For a long time I was part of a profession--academic philosophy--that encouraged the formation of strong opinions, carefully defended to the death. I wrote an academic and political blog, back in the early days. It had a fairly large readership, for those days. Many of my cohort from early blogging are still writing, doing excellent work, and establishing and maintaining high profiles. I commend them. But I rarely read them, and I even more rarely envy them. For me to write that blog, I had to work myself into a state of righteous outrage on an almost daily basis. That was my fuel. Much of the rest of the time I was depressed. It didn't work for me.
I used to argue politics all the time. Hell, I was professionally trained to argue. I loved it. But I burnt out. Now, I even sit out on political discussions among friends. I don't gather data. I don't try to defend any views. The whole concept of reasoned argument, which used to be my raison d'etre and my holy grail, bores me. I still respect reason, but it has assumed a more, shall we say, balanced and reasonable place in my life.
Part of what I had to learn--thank you, mystery school--is just how unhappy I was making myself by clinging forcefully to my beliefs and my conviction that they were right, that I was right. It's as if I was holding my worldview tightly, clinging to it desperately, when what I really needed was to wear it more lightly. That's a practice. I'm working on it.
Of course, as is the way with families, it still drives me absolutely freakin' crazy when someone in my family refuses to entertain the thought that just because I'm doing something differently from the way they would do it, it doesn't mean that I'm wrong, where wrong gets cashed out as "naive, misguided, idealistic, romantic, potentially harmful." I am idealistic and romantic. Really, it's just who I am. (My part of fortune lies at 30 Aquarius, for Goddess' sake.) But that doesn't make me hopelessly ineffective in the world, unrealistic, unreasonable--though according to my family's running narrative, it does.
You know how having a baby can make everyone around you crazy? Like everyone has a gazillion opinions and horror stories and they need to know the sex right now? And why don't you want to know the sex right now? And oh, aren't you cute and young and naive, you have no idea how much work it's going to be raising a child? (Do you know how much work it is getting a Ph.D. if you haven't tried? No? I didn't think so. Bite me.) I think that as these things go, I'm getting off pretty easy. Maybe it'll get worse as I get more visibly pregnant. But I live in a community where people don't automatically freak out if you say the words "home birth," where there is some acceptance of trying things a different way. (Only in the United States, where something like 97% of births take place in hospitals, is "home birth" a weird thing.) I think my family is showing admirable restraint so far. But I've been pretty clear with them that I don't want their fear to mask and express itself as concern that I don't want what's best for my kid, my partner, me. Because they really do know me better than that.
So here, just for the record, are some ways in which Adonis and I plan to parent our kid, things that might bother some people, Goddess bless them.
- Non-medicalized prenatal care from our awesome midwife; no ultrasound or prenatal testing unless deemed medically necessary
- Home labor and birth (my sister will be there; she's attended a home birth before)
- No baptism
- Wiccaning (we plan to give the kid a Wiccan name to use until s/he comes of age and chooses a her or his own magical name)
- The kid will have my surname (my family is actually fine with this)
- With dogs as integral members of the family, not accessories
- Celebrating the sabbats and esbats
As you can see, it's all pretty abstract. We don't know who it is who'll be joining our family, so we just have to wait and see. We're flexible. I think that will serve us well.
Edited to add: Oh yeah, I forgot to mention the big one. Unmarried, we are, as a matter of principle.