The Big M Word: Miscarriage
The big M word. The thing that nobody wants to talk about, let alone believe could happen to them. The thing that is so (relatively) common but oh so taboo. Miscarriage. It’s scary, it’s awful and it happened to me. I used meditation as a way to cope with the emotions and here is my story.
Over two years ago, I had a miscarriage. I was shocked, so upset and felt like my body was betraying me. I was one of the healthiest people that I knew (riding on that high horse, clearly) and it didn’t seem like that should or could happen to me…it only happened to other people. People who didn't practice and teach yoga, surely not marathoners or those that thoughtfully nourish their bodies with fruits and veggies. This wasn't even on my radar and I was blindsided. Those around me were kind but I didn't want sympathy and I certainly did not welcome the heartfelt but knowing glances. I did not need to share my pain with the world nor did I want the reminder of what was happening. I simply ached and needed to retreat within to deal with the storm of thoughts swirling around inside.
The whole experience was humbling, to say the least. I know now that my body did not betray me; this was just something that happened. With a bit of perspective, obsessive reading of Pema Chadron and some serious meditation, I reached a point of serenity and acceptance. While I was private during the experience, I now feel compelled to share. It was gut wrenching but it was also a time of intense personal growth. I share this now from a place of peace and hope that my experience could be helpful to you or somebody you know. Miscarriage is so much more common than I knew (hence the blindsided thing) and it wasn't until I starting talking openly, that I realized how many mamas have had similar experiences.
Aside from my incredible husband, meditation was my primary anchor throughout the miscarriage (the whole experience actually lasted several long weeks but that is another post for another time). Meditation can mean different things to different people. For me, sometimes it means sitting quietly in an incense filled room with my eyes closed, while other times it means reciting a beloved mantra and sometimes it takes the form of a moving meditation. To cope with my miscarriage, I used all three. When the thoughts inside were too loud, I got quiet. I retreated within to process and truly feel. I would sit in silence, usually with my dog in my lap, and feel what came up. Very often, there was a word or phrase that would rise to the top of my emotional pile. I acknowledged the feeling, got comfortable with it and then let it go. I would form a visual of what this emotion looked like, how it made me feel and then breathe it out. Sometimes this took multiple meditations and sometimes it happened within a few minutes. I just got quiet and listened.
I also found solace in words. I read and reread When Things Fall Apart by Pema Chadron. I highlighted phrases or whole pages that resonated and I wrote those words in a place where I would see them often. The image of the lotus frequently came to mind and the Tibetan Buddhist mantra of Om Mani Padme Hum was written on my heart. It resonated with me that one of the world’s most beautiful flowers, the lotus, grows and thrives in filth and sewage. No mud, no lotus.
I let myself fall apart. I allowed myself to sit with this pain not run from it. Prior to having a miscarriage, I knew this but it was during the experience that I put it into action. If I felt like crying, I cried. If I felt like going for a run and pounding out the pain, I did that (and I did a lot of that!). If I didn’t feel like talking about, mum was the word. Somebody wise once told me to have a cup of tea with my pain…so I did. I explored the root causes of my pain and I was surprised by what I found. I firmly believe that it was this falling apart that allowed me to create a more beautiful reality post miscarriage. There is a certain amount of power that comes from allowing yourself to fully feel what you are experiencing. For me, it is the only way that I can move on.
Flash forward two years and so much has changed. Our daughter's laughter fills our happy home and every single day is a grand adventure with Tallulah around. The peace that I have about the miscarriage is largely due to her presence and my daily meditation practice. Having a miscarriage made me a more considerate person. It made me carefully chose my words and be selective with my energy. It humbled me. It hurt me. In some ways, having a miscarriage prepared me for motherhood and in other ways, it scarred me. I feel so much gratitude for our little ray of light that even the hardest moments warm my heart. I cherish the mundane and reveal in the magic.