Lessons from my Miscarriage + Good news

2 weeks ago I began the process of having a miscarriage. My third. I was 9 weeks along this time, not quite ready to tell the world our news.

Having been through miscarriages before, there’s a particular flavor of emotional intensity to this first-trimester time which I’m quite familiar with.

In addition to the usual hormonal roller-coaster ride, it includes the twitterpated feeling of being delighted by the new life growing within, mixed with a heavy dose of dread, wondering “Is it going to happen again?!” all stirred up with a dash of “I’m not going to let myself feel too excited about this or too worried about this, I’m just going to be present and see what happens.” Phew.

And might I just say? That felt like a lot to hold. :)

I’m so grateful to have a meditation practice that helps me to really get that I am the awareness in which the thought/feeling/weather of the moment is happening.
I’m so grateful to regularly ground in that openness, and see that there is room for it all.
I can meet all of it with kindness, and be spacious.
I can’t say it’s always easy. But it is easing.

So about 2 weeks ago when the process began, I could just tell it was starting.
A little hint of cramping.
A little less nausea.
My son was on my lap, it was close to his bedtime, and he was starting to cry his eyes out about something. (I think he was wanting a cookie before bed and being unjustly denied. :) ) There was something about his wholehearted crying that pierced my heart.
I don’t think he noticed that behind him my tears started to stream as well.
Part of me wanted to join his “I want a cooooookie!!!!” screeches with “I wanted this babyyyyyy!!”

But of course I didn’t.

We hadn’t told him yet of the little sibling, just in case this might happen, so he wouldn’t be too confused by the whole thing.
And in the beautiful intensity of his own grief and screaming, he didn’t notice how he was helping me to let go into my own.

After a while I went upstairs, leaving him with his dad on the couch, and I went into our meditation room, where I really let myself grieve and cry. And truly, along with honest grief at losing this sweet chance at another babe, a lot of the tears carried the huge relief of being out of that state of “What’s going to happen?!”
At least now I knew.

I took time off work to let my body and heart heal.
And can I tell you?
It’s been an amazing time.

With our first miscarriage (I was 8 weeks along), we didn’t tell anyone, except 2 friends. I hadn’t yet announced I was pregnant, and I was really concerned people would think there was something wrong with me. And I felt so well supported by my beloved Carl and by my own practice that I didn’t feel the need for other support. And I reeeeally didn’t want people looking at me with the sad eyes that say “There’s something wrong with you. I’m so sorry.”

A few years later, I was pregnant again. We made it past 8 weeks and while hosting a Thanksgiving meal for family from around the country, we announced our good news, with glasses clinking and much love and enthusiasm. I began that miscarriage at 13 weeks on the day after Christmas.
Yeah, it sucked.

I think it was hard for some of our family and friends that my preferred way to grieve was alone, or just with Carl. To just be with myself, and in my process. I have a well-stocked toolbox for difficult times and I just wanted to be with it, and go through my process.
It worked for me.

This time around, we’d told some family and friends of our surprise pregnancy. (We’d thought about trying for another babe later in the year and this pregnancy came as a surprise delight.)

And I did something totally out of character for myself.
I told people about my miscarriage.
Lots of people.
People who didn’t even know I’d been pregnant. I even shared about my process in a rare personal post on Facebook.

And you know what?
I was so amazed, so blessed, so stunned to be instantly surrounded by so much love, kind words, flowers, voice mails, cards, texts, facebook messages. If anyone thought “there’s something wrong with you,” they were smart enough not to say it. :) Instead I felt embraced by the tenderness and depth of people’s caring.

As I wrote when I shared the news with our families,

“I got this Daily Peace Quote from Cheri Huber today:

When we drop into the moment, we are in the river of Life, able to squarely face and join the dancing transience of suchness.
– Cheri Huber

I’m dropping out of story and into the moment, and feeling much more peaceful today, and also recognizing this process as part of the river of Life, which I trust wholeheartedly.
Part of the river includes my tears too.
All is well.
I love that image of squarely facing and also joining the dancing transience of being….

And I’m all the more aware of the miracle of Mesa’s presence in our lives. What a gift. A little sibling would’ve been (and may someday be) a blessing. And there’s also a profound sense of enoughness and goodness in our family as is.

Can I tell you what has been most helpful to me?

First and foremost, this practice (and this phrase) which I learned from Russell Delman.

“Bowing to what is
and finding the most life-giving relationship with it.”

While there’s all kinds of room for my feelings, my sadness, and etc., first and foremost, I bow to what is.
Doesn’t mean I like it.
But it means that’s the ground I choose to stand on.
What is.
And ohhhh, that relieves about 85,000 pounds of extra suffering.

I choose to trust the river of life.
What could be more reliable?

And then there is a phrase I read in an interview with Barbara Kingsolver in The Sun magazine recently. She was talking about a central philosophy for her as a parent. To her kids, she repeatedly said,
“You can do hard things.”
I love that.
It feels so respectful to me.
And it’s true.
We can do hard things.
Like have miscarriages. And survive breakups. And recover from illnesses. And witness loved ones die. All that tricky business of being a human being.

I also loved re-watching a 2 minute video that was made to go with Brene Brown’s words about empathy.

I particularly loved when she speaks about “silver lining.”

For me, it’s important that while I practice gratitude daily, my gratitude practice isn’t trying to pave over any other feelings.
I’m not trying to get rid of sadness.
There’s room for all of it to be there.

And I am so grateful to have a beautiful embodied practice of being grateful.
Of recognizing all that is wonderful in my life, without denying that which isn’t.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama is quoted as saying,

“We can let the circumstances of our lives harden us so we become increasingly resentful and afraid, or we can let them soften us, and make us kinder.
We always have the choice.”

I’m choosing to soften.

Thanks for reading.
Thanks for your heart.

P.S. A few exciting announcements!

Carl has just 3 spots left for Tai Chi in the Park. Don’t miss it!

Registration is now open for our Costa Rica retreat 2015!

We’ve also opened registration for 2 unique workshops we’re offering this summer. We will post more information about them soon on our schedule of events.

My first e-course (wahooo!) on Embodying Gratitude will begin on June 2nd, with registration opening on May 15th. More details coming next week. I’m so excited!!!

We still have a few spaces left in The Basics Of Back Care,but it will fill, so please reserve your spot if you would like to attend. Coming up May 3rd. We can’t wait!

Please join us for Wednesday morning meditation at Avenues Yoga – the birdsong and light are stunning, and it’s such a lovely space to sit and be….

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By training and profession, I am a somatic educator. Over the past 25+ years I have trained in and taught modern dance, tai chi, Indian and Tibetan yoga, yoga therapy (specializing in back pain). I completed a 4-year professional Feldenkrais training in 2007 and a 3-year Embodied Life training in 2014. I also study and work with somatic meditation and the profound practice of embodied inner listening known as Focusing.

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