No-one wants to come home without baby
It’s the most devastating of news that drives the writing of this article. The reality that despite the absolute commitment to health, the following of all medical advice for the pregnant woman – the healthy diet and sensible exercise regime – that the unborn baby won’t be coming home. It’s not your fault. But at the core of every miscarriage, still birth, or death way too soon is the deep seated belief that your body failed you. So how do you forgive yourself, recover, regain confidence to move forward and try for another child – or at least to move on with some peace of mind?
This is what helped me
I’m now 50 years old and I’ve been working as a personal training for 10 years now. I began this work after the birth of my third child, but she was my 6th pregnancy and all my ‘losses’ were before 14 weeks – all different – and all chipped away at my confidence to have a baby. We even started looking at international adoption – a costly and exhausting experience. I digress . . . . . .
How do you get back to normal?
What I really wanted after each miscarriage was to get back to normal – to get my regular self back. I’ve always been a physical being, so getting back in to sport or to the gym was my ‘go to’. I felt if I could recover physically I could begin to recover emotionally. But the barriers on returning to exercise were many and I felt I had to educate my fitness instructor or coach on various pregnancy / post pregnancy issues. Considering things like the hormone relaxin in my body that made my joints unstable still hovering around, or the bloating in my belly were not issues front and foremost in the mind of the coach or personal trainer. There was no getting on with normal when people state you are doing well for someone in second trimester . . . . or the exact opposite – push hard in your fitness sessions “you are not pregnant any more so why hold back…”
What really helped was taking some time away from gym and sport, walking in nature, gardening or at least trying to grow something. I found a really lovely masseuse who had a yoga background who helped me bit by bit rehabilitate. She adapted my exercises in class without referring to my loss so I had a safe place to go and work physically without stupid or insensitive comments. Time went by and I got stronger and started to feel like me again. Additionally, I attended grief counselling. Both helped, but the loss is still with me – even though on a rational level I know I did not cause the miscarriages the niggling doubt remained. I can live with it now, but I still think of what might have been.
Getting some exercise can help not only physically, but also helps mentally and with depression and anxiety. No one wants to live with depression and anxiety, but it can be a difficult journey back to you when you might struggle to find suitable help beyond your GP or grief counsellor.
Helping women recover from pregnancy, birthing, and possibly tragedy is a service that I now find myself able to offer. As an ante natal and post natal exercise expert with years of helping women rehabilitate their bodies after quite complex birthing experiences – well nothing is more complex than a women trying to heal and come to terms with the grief and change of identity that comes with losing a child.