yoga

I’m trying to distract myself from 2ww symptom over-interpretation for a little longer and write about something different… but I’m sure I’ll be back with those symptoms soon. Thanks for all your good wishes!

I began yoga after 1.5 years of trying unassistedly and unsuccessfully. Desperate, frustrated, but not ready to move on to treatments – which I guess was part denial, part finances, part not-readiness of facing the endeavor that ART seems from the outside. I was willing to try anything “natural” and bought Fully Fertile, a book with a holistic approach to fertility that can be taken alone or together with treatments (deep down I assumed we’d probably need these treatments eventually, and was and continue to be annoyed whenever someone suggests they could have fixed this all with their non-invasive method of choice).

At the same time, I was fairly skeptical, and phrases like “disappointment stored in the hips” made me frown. I flat out didn’t believe that yoga would help me release emotions – I was hardly getting any exercise and was simply looking for the physical benefit for my body. In particular, I doubted I’d be in tears at the end of my first practice, which was described as a common experience. How very wrong I was. I cried and cried. Not just about the obvious aspect, our failure to conceive, but I also discovered many unresolved feelings around my mom’s death that I hadn’t even been aware of.

I practiced about twice a week, and although it didn’t get me pregnant, I felt more at peace with the overall situation. And figured out the major reason for some terrible pain I’d been experiencing. After moving halfway across the world, I bought a proper yoga mat (which to me makes a surprising difference), picked up a yoga magazine at the grocery store and started incorporating other, not necessarily fertility-focused poses and sequences. We were also on a much-needed break from trying, so that wasn’t the main focus. Annoyed that I sometimes didn’t manage to squeeze in my twice-weekly practice, I decided that if I tried to practice every day, thinking that even if I missed one here and there I’d still get “enough”. I have been practicing daily ever since.

Once we actually started our IVF cycle I went back to mostly fertility-supporting sequences. And then I got pregnant! Joy! Even before I had searched the web for poses to do and to avoid, and it wasn’t long before I bought some prenatal yoga instructions. When following standard sequences I’d used before, I left out any poses that seemed too challenging and almost all twists, but overall was determined to remain fit. Squats are supposed to be especially good, to open the hips… looking back I worry a bit that these may have contributed to what happened, although it’s impossible to know and perhaps not even that likely. Nevertheless, in any future pregnancy I am lucky enough to experience, I will keep squats and any other poses that put pressure on the pelvis for the second half of the 3rd trimester.

I went back to the mat the day after we came back from the hospital. Probably not what anyone would recommend, but it felt right. I had asked my husband to move the sofa so that I could practice in the space where we had been planning to set up the cribs… I did some gentle stretches and restorative poses and cried and cried. So hard that H heard it while in the shower, and came to comfort me. Poor guy. He should have heard his daughters cry, or even better, giggle, not his wife cry over their loss. I had thought of my babies every time I practiced while pregnant, and I continue to think of them in every practice I do now. There were (are) many more yoga sessions when I paused to cry. In a way it gives me a safe space to reflect my feelings. There’s just me, if I need a break I can take it. Not to say that I don’t cry during other times of the day, or during every practice, but it does help me to know that I have this time and space to release any emotions that may come up.

A few days ago, on one of their due dates, I cried all the way through my warm-up. I didn’t think much of it at the time, but later realized that this reflects how I have been dealing with things lately – I may get sad, but I move forward, through and with the grief.

And during the last days, I have been practicing with that familiar nausea, and even more fears and hopes than before. But that will be the topic of another post.

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14 thoughts on “yoga

  1. oooh, the last lines of this post are so exciting to read, and i can’t wait for that future post. i totally understand the hopes and fears you mention…boy, do i. yoga has been life and sanity-saving for me as well. that and meditation/breathing exercises actually significantly lowered my blood pressure last year when i was still recovering from pre-eclampsia and suffering from the severe anxiety that accompanied my grief. each time i stop doing it regularly, it’s almost immediately obvious to my partner, because i fall back into that dark hole of despair. i’ve even started teaching her some poses, and she’s had that same emotional release (and floods of tears) that you mention. i don’t know if you’ve heard of this site before doyogawithme.com , but it’s free and really wonderful. great post, btw. warmth and all kinds of positive energy to you. <3

  2. I very much hope that not only will the IVF prove to be successful (it’s a bit Schrodinger’s Cat, isn’t it?) but that you will be holding a happily shrieky baby in 9.5 months, no more and no less.

    While I know that your mileage may vary, I knew both times that I was pregnant well before any test would have come up positive. May it also be so with you.

  3. I think finding something like yoga, that both relaxes you and allows you to get in touch with and express those negative emotions, is so important in the healing process. I am hoping so much for you.

  4. Yoga has been so important to me too. A path of transformation, and a way in to myself, as well as to a deeper sense of the divine. My practice has supported me through so much, which is why I recognize your words as truth when I read them. I feel very glad that you have your practice to support you through the very significant challenges life has handed you.
    It’s good to really believe that crying is ok. Because it is. But we are constantly told it isn’t ok, that we should apologize for it. Crying on the mat is a huge relief. I’m glad you have that safe space.
    Keeping you in my thoughts.

  5. I’m so glad you have this outlet. Not only is it good for you physically, but it is so good to have the mental release as well. As you mentioned here, I highly doubt that doing squats contributed to your loss as they are supposed to be good for you during pregnancy. It’s just so hard not to wonder about stuff like that though! Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, keep doing what you are doing because it is so good for both you and your baby :)

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