Two life altering events for anyone are getting married and having kids and boy, if you want to hear people's opinions on what you should be doing...do either of these. I catch myself doing it too but sharing experiences is how we relate to each other. This is an ancient human tendancy and one that, for the most part, I love about us. Until.....the person telling the experience crosses into persuasive mode and the listener is really expected to act as the teller.
This is why I flew to Vegas to get married. Yes, it was a second marriage and doesn't seem to carry as much street cred to persuaders, but a wedding nonetheless. Now, 6 years later, I feel it again. A tiny spark of apology for what I want to do if it flies in the face of convention.
Don't get me wrong here; my perception is not that I am always misunderstood. We never really know how people see us, they don't tell you every other day. But when I examine my motivations for my actions (which sounds like I just sit around and think about myself - but who else can I analyze and change!) and then my perception of how others view those actions, I remember phrases or comments that others say and it makes me a bit anxious.
I have family that still think I get tattoos at 35 to defy my parents. Really now. Have you ever spoken with me? And sometimes I'm not that good at getting my point across either so whose to say that what they think isn't my fault? People asked my why I skated on a roller derby league and I'm sure my real motivations didn't come through. Or get my motorcycle license. A lady at church told me to grow up with that one...and that kinda hurt actually. I'm really not the show off that I'm feeling is coming through by what I do in my life. I have goals and challenges to overcome, that's it!
And why does the pressure to conform to surrounding standards still exist even at my age?! I naively thought that it would pass when I gained some credibility based on my decisions and actions. I'm seeing that conformity is a constant force for everyone. We do it to a certain degree, tangent off to what we want to do for a while, then come back hopefully before someone notices we've been gone and we don't look weird or something. Thus, staying nicely moderate.
All this babbling has been prompted by my pregnancy (well, not all, I've thought about it before). Birth stories are extremely personal and an extensive network of female identity. That's why everyone wants to tell you theirs, mostly unsolicited, and no nightmare spared. Nothing says welcome to the club like stories of epidurals gone wrong or butchery "down there" but how it's all worth it in the end. I was privledged enough to attend and help with the birth of a super good friend's baby, Camren, and it was spectacular, beautiful and enlightening. Can you see my confused face?
My birth plan will be different, and there is my spark of apology. I surprised myself by sounding apologetic when telling my OB and Gary, the 2 people that shouldn't judge this whole process! I received reassurance that I'm not just trying hard to be different and I am forever grateful. My plan is that I will let go and trust my body and God. HE made this experience and it's up to me to let HIM do his job. No fear of pain. And certainly no defiance.