Ask Me His Name, by Elle Wright
What do you do when the unthinkable happens? When your baby dies and you are engulfed by a tidal wave of grief? This book is Elle’s story of motherhood and of learning to live and laugh again after the loss of her baby Teddy.
I met Elle when she was pregnant with Teddy, a gorgeous and radiant presence in our yoga classes. I’m a yoga teacher, practitioner and forever student. Aside from sharing yoga with Elle, she has become a good friend, and I am honoured to support her in whatever way I can. Elle kindly invited me to write a few words in her book about how yoga might be able to help in the face of such unimaginable sadness. I hope that I’ve contributed something helpful, especially for those who may not understand what yoga is all about.
I teach yoga because I know how healing and supportive it can be, and how it’s seen me through many ups and downs in my life and 25 years or so of practise. Whilst I may not have all the answers, I am grateful for everything that yoga has taught me, it’s true to say that I continue to learn from each and every person I share these techniques with. Elle has taught me so much, and her heartfelt and honest writing is a beautiful gift to all of us.
As a pregnancy and postnatal yoga teacher I'm only too aware of miscarriage rates, I'm so glad Elle is helping to facilitate conversation around this subject. It can be difficult to know how to support someone at a time of loss. When I was two years old, my mum gave birth to a still born son at 42 weeks. As I reassured Elle that things do get better, that time does help to heal, I knew it was easy to say, but not so simple. My mother has never really discussed in much detail her thoughts and feelings about my brother who died, I know it was awful and can only imagine the pain she went through, but those were very different times, when people tended to sweep difficult emotions under the carpet and carry on as normal. Mum went on to have a healthy baby boy, but the baby who died remains nameless. In this last year as my lovely mum has unfortunately suffered greatly with physical and mental health issues I have found myself questioning the impact suppressed experiences. One thing is for sure, there is no textbook method for grieving, the responses to shock and loss are different for everyone. What matters very much is how we live, how we navigate though life with a vastly changed landscape, and how we can begin to feel whole again. I firmly believe that yoga can be one of the most valuable tools to help us adapt to our new reality, to reconnect to a sense of goodness and wholeness. To help us heal.
Ask Me His Name is a brilliant read, obviously heartbreakingly sad, but there is also laughter, optimism and a huge sense of hope. This is a conversation that needs to happen, a story that should be shared widely. Hopefully we can all begin to understand baby loss a little better, and normalise the conversation around it.
Teddy’s short life has indeed created the most positive legacy. In Elle’s words “I didn’t know how much I would long for people to say my son Teddy’s name, to not treat him like he didn’t exist. Maybe you’re in this boat too, or maybe you want to support someone who is?” Elle’s experiences have definitely helped me better understand tragedy, the importance of finding tools to heal, and the depth and power of a mother’s love.
Buy the book Ask Me His Name
See Elle's blog & fundraising page: Feathering The Empty Nest
Each copy of the book sold helps to raise money for Tommy’s