I cried in yoga on Saturday morning. There I was, head resting on my hands in child’s pose, as our teacher read to us. “What if you are right where you need to be? What if you are divine? What if every atom that makes up your body is perfect? What if you are right exactly, here and now, just where you need to be.” As I listened to her voice the tears started to flow.
A little over two years ago, my husband and I decided that we were ready to have a baby. After years and years of trying not to have a baby, we made jokes about pulling the goalie and expected child to drop into our now-willing hands. I bought books and actually read them. I changed my diet (a little). I had to sit on my hands to not buy baby clothes because we weren't actually pregnant yet, but I started to see little, mini Vans and jumpers just waiting to fly off the shelves. I would walk along, wistful and dreaming. I could see his or her tiny little fingers curled around my pointer finger as we sat on the couch together to stare lovingly into each other's eyes.
We got pregnant on our second try. My husband counseled me to be patient, to intelligently wait until after the first trimester to start telling anyone, ever my loving protector. Our protector. The same day that my sister, who was also pregnant at the time, and I took our in utero babies to their first national park together, I started to bleed. At first I wasn't worried because I had bled before. But then the pain of passing a beating heart out through my body hit me. All I could do was breathe through the contractions, curl in on myself, my husband’s gentle and loving hand on my back, and sob. Just thinking about it makes my lower lip quiver. I saw the vision of a little girl, all blond curls and deep blue eyes, and I told her, “I will hold your hand as you leave my body. I am here for you. Everything is going to be ok. You will always be with us no matter what.” It became a mantra as I felt the excruciating physical and emotional process of letting go. I will hold your hand as you leave my body. I am here for you. Everything is going to be ok. You will always be with us no matter what. I could feel my nails return to their pre-pregnancy flimsiness. My gut went away. The estrogen returned. Day 1 of my cycle. I will hold your hand as you leave my body. For the first time in my life all I wanted was to get my gut back.
The doctor confirmed what the ultrasound tech had already told me. There was no little beating heart in my womb. “Don't worry,” she said. “Your body knows how to get pregnant. I am sure that I'll see you back here in three months or so. Please take good care of yourself.” Friends would repeat this to me, too. I really wanted to believe them but I was terrified. I built up a wall around me in an effort to protect myself. Yes, I really want a baby. And, I need to prepare for what life will look life if that isn't in the cards for me. Who will I be without the experience of those little fingers curling around mine, those nights around a campfire without my too-smart teenager to call me on my bullshit. What would I birth? Who would call me mother?
Next month, my husband and I will start IUI. The tears that flowed from my eyes on Saturday, dropping onto my mat, were tears of grief. Grief for the need to say goodbye to an old self who thought that if I just tried harder, or was more, that I could change things around to be exactly as I want them to be. Grief for the child who passed through me that day and who is forever laid to rest peacefully in the center of my heart. Grief for facing that which needed to die. Yet in that grief, the tears that flowed from my eyes were straight from the gut of radical acceptance. Radical acceptance for where I am, for who I am, for the fact that no matter what I am divine. Radical acceptance for the fact that in this life I am sometimes terrified that I don't know where to go, that there is nothing I can physically do to change the situation. For the fact that, given this, I rise. Yes. I rise. I am woman. I am warrior. I have been here before. My body knows what to do.
In the last moments of class, as I surrendered on the floor, a song piped through the speakers. “You can dance in a hurricane. But only if you are standing in the eye.” As the storm ripped through my body, as the rain of tears fell, as the wanting winds rage, I knew – I felt – that I was right where I needed to be simply because I was there. This is the eye of my storm. What is yours?