So often in life we base our decisions on what other people will think. We stop ourselves from doing what we really feel called to do in our heart in fear of being laughed at or ridiculed or ostracized. As a young girl, I went along with the crowd, ate what my friends ate, dressed like all the “cool” kids, talked the talk, and was a shy follower, happy to have someone else tell me where to be or what to do.
Now as a grown woman and mother, I see the great error in my ways. I was so busy following everyone else’s voice I somehow lost track of my own. I found bits and pieces of myself through writing poetry and keeping journals, bursting with long sweeping tales of teenage heartbreak and melodrama. I wish I had felt stronger walking in my own shoes, more confident in my own convictions, better able to stand out from the noise of the crowd, but at the time, like many kids today, I just wanted to fit in and fly below the radar, go unnoticed enough to quell my anxieties about being good enough.
Today as I write this, I could name numerous events in my life where I’ve strayed away from the pack, gone against so-called societal norms, shocked people and was questioned over and over again, “Why would you do that?!” My poor husband has often been the victim of my many whims, but he has supported me through thick and thin, trusted my judgement, allowed me to follow my heart. In the end, we are always glad we went against the grain and did things our own way.
Here are a few examples:
I had 3 natural births. No medicine of any kind and it was amazing. Unbelieveably painful, but equally incredible. My OB/GYN tried to talk me out of it at every appointment, threatening me, describing the horror of the pain and how I would regret it. She was wrong. I didn’t. I also found supportive midwives for my subsequent births, which leads me to this next one.
I had two unassisted home births. My husband was the first person my daughter and son laid eyes on when they were born. I can’t think of a better way to come into the world. Having a midwife made people uncomfortable. Giving birth at home made people really uncomfortable. I’d done the hospital birth and had a bad experience. I knew the next time I would do it my way and I did. And I don’t regret a thing.
We practice attachment parenting, which includes cosleeping, extended breastfeeding and babywearing. I was told I should never sleep with the baby in my bed, but I did. Nursing at night is so much easier! When my children reached 18 months old and were still breastfeeding, no one was shy about asking when I’d be done “with all that.” “We’ll be done when we’re done,” was my simple reply.
I got used to the questions, the stares, the mocking tones. It made me even more determined to do things my way, what was best for my husband, my children and myself. I’m not advocating for any of these things. It was what felt right to us and it worked. What works for you and your family might be the complete opposite and that’s great.
Write your own story. You be the editor and the author, don’t let society rewrite what should be in your book. That’s what is so great about being a writer. You have complete control. And you can always delete, edit, rewrite. On your terms.