I went to hot yoga class last week, opting for a full 90-minute class instead of the shorter (more manageable) 60 minutes. I've been having some neck pain lately, and figured the longer class would be a welcomed stretch and provide some relief.
A few minutes into class, the instructor provided a modification to one of the students. She said, cheerfully, "Gotta keep that baby safe!"
The hot room is a stifling 105 degrees, yet a felt a rush of cold throughout my body. The woman was across the room, but I could still see her out of the corner of my eye. Slender, no visible signs of pregnancy. Must be the first trimester.
Immediately, I was distracted. I've been to class with pregnant women before and couldn't handle it. Of course, that was years ago.
Every woman has to decide for herself what guidance she'll follow during pregnancy. Do you eat fish and cheese that are on the "higher risk" list? Do you sleep on your side? Do you do hot yoga? The list of "things to avoid" is long and the information can feel contradictory at times.
Some health experts say to avoid hot yoga during pregnancy, due to the increase in maternal core temperature. Others will say it's fine, especially if the woman was practicing prior to becoming pregnant.
But any loss mom knows: you avoid every risk during pregnancy. Every single one, no matter how small it seems. Because after you've lost your baby, you're wracked with guilt and questions. "Did I harm my baby? What did I do wrong?" Even though the mother did nothing wrong, it's always a question. And miscarriage is so common.
If this woman loses her baby, she'll probably ask herself — for the rest of her life — if that yoga class led to her loss. Even if it didn't.
But of course, I watch from a distance. I think, "She's probably fine and probably her baby will be born healthy. She'll never have to ask herself the questions I'm asking myself right now."
I felt stiff throughout the rest of the class. My mind wandered. I felt protective of her. I want her to continue throughout the remaining months of her pregnancy and never face the fear and anxiety that I face every time I see a pregnant woman.
And also, I hope I don't see her in class again. It's too hard for me.