It was there, in that silence, I finally sat with the sadness, the loneliness, the grief I had been experiencing all along but kept pushing down.
Three months earlier, in October, I'd found out I was pregnant. With a baby that was very much planned, tried for, and going to be loved.
In November, I woke up to a massive amount of blood. I went to the hospital for testing and found out I'd miscarried.
I told myself things like, "At least you weren't further along" and "Everything happens for a reason" (which I actually do believe). But none of it was helpful. I was hurting myself by avoiding the hard truth: I was sad, and I was in pain. I never said to myself, "This is difficult, and it's okay to be sad about it."
Conversely, my husband was endlessly supportive. He reminded me that he didn't have a monthly physical reminder that we weren't expecting anymore. He acknowledged that he got to leave the house every day for his high-stress job, which allowed his mind a break from the pain that I know he still feels, too.
My family did everything they could to show me how much they cared. Even my almost-3-year-old daughter, who is so little, would wake up and ask, "Are you feeling better, Mama?" So wise beyond her years. I couldn't have asked for more out of my community, yet I knew I needed something from within.
In December, family, friends, Christmas lights, and distractions surrounded me. I allowed myself to be present with my daughter, who understood the magic of the holidays for the first time.
Then, in January, when the gray and the snow settled in where I live in Pennsylvania, my mental health plummeted. But, it was a new year, and Adriene Mishler from "Yoga with Adriene" was starting a free 30-day yoga challenge entitled MOVE: A 30 Day Yoga Journey.
I decided to try it.
Though I'm far from what anyone would call an expert, I’ve dabbled in yoga quite a bit, and have been a fan of Adriene's for a long time. I had done her challenges a few other times and always appreciated her sense of humor while maintaining wisdom about what yoga has to offer us as we go about our daily lives.
When she started promoting the MOVE challenge to her email subscribers, her messages about it being a fresh start offered exactly what I needed to hear (or read). I clicked the "sign up" button, printed the calendar, and kept it in the pocket of my journal to keep track of my progress.
As we began, each day of the journey built on the last. Over the month, I gained strength, both mentally and physically. It helped put me in a growth mindset, reminding me that if I fall, I can get back up and try again—on the mat and in life.
It helped put me in a growth mindset, reminding me that if I fall, I can get back up and try again—on the mat and in life.
A “love note” accompanied each of the classes via an email from Adriene with a theme for the day, allowing me to set an intention or affirmation that I could carry with me. For instance, on the day all about TLC, the question was posed: "How do you want to feel?" And on the day about anchoring, she gave a powerful mantra to come back to over and over again—in any situation: "My breath is my anchor, and my anchor is my breath." A subtle reminder to both the body and brain simultaneously that I am alive.
The challenge was not easy, but it allowed me so much healing. For 12 to 30 minutes each morning in my living room—before that first sip of coffee, before the chaos of the day with a toddler and a business settled in—I found myself again in the calm and the stillness. Hearing the music at the start of the videos each morning, I’d feel a wave of peace wash over me.
Although I might have been practicing on my own, I never felt alone. I somehow felt a sense of community created by this stranger from Texas, consisting of people connected through their downward dogs in their living rooms. How she has managed this through a free, digital platform is beyond me, but I am so glad that she has.
And with each rollout of the mat, I could feel myself healing. Gaining just a little bit more serenity and understanding. This daily practice taught me that my body is imperfect but beautiful. It has carried two little humans, one of them here with me every day and one not. As I tried to balance during Eagle Pose and fell more times than I care to admit, I found myself laughing and trying again. It wasn't my fault that I stumbled, and it wasn't my fault that I miscarried.
It took me more than 30 days, since I gave myself leeway and took weekends off to spend time with my family, but I completed the entire journey. And in that final practice, the tears flowed. I realized the sadness, loneliness, and grief were something I will always keep with me, but I could also let the light back in. I realized I could allow myself to be joyful, present, and grateful, and that all those things can coexist.
I had surgery earlier this month to remove a cyst, which was only found before it became dangerous because of this experience. And for that, I am thankful. I am healing and healthy.
Will we try for another baby? I think so. But we will never forget the one we lost. And I'll always be so appreciative for the timing of this toolbox that was handed to me and gave me so much strength to go on—not knowing what's next, but being okay with that.
Looking for a yoga flow for the body and mind? Try this 30-minute healing practice:
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