This time last year I was very pregnant.
I ate a typical American diet, although I was paying attention to nutrition because of my unborn son. I had stopped exercising regularly because I had a regulation-sized basketball trapped under my ribcage and couldn’t do much of anything comfortably. The right side of my lower back often hurt by the end of the day and my husband would dutifully massage it and encourage me, and our son (the basketball), along.
We were happy and filled with anticipation. And we were typical. Average in almost every way.
Then came January 22, 2012, both the best and worst day of my life. Our family became whole and my body came apart. I sustained diastasis symphysis pubis during the natural birth of our son. All of the sudden we weren’t typical. We were 1 in 30,000, or one in 300,000, depending on which estimates are right about the incidence of pelvic diastasis (as opposed to the much more common dysfunction). There was so much I couldn’t do. There were so many things I was failing, or not trying. I didn’t enjoy anything except laying as still as possible, propped up with six pillows behind my back and neck and two under my knees, and snuggling my son. Everything else – and that is not an exaggeration – was a challenge.
Today I was able to see for myself with astounding clarity how far I have come in a year.
Today I attended my third yoga class. We spent much of the hour doing inversion poses. My teacher helped me and several others in the class do a headstand against a wall. I felt like I was 12 years old, goofing off in the backyard. Afterward, we did a shoulder stand and went into Plow pose. That was something else I often did as a child, but I didn’t realize it had a name or a place in Yoga practice. (The image and the description of Plow to which it links are from yoga.isport.com.)
Immediately upon coming out of Plow, while laying on my back, I felt a rush of blood to my pelvis. I felt it swirling, as though my now titanium-fixed pelvis was being bathed in some sort of healing water. It was a powerful feeling. Intense. Moving. And completely unexpected.
On my walk across campus after the class, it hit me: I am a plant-strong vegan who practices yoga. None of that was true a year ago. What surprised me was this sense of accomplishment. A feeling that I wanted to be that person. The label I give myself in my own mind has changed. I’m not BROKEN anymore. I am a mother, a wife and a worker who does good. I have strength. I have courage and perseverance. And I have hope.
I have met with a counselor twice in recent weeks and will begin EMDR therapy next week. While I consider my personal revelation today a major breakthrough, I am hopeful that the therapy will get me the rest of the way. The first 10 months of my son’s life were the most challenging of my entire life. Now that I’m doing better physically, it’s time to focus on my emotional health and make sure I move forward as a whole, complete, healthy woman ready to meet the all future challenges.
With a crawling, cruising and can’t-get-enough clapping almost one-year-old I’m sure there will be plenty of those.