Guest Post by Dr. Jennifer Huberty
“I can’t wait to hold her and tell her I love her,” I said to my husband as we drove to the hospital to deliver our baby girl, Raine. When we got there, however, the nurse couldn’t find the heartbeat. She left the room and returned with the attending resident who, after looking at Raine with an ultrasound, turned to me and said, “I am sorry, your baby is not alive.”
I didn’t cry. My husband did, but I couldn’t. I was in complete disbelief. I received an epidural so that I would no longer feel the pain of labor in my body; I felt it in my heart instead. I cried, threw up, sobbed, and ask why.
Raine was so beautiful. Her lips were amazing – so big and round just like her big brother’s. She had a full head of dark brown, curly hair, just like me. She was 8 pounds and 4 ounces. She looked so adorable and so sweet. But she was still. I can’t believe she isn’t here, and I will never know why.
In order to cope with the extreme grief that I was having I started seeing a therapist but that wasn’t really helping me. I felt like I was going in circles, asking the same questions, like “ripping a band-aid off” over and over again. I shared this with my therapist and she suggested yoga.
I was opposed to the idea of going to yoga at first. I thought, “What is yoga going to do for me?” and “I already exercise.” I decided I would at least try, mainly because I wanted to feel better. I was so sad all the time and had so many emotions like anger, jealousy, depression, anxiety. Shortly after beginning yoga, I couldn’t get enough. I was attending class 4-5 times a week. On the mat I learned to have a relationship with myself, something I desired my entire life but was never sure how to find. I discovered a sense of the present and being in the moment. I found a deeper understanding and appreciation of the practice of patience. In more recent years (it’s been seven years since Raine died) I have learned that it is ok to just “be” with my feelings and thoughts when they arise. I have learned that I don’t have to push them “away” or “down” and that it is ok to cry. I have learned to treat myself with more compassion as well.
As a researcher who studies women’s health, I knew I had to incorporate yoga into my research in order to help other moms like myself cope with having a stillborn child. I reached out to Udaya.com, an online yoga website, that I used to practice yoga when I couldn’t go to a studio or wanted to save money. In partnership with Udaya.com I was funded by the National Institutes of Health for a physical activity research study for mothers of stillborn babies. We are currently in the last year of the study and are looking for 10 women to participate in the study. The study is open to women who do not currently have a yoga practice and have had a stillbirth in the last 2 years. This study is 12 weeks, and all participants will receive up to $50 and exercise equipment.
If you are interested, please click here to take a 5 minute survey to see if you are eligible. For more information about the study, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 602-827-2314.
Heather is an educator, writer, artist, and most of all, mother of four. Her three boys inspire joy in her life and writing. Heather's eagerly awaited daughter was stillborn in October of 2017, which focused her creative energy on grief and healing. She created and maintains CharlottesPurpose.com, a website dedicated to dealing with grief positively.