My long, apanic summer being pregnant — and miscarrying

I’m in the back seat of our Ford Fusion, feeling a tad sleepy as I type on the iPad that’s balanced on my lap. My husband is driving, my sister Alisa is in the front seat, and Atoms for Peace’s notes roll through the speakers as gently as we’re coasting over these northern Michigan curves and hills. The fall leaves haven’t quite turned yet, but the drive is gorgeous nonetheless.

My husband and I were so happy we could take my sister, who is visiting from California, out for a fabulous weekend in Traverse City. But it was more than just a weekend getaway for me. The last time Scott and I were here was in the spring, and this was where we discovered I was pregnant. Now, post-miscarriage, I wanted to return and face the incongruity of my current reality versus what had been my visions for fall.

I had expected to be very pregnant and really showing by now, modifying every aspect of my life in my second trimester. Instead, I’m eating for one, able to wine and dine as I please in this foodie town. Friday night we passed the riverfront area where we had called our parents from to share the good news, and I thought about how the two people who had been so excited that day in spring have had to mature quite a bit in intervening months.

I didn’t write about the pregnancy on this blog because I was waiting until the second trimester to generally announce that I was pregnant; I agreed with the advice that you should wait until the second trimester, when the chances for miscarriages decrease substantially, to share news of pregnancy. Never did make it to the second trimester, and dealing with the miscarriage process was too intense for me to write about before I had fully processed it. (In hindsight, I think that for me, not writing about being pregnant made initially talking about the miscarriage that much harder. Should I get pregnant again, I’m not sure I would take the same approach.)

I did finally write about my pregnancy and my practice. Rebelle Wellness published that piece a couple weeks ago:

Rebelle Wellness

A garland of moon days

I learned I was pregnant on a beautiful, radiant moon day in May. It was on a somber moon day in July that I learned the baby who had been growing inside me no longer had a heartbeat and was, instead, a gray, two-dimensional embryo projected onto the ultrasound screen. And it was on a moon day in August — after four emotionally and physically intense weeks of trying to actually miscarry — that my body finally gave the signal it truly understood I was no longer pregnant. That tremendous relief came after having tried to let nature take its course, then taking a drug that triggers intense cramping to induce it and — when, inconceivably to me, even that did not work — finally relenting and taking the surgical option.

During this challenging time of waiting for the expulsion of, as clinicians like to put it, “products of conception,” I stayed with my practice — though there were days when I had to significantly modify it, paring it down to barely anything more than the opening invocation and the closing invocation with sun salutations, standings, and the last three poses hammocked in between.

So I went from the downward-flowing apanic energy of pregnancy straight into the even more intensely apanic energy of trying to miscarry. It’s no wonder I experienced the summer as heavy, lethargic and leaning toward the depressive. Having decided that I could only take so much apana, I’ve spent the last several weeks consciously shifting toward cultivating upward-moving — pranic — energy. I’ve been grateful for the accompanying boost in creative energy that has come with that shift.

Being in Traverse City in a different season has helped me energetically scrub away a sense of loss and longing from one of my favorite places. For me, fall — even more than spring — is a great reminder that everything is changing, all of the time. And today just happens to be the fall equinox — a fitting marker to confirm that my long, apanic summer is fully behind me now.

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(Photo credit: “The life cycle of a leaf” first seen via The I fucking love science Facebook page. The beautiful photo was taken by Rob Herr.)

© YogaRose.net and Rose Tantraphol, 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to YogaRose.net with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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9 thoughts on “My long, apanic summer being pregnant — and miscarrying

  1. This is sad and lovely and very moving. Change is always with us, indeed. The loss of a pregnancy is momentous no matter how or when it happens. I once gathered with two other women who had lost pregnancies (all of us had different circumstances) on a beach in Oregon. We wrote a letter to their spirits and then either tossed it into the water, burned it or buried it. It was bittersweet and healing, turning our sadness about it into something that we could accept as part of life. It was especially good that we shared in it together. The two other women have children now and I chose to stick with my step kids. You have a lot of really good company out there! Thank you for sharing. Hugs to you.

