The past few years have been teaching me something I believe to be of great importance: the understanding that most things are relative.
For instance, there is not one way to parent all children that is the right way. Every child is different and unique and has different needs, functions a different way, and responds to parenting and discipline differently. This is just one example of many.
Why is this such an important lesson to learn? Well, because it is important to remember both when at the receiving end of harsh criticism and when tempted to stand on a pedestal in order to criticize another. There are so many things people are passionate about: education, home schooling v. public v. private, drinking, dancing, breast-feeding, vaccinations, birth, tithing, diet, exercise, work, achievements, going green, saving money, and on and on and on. To some of these things and others there may be a universal "right". Even then, many biblical principles have undergone scrutiny to support various interpretations. So to some extent, even though many opinions may be supported with scientific research, they all have relative elements.
The reality is we all have our convictions. Mine? Well, I'd have to say I am very passionate about natural birth. In fact, it was the journey of learning all about birth and then experiencing it myself that I realized in some cases I have become that annoying person who talks about it all the time and possibly makes people feel insulted or offended. Of course I know there are times when intervention is absolutely necessary, I just have a great deal of distrust for many of the reasons doctors give for "needing" intervention and feel research supports that. HOWEVER, my convictions are my own. They are not someone elses. And I have to be careful to not push this convictions on others. Why is this so hard? I realized it is because when we become passionate about something and we study it thoroughly a whole new world is opened up to us. I felt/feel so empowered by the things I have learned about natural birth and vaginal birth after cesarean. Often times I want to share this information with women for their benefit. For example I feel like the majority of women have no clue as to the option of having vaginal birth after cesarean. I want them to know! Not because I think I am almighty, but because I think it is important and good for them and their baby. Does that make my motive selfish or haughty? I would argue no.
What is the point of all this? The point is that I put myself in the shoes of others who, at time, have a mouth-full ;) to share with me. They are just sharing with me something they are passionate about, have studied and researched--something they feel so sure about that they want to share it with others. (Of course I am not saying there aren't some people who are just trying to shove their opinions on everyone. :) In general, though, I think people just want to share some of their great epiphanies with others because it means so much to them that they found it.
I am probably never going to stop talking about how amazing natural birth is or encourage women to do it themselves. Will I annoy some people? Maybe. But I sure hope not. I hope I can learn the balance of sharing my enjoyment and passion for it without thrusting it on other people, offending them, or making them feel inferior. We are all entitled to our passions and convictions whatever they may be. And I have to remember this when someone's conviction conflicts with my own or when I am not sure how to respond to what someone is sharing with me, or when I feel offended or inferior when hearing someone else's convictions and passions.
I am blogging about this because it is something I am learning so much about. At first I learned in it when my feelings were hurt as others "criticized" my own choices. Choices I felt so sure of--so passionate about. Then I realized maybe they weren't trying to criticize as much as they were just trying to share their perspective and opinion that means something so deep and personal to them. It has been an important lesson for me to learn because it enables me to be at peace with people who have different convictions then my own. And well, when the convictions aren't Heaven or Hell issues, I think they are worth being at peace over.
Wow. Does any of this make any sense?