When I was 8 weeks pregnant, I went with some friends to a 3-hour women’s self defense seminar offered by a local Krav Maga studio. Â I put a name tag on my belly that said “baby” so nobody would grab me around the waist, and enjoyed every minute of it. Â They gave everyone a coupon for a month of free classes, but I didn’t want to push it as my pregnancy progressed.
When the studio offered a summer special on classes, I decided to take them up on it. Â I’ve been wanting to learn self-defense for awhile and need to get the baby weight off. Â Though most people I know do Zumba, my mood right now is much more towards fighting than dancing.
During my first class the instructor told me, “you’ve got a lot of aggression and fight in you.” Â No one has ever told me that before. Â I immediately knew it was coming from all the frustration of trying to fight something that can’t be conquered. Â The only reason I was even able to take the class was because I was no longer pregnant. Â No matter how hard I try, I can’t change that fact. Â I can’t bring my babies back. Â Suddenly I was slammed by a wave of grief and anger. Â The lump in my throat strangled me far more than my partner’s practice choke-hold.
The next day I argued with myself over what I had gotten myself into and whether I should go back. Â I hate it when my grief catches me off-guard in public, and was afraid of losing it in the middle of class. Â I forced myself to go back at the next available opportunity, knowing that if I didn’t face the fear immediately, I would find an excuse never to return.
Towards the end of my second class they did a drill where they exhausted you and then had you fight off an attacker with pure instinct and adrenaline. Â I was ready to give up and the instructor and two other students kept telling me I could do it. Â It reminded me of being in labor, when I’d be convinced I couldn’t go on and everyone around me would encourage me. Â But the difference was, there was a wonderful reward at the end of all that labor. Â And the last time I had been pushed to my limit like this, there had been no reward. Â Nobody to cheer me on. Â Just silence, and the remains of my babies to be buried. Â Another grief trigger. Â I managed to fight off my opponent but I couldn’t stop the tears once the class was over. Â They probably thought I was nuts.
It’s amazing how raw emotion rises to the surface when you’re pushed to the limits. Â The ache in my muscles is nothing compared to the aching chasm in my heart, and no amount of Advil can touch it.Â Right now I’m faced with two choices: keep learning to swim in this ocean of grief, or allow myself to drown in it. Â I’m coming to terms with the fact that sometimes the only way to heal is simply toÂ fight through the pain.