Friday, January 27, 2012
against the grain
I make unpopular decisions. I always have. I'm sure part of it is due to my independent nature. I recently read that it is also a quality shared by most introverts (which I definitely am) thanks to our ability to tune in to our inner world to reflect on what we are feeling and experiencing, then think things through thoroughly and independently. Either way, it seems I rarely make decisions that are easily accepted by the masses (or those around me). I listen to my gut instead of to others, it's that simple and it doesn't feel like a choice. I feel physically ill and my sanity threatened when I don't make decisions that are in line with my true desires or what is really best for me—it's a blessing to be that sensitive to my world, but it's not easy.
The deeper into adulthood I climb, the more important my decisions become, the more I've realized how independent my thinking is and unpopular my decisions are. Expecting a child and making decisions about how to be pregnant, how to birth, and how to parent is probably the best example I have of this. There are so many decisions to be made from the time you conceive, each one defining who you are as an individual and mother, and what kind of environment and experience you want to create for your child. And I take my decisions very seriously. I've done an insane amount of reading, I've listened to other women's stories, I've asked a lot of questions, I've reflected on my childhood experiences, and I've talked with 9 different midwives, 2 OBGYNs and 1 doula since I began the process of conceiving and expecting.
I'd say my decisions are pretty well-informed. They are absolutely the right decisions for me and I deeply believe in the parenting practices my husband and I intend to utilize. But, I've had to endure the onslaught of disapproval, criticism, judgement, unsolicited opinions and sometimes borderline outrage over my decisions that is so common during pregnancy and parenting. As common as it is, I am still deeply offended by it. Could there by anything more personal or intimate than your uterus, your vagina, or your flesh and blood? Why our society has become so warped in the way we interact with pregnant women and mothers is beyond me. Why we do so little to support this sacred, beautiful transition and honor the unique ways in which each woman would like to experience it is beyond me. And the fact that pregnancy and birth have been so taken over by the medical community that most women are completely resigned to listening to doctors, disconnecting from their bodies, and ignoring or not even attempting to tune in to their own wisdom, is such a tragedy in my mind.
I will step off my soap box now. I just find this issue has become more and more intense as I approach the end of pregnancy. I am exhausted by the questions, the prying into my personal decisions, all while I am trying to maneuver this completely new and foreign experience the best I can. This is a time I would so love to have my wisdom regarding my own body, my child and the family my husband and I are creating respected. It's a time that I'd so love to be able to talk openly and freely about how I've decided to do this, but instead must protect my experience and unpopular decisions from anyone outside of the birth support circle I've been lucky enough to create for myself. The silver-lining to all this is that I've never felt more confident and strong in who I am so, in a way, I thank all the authors, groups and people I know who have voiced their disapproval. Having to make decisions of this caliber and defy the direction the current runs has made me into the kind of mother I was hoping to be. Now I just have to survive the next 18+ years of unsolicited critiques of my parenting. Piece of cake:)