Tag Archives: pregnancy

Yoga and Infertility

one of my favorite views
(the ceiling at Strala Yoga; one of my favorite views)

It took me thirteen years to get pregnant. I don’t talk a lot about my infertility, because somewhere during those thirteen years, I decided to not let it define me or my life. I didn’t want to sit around at home pining for a child while allowing other opportunities to slip away. And I certainly didn’t want to be seen that way by the world; I didn’t want to be known for what I did not have–I wanted to be known for what I could do and what I’d done.

I mean, there were plenty of days in there where I would draw the curtains in my bedroom, crawl into my bed, and cry for hours on end, grieving a life I didn’t have. I would be very happy for my pregnant friends, but found baby showers unbearable, so I stopped going. And I’d be very happy for my pregnant friends, but simultaneously found their round pregnant bellies torturous. But for the most part, I kept my grief very private, for better and for worse, to the point where some people were very surprised to learn I wanted children.

We bought our home in Berkeley with the intention of having children, many children. Over the years, the extra bedrooms became guest rooms and and an office. Still, the aura of empty bedrooms never escaped me.

In some fit of optimism, I decided early on that the first child I’d hold in my arms was going to be my own, so for many many years I politely declined holding people’s babies. Eventually, I wondered if I should go ahead and hold a baby, because maybe I’d never get to hold my own. But by then, very few people offered up their babies to me. And the significance of the act had become quite large–whose baby? And what would that act signify? Would that mean I’d totally given up? And uh, yah. Awkward.

Yah, it got complicated.

At one point, I picked up my head and made a concerted effort to “do what people with kids cannot do.” That meant that when we were asked to move to New York City, we immediately (okay not immediately, but twenty-four hours later) said yes, we would. (Plus hello? New York!) We picked up and moved within two months, wending our way across the country (through a blizzard in Arizona!) in a MINI Cooper with two geriatric wiener dogs in the back. We lived a bicoastal life. We flew back and forth. These were things that people with kids could not do.

And then–we got pregnant.

I wrote a little essay late in my pregnancy on my infertility and its intersection with yoga for my friend and yoga instructor, Tara Stiles. I met her completely by chance at her yoga studio Strala Yoga. Yoga with Tara changed my life. Tara read this essay at a conference on infertility (Fertility Planit) at which she was a keynote speaker.

If you want to hear it, Tara’s presentation is up at MindBodyGreen; she begins reading my essay at the 24:30 mark.

The essay also speaks to my lifelong/ongoing body issues.

And here is my essay if you would prefer to read it:

Continue reading

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Giving in to the process

9 weeks vs 33 weeks
(Above: 9 weeks on the left…33 weeks on the right)

So I’ve accepted the reality that I won’t be revising my novel to the extent I’d like. That my novel-writing will eventually return in earnest (hopefully sometime next Summer/Fall), and that my novel will benefit from this break. I believe this, because every break I take from my novel benefits the novel, and because this particular break is a rich and life-enhancing break in which I am still creating something–a person, really.

Which takes me to the topic of “breaks”–not brokenness mind you and not vacations either, but breaks. Ones that result in greater strength and conviction.

A break in my tailbone. A bone that heals stronger.

A break from a relationship. A relationship that reunites later with more conviction and clarity.

A break in my psyche. A renewed set of life priorities.

A break in my my brain. Singular determination, revealed.

I’m looking forward to what the next year will bring me. I’m hoping I’ll be surrounded by support, because it won’t be an easy year, but I hope it will be fantastic nonetheless. I’m excited about meeting my kid. And I’m interested in the writer I will become.

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Freaking out

Looking up

I’ve kept this news on the down-low. For so many reasons. Because it makes me feel vulnerable. Because I don’t want to jinx it. Because it is scary business. Because it’s been a largely private journey. Because I’m wary of everyone’s reaction to the news. Because everyone expects me to be giddy-happy, and the journey has been so complicated and heartbreaking. Because it fills everyone else with expectations.

Because it’s one of the things I’ve most desired, and I wanted to keep it to myself for awhile. Because it’s one of the things I’ve most desired, and I wanted to protect myself for awhile. And I’d like to keep protecting myself, but it’s just impossible.

But now–I feel compelled to share, because I am freaking out, partly because I’ve been shrouding myself in quiet privacy. And this fear–this fear has found its way into the crevices of my identity as a writer–because my identity itself is changing. I’m in this weird transition–from one thing to another.

Because you see, after thirteen years of trying and not-not-trying and multiple times given up and then, after wiping my tears on my sleeve, forged on ahead again…I’m pregnant. I’m over 26 weeks pregnant, in fact. About 2/3 of the way through my pregnancy.

Untitled

And yes I’m happy. It took me a long time to allow myself to relax and be happy, to say it will be okay, that this is real. I shared with one friend and then another and then another, one at a time, dipping my toe into the water, revealing my secret, getting used to saying, “I’m pregnant.”

I couldn’t even say, “I’m pregnant” to the OBGYN receptionist on the phone, which prompted her to say, “Why are you making a checkup appointment with an OB? You can call your primary care physician, you know.” To which I said in garbled voice, “Because I’m prrrrrregnannnnnnt.” Oh it felt weird to say that. It felt like someone else saying so. It felt unreal. In those early weeks, I was cocooned in caution. The caution cocoon happens when you try and try and try and never get something you want.

We reached milestone after milestone. In disbelief at the good news each time. Deep down, we were thrilled. Deep down, the drumbeat picked up its pace. And yet, we measured our outward reaction, because all those years trying to get pregnant? They took away a big chunk of our innocence. And that’s okay. Sometimes things cost innocence.

I’m not freaking out about being pregnant anymore. I’m excited. I’m not freaking out about giving birth. It’s going to happen. I’m not freaking out about the changes in my body. It’s a part of the process.

There is a new freakout: I’m freaking out, as I do most changes in my life, about how it will affect my writing, which is a core part of my life, identity, and sanity.

Some of my non-mama friends have told me it’s just like anything else–that I’ll just make the time–that people have jobs and responsibilities and they manage to carve out time for writing. But I have a strong feeling that motherhood is unlike anything else–even while pregnant, this thing has taken over my psyche, my thoughts, my heart, my finances, my time, my body, and my time. It’s all-consuming.

For the record–I haven’t had that creative-burst that people say women have during pregnancy. It just hasn’t happened, thus increasing my silent freak-out. I really wanted to finish a major revision of my novel before giving birth. That isn’t going to happen, even though I’m forging onwards in my revision so that I’ll have no regrets.

The closest I’ve ever come to having something hijack my writing is my stroke, which left me completely unable to write fiction for nearly two years. And yet my stroke recovery was still a time focused utterly on myself. That ain’t motherhood, either.

I am positive that longterm, motherhood will be amazing for my writing. That it will inform me as a human and in turn my writing. That my kid is going to give me tons of ideas and windows into the rooms of life that I haven’t yet entered.

But short term? I am anxious. I know I won’t be able to revise my novel for a few months. But will it be a year away? Two years away? I don’t know how I could handle that.

How do you manage? How do you transition your identity as a writer into motherhood? What are tips for making time? How long did it take to get back to your writing? Are there things I’m overlooking?

I have so many questions. So many questions.

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Filed under Life, Pregnancy, The Personal, Writing