Friends, Family & Faith: How I Healed After Miscarriage

A year ago today I ‘lost a baby.’

I was 29 and healthier and happier than ever. Ian and I decided we wanted to have a baby and it happened for us straight away. I felt blessed and immediately started loving the life inside me.

I was just six weeks pregnant but still I found the experience harrowing. Miscarriage, much like birth, is nothing like it looks on TV. On TV these things happen quickly. They are frantic and noisy. My miscarriage lasted six days. For most of this time I was alone at home so I had lots of quiet time to think, pray and will the baby to stay.

On Sunday night I went to hospital. The doctor taking my blood was rough and dropped some of my blood on the floor. I felt sick. I was to ring in a couple of hours to find out my hcg levels and have an ultrasound in the morning.

On Monday morning I saw a small grey blob on the screen with a tiny beating heart. A heartbeat! Relief. I smiled and nodded at my mum in the waiting room, “It’s okay.” Of course this wasn’t going to happen to me. I’m a good person. I’m a teacher. For God’s sake, I’m a yogi.

That night my doctor was not as optimistic. Anger. He ordered another blood test to check that hcg levels continued to rise. So I stayed home, ‘put my feet up’ and waited, went to the toilet too many times and waited. I went for the blood test and waited.

On Wednesday night I woke up with a renewed appetite. Hope.

On Thursday I went to work because I felt guilty but was an absolute mess. My dull lower back ache was now accompanied by lower abdominal cramps. I went home and crawled into bed with a wheat pack and waited for the blood results. Each sharp cramp elicited a sob from deep within me and silently I begged the little heart to keep beating. I begged my body not to betray me and I begged God to help us both.

Ian had bought me a bonsai tree to celebrate my pregnancy. At some point during that day the pain subsided and I took the tree to a sunny spot by the windows. I lay on the floor, stuck my ipod in my ears and lit a stick of incense. I watched the smoke curl up and away from the stick and disappear. Absurdly, I still had hope that everything was okay but subconsciously I knew it was over. Jordy put it simply and beautifully, the way only a child can: “Maybe the baby changed its mind.”

Through my research into miscarriage I found that many women don’t find a miscarriage very difficult to deal with. I didn’t fall into this category. For me it was painful on every level.  I didn’t want to get out of bed until I was pregnant again. I envied other pregnant people. I felt guilty for grieving because at least I had one healthy child. I knew some women who didn’t have any and others who had lost their babies under far worse circumstances. But still…I wanted my baby back.

Eventually I did get out of bed. And this is what helped…

  • My best friends crying with me
  • My dad bringing me flowers
  • People sending cards, chocolate, wine and magazines
  • My faith in the yogic teaching of ‘impermanence’ helped me accept that the hurt wouldn’t last forever. Practicing yogasana (postures) also helped me to trust my body again and appreciate its many strengths.

Tomorrow my new baby girl is eight weeks old. Life is strange… and beautiful.

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Especially for the Mamas

I wouldn’t normally make a special effort to write about a Hallmark holiday but I am cradling a gorgeous  newborn and I did just farewell my mum as she left for an eight-week overseas jaunt.

Mum has been washing our laundry and cooking for us for the past two weeks but that’s not why I’ll miss her. Truth is that even though she is overbearingly caring (and unashamedly opinionated), she is probably my best friend. We talk every day about everything and nothing and we live about 4.5 minutes away from each other. My husband doesn’t get it. I tell him it’s a wog thing and to get over it.

I became a mother at 21. I was in my last year at uni. One weekend I was partying all night and the next I was stocking up on Bonds rompers. My Jordan is the best thing that ever happened to me; she opened my eyes to love and showed me what life was all about. Having her put me on a clear path to self-discovery, yoga, courage and joy. She is my rock, my angel, my inspiration.

And now I have little India; as fair-haired as Jordy is dark. At two weeks old her gaze leaves me breathless.  I want to inhale her scent and forever caress the soft warmth that is her perfect little head.

When I had Jordan I discovered the way I was mothering had a label: apparently I was practicing  ‘attachment’ parenting. Attachment parenting is rooted deeply in traditional parenting styles so it involves  baby wearing, extended breastfeeding and co-sleeping. The theory is that when parents and babies form deep, trusting attachments the children grow into happy, independent, confident adults.

As Jordy grew and or relationship evolved I found I was also ‘conscious’ or ‘aware’ parenting. This method involves parenting with intention, honest communication, honouring and respecting children as spiritual beings and providing firm boundaries.

I will now do all of the above with Indi but she will have the added bonuses of my maturity and my yoga practice; I am far more confident and calm at 30 than I was at 21.

There’s a lot of scrutiny these days around mothers and how we choose to do things. At times it seems that women are divided into separate camps regarding childbirth, breastfeeding, nappies, childcare and work choices. Motherhood can sometimes feel like a lonely, confusing, guilt-ridden competition.

When my friends or yoga students express these feelings I always offer the same advice:

Listen to your heart: Screw the labels and do what feels right for you.  If you have doubts about something then don’t do it. Become informed about issues that confuse or concern you so that you can feel confident in your parenting choices.
Listen to your baby: Not your mum, aunty, neighbour or sister-in-law. All children are different so it makes sense that we will all parent quite differently. What works for my family and I may not work for my best friend and her family. Pay close attention to your child,  get to know them intimately so that it will be easy to follow their lead. Don’t fight against them or their nature, especially when they’re newborns. Let your baby be your guide and ignore everyone else including your doctor and midwife.
Breathe: It sounds simple but when you have a screaming baby, a toddler in a tantrum or a tween in a tizz it can help to take a deep breath and remember that your child is a fellow human being trying to make their way in the world the same way we are. Take some time to reflect on your interactions with your children, the way you speak to them and touch them. Look them in the eye often and tell them how much you love them. Be present as much as you can. I promise it will make you feel good and it will make your child’s heart dance.

Happy Mother’s Day ladies. We rock.