. K / Aug 30 2010 11:31 am

    Firefighters too? ;-)

    I really love that story. It is amazing how the universe finds stories to plop in your lap and help you find comfort. Sometimes it just takes a new way to look at things to feel better – not perfect, but better.

    I been thinking of you lately!

  2. Sara / Aug 30 2010 10:57 pm

    I love this.

  3. Molly / Sep 2 2010 2:23 am

    Your mom is a very smart and thoughtful lady. Very sweet story. xoxo to both you and hubby

  4. Sarah E. / Sep 2 2010 2:43 pm

    Beautiful, thoughtful gift from your mom! Hugs to you.

  5. Roccie / Sep 11 2010 2:57 am

    Would you believe I have the same statue? My uncle sent it to me in my second pregnancy.

    It is in my kitchen. I felt it was most central to the house. I wanted to wear it around my neck.

    I hope you are doing well.

    • Magic Mama / Sep 13 2010 12:52 am

      Nice to hear from you, Roccie. Hope you are doing well too.

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