This week I want to explore the topic of miscarriage. Although difficult for us to wrap our minds around, approximately 10-20% of known pregnancies will end in miscarriage. This is a staggering number, and means that most likely you know someone who has experienced miscarriage at some point in their lives. Although most miscarriages occur in the first trimester (first 13 weeks of pregnancy), the effects are long-term and devastating to families. Community support and healing are key elements in being able to move forward in the grieving process. In addition to grieving, the physical aspects of the miscarriage can be confusing, painful, and debilitating. Many pregnancies require a D&C, which is a surgical procedure which in and of itself can be traumatic couple with the compounded trauma of loss.
In 2019, I experienced miscarriage at about 9 weeks. The process did not include a surgical procedure, but it did take many weeks to process resulting in low energy, blood loss, and soreness in the pelvic floor, legs, and belly. Both my physical and emotional bodies needed to be supported in the healing process. As with most things that overwhelm me, I turned to yoga.
I approached the yoga practice very differently. I found that time in my bed was just wanted I needed. The sheets and softness were soothing so I would end each day with a few restorative poses in bed. I would start in a supine butterfly pose (feet together, knees wide) with my hands on my belly and would breathe deeply. I would visualize healing and would take long, slow exhales to relax and release stress. Following this, I would tuck my legs towards my chest and allow my legs to be heavy. There was something very meaningful in this action - supine childs pose. I may follow this with rocking and breathing. Each pose I held until I felt I had benefited as much as I could. In subsequent weeks I added gentle supine twists and legs up a wall. Each evening I would let go more and get stronger in both body and mind.
As part of my healing, it became important for me to trust the process and reconnect with myself. It is incredibly easy to blame our bodies for this process, but connection can find encouragement and wisdom in ourselves. I began to put a practice together to help others going through a similar experience. Part breath, part connection, and part movement all to support healing in our bodies, in our minds, and in our souls. We never forget the little person that was lost. We continue to hold them in our hearts and we move forward more connected and more understanding.
For more information on ways heal and nourish yourself following miscarriage, tune into the "On Health for Women" podcast with Aviva Romm. The March 8 episode "On How to Have a Safe, Empowered Miscarriage at Home: What Every Woman Needs to Know" is a good one.
Take care of yourself, and each other!
Hi, I'm Valerie Kacian! I am a mom of three and a yoga teacher. I am also a writer who doesn't write enough. This is my way of giving you the answers you are looking for and also to keep in touch with my first baby, writing.