Other than my wonderful husband; there is one other true love in my life. He is about thirty centimetres tall, likes wild days out and cosy nights in, and never fails to make me smile; no matter how sad things are. I am, of course, talking about Boris.(He’s a pug by the way; just in case you hadn’t got the gist of this one from the title?)
Boris has been with us for nearly two years. I knew I wanted a pug ever since my Aunty got one when I was 5 years old. I would go as far to have put it on my “main life goals” list (yep, I aim high). Anyway, after about 4 years of nagging my husband and a move to a house with a garden; I achieved it. Boris had landed.
I think when I first went on maternity leave that Boris truly believed I had jacked in a career to become his primary carer and life partner (If only?). I knew he was going to be a fabulous big-brother to any baby that came along; he still will be, by the way. When we came home with no baby, no Teddy; Boris was there waiting for us and was so happy to see us. Even then, in that moment, when our baby had died just hours ago, Boris made me laugh. He made me smile and cuddle him and gave me someone to hold and someone to pour my love into. I know lots of people who lose children go on to get dogs to help them heal; I was just lucky that my little saviour was already there, waiting to help me in my very darkest hour.
Now if you are having a tough time of late, I am not for one moment suggesting that you rush out to purchase a pug; that would be daft and impulsive of you (but you could?) . I am just making a point that Boris made me smile, he gave me purpose, the purpose that I was so desperately missing from my life in those first weeks. When I didn’t want to leave the house, all I had to do was look at his little face, his expectant expression that we would be heading out for our daily walk; and that was enough to make me do it. Day by day I stepped out that front door, faced the world, breathed in fresh air and became part of daily life again. That was all down to him. On the tough days he was there for me to cuddle; he would let me (and still does) cry heavy tears onto him that rolled off his little head, as I clung to each and every thought of Teddy. Anyone who ever says to me that Boris is “Just a pet.” will never understand what he has done for us; and I honestly will never be able to repay his kind little soul for saving us.
Note; If you did all just decide to rush out and buy a pug; I am pretty sure the world would be a better place for it. As much as they snore/ fart/ bark at any living thing on television; they are the kindest little creatures you could wish to meet. (And provide hours of entertainment!)
Getting out the house each day was just the start of my recovery after Teddy died. I knew that I had to help myself in as many ways as I had the power to. Not just for my physical recovery after a full-term pregnancy, but for my mental well-being. I sought solace in many things that I thought might just help me. Like most people I had been to the odd yoga class in years gone by; but it wasn’t until I was pregnant with Teddy that I began attending classes twice a week. Annoyingly I didn’t discover it until my third trimester; but it helped me to sleep, eased my joint pains, and essentially made me feel like less of a lethargic pregnant whale.
After Teddy died I was lucky to find a true friend in my yoga teacher; she wanted to hear all about Teddy and offered many kind and positive words in those early days and weeks. Once I felt strong enough I returned to her regular yoga classes; these were filled with new faces (not a room full of expectant mothers as I had become accustomed to) and they gave me yet another place in which to disappear. The practice of yoga isn’t just about the physical practice, you are able to set an intention at the beginning of each class (with yourself), of what you want to achieve from your practice. In those first few classes, I set the intention of strengthening both my body and my emotions to help myself recover.
I began practicing yoga more regularly at home too, and it helped me face the difficult days with a more positive attitude. It has strengthened my post-partum body beyond my expectations; and allowed me to believe in it again. For a long time after Teddy had died, and before we had received his post-mortem results, I believed it was me who had let him down; that somehow my body had done that to him. I now practice yoga at home three times a week and attend classes. It has given me strength and positivity, eased my anxiety, and allowed me to start getting my usual confidence back. Yoga is great for fertility too; I didn’t even know that when we had been trying for Teddy. I can tell you now, I would have taken it up a hell of a lot sooner if I had known all of this!
Balancing my hormones after Teddy was born felt like a full-time job in itself! My cycles were totally out of whack and I felt like I didn’t really know my body anymore. After having spoken to so many of my friends after my experience I now know this is entirely normal. Add some grief and shock into that mix and you’ve got yourself a cocktail for emotional and hormonal disaster! I decided to try Reflexology (that’s on the feet in case I am speaking another language!) to help with all of the above. Luckily I found a wonderful practitioner at a clinic in my hometown; so I was able to see her weekly. After just two treatments my cycles were back to a timely 28 days; you could set your watch by them! As someone who had suffered with lengthy cycles, missed periods and polycystic ovaries; this was the first time in a decade I felt “normal”. Now, if that is too much information for you then you’re really in the wrong place, this blog is probably going to get a whole-lot worse; maybe stop reading? The point I am making is that, in my eyes, this was nothing short of a modern-day miracle! I achieved that without even so much as one trip to a doctor and no medication required. Needless to say I have continued with regular reflexology and it continues to help my recovery. (I should also probably say that it is just so damn relaxing that you just fall asleep each time. It’s win-win.)
More recently I have begun to have acupuncture treatments. Not something I had considered ever before in my life, but hey, no time like the present I guess? Acupuncture can help with so many problems, emotionally and physically, more than I could probably list without boring you senseless. It doesn’t hurt (contrary to popular belief) and I am able to list to my practitioner each time I see her what I need to treat in that visit (even if it’s just a head-cold!). I think I am now just of the view that if there’s a chance it will help me heal and make me stronger; then I’ll give it a whirl. If it doesn’t work out, then there has been no harm in trying.
Of course these are just a handful of the things that have helped me beyond measure on this “journey”(If I am honest I totally hate that turn of phrase, but I am yet to find a better way to describe it?). I’m not saying they are for everyone (apart from the pugs, they should be for everyone); but if you are in need of a helping hand, without a trip to the doctors or medication to take, then maybe one (or all) of the above could be just what you need?
I am aware that I have now painted myself to you all as a complete anti-conformist, hippy, yogini, crazy pug-lady; and do you know what? I can think of worse things! I hope we can still be friends?