When I was figuring things out with my first child, I was a lot less compassionate. If you chose to have a child, you SHOULD be a baby-slinging, co-sleeping, nursing-on-demand mama. If not, you are simply not up to par. Your poor child…
Now, with a 3.5 rd old wild child and a new baby, I am a little frayed at the edges. I still believe in wearing my babe, and he sleeps next to me at night, and nurses round the clock. We’ve delayed vaccinations, am appalled by circumcision (of either gender!), and have embraced respectful communication. We plan to unschool.
Having kids makes you deeply mindful…of your own choices. Gives you less time and energy to judge the choices of others. Maybe more importantly, it provides new clarification into how difficult it is to be on the path no one else chose. We are biologically constructed to be social creatures, to be part of the pack. So sometimes it’s HARD to feel like you are tribe-less. To feel like you are the weird one. To not do the done thing. So, I can feel for those women who feel society’s tug, and yield to the pressure to conform.
On the other hand, and this is for everyone who chose breast augmentation and cesareans, it is tremendously empowering to walk the unpopulated path. It allows you to yield to what feels good instead of what looks right, which, despite the catcalling of those on the Christian right, is often a stunningly good barometer of behavior. It allows me to have homebirths and nurse in public, and deeply question the ways Society tells me I have to raise my kids.
I have a hard time juxtaposing my desire to be compassionate, to live and let live, with my need to co-create the kind of world I will leave to my children. The lingering question is always, always: is walking away the only option? In other words, is Society so rigidly unchangeable that the only option is to create something completely different, not just outside the mainstream, but in a new ocean entirely? Is it somehow less “progressive” to suggest giving up on a lot of the sacred tenets of modern America, instead of trying to change what I don’t like, a la MoveOn.org?
Is building a new model just as legitimate a way of life as reforming the old?