This morning there was a slightly different crowd in my yoga class. Mostly young moms. (Are we still young? I’m calling us young.) Mostly people I know, or I’ve at least seen in class before. And, one new woman, who looked even younger than the young moms. And, a little perkier. You might even say she was… glowing. I eyed her suspiciously.
We got to the point of the class, at the beginning, when the teacher asks if anyone has an injury that needs to be accommodated. It’s a very relaxed atmosphere in this class, and things can get chatty quickly. Well, the glowing woman shared with us that she’s newly pregnant. Very newly. Like, we’re the only people besides her husband and her mom who know.
I immediately and instinctively went into child’s pose.
(Yes, all of these pictures are of me. *Snort.*)
Other people? Well, other people cheered. And, clapped. And, congratulated. And, asked her how far along she is. And, how is she feeling. And, this is what you need to watch out for in yoga as your body grows and changes. And, then throughout the class, it would come up as the instructor - quite rightly - would show her a modification or tell her something that would help her practice later on in the pregnancy.
Despite being in a wonderful mood that morning, I was thrown - thrown - into a grief cycle, that lasted the ninety minutes of the class. (Quite efficient, actually. Years of practice are paying off, no?) There’s really nothing like a pregnancy announcement to challenge your attempts to zen out.
Denial (and isolation): If I just stay here in child’s pose, I will be safe and everything will be fine. Is everyone else clapping? OMG. Everyone is clapping. OMG.
Anger: I’m going to throw this fucking block at her. She looks a little wobbly in that ardha chandrasana… Sob. (I have to go to the bathroom now. To cry.)
Bargaining: Well, if she can get pregnant and I can’t, I can do this back bend way better than she can. I CAN DO THIS FUCKING BACK BEND. Oh, she can do this back bend, too? Ouch. I think I hurt myself.
Depression: I can’t believe she can do this back bend, too. And, she’s pregnant. And, I don’t have a uterus. I have nothing. I am broken. Waaaahhhhhh….. sob. (This time crying on my mat through vinyasas.)
Acceptance: Our fingers touched during savasana. I didn’t swat her.
In the end, my frustration was with the grief cycle, and not the glowing young woman beside me. I was wishing I could be free of this grief, of the triggers, and having to face these feelings again and again. (How very yogi of me, right?) Wouldn’t it be nice if we could leave this pain behind us? Let these triggers pass us by? It’s been so hard to face it all again, and since the hysterectomy it’s been much, much harder.
It’s safe to say that I was the only one in the room who’d had a hysterectomy. It’s a very weird thing to be a non-menstruating, uterus-free, thirty-four year old. I don’t really know where I fit in a room full of women right now. I’m not in menopause. I’m not menopause-age. And, I’m certainly not going to be making or birthing any babies. Obviously. So, where does that leave me? Is there a box to check for whatever this is? What would that box even say?
I joked earlier that at least I’m more efficient at working through these triggers, after years of practice. But, I think there’s something very real to that. I know these feelings well. I am engaged with my process and my grief. I know that I will be triggered again. And, again. I don’t know if I will ever be able to avoid this grief cycle, honestly. But, I am thankful that I was in a safe space and understood what was happening to me, today.