Chapter 4 - Celebrating 20 years of Sharing my Love of Yoga with You
The Learning Really Begins
It was in the February that I now found myself on the schedule to teach one yoga class a week at local church hall. It had been a rocky few months as I tried to come to the terms with my post natal depression and all that it had revealed. It had taken a few attempts to manage medication requirements and regular appointments with a lovely psychologist helped work through the fog, but one of the biggest parts of my healing took place as I started to teach these yoga classes - this time as a fully qualified teacher with the paperwork and insurance to prove it!
The realisation of the commitment I had made to start teaching in Barraba was quite terrifying. Here I was dealing with my own personal issues how could I bring it all together and teach others to be calm, to connect with their body and breath and to "let go". But while my coping mechanisms had been shattered it was actually this obligation to students that really kept me going. I had no choice but to plan, organise, practice and then deliver each week to this group of super keen beginner yogis. To begin with I remember leaving the house and heading off feeling overwhelmed and emotional. Next step was to put on the mask of a yoga teacher and just get the job done! While this sounds so awful it was the reality of how I got myself out the door and onto the mat. I just kept turning up, I kept trying to bring more to my classes and give more to my students.
My students remained none-the-wiser to my personal heartbreak but I grew as a teacher and they as students - I guess we really learnt together in a way. They will never realise just what a blessing each and everyone of them were to me in that year of classes. Don't they say that if you're suffering from stress/depression the best thing to do is get out and serve others? Well that was part of my salvation. Anyway I could - just get out there and do it. These classes reconnected me, made me breathe, invited me to revisit so many of the yoga teachings that had seemed to fade into the background of my rattled mind over the previous months. It reminded me of the power of my breath and it's affect on my nervous system and how it could have this extraordinary impact on my body and mind.
As the months ticked by life started to settle for me. I loved teaching every week and I began to feel more relaxed and not so much of an imposter in my own body. As many would appreciate with a young family - leaving them behind at dinner time can be challenging but the kids loved dad being in charge and one of their fondest memories is of their treat that they were allowed to have - cheese slices dipped in tomato sauce! They loved it and it seemed to be a highlight of the week and a culinary secret that they couldn't tell mummy.
All the pressures I have to admit, had taken it’s toll - moving, buying a business, renovating a house, kids and just all the things that we'd been dealing with meant that JB and I were going through a rough patch, as relationships tend to do from time to time. My needs had asked the boundaries of our relationship to shift and that was hard to manage after 10 years of habit making. So a while later we decided to go to a marriage retreat weekend on the coast to see if we could sort some things out. Including his desire to have a another child. I was not keen to head back down a path of PND and unsettle the balance I had worked so hard to come back to, so I was a hard NO to that suggestion.
This weekend in Port Macquarie would be life changing for us. Not only did we come back with greater respect and understanding for each other but we came back with two names written on a piece of paper that would bring another huge change to our lives.
So to give you some context, on our way to the retreat we had already had an argument (probably about something trivial) so I really wasn't feeling that this weekend was going to be a great success with tensions running quite high between us. We took part in all the activities and reflections of the day and then as part of the program we were led in a guided meditation on the Saturday evening. It was here that I fell very deeply into this experience and at the end of this we were told to write down anything that had been revealed to us. In my mind a beautiful lady had come toward me and gently reached out and in each hand was written a name. I wrote them down on a piece of paper and left them there in my folder. When we returned to our hotel later that night we were sharing some thoughts and I revealed my vision to JB and that I felt we were meant to have another baby at some time. Not now - I didn't want to talk about it, we needed to focus on us, but when we were more settled perhaps we could think about it. I closed the folder and put it away.
It would be two years later that the importance of that vision would return.
I would also like to add that this marriage retreat and counselling was/is vital to relationships. I once heard the analogy used - that we happily service our cars regularly yet we expect a relationship to endure for a life-time without the same attention. There is no greater investment than relationships and this regular connection has sustained my marriage and thus my family for these past 27 years.
Anyway I digress - after yet another heart breaking miscarriage I would be left devastated by the loss of my dear aunt who had lost her battle with Acute Myloid Leukemia. But there was a gift that I always felt she left us as at this time as I was to fall pregnant again, and made it all the way through my first trimester. So relieved was I to get through the first 16 weeks without any problems that I really wasn't worried when my belly seemed to be expanding a little quicker this time round. I put it down to this being my fourth pregnancy, being aged 35 and being in a body that had seen its share of adventure. My wonderful GP - Dr Linda, did all the checks for extra heartbeats and offered an early ultrasound but I wasn't worried and I was too busy managing my life to be racing to Tamworth for extra appointments.
So we finally went to my ultrasound unfazed at 22 weeks and had asked my older sister to join us as she hadn't ever experienced this before and we thought it would be fun to share with her. Off we trotted, bladder uncomfortably full as required, and I couldn't have been laying there for more than 5 minutes before the sonographer said "oh, it looks like we have two babies here - better extend this appointment". I still remember the grip of Ruth's hand as it hit my foot and I confess an expletive from my mouth! I really can't remember what JB did. My mind had instantly gone back to that piece of paper hidden in a folder from a few years earlier and the two names that had been given to me. I already knew growing inside me were a boy and a girl. We weren't meant to have one baby as I had thought the vision meant - we were going to have two and they would be Samuel and Cate. When we were asked did we want to know the sex of the babies I said to the kind lady - "I already know - it's a boy and a girl". Her response after checking - was "yes as best I can tell you are having a boy and a girl". Twin 1 and Twin 2 or Squish and Squash as they were called in-utero would never need to have their names discussed - we'd been told what they would be and that was that.
Ruth left JB and I and we headed to sit in almost silence in a cafe trying to digest what twins would mean in our lives as we jumped from being a family of five to one of seven. We were both in shock to say the very least. One of my first thoughts was how was I going to cope with twins when having only just getting my life back on track after PND. But as we drove home a sense of peace ran through my body as a famous song by The Police began to play on the radio. "every breath you take, every move you make, I'll be watching you". While the rest of the lyrics don't apply these ones really resonated with me that this was all part of life's plan for me - that I needn't worry, that God and the Universe would look after me and sustain me with all that I needed to get through this next grand adventure. This time I wouldn't need to leave my new community or renovate my home - this was just about my family, my rapidly expanding family.