    • I’ve thought about returning to water with my husband, each of us carrying a remembrance we could bury or return to the sea in honor of the gifts and the loss of this spirit and this experience.

      Your experience on the Oregon beach — and what a wonderful one — reminds me that there would be deep healing in doing this. Thank you again, Laura.

  2. Rose, I wandered here to this moving essay after reading your Mysore dispatch on Sankranti today. I wanted to say I am so sorry for your loss – and, I understand what you have been through with your miscarriage. I had two miscarriages between the birth of my first daughter and my second – both were shocking, devastating, and life changing for me, too.

    I was a full time career mom, my 3 year old child was in day care from 7:30 to 5 every day, I loved and was good at what I did, and I was on a track towards becoming a “star” in my corporate world. After the second miscarriage (which I think was just my body’s way of saying, “You do not have the time, energy or focus to have another child, kiddo,”) thinking that I would only ever have one child, we made the choice to forego financial security. I gave up the dream of a “successful career” and became a stay-at-home Mom.

    I got pregnant with my second daughter, the week I gave my notice. My son followed a couple of years later – surprise! (fyi, yes, you can get pregnant while breastfeeding.)

    It’s been 18 years since my miscarriages, but I still sometimes think about the two children I might have had, but couldn’t, and how life might have been different. But, I realize, too, that everything happens as it should. And, if I hadn’t made the choice to stay home with my children, I would have been too caught up in career to find Ashtanga yoga, (or perhaps, I wouldn’t have found it until much later.) Having three children was as taxing as the corporate job was; I went to yoga for some sorely needed “me” time and was fortunate to find Ashtanga when my son was just a few months old. He turned 16 last September. The other two are 18 and 22 now. The days were long, but the years went swiftly.

    Hope, breathe, be patient. Curiously explore the potential of your wise and beautiful body/mind/self through your unfolding practice. You know this! All is coming, as it should.

    • Thank you for your incredibly personal and insightful note, Michelle. I thought about it the next day as I toured various ancient temples in the region — very grounding experience — and I know that I will be coming back to your words here over the years as big decisions need to be made, so that I can be reminded of another’s journey through this.

      First off, that tension between the corporate world’s demands and parenthood…man. And although it doesn’t seem completely relevant, I thought of this tension again while listening to a snippet of a dharma talk on shaktipat by Shinzen Young, which I listened to the other day. It starts around 20:30 — not necessary to listen to, but a fascinating idea of the importance of time and space in parenting during that first year of a child’s life — something quite rare to find if you work full-time. I would get six weeks of maternity at my current job…. That is a hard thought, even not being pregnant.

      As for the miscarriages. What would have been my due date is less than a week away — Jan. 24, 2014. I am so grateful to be in India where I have the time and space to continue to reflect on the unpredictability of life and my role in it. As you say, all is coming — and thank goodness for the tools that the ashtanga practice gives to us as we navigate it all.

      Much love,
      Rose

      • Yeah, I had 8 weeks off for maternity leave with my oldest – and went straight back into a 60 hour week when I returned. Brutal and insane, for an employer to expect that. I remember having to go home to pump breast milk for her, so that my Mom could feed her. And then, I returned to work for several more hours. Too many days like that. Inhuman, really. I finally gave up the breastfeeding when she was 4 months – against my will.

        When you do have a child – and you will – insist on more time off than six weeks if you can swing it financially. A good 4 months if possible. It will establish your bond more firmly, and also, it takes at least that long for the hormonal fugue to finally dissipate. (But, practice would help with that, too, I imagine!)

        I am glad for you that you are in Mysore now, experiencing the depth and breadth of your practice in that amazing environment. I hope it brings you solace and healing. Namaste! :)

    • Wonderful! Thank you so much for sending this. I always try to give the proper credit, but in this case, I really just didn’t know where to source it.

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