Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Relationship

When it comes to things like pregnancy, birth, and parenting, it's important to provide information in a loving and supportive way. But, if at all possible, I also think it's best to do this in the context of relationship.

Now, obviously, for those who blog (like me!) it may not be possible to develop a relationship with everyone who may encounter what we're saying. I'm not suggesting that we should never write about the things that matter to us; I am suggesting that we pursue relationships with people in our real lives. When we do this, we will naturally get to know people whose experiences, circumstances, and choices differ from our own. Understanding issues and choices through the eyes of other people instead of through our own perspective and idealism can go a long way toward helping us approach people in a loving and supportive way (rather than a judgmental or condescending way), both in person and in writing.

When people in our lives make choices that differ from our own, do we attempt to see things through their eyes and understand what's behind the choices they've made, or do we judge them? They're lazy. They care more about their own convenience than what's best for their child. They haven't done any research. They're detached from their kids. Ouch! In the end, are we more committed to our ideals and the issues we're passionate about, or are we more committed to people? Relationship, I think, is the key to loving people more than our pet "issues." And in the context of a true, loving relationship, it is very unlikely that we will simply assume the worst about the other person.

As someone whose choices regarding pregnancy, birth, and parenting have changed drastically from my first child to my second, I can guarantee you that being harshly judged and looked down on by others would never have done anything to change my mind; it would have just hurt my feelings and made me feel bitter. You know what opened my eyes and my heart to other perspectives and choices? Relationships. While my oldest was still quite small, I met and developed relationships with loving, caring people whose choices differed from my own in various ways-- but they didn't try to force their choices on me. They just did their thing with confidence and were willing to talk if I had questions. Some even blogged about their experiences and perspectives, but I never felt judged when I read their posts-- I felt encouraged.

In relationship, we get to know other people and understand where they're coming from, and we let them get to know us and understand where we're coming from. We live life authentically in front of each other, and we all grow and change. It impacts our assumptions, our words, our choices, our understanding. There is so much to be gained from relationships-- and so much to be lost if we overlook their importance.

3 comments:

  1. great message not only as it relates to birthing and parenting choices, but life choices in general

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  2. Definitely a good way to look at life indeed.

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  3. I agree, Amie-- this definitely applies to life choices in general. It's something that has been on my mind a lot lately (and my last post, too) but I'm just now finding the words to put it all together. Well, coherently, at least. ;-) There's actually a lot more I want to say, but maybe that's another post.

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