Here is me with Dawn Tait, my friend and colleague, and first ever client to come for postnatal yoga with no baby. Together we have a learned a lot. In 2018, Dawn attended Well Woman Yoga training with Uma Dinsmore-Tuli and began a rigorous teacher training program with Yoga Campus. She continues to dedicate her time and energy to supporting families who have lost their babies and now runs Mother Nurture Yoga classes that are completely inclusive for women whose babies are in the hearts and not their arms.
Since losing Roseanne, Dawn has worked tirelessly not just to find healing for herself but also to improve services for other women that find themselves in her position. She has used her Instagram account “postcards_to_roseanne” not only to remember her daughter in a most beautiful way but also to raise awareness about still birth, neonatal death and parental bereavement and raise funds for the people who are doing their best to help.
Dawn and husband Keith helped make practical changes to the way bereaved parents are cared for in Cramlington hospital – ensuring that no one in the future who loses their baby will be required to attend check-ups in the maternity ward where they are presented with harsh reminders of all they have lost. She has also stocked the hospital with supplies of many books to support grieving parents and also children who have lost their younger siblings. Her Amazon wishlist is a great resource for anyone looking for some supportive reading for themself or a grieving friend or you can purchase a book directly from the wishlist to have it sent via Dawn to Cramlington Hospital.
You can read Dawn’s postnatal yoga story below and also meet her at our weekly Mother Nurture Yoga classes and the monthly sessions she runs on behalf of Teardrop. For more information please contact us through this website or connect on Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/teardrop_support/.
Dawn is pictured here holding newborn Roseanne close to her heart as any mother would, but what the picture does not show is that Roseanne Joni Tait was still born.
“I came to see Lucy for a 1:1 session almost 4 months after Roseanne died. I knew I wanted to access some practical yoga but having no previous experience and having postnatal needs I knew I needed more guidance and instruction. Obviously attending a postnatal class would have thrown up many more difficulties for me. What I did not know then was how much more yoga would provide for me emotionally in my grief journey and ability to parent a child in heaven whilst learning my new normal. Lucy has guided me with her unwavering support, patience and expertise to a place where yoga is a part of my daily routine and integral part of my grief toolkit”
I am so grateful to Dawn for bravely coming to yoga in the wake of her grief. In our first session together, she told me her story and I sat and wept. She taught me some important lessons about suffering, and how, in our culture, we don’t want to talk about it. We keep it quiet, we hide it away and we keep it secret.
Well, in yoga, that cannot be. To bear our own suffering we have to be able to see it, to feel it, to acknowledge it – and then we can hold it tenderly and not be destroyed by it.
So, as I listened to Dawn’s story, of pregnancy, birth and loss, the tears literally just rolled down my face and on to my clothes.
The yoga practice we began together focused in the beginning on relaxation and restorative practice. Sometimes grief is SO HEAVY and SO EXHAUSTING there is no energy left for ‘exercise’ in the regular sense. Our initial focus was on self-care, deep rest and the idea of ‘becoming bigger’.
Practicing yoga allows us to become a bigger container in which to hold our suffering. It is as though each of us were a river of thoughts and feelings. At times in our lives we flow like a gentle stream and at other times we are a deep, wide, rapid and rushing channel. It is in times like these that we require the strong, wide banks that are created through our practice of yoga – loving and living in our bodies, befriending our breath and able to see the flow of our thoughts and feelings without being swept away by them.
Gradually our sessions together became more active and focussed on the physical aspects of postnatal recovery that all postnatal classes adress – pelvic floor awareness, joint stability, postural balance and fluid, efficient movement.
Some example practices for postnatal recovery after pregnancy and baby loss are available here.
With love and gratitude to Dawn and Roseanne for allowing me to share this story.