Moving through pregnancy loss is a process. There are many ways a pregnancy can be lost. Miscarriage, abortion, still births, all can be heavy on the heart and challenging to the body. We don’t really talk much about life after pregnancy loss because there can be politics in the pain of the conversations.
So how do we move back into our bodies after the loss of a pregnancy? How do you take back your joy with the emotions and thoughts, memories and possibly physical pain? How do you use a practice of yoga to reconnect to yourself and move forward with loving care to be present?
Pregnancy loss can be quite emotional. In all honesty there isn’t a right way to feel. Some feel relief, some feel ashamed, some feel guilty, some feel defeated. As I reflect on my own experiences I have used my practice to give me the courage to live with my feelings about pregnancy loss.
Physically the body can feel unfamiliar. A miscarriage can make one feel like your body is your enemy. Terminating a pregnancy due to an ectopic pregnancy can result in the same feelings. The body that is supposed to work like a charm sometimes does not and this can send us spiraling into deep doubt and anxiety.
Returning to a yoga studio after the loss of a pregnancy can be equally traumatizing. The instructor may not be aware and they may offer you modifications or say something in class that pushes you towards painful thoughts. If you are comfortable enough to disclose to avoid that situation and this is an instructor you have some relationship with I encourage you to listen to your heart. It isn’t easy reliving loss and you don’t have to tell anyone anything. But if you do go to practice again be kind to yourself.
Pregnancy is a fragile journey and one can’t plan too far in advance because there is no telling if the future will actually come about. When the (+) sign appears or the two pink lines cross the view box life changes immediately. Our bodies kick into overdrive as we build a life with each breath. It can be scary and exciting.
When the lines fade, or ultrasounds show different we transition and we change yet again. Our partners may or may not know how to support us and their absence or inability to communicate or hold space may generate an even greater amount of discomfort and hurt. The aloneness can feel overwhelming. But some partners can be equally impacted and dealing with the loss in a way you don’t recognize as grief or hurt. Policing our partners pain won’t bring peace. If they are not as into supporting you as you would like other options include seeking support from professionals in your time of need.
It is important to know that yoga and meditation are not the only practices to heal from pregnancy loss. Sometimes going to a counselor or therapist is necessary for your healing. There is no rush to relieve how you feel. But there is a real reason you deserve to feel better!
You deserve to feel better so that you live your life in its fullness. Restoring your faith in your bodies abilities will take time. Move mindfully to listen to what the body is telling you. Igniting your flame for intimacy can feel disorienting, take your time in inviting your partner back into closeness with compassion. Emotions can fluctuate because of hormones so be gentle with yourself and ask for what you need. Lovemaking can be healing, discuss with your partner family planning options to protect both your physical body and feelings.
Moving on your mat may require some courage. Working with your core and contracting muscles to rebuild the mind body connection can be challenging. Classes for postpartum may be available and there may be some yoga classes specifically for postpartum loss that is mindful movement and support from a loving instructor with experience in holding space for individuals and partners working on moving forward and healing.
After a miscarriage there also can be unexpected bleeding and cramping which may deter you from moving or feeling confident in practicing. Consider attending gentle classes, chair classes, restorative yoga, yin yoga or yoga Nidra, these offerings are sure to give you the depth of your practice you seek while being soft on the soul.
It is ok to hold onto the precious moments of what you created. No matter how long ago your pregnancy loss was you are forever changed. Me…I’m grieving still in my own way but I am releasing the need to force anything and open to accepting what is for me.