Many cultures and family traditions caution against pregnant women attending funerals. Superstitions barring pregnant women from seeing or touching a corpse warn of diverse consequences that range from miscarriage to madness. They're found in Jewish traditions, Asian culture, and South American belief systems, as well as other parts of the world. What do you do, then, if you're pregnant and someone close to you dies? What if you just want to show your love and support for a close friend that's lost a family member? Do you dismiss the superstition as mere folklore and go to the funeral anyway? If you aren't willing to risk the break with tradition, this is what you can do instead.
Set up the house for the guests coming after the funeral.
Many cultures automatically host a small gathering with food for mourners after the funeral is over. It gives everyone a chance to express their condolences to the family, share memories of the deceased, and help each other through the grieving process. You can excuse yourself from the funeral in order to help prepare the food and set up the tables. Even if the food is being catered, which is common these days, someone has to be there to let the caterer in and make sure that everything is correct. Taking over this task gives you a way to contribute that will ease the stress for someone else that day and allows you to stay far away from the funeral.
Offer to babysit during the funeral so that others can attend.
A lot of people are leery about bringing small children with them to funeral services. Some are afraid that their children will disrupt the service. Others just aren't ready to explain the hard realities of dying and death to their little ones. You can make it easier for other people to attend by offering to babysit during visiting hours and during the funeral itself. That way, you're contributing to the ability of others to show their support for the family of the deceased while still honoring the tradition that bars pregnant women from the funeral.
Put together a memorial that will help everyone share memories.
Another thing that you can do to show your love and support from afar is to put together a memorial for the deceased. Ask if you can go through the family photos and scan them into your computer to create a slideshow that can be played during the wake or after-funeral dinner.
If you're comfortable working with words, ask others for their favorite memory of the deceased or to share one thing that they know about the deceased that other people might not. For example, you could ask if anyone knows the deceased's favorite food, favorite song, or favorite movie. Gathering these pieces of information and short stories together in a little booklet that can be passed out to guests can help people share their memories and express their love for the deceased more easily.
With a little ingenuity, you can still show your support and love without breaking any long-held traditions against pregnant women at funerals. For more tips, talk with a funeral director or funeral home like Hitzeman Funeral Home, Ltd.