Thursday, August 07, 2008

Making my own way

I come from a highly opinionated people. It's a joke in my family--and at the same time completely true--that we each think we're right and others are wrong. About anything. Always.

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
You know, crazy stuff.

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.


Aquila ka Hecate said...

I seriously, seriously applaud you, Inanna.
I know what you mean about the reason bugbear. I'm learning to deal ith an upbringing and half a life as a scientist, too.
If more people planned to bring up their children the way you two do, I rather think the world would've been in a better place by now.
Many blessings.
Terri in Joburg

Crypt Stitch said...

It all sounds perfect to me, dear heart! Much as I would do things myself. I've always considered hospitals for the sick, and birthing is so far in the opposite direction it seems almost criminal to be expected to go there! The situation is much the same here (Australia) though using a midwife is very common (you usually only need a Dr if there are complications), a large percentage of births are still in hospitals. I'd like to think that is changing though. When I bought my bedroon suite last year, one of the first things I thought was "This is the bed in (or around!) which my child will be brought into the world!". I wish you all the very best.

Inanna said...

Thank you, both of you; your kind words and support mean a lot to me. And, hey, two commenters in the southern hemisphere, so far away from where I live! I still get all geeked out about the wonder of this internet thing.

I was saying to my partner today that, since our new house is over 100 years old, and since hospital births didn't become the norm in the U.S. till the 1950s or something, I bet our won't be the first baby born in that house!