Poems & Essays

23 Jan

Junky Hips

General/Column No Response

I recently found myself in a yoga class. It’s novel to note that I went to a yoga class because, as a working mother of a toddler and wife to a busy medical resident, I don’t often have the time to be in a yoga class. The class was all about letting go, falling into uncomfortable poses, and noticing unpleasant sensations, but then inviting them to leave through breath. Your typical yoga stuff—I’ll admit that I like it a lot.

I have what I feel are particularly junky hips. They carry the stress of day-to-day life. Making meals, making deadlines, making piles of laundry transform from filthy to clean. They carry the weight of a toddler and a grown-up woman and sometimes the weight of a small dog. So, as you might imagine, when the instructor said we would be focusing on hip-opening poses, I felt as though I’d hit the jackpot. I was ready to move and pose and accept the discomfort so that I could breathe it away.

But then, I was hit by a nostalgic sadness, a profound grief. I recognized it immediately. Here in this yoga class was the baby boy that I lost three years ago.

After I lost that boy, it was all I could think about for months. I used to relive the moment when the doctor told us that mine was an unviable pregnancy. I fixated on the feeling of my cramping, the empty womb after the D&C. I was terrified to talk about my loss with anyone because I felt like a bad-luck-amulet, a cursed witch of a woman. Simultaneously, I wanted to run into the streets screaming my baby’s name, urging anyone who could empathize to tell me their story. To convince me that they pain would go away. Now that I am a mama and I have other mothers to talk to, I recognize what I needed at that time. I needed my Mom-Tribe, that all-important group of women that have been my earth-shattering, perspective-giving sanity in the face of crazy motherhood. But, there aren’t tribes for moms who have miscarried, especially with their first babies, and that is a shame, because we need one another.

We had a son sometime after we miscarried, and we named him the same name that we were considering for our first baby. It’s a family name, and we wanted to hold onto that tribute despite our loss. Our son here on earth goes by his middle name, though, because it was too heavy to imagine calling him Charlie. When we go to the doctor’s office, the nurses call for Charles, and every time I hear it my stomach goes to knots.

Recently, I haven’t thought about Charlie as much as I did after I first lost him. I was terrified during pregnancy, terrified during birth, terrified during my son’s NICU stay and subsequent MRI, but ever since we were given a clean bill of health and came home, thoughts of my Charlie became fewer and fewer. Putting that in writing feels awful.

When Charlie came to me during an extended pigeon pose, I tried to remember it all. I remembered the words the doctor used, the last meal I ate with Charlie inside of me, the very tiny t-shirt that I bought him before we knew the truth. It had Winnie the Pooh on the front of it. Pooh was floating away, tethered to a shiny red balloon and happily exclaiming “Au Revoir!” The irony of that omen will always haunt me.

When all the memories came back, and all the bandages were removed, I breathed, but I did not let it go, as the yoga instructor may have advised. After all this time, that wound is as fresh and painful as it ever was, but some things are meant to stay with us. That boy lives within me. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Pamela Savage is a work at home mom to Sweet Baby Raymond and forever-puppy, Buddy. She is married to a handsome, adventurous ER doc whose work schedule drives her nuts. Pamela is a counselor, yogi, runner and writer who has lived in Morocco, Philadelphia and Chicago. Pamela and her family live in Baltimore, MD. Her work has been published on Mamalode.

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