I have never been one for considering what society or other people think too much throughout life; I mean we all care at some stage but I have never let it bother me to the point it has strongly influenced my decisions. In fact, I usually always know what I want and believe in and stick to it rather stubbornly. Until recently.
Being pregnant was both the most wonderful and challenging life experience I have faced so far. This is not another pregnancy post but this life event got me thinking. There are few milestones you share with all of society, yet the ones we do, everyone has an opinion on or there is a general unspoken rulebook. This can be related to most adult events such as buying a house, starting a career, getting married, having children etc. All these major milestones appear to have “rights” and “wrongs” that you don’t discover until you are actually experiencing them. And no matter how much you prepare or discuss with others, there is no real preparation for how you will feel with these things.
I can’t complain of my pregnancy journey as things were probably as good as they could have been. During pregnancy I formed my own thoughts on what I wished to do and not do in my birth and in raising my baby; however things don’t always go to plan. And that’s ok too. But in this situation the pressure from society appeared heavier than with any other life experience.
This was in no way directed from one particular individual, or even from those closest to me, but more a feeling of knowing what the world thinks and expects of you. And it hit me like a tonne of bricks. Or whatever is worse than that, that catches you off guard at your most vulnerable. Perhaps it was endorsed in hormones and new mum guilt too, but its a feeling I never want to re-visit again. How can some general consensus take those precious days from you, or spoil that special experience/event when you know what’s right for you?
This experience will continue to evolve and change as my baby boy does, and no doubt will be accompained by many more guilty feelings, immense pressures and huge self doubt. I don’t know why we put ourselves through this but I can only hope it is because we care so much about our actions and the effects that has on others. Because we want the best for everyone. And because we are all learning along the way.
Although I feel this can apply to many situations, a good friend put these thoughts in place, wrapped them up and threw them away for me by sending me this in relation to my recent postnatal experience: “He is perfect, as are you. You are all he needs forever, just you”.
We are all doing our best and doing what we feel is right for ourselves, our families, our careers etc, and our best is good enough. We need to remind ourselves of this much more often.