Content Warning: Early pregnancy loss. Today, we’re premiering Water To Water, a sacred song of love and loss from Melbourne alt-pop singer-songwriter Georgia Fields. Written to explore the experience of a tragic miscarriage, Georgia sings her story with grace, poise, tender resignation and love, utterly dignified and resolute despite the pain. Featuring on her forthcoming third album, Georgia first tells the story of Water To Water to WildnFree in her own words:
Four months ago my husband and I lost a baby. I was away with my 3-year-old daughter at the time, caring for my Dad who has cancer and lives in rural NSW. As soon as I told him, my husband made the 8-hour drive to be with me, but there were complications that compacted the trauma of the miscarriage – my Dad’s house is an hour from the hospital, and I lost consciousness arriving into the ER from significant blood loss. I didn’t know what was happening to my body and it was truly frightening.
One month after the miscarriage I was scheduled to undertake a week-long writers residency in the Dandenong Ranges, which was booked earlier thanks to the generous support of the Jacky Winter Gardens program.
I wasn’t sure I’d feel up to writing anything at all – even before the miscarriage I was feeling anxious about my ability to be creative during a specific timeframe, and was facing down some classic ‘Imposter Syndrome’. The team at Jacky Winter Gardens were incredibly supportive and encouraged me to set aside all my expectations about productivity – which funnily enough freed me up to be creative. I wrote the bulk of Water To Water in one day. Miscarriage grief is difficult to carry because it’s so invisible. Writing this song allowed me to conjure something tangible to honour the baby that we so wanted to meet, but couldn’t. The writing process also took my mind off the immediate sadness, and I could take some solace in the nitty-gritty of song composition – finding rhymes, seeking out the right archetypal metaphors.
In the weeks following our miscarriage I did some reading on grief in early pregnancy loss. One of the books suggested that grief is the feeling produced by loss, but that mourning is grief in action. I created a little shrine for our baby near my bed with flowers and some items that were significant to my pregnancy. It really helped psychologically to have a physical place that represented our baby as well as the trauma of what I had been through. Sometimes I notice my daughter has left a little present there too – a charm, or a favourite piece of lego.
I also read about mizuko kuyo, a traditional Japanese memorial service for deceased foetuses. Mizuko translates directly to ‘water child’, and the ritual describes the baby as ‘water returning to water’. This image resonated with how powerless I felt; after all, you can’t grasp running water in your hands, no matter how hard you try. But ‘water to water’ also spoke to me about cycles – menstrual; seasonal… It gave me a sense of resolution, and of hope somehow.
Thank you Georgia, your story is moving and inspirational, and opens up an important dialogue about grief, loss, motherhood and the rituals we can use to help our healing. Anyone touched by loss, whether of a baby or something else just as precious, may find a moment of comfort, connection and hope in Water To Water.
Tasmanians and tourists, catch Georgia sharing new material alongside songs from her previous two albums at Festival of Voices in Hobart on Thursday 5 July.