Quiet courage

Today I went back to the pool for the first time since our miscarriage. 

While I’m not a swimmer by any means, last summer I started going to a Monday morning water aerobics class at the Y. I was the youngest person there by a solid two decades, and it was great. I loved the smell of chlorine, the sense of community, the happy exhaustion I felt after the class. 

One morning in the fall, when I was about 8 weeks along and in imminent danger of throwing up in the pool, I confided in a few of the women there that I was pregnant. They immediately began to share in my excitement and regaled me with tales of their own long-ago pregnancy, childbirth, and young motherhood experiences. It was a sweet bonding moment with these new friends of mine; one I will never forget.

Initially after our miscarriage, I didn’t go back to the swim class because I was recovering from the D&C. Then we were fostering baby Cece, and she was too young for gym childcare. I told myself I would start back in January, but quickly decided winter was too cold to be walking around with wet hair. All of those reasons were valid, to be sure. But my truest reason for not going back was that I didn’t want everyone to see I wasn’t pregnant anymore. I didn’t want them to ask questions, questions I would then have to answer through tears.

This morning, fueled by a mug of hot chocolate and sheer chutzpah, I decided to go back. As I descended down the ladder into the cool waters of the indoor pool, several people swam up to me and gave a warm, “Welcome back!” A few of the ladies told me stories about their grandchildren, and another shared her recipe for matzo ball soup. It was, truly, a wonderful way to start the day. I couldn’t believe it had taken me so long to gather up the courage to return.

When class was over I took a quick shower, changed into my cozy new H&M sweatsuit, and picked up the boys from childcare. They proudly showed me the “eye monster” they made—a paper plate covered with yarn and googly eyes. As we were leaving the gym one of our favorite YMCA employees gave the boys some beef jerky, and another handed them each a cherry Kool-Aid Jammer. I probably don’t even have to mention how thrilled they were by this unexpected good fortune.

Silly as it may sound, today felt like a milestone of sorts. A small act of courage, another step towards healing. When I think of courage, I usually think about grand, sweeping acts of bravery. But it can also manifest as quiet personal victories—something few people would find impressive, if they even noticed at all. Today, for me, courage looked like simply getting back into the pool.

2 responses to “Quiet courage”

  1. Oh my goodness. This is beautiful. What courage. I swim laps in the morning with old lady friends, everyone is at at least 20 years older than me. I have two boys as well. Sending love ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: