What really happened
What really happened, April 2018.
You may have known or followed me for a while and had no clue. I am a Catholic who loves going to church, when I am in a country that actually has any. I don’t usually share too much about it in public unless the subject comes up as I find religion is a personal matter.
I miss going to mass on Sunday mornings. I love the spiritual connection I get when I sit in a church, surrounded by holy images, incense and candles, singing the hymns I know. It will lift my spirit within seconds. But when you travel a lot or live in a country where it is not the main religion, this actually becomes a special treat when it is made possible. I often pray for the unfortunate people who cannot live their faith openly because of other people’s judgement or because they live in a country that restrict their freedom to the point they have to hide their faith or pretend to another one because their life is threatened.
I had felt a load in my heart for a while, it started at the end of January when I had the sad experience of a miscarriage. It carried on with the difficulties to be with my man, the Indian government being hard on my visa allowances these last months… Most of you didn’t know I was pregnant, let alone lost the baby. I had not planned to make it “public” but I have had this feeling of a burden that I found hard to release as it “had” to be kept a secret. I have taught 7 yoga teacher training courses, hosted a yoga retreat and a detox retreat in the past 6 months. Not alone of course but it was an intense season for me in Goa.
There is a real thing around miscarriage that made me wonder during the past few months, trying to figure out how to handle the physical pain and emotional trauma when hardly anybody around you is supposed to know what you are going through. How to explain people who didn’t know you were pregnant in the first place that you are not well these days but that “it’s ok” or you “will be better in a few days”, not being able to shout out the fact that NO, YOU ARE NOT OK because you just lost your baby?! I understand the fact that most women don’t talk about their pregnancy before the 3rd month is over. Miscarriage is unfortunately very common (1 out of 4 pregnancies), but that way we are also isolating ourselves from the much needed support and love in that specific time. So what is the best way to handle it?
I cut myself from social media for a few weeks as everyone I followed on Instagram seemed to be either pregnant or just had a baby! A bit like when you just broke up and everyone you see in the streets seem to be loving couples hugging, holding hands and kissing. One of the students we had on the teacher training course that month was also pregnant, just a few weeks more than I was and exactly my age. As a trained prenatal teacher, I made sure she was always safe in her practice and stayed healthy throughout the course. Did I give that much love and care to my own pregnancy? I think I did but then you wonder and feel guilty. Did I do too much or the wrong way?
None of the students knew I was pregnant and when the miscarriage happened, I had to stay the motivating, inspiring and smiling teacher for them to complete their course and get the best out of it. I have to admit, some days it was hard to keep that smile on and uplifting mood for them. My body was in pain, my heart was aching. But life goes on. I had students coming from Paris to do the training with me or a one week retreat in India. Some days, I wish I could have told them what I was going through and why I had to be replaced for some of my classes cause I had to go to the hospital so many times in these few weeks, but students don’t come to your training or your retreat to hear your problems, they usually join to forget or solve theirs.
I wish women could talk openly about it but then, it is such a personal process, it is hard to know what would heal us best. Even writing this post took me weeks since I started because I wondered: Is this topic too private? Is it going to make people feel uncomfortable or sorry for me? Even some people may be strangely offended they knew nothing about it before?
When I was in Bali in April, my Russian girlfriend Kristina took me to the Holy water temple. I was lucky to have her explain me every step of it as she lives in Bali and comes to the temple on a very regular basis. We got some offerings at the stall outside the temple, composed of flowers, coins and incense. Stopping at every stage and doing the appropriate offerings and salutes, we finally arrived at the holy waterfall. We went in, all dressed as we should and Kristina went under the very strong source of water after throwing incense and flowers to the back of her head. I felt the strength of the water rise within me. The intense sound, the sensation within my body and my heart was so strong I started to cry. I felt I was water. I felt a breakthrough, a melt down, a heaviness that had to come out and lighten up my whole being. So I cried and cried. Kristina came out from below the waterfall and saw I was going through something, so she held my hand tight and supported me with love and kindness, like a sister would. I felt confortable to just be with this heaviness and finally letting it out and the sorrow escape my body with the tears going down my cheeks and into the holy water.
She and I were one, my tears and the waterfall were one, the water and I were one. WE ARE ONE. So as I went below the strong waterfall myself, trying to breathe through the pouring water over my head and whole body (those who have been under a waterfall know how strong the water can be it’s hard to stay). I prayed that all the heaviness about this loss would clear away in this very moment with this water; that this baby who didn’t come to life would find its way to paradise and that my body and my heart would heal to welcome another one soon. It was such a purifying process, I held tight to the rock and stayed with it as long as I could. Coming out from under the waterfall, I felt lighter, healed and purified, in and out.
As a conclusion I would say that whether you believe in Jesus, Shiva, Buddha or Allah, the connection to the divine can be found in many places and in divert ways. The more I travel, the more I see it and I try not to close myself from those opportunities to pray and connect to it. The idea is not to be on a spiritual tour like you would go on a wine tasting trip to Bordeaux (sorry for the French example ;), but to stay open and present with my faith in the ways I can when I’m away from home. God’s presence is up there and everywhere; just keep your eyes and heart open for it.
Women who have endured a miscarriage, don’t stay alone with your pain, explain to your partner what you are going through. He won’t endure the same emotional and hormonal roller coaster as you do but if he can understand what you are going through, he can hold you tight and let you cry when you need. And if he cannot handle it, find sisters to talk to, open up and share your story and feelings, or even write below your thoughts; whatever helps you pass this tough time of life with much grace. And eventually, everything will be ok.
With love and care,