Monday, December 20, 2010

Duck and Cover

Do you all remember Duck and Cover Drills? Or am I dating myself? Do they still do them? Do they only do them when you grow up in earthquake regions?

Basically, they were these drills in school where we had to curl tight into a little fetal position ball, preferably under a table, and cover the back of our head/neck.

Today I realized that this is the position I assume when I am absolutely sidelined with grief. Yes, the other day, I was even under a table.

I am fairly confident this is why my back hurts so much, it's because even when I'm not in the duck and cover, I'm cowering, my heart protected, my shoulders up by my ears, my arms wrapped across my body or my knees pulled in tight.

As a yoga teacher, it is the antithesis of what I worked to cultivate in my body - an open heart, a lifted chest, a strong yet supple spine. Instead, my heart is constantly hidden, closed off from anyone around me. My chest is sunken. My spine is rounded, rigid, and tight.

I've survived some mighty earthquakes out here in CA. 1989 in Northern California, 1994 in LA. In neither case, though I found myself barely able to stand through the rumbling and tumbling of the earth, did I think to Duck and Cover. I stood in a doorway. I grabbed my roommates hands during the LA quake, as we screamed "We're going to die! We're going to die!" for what felt like at least a few minutes of shaking.

And now, my world has been shaking for fourteen weeks. And I've finally learned to Duck and Cover. Protect my vital organs from the walls that are sure to crumble more, close my eyes tight, and beg for the quake to stop.

(My therapist, my massage therapist, my chiropractor will all tell me this is not the best anatomical position for my health right now. I know. I think I am officially in survival mode, though, and I'm doing the only thing I can.)


æ said...

surviving right now is pretty damn heroic.


Missy said...

I'm with Ash survival is key, who gives a crap about anything else. Of course then there is the guilt for not caring about the body, mind, and all that other horse manure. In tornado land, we still duck and cover. Routinely. Love you and sending positive thoughts your way!

Anonymous said...

SO funny you mention this- I have caught myself in a perpetual slump posture- slouched over shoulders rolled. I hate it- but it seems that every time I try to remind myself to stand up straight I do it for a moment and then immediately revert back to the aforementioned posture. It's like running against the wind.

Hope's Mama said...

Just do what you can, Sarah. Like you say, it is all about survival now.

Tess said...

Oh Sarah I ache with the pain you are feeling too - how is it that the body knows all too well the pain of the heart? Some sort of bloody joke eh?
When are you going back to yoga, to teach already?
Thank you for your words on the 'grief without hope' - it took a lot of of thinking and talking it out to come to that conclusion.
Will you be asking your peri about using contraception on your romantic getaway next year?

May I say what I feel, despite knowing your stance about holding back until Feb, despite your knowing about the advice and all concerns about the; 'I told you so'. Do what you feel is the best. If the moment takes you, go for it, if you know the 'what-ifs' will kill you, don't do it. You'll know in a second, don't second guess yourself Sarah; you'll have to live with the choices you're going to be making.

My GP and OB said to do things on my own time, I didn't even need to wait for a period! But, that was before the PPT. Elizabeth was born at 39 weeks 4 days. Her death was due to either placental abruption or vasa praevia at birth - one could have caused the other and vise versa; I had an emergency c-section under GA and the rest you probably know.

I hope the answer comes to you naturally dear Sarah.
Keeping you, E and Otis in my heart

Jenn said...

Thank you for posting this. I thought I was really losing it when I spent quite a bit of time on my bedroom floor, curled up in between the dresser and the bed, sobbing into his baby blanket on the six month anniversary. I knew that if anybody found me like that they'd have me committed. I'm glad I'm not the only one that gets some security from furniture.

Also, I am now a hunchback and have to continually remind myself to stop slouching already. Ugh.

hungry for hunger said...

back when M used to be really sad about things, I was cleaning our bedroom and a pile of my clothes had sort of gathered around my closet. She said, "Oh, um, don't clean that up..."

"why?" I asked.

"well, um, it's sort of my floor bed...for when I cry in a ball all day...." (though this was really sad to hear, it was said in a funny/chirpy way)

So, yup, floor bed. Still something we mention when she's feeling sad. Some version of, "well, at least I'm not so sad I need a floor bed anymore..."

kate said...

it seems natural to me that your body would turn in on itself and try to shelter and protect your wounded soul... i wish surviving didn't hurt so damn much...

kate xx

My New Normal said...

I feel like I'm in survival mode most of the time too. Hang in there.

I know in my heart that we (meaning all of us who have lost babies) will find a way out of the dark place we find ourselves in at the moment. There will be light and happiness in our futures.