Beth Heller, MS
October 15 was Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. By coincidence (or not?) this past week I met four women who had found their way to Pulling Down the Moon after experiencing some sort of pregnancy loss. Having walked in their shoes myself, I am ultra-aware of the challenge facing these women. To get to a baby, women who have experienced loss must walk the very same path that led them to pain and heart break in the past. This takes a lot of courage – what I call”Fertility Rambo” courage.
Here’s an excerpt from our book The Infertility Cleanse.
For those of you who do not know my story, I was one of those gals who unfortunately needed seven years and five pregnancies to get two children. One of my losses was particularly difficult – a stillbirth in the 38th week of a pregnancy. For this book Tami asked me to write about how I managed to make it through the subsequent pregnancy which resulted in the arrival of my first son, Jackson, one month before Pulling Down the Moon opened our first center in Chicago. She probably thought I might have some words of wisdom for dealing with the anxiety and, yes, I would call it post-traumatic stress that are part of a subsequent pregnancy after such a loss.
I don't. You see, I didn't become a buddha during my pregnancy with Jackson – I became Rambo. I strapped on my ammunition, my night-vision goggles and popped a few grenades in my pockets and set off into a jungle of terror. It came down to a simple cost-benefit analysis. I knew that I wanted a baby so badly that I would risk the devastating disappointment of another loss.
Just last week I spoke to a woman who had suffered two very late miscarriages in a row. She was still reeling from her most recent loss and was asking me that same heartbreaking question – how am I going to have the courage to do this again? So I shared with her my Rambo story.
"Are you sure you're my yoga teacher?" she asked.
"Yes. I'm teaching you Rambo Fertility Yoga, " I replied.
So here's what I told her. Literally imagine that you are a fearless person – whether that's Rambo (my image) or Joan of Arc or a Resistance fighter during World War II – and each morning put on all your trappings of fearlessness. Whether it's Rambo's Uzi or fishnet stockings with a pistol tucked into your garter, or a suit of shining armor, put it on. When the waves of panic start to roll in you can rest your hand on your sword hilt. It's amazing how brave you can become when call on these archetypes of courage.
While it may sound silly, using this sort of visualization to conquer a fear can be enormously cleansing. By choosing an archetype of courage we become courageous ourselves. The fear and panic thoughts that arise have no place to stick to this image and, with effort and conviction, they become just that – thoughts.
I am always glad when women find us at Pulling Down the Moon. We’ve been there, we get it and we can help women walk the path to pregnancy with courage and grace. Techniques like yoga can help with grieving and manage the anxiety of the subsequent pregnancy. Traditional Chinese Medicine uses acupuncture and even herbal strategies to prevent miscarriage. Prenatal massage provides loving, nurturing “hands-on” support for anxious moms-to-be. Most of all we are a healing community with one goal – to help women thrive and find their inner strength during this challenging journey.
If you are struggling with loss please don’t hesitate to reach out. You can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or comment here.