1.7.2017 - Today was her due date. 3 months, 3 weeks and 1 day ago, at 23 weeks pregnant, I lost my 2nd baby. We named her Ava Grace. Why am I sharing this? Firstly, because for these passing months I have struggled greatly with how to re-imagine myself after this. How to re-identify myself. What is my story now? The topic of pregnancy loss is not one we like to talk about over coffee. It's the worst. Most people don't know what to say. It's easier to say nothing, and so this experience stays hidden in the shadows for many.
Finding my voice to express my new story has been hard - of course, in the very immediate circle there was support and I could ride the roller coaster of grief with them. And I still do. But beyond that - the wider world....? Reintegrating has been a task. Some days it is just easier to stay at home - not face it.
So, initially I used The Women's Circle (TWC) social media presence to continue sharing my story behind a certain degree of anonymity. I could share moments and musings without Ava's loss being known. Losing the baby happened to Emma, not to TWC. I could share my story without it being cloaked in the unspoken knowing that I was in a state of grief. This protected my heart and gave me a break from the grief.
Even in this format I have a degree of separation from my story and the audience. No where near as confronting as sharing face to face, especially with someone that cares for you. Writing has helped me to be more analytical about it. Process it from a different angle. Because when you're living it, believe me, you have a lot of opportunity to FEEL the grief. Writing about it has helped me step back and just see it for what it is. To come to terms with the fact that things haven't gone to plan. This has been hard, because I've always had a plan...Yet I soon discovered that negative outcomes can be positive, with a positive perspective.
And so this is the other reason I am sharing with you all...because there is a silver lining to this experience, since it has brought me to where I am today. The offering I give through The Women's Circle is now intrinsically linked to this loss. It has influenced my life's expression in every way possible - and I think it has had a truly beautiful effect. When I came home from the hospital back in March, my first delivery of rudraksha and gemstones had arrived. I had no baby, but I had my beads... And so I dove in. As if in to a pool of healing therapy I strung bead after bead. Deep spiritual searching, meditation and yoga brought light and inspiration back in to my life, and it continued to be birthed through my malas. The energy that was taken from me in losing Ava was rediscovered, rebirthed and reinstated through my malas. The healing was profound! Making malas made the difference between days of pure anguish, and days that had the opportunity to create beauty. With every mala I birthed, I was healed just a little bit more from birthing Ava.
While malas were a solitary and meditative creative outlet, what was to be of my work with pregnant mothers? The primary reason I am doing my yoga studies is because I want to develop and offer pre- and post-natal workshops. I had received this inspiration and set upon the path before this loss - so what now? That journey, I am still treading lightly. I will not quit my studies, and I will not ignore the inspiration and calling. I continue to do the work on myself, to prepare me to be of service to others. To Mothers. It is something that will blossom through the grace of time and the inevitable healing that that brings. My work with women and mothers will ultimately be strengthened. Deepened! My understanding of life, birth and death stretches beyond that which we celebrate and in to the darkness we often don't share. I can shine experiential light in to that darkness. And so Ava's life had purpose. Her existence will continue to have meaning through my work. Her life may have left me with some battle scars, but it has made me a warrior. And I thank her for the strength she has given me - a strength I could not have understood without her.
And so the journey continues. I can't deny my path. My truth. My dharma (duty). My calling to be creative and work with pregnant women has not been silenced. I will integrate this experience in to my voice, my story, my work. I sit here in circle with you and share my story...and I bow to you and acknowledge you and your ancestors who have come before you and provided the same love and support throughout the ages. And today I honour Ava Grace. I honour and acknowledge her existence. Her short physical realisation will not be in vain. Ava, you are a chapter from my story now. Your chapter has forever changed the course of my story and redefined the utterances of my voice. And I thank you for that. Om Shanti - May You Find Peace.
"I said: what about my eyes?
He said: Keep them on the road.
I said: What about my passion?
He said: Keep it burning.
I said: What about my heart?
He said: Tell me what you hold inside it?
I said: Pain and sorrow.
He said: Stay with it. The wound is the place where the Light enters you."
If you need pregnancy loss support, please seek Pregnancy Support Counselling in your area. If you are on the Gold Coast, I can recommend Dollores Palavra from Olsen Ave Medical Centre (07) 5571 1638