Pregnancy, Relationships, Freedom of Choice
Every person is a sovereign individual, entitled to make their own choices
WARNING for all of you who have been enjoying my humorous pregnancy posts:
I’m standing on a soapbox now. This is your chance to plug your ears and shout, “La la la, I can’t hear you!”
If you are annoyed by what I have to say, remember that these are my opinions and you don’t have to agree – but I am pregnant and you have to be nice to me.
Recently, Savvy Veg posted a relationship advice letter that got me riled up and inspired me to get up on my soapbox. Maybe the pregnancy hormones had something to do with it.
Anyway, in this letter, the non-veg boyfriend complains that his newly zealous vegan girlfriend is trying to force him and any future children into veganism, using emotional blackmail.
That situation brought to mind one of my favorite poems, by Stephen Crane:
“Think as I think,”
Said a man.
“Or you are abominably wicked –
you are a toad.”
And after I had thought of it,
“I will then, be a toad.”
I’ve learned life lessons from family, experience and good books, which have served me well in tough times. Let me share one of the big lessons I’ve learned about relationships:
Emotional blackmail is not a useful or sustainable relationship tool.
Sure, you can manipulate your partner and get your way, using whatever leverage you have. But why not skip the ugliness and the emotional baggage – and just break up now? People come together because they want to be together. All you can really do is make each other welcome. Or not.
I’m amazed when people are devoted to animal rights but blind to the need for ethical treatment of their loved ones. No matter what strong beliefs you hold, they don’t give you the right to force others to believe the same. Every person is a sovereign individual, entitled to make their own choices.
We all like the lovey snuggly parts of a relationship. The couch sitting, face stroking moments – that’s what we’re in it for. I know I am.
I also like the coming home to a clean kitchen and tasty smelling dinner moments. (Speaking of dinner, I just made an amazing tomato soup – so glad to be past the tomato