Authenticity is a collection of choices that we have to make every day. It's about the choice to show up and be real. The choice to be honest. The choice to let our true selves be seen. ~Brené Brown
10 years ago, I had the picture perfect pregnancy. It was what I’d always dreamed it would be. I woke up early one morning, took a pregnancy test on the very day I was to begin my cycle, as two dark pink lines quickly appeared.
It was a moment of true joy. I welcomed every change that came. I marveled at the miracle of my growing body and how she did exactly what was needed with precision to keep life growing.
I indulged in delicious food without a bit of guilt. I nourished myself with naps and played classical music with headphones around my round belly. I transitioned into pregnancy beautifully. I never even got sick. Not once. The prenatal vitamins that I took gave me energy and made my hair shiny.
I was in love with myself and felt like a goddess.
The Grief Process of Transition
When my beautiful baby was born, I suffered from mild postpartum depression. I couldn’t believe how sad I felt. That is a lie, sad was not the word. I was grief-stricken.
I grieved my singular existence, when I was only responsible for myself. I grieved the loss of my natural sleep patterns and knew that it would be a long time before I would drift off to sleep and wake up rejuvenated and refreshed.
As I would begin to hear his tiny little body stir, I would awaken with a sense of dread.
Everything now felt difficult. I felt far more beautiful being pregnant than I did postpartum. As I removed my towel from my naked body after my first shower, the sight of my c-section scar resulted in a fit of tears. My grief deepened.
My baby had colic. He cried for two hours straight ever single night. Motherhood was not a graceful transition. I felt like a failure for not loving every moment.
I constantly heard romantic tales of women who instantly felt their maternal instincts kick in—their inner goddess coming alive as they were now connected to the deepest love they’d ever experienced.
Two Things Can Sit in the Same Place
I remember my postpartum gut-heaving cries that only someone who has experienced postpartum depression could confirm.
I expressed to a therapist I’d been seeing that I was in love with my baby and I felt I would die for him. Just like that, he was born, and I would die for him. It was quite simple. The idea of him being harmed or sick awoke a primal divine force inside of me that meant I would give my life for his.
At the same time, I was grieving. This transition hurt and I felt trapped by it. My voice quivered as I asked, “What kind of a woman am I?”
She put her arm around me and said something I’ll never forget. “Two things can sit in the same place. You can love your baby with all of your being, and hate the transition period.” Something so simple was all I needed to hear.
I felt as if I’d been given permission to feel two ways. We can love our life, get everything we’ve always wanted, and still grieve in our struggles.
Transitions Don’t Need to Be Graceful
This is something that I try to remind my fellow yogis during class. It doesn’t always have to look so graceful. Transitioning between postures during asana practice, like in life, can be sloppy. It can feel awkward and sometimes we lose our footing. We may even fall.
Just as every moment of parenting does not look like a photo off the cover of Parents magazine, every yoga transition and posture does not have to look a page out of Yoga Journal.
Authenticity and vulnerability are beautiful and honest. Being honest in our physical bodies, as well as in revealing our emotional truths, is what helps us really grow.
Our purpose is not to live in self-judgment. Revealing our most honest truths and allowing ourselves to be seen, whether it is on our yoga mat or sitting across from a friend, honest vulnerability is the catalyst for finding our true voice—the voice that powerfully reverberates our most honest discoveries.
As our bones tremble from our unsettled nerves, we can release our truth. It is only then that can we feel freedom. Acceptance of our imperfections is where our freedom lies. My baby stopped crying and started smiling. I remember that transition quite well. He began to love me back.
My heart began to flutter instead of pound. I began to step into the full understanding of my journey. It was only the beginning of tremors and flutters and pounding in my chest, but it was also the beginning of my release from the suffocation of trying to be perfect.
Creating space for imperfection leaves room for expansion. We now have somewhere to go. ~Nicole Markardt
We are a balance of movement and breath, on and off of our mats.
The next time you stumble during a transition in your life or on your mat, inhale the beauty of your humanity. Exhale the idea that you should be graceful or perfect. Letting go, we can trade in our obsession for getting it right for a more honest endeavor—getting it real.