Did voodoo cause my daughter to be stillborn?

People say the father of my child cursed her with black magic.

By Cary Tennis
Published May 14, 2009 10:23AM (EDT)

Dear Cary,

I was told when I was pregnant that my daughter's father's family and his girlfriend had put a curse on me so that my baby would die. I didn't believe any of this stuff and unfortunately it did happen. My daughter was stillborn. My daughter's father practices voodoo and even mentioned this happening as if he wanted it to end this way.

Some spiritual people said that my daughter's father, his family and his girlfriend, who all claim to be in the church but do practice Haitian voodoo to hurt people, did this to my daughter.

What to do?

Grieving Mother 

Dear Grieving Mother,

Among your family and friends, there are those who are with you in your grief, and they should be cherished, and there are those to whom your grief is a trifle, or worse a tribute to their supposed magic, and they are to be despised. If there are those who cannot honor your grief, stay away from them. Do not let them near you. Stay away from them as though they carried a plague of toxic fumes.

As to the matter of the voodoo, it does not matter whether your child was lost to disease or accident or disappeared in the jungle or was lost at sea, or was lost at birth or long after birth.  You lost a child and are grieving, and it is an outrage that anyone close to you would not grieve this loss with you, would not honor this loss, or worse would greet it with pleasure. To think that anyone around you might have wished for and welcomed this loss is an abomination.

How your daughter died and why is a matter to be dealt with at a future time, if at all. For now, the only thing to do is to stay away from those people who do not share your grief and to grieve, fully, completely, until your grief has run its natural course.

Honor it. Honor your grief. What you feel is right and true; it will guide you through this if you let it. If you need to weep, weep. That is the right thing for you to do. If you need to rage, rage. That is right for you; that is your grief directing you out of hell.

Your grieving is also a kind of burnt offering to the life that was lost. You are the altar of this burnt offering; it burns within you and on your surface. That is some of the sharp pain you feel: You are the altar of this offering yet you are not made of stone. You burn. You make your offering of flesh and spirit in a daily ritual of obeisance; your body makes this ritual of obeisance despite your wishes for it to stop.

So picture yourself as the sacred altar on which offerings to this lost child are burned. Be that altar. Be still and endure the burning.

As to voodoo, I can't comment on something I know nothing about. All I can do is direct you toward the things that I do believe I know something about, which is that grief is real and necessary and will direct you out of your hell if you trust it, and that those who grieve with you are to be cherished, and those who fail to honor your grief are to be despised.

So grieve and grieve and grieve until there seems to be no grief left, and then prepare for it to return next morning rested and fresh to drag you into its pit again. Gird yourself for this work of wrestling with grief. Stay healthy and exercise and stay strong so you can do this hard work of wrestling with the grief.

Mothers have been feeling what you are feeling since mothers became able to feel and grieve. Pay attention to it and do what it requires, and it will take you out of this hell.

Grief lasts longer than you think it will

Makes a great gift. Can be personalized for the giftee of your choice. Signed first editions on sale now.

What? You want more advice?


Cary Tennis

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