Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Thats not how we did it when I was your age

How come no one is ever concerned when we choose obstetrical and hospital care but they flip out when we trust our bodies to birth in safety and privacy and dignity and integrity, out of harm's way, without knives or foreign pathogens?

How come no one says "told ya so" when our hospital births go terribly wrong but they seem sort of GLAD if our planned homebirths end up in a transfer?

How come no one ever seems to want to talk us out of dangerous decisions, but they love to spend hours trying to talk us out of safe and sound ones?

How come no one is ever concerned when we blindly send our little ones to whatever school has been assigned to our city block, to be reared and cared for, for the majority of their waking hours, all the years of their childhoods, by strangers whose main motivations are tests scores and fund raising, crowd control and fitting in? But they flip out when we spend years of reasearching alternatives like homeschooling, our children spend their days in happiness and safety, they are confident and glowing with self-reliance, and the family and the home unit is wholistic balanced entity rather than a fractured drop-off crash pad to sleep at night, slam our doors in each other's faces, and zone-out to our seperate television sets?

How come no one is ever concerned when we choose to feed our babies powdered, crystallized, chemically altered, enhanced and fortified tin-canned calf's milk, but they flip out when we bring our baby up to its rightful place at the breast?

How come no one is ever concerned when we chicken-nugget and soda-pop our growing children, but they flip out when we choose carefully researched alternatives to the Standard American Diet such as vegetarianism, veganism, organic foods, and "extended" and tandem breastfeeding?

Do people live in such fear of the unknown, in such shadows of their own experiences, that seeing families who give thought and concious decision making to their own lives causes seething bitter resentment? Do they feel that we are shining the spotlight a little too close and bright onto their own pasts, and they dont want to expend the energy it may take to go back and question all that they have believed in their entire lives, is it ijust too scary to look back and say "hey, maybe that WASN'T the best?"

People get pissed when they have to look back and say "Wow. What I thought was right or good was merely what was convenient or common at the time. I was wronged. I am angry". and--the hardest one apparantly--"I don't want this for others."


Grace said...

I found your blog through Hospital Birth Debate and had to tell you what an excellent post this! Everything you say is just perfect and things I have felt many times myself. The blind following of "the way things are" is very frightening. Sometimes I have to wonder if people are too scared to think for themselves and cannot handle those who can and wind up rocking the mainstream society boat. It also truly scary how many people cannot grasp the fact that health care providers and hospitals are not all-knowing super powers and authority figures that we must not question. This prevalent attitude is just baffling and worrisome allaroubd.

Housefairy said...

Thank you for backing up what I have felt for so long about so many can be something as inane as, like I said, what we choose to eat that wigs folks out, or as deep and insideous as abuse passed on through generations.

Kelley said...

I am so glad that I found your blog, and read this post. I absolutely agree with it. There is hardly a day that goes by where I don't rail against the little box that so many people are "choosing" to live their lives in. Why is it that everybody is trying to be like everybody else, and I, after thinking, researching, praying, crying, soul-searching, and walking the road less traveled, am looked at as a whacked-out granola eater? Thank you so much for writing this post. I am so grateful for the circle of online support, because I am not getting much of it in real life. Life is exhilarating and fabulous and exciting and painful and hard and sometimes requires a lot of work, but if more people would be willing to try something a little different from the norm, the world would be a much kinder place. Thank you for letting me vent.

Housefairy said...

Im so glad this is seeming to resonate with others. There are many more examples of this phenomenon that perhaps I will look into writing about. Its weird, to me, though, that the most heartfelt big decisions I have made seem to upset people the most, and as they say to me "what are you thinking?" and "thats wierd", somehow I have the burden/challenge on MY shoulders to say/not say just what I think about some of THEIR choices, most of which they dont research at all!
Such is irony.

Barbnocity said...

Hi, Housefairy,

I liken this phenomenom to people wanting to "save" someone from what they perceive to be a "bad" choice. I know I am guilty of this, myself, but feel like I have really come around in the last few years. (I hope! Ha ha ha)

I think people, in general, maybe think that what the majority is doing is what is best for everyone, even if there are a lot of bad outcomes. They "brush" those bad outcomes aside by saying, "Oh, well, sometimes mistakes happen," or by saying, "well, so and so isn't TRYING hard enough to fit in," etc.

That people,(unfortunately)somehow lump homebirth, homeschooling, food choices, family choices in with things like alcoholism or drug addiction--does that make sense? They see being a drug addict or alcoholic as bad and harmful and they would never do it because the majority would never do it, and then since not many people do the other things (homeschool, co-sleep, homebirth etc.) as bad and somehow harmful because the majority thinks it is true. Maybe that is too general or weird?

I, for example, used to think, "well, I wouldn't have a tooth extracted by myself without drugs or a dentist, so why would I not want to take advantage of an epidural or what not when having a baby?" forgetting the obvious--a BABY is not a TOOTH. You throw the tooth away after the dentist pulls it out, but you aren't throwing that baby out--what was I thinking and why was my mind so closed?

So, hopefully with blogging and more information and everything that is out there and all the support and research and data that the majority will start to see that these things they perceive as weird and wrong really are ok and they should open THEIR minds or they should mind their own business or simply, if they don't have something nice to say, keep their darn mouths shut :)

And one final thought that isn't meant to be mean or anything, but I think a lot of people truly believe that if they suffered, or were sad and miserable that everyone else should feel that way too--that being sad and angry is a "part of life--you just have to deal with it" I mean, seriously, what is so wrong with being happy? Is it so shocking that someone could be happily married and not fight (no--that's not "healthy") or have happy teenagers who love their parents (no--that's not "normal")

Wow--sorry for the book. My point is--great post. I will stand up and admit I was one of those people who used to think homeschooling and everything else that was different from the norm was wrong and that I would never do anything like that was different from what everyone else is doing, but hey, look at me now --ha ha :) people can change...they just need to see all the wonderful examples out there to show their preconceived notions aren't always right.

Housefairy said...

I am just so touched that this post has been such a response-getter!

I am proud and happy for ANYONE who wants to look into the things they do more than what is just convenient or in their comfort zone, popular, or "how it was for me".

Thats so great that you can identify as someone who didnt used to be "different" and now you are! Thats so cool. Motherhood did that to me, though its debatable if i was ever "normal" : )

On the same wavelength, to me at least, is the phenomenonwhen bad things happen to people and they pass that on. Out of habit. Out of ignorance. Out of defense. Out of fear. It could be abuse, the way they talk to kids, belief in certain things....and then when a new generation comes along, a new friend comes along, they are confronted head on with the very real CHOICE to pass the old hurtsand the old ways along, or to stop them and change.

Even if it sucked for them. Schooling, birth, career and family choices, lifestyles. Even if they are to the point where can admit it sucked for them. A part of them still wants that for you. In a way. Sometimes it is blatant sometimes it is subtle.

Take childbirth, for example. I cannot begin to tell you how many discussions and conversations I have had and read from women who had MORTIFYING birth experiences, and as they are telling the story, they get to the point when they somehow weave it into "thats how it is", or "at least I survived" or the classic worshipping the assailant; "Thank goodness I was in the hospital though". These people are coping the only way they can, and without doing the inner work to get angry, go back, question it all from scratch, this is where they will remain for the rest of their lives. Extremely defensive and angry and impotent, they will channel their hurts onto others instead as the (much) easier way out.

Take school for example.
I have heard the same countless stories (probably more than birth stories, even, and i am a birth story junkie!) about how school sucked, it was miserable, they got tortured bullied molested ignored shamed demoted discouraged bored to tears waste of time...but then, instead of the natural (to me!) tendency to look for an alternative, they instead get stuck and start in with the "thank goodness i went though" and the "it made me who i am today" and "its the way it is", etc. They are not ready to say "Holy Shit! I spent 16 years that I will never get back in that hellhole! Im angry!"

My grandmother was born in 1924. So to her, people not eating meat is just 100% out of her grasp. To her, meat is a fabulous treat that you should be lucky to have, and thats that. Vegetarianism is a flakey fad diet that cant possibly be healthy. She thinks there is a nice little farmer man and we are robbing him of his living. When we tried to talk to her about factory farming and the atrocious conditions the animals live in, the chickens in the battery cages, the male chicks thrown down the chutes into garbage bags to smother alive, she got really uncomfortable and said she doubts that is true. Discussion closed.

Now, I have no personal interest whatsoever what grandma eats. Im glad she is alive and hopes she lives the way she feels best about. Where I have a problem (and maybe a point?!) is when grandma or anyone gets super angry with the people who choose something different. Who do research. Who try hard to think about living. These folks can take it as a personal attack,(you dont like my pot roast?!) they can take your new lifestyle and read all these personal things into it when instead they could just respectfully disagree, find a peaceful common ground in the form of an easy meat-free dish to share such as soup salad and bread, etc.

Some of these subject matters are very different and I hesitated to lump them all together. As I explore alot more about birth from the babys point of view, my own tolerance levels for pretending birth interventions are a matter of "personal choice" are lowering. There will come a point for me pretty soon where I can no longer glob these things together. Where I can no longer keep silent about ceetain matters in order to not offend someone. Because the mainstream's voice is loud and clear, so my little voice must get alot louder.

Whether we are trying to do right by the chickens, or the babies, or the children, or the birthing families, we must not be made to feel that we are weird or foolish or that what we do is without merit, without the ability to make a difference. Change always starts small, always is hard, and always makes a difference.

Everyone who is living a conciously chosen lifestyle, keep up the good work! It isnt about smug self righteousness, or looking down on others. But when we pretend, out of dutiful modesty or ingrained self-effacement, that what we are doing is small and insignificant, it will be.


CreepyUCMama said...

DAmn good to see you back on here and free to speak freely. =)