On October 13, Pulling Down the Moon Chicago will be hosting a Step Up Salon: Fertility 101 with Fertility Centers of Illinois. We’re very excited about this event, both on a community level and, for me, a personal level.
One of the most vivid and painful memories of my fertility journey is sitting in my OB’s office experiencing my first miscarriage. As the fertility gods would have it, sitting across from me was a young woman – a girl really – who was deep into her third trimester of pregnancy. Of course my “judge-o-meter” went haywire. She was with her mother, wasn’t wearing a wedding ring…who was I kidding, she was barely old enough for a high school ring. I was bleeding and she was blooming. My loss felt so unfair. It was the first time during my fertility journey that I felt that I was becoming the Grinch, with a heart “two sizes too small.”
I’ve often wondered if Dr. Seuss was a yogi because he wasn’t too far off the yoga mark when he described his classic villain. In yoga physiology, one result of the”grinchification” process is the constriction of the heart chakra. The heart chakra is one of seven major energy wheels located along our spine. The chakras distribute life energy to our physical and emotional systems. When a chakra is blocked, the function of the organs and emotional processes associated with that energy wheel are challenged. In addition, when one chakra is blocked, energy cannot flow freely through the rest, creating a disruption in the entire body/mind system. The heart chakra (anahata chakra) is associated, not surprisingly, with the emotions of love and compassion and the ability to give and receive freely. The heart chakra is also believed to be linked to the cardiovascular system and the thymus (the endocrine gland associated with our immune system).
For weeks after my miscarriage my heart chakra was clenched around my loss and my sadness. It was also clenched around the young woman in that waiting room. I found myself obsessing about teen moms and their “stupidity”. I saw young moms on the El, in the supermarket and on the street and I’m afraid I stared daggers. My anger and jealousy even started to spread to “married moms” who had the nerve to snipe at their child in public. It was a zero tolerance situation. My heart was a mess. On some level, too, I was ashamed to be filled with such anger and blame.
Luckily, the universe was there to snap me out of it. My husband, who happens to be a high school teacher and coach in the Chicago city school system, asked me if I would volunteer my time and teach yoga to the Girls’ Cross Country team. I hadn’t shared with him that I’d become a teen-pregnancy vigilante – he just thought it would be a nice thing for me to do.
And it was. Meeting and teaching the young women on the team was one of the most powerful steps I took in my fertility journey. Watching these beautiful young women practice their sport, listening to their excited chatter about summer, about college – about future plans – I realized that the girl at the OB office was missing out on being a girl in much the same way that I felt I was missing out on being a mom. My stint as a yoga instructor at Whitney Young High School was brief, but profound. It helped me realize that compassion felt better than judgement. It also brought me home to a profound love for young women, their hopes and dreams, their sheer potential in the world. I even felt better physically (interestingly there is, in fact, evidence that people who help others live longer , experience less depression and have more energy than those who share less). Like the Grich cutting the roast beast, my heart grew THREE sizes that first day.
At the Moon we often talk about our “sacred sauce,” which is the healing and joy that is created when women come together and support each other. For those of you who are not aware of the Step Up Women’s Network , this very cool organization is dedicated to connecting professional women and underserved teen girls through mentorship, networking and advancement. Step Up’s dual mission – to bring professional women together and to provide mentors for young women – resonates deeply with the ethos of community at the Moon.
The Salon will take place October 13 at Pulling Down the Moon’s Chicago location from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. There will be complimentary hors d’oeuvres and cocktails, a Q&A session with a physician from Fertility Centers of Illinois and 15% off any Pulling Down the Moon service that is booked that night. The event is FREE.
So, amazing women of Pulling Down the Moon’s community, come on out and join us! Take this evening to meet other women, chat with docs from FCI and learn about Step Up and ways you can get involved in changing the lives of young women. We will be there with bells on!