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  • Writer's pictureDurga Dasi

Picture Perfect...?

I'm a perfectionist in recovery... the "recovery" part of my journey dawned along with the Motherhood path of my journey. It's not easy, especially when we're constantly bombarded by photoshopped images of what parenting "should" look like... usually in immaculately minimalist white walled, large homes filled with white skinned, thin, smiling families.

See, I had it in my mind that I had to have a perfectly organic, always joyful, intervention free pregnancy and birth. I envisioned yoga with a round belly and eating a bounty of colorful, plant based foods... glowing skin and a radiant smile. I saw hikes and hobbies, all centered around that pregnant belly.

In reality, I was so afraid of losing my miracle baby that I was too anxious to do much of anything! Teaching yoga was one of the first things I surrendered, and my personal practice became quite minimal by comparison to what it had been. Though I continued working as a full time hairstylist, I was too tired to continue

creating herbal magic and maintaining my booth at our local farmer's market. I did enjoy some delicious food, but sometimes, it was all quite bland and lacking color (oatmeal was my jam!).

Throughout my pregnancy, I felt so much shame for not living up to the standards of the "natural parenting" social media pages and magazines... the lofty intentions that I'd self-imposed... I kept it all to myself, only sharing small bits with my partner and closest friends who didn't seem to understand. I'd cry before Mā; She was the only one I was fully honest with, oftentimes even deluding myself.

In hindsight, I wish I'd been much more transparent with my midwife... she was incredibly supportive, calming... and rational. Truly helpful... but I had a fear that I would be burden if I asked for too much, so I smiled and pretended all was well.

When it came time to birth my baby, we had everything perfectly arranged for a home birth... and active labor came swiftly. Perhaps because of my anxiety or activation of trauma, I couldn't seem to resource. I couldn't sink into my breath or birth plan... I couldn't even get into my birthing pool! Eight hours into a 10 hour labor, my baby's heartbeat tanked. It didn't decelerate, as can be common... it did something my midwife had never encountered in her 40 years of practice. We had to call for an ambulance to be rushed to the hospital.

As I was in the rig, being lectured by two men about the dangers of home birth while in the worst pain and fear of my life; I just kept thinking this was all my fault. I'd already failed as a mother. I was going to birth my baby in a hospital. There would be interventions, probably a C-Section. But suddenly, none of that mattered as much as keeping him alive. That was all I cared about in that moment: just please let my son live.

I've been so ashamed of having a hospital birth, I haven't shared openly about it until now. (Please note: I am not shaming ANYONE for their birthing story. I'm simply sharing the unnecessary shame I carried.)

The hospital staff were lovely, and Bub was born within the hour, naturally. His heartbeat self-corrected, we got our delayed cord clamp and golden hour... and he latched on his own. Not too bad for a birth that went not at all according to plan.

That was my first big lesson in releasing perfection. The next would come with piles of laundry. I had this fear that if I admitted to not being elated at every moment of my pregnancy, I'd lose the miracle I'd prayed for since I could remember. I still held this archaic idea of a vengeful god that sought to smite me... for being queer, for being happy. It's easy to become lost in a field of overgrown memories when we're triggered or activated. I lost sight of Mā for fear of an outdated idea of god I'd been handed as a child.

I'm still trying to find my way back to me, and the things I love aside from motherhood. Yoga, kirtan, art, herbalism, activism... they all have their place in my heart and life; and each piece will be replace upon the altar of my heart in due time. Perfectionism is an illusion, nobody can "do it all", nor should we be expected to. Capitalism is a product of colonization, and both are greedy monsters set upon foundations made of lies, blood, and sorrow. I will not feed this monster.

So, today, I allow the cracks to bleed through... the tears to flow, and the fears to surface. I'm not perfect... and that's ok. I'm the best version of who I can be in this moment, messy house and hair and all... and I'm choosing to allow that to be enough.

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