I cradled the twenty-pound medicine ball in my arms above my third trimester protruding belly. When the timer went off I lifted it above my head and slammed it down on the floor, squatting to pick it up on one bounce. An exercise meant to work my arms and legs, these “jam balls slams” also gave me a release.
Every time I lifted that ball above my head, I brought with it a different anger.
Anger that my baby would be sick.
Anger that worry instead of joy was the my prominent feeling through my first pregnancy.
Anger that others seemed to have it so easy.
Anger that my devotion to helping women with their pregnancies was rewarded with a baby that would likely die.
Anger that no one could tell me what would happen.
Anger that my baby might suffer.
Anger that despite all this work I might leave the hospital with empty arms.
I slammed each angry thought into the floor, releasing it from my chest, freeing me to remember the good things. My baby was moving. She was wanted. I was fortunate to simply be pregnant. I was healthy. My baby might live.
Then my baby was born and she died.
I returned to boot camp a few weeks later and eyed those medicine balls. When my turn came, I held the ball above my head, with all the anger in the world and slammed it again and again against the floor. Tears streamed down my face mixing with sweat. My cheeks red from exertion and emotion, I tried to throw my anger away. Anger that my baby died. Slam! My baby died. Slam! My baby died. Slam!
I walked away, leaving a little bit of anger on that floor, freeing me to remember the good things. My baby lived. She was here. She was beautiful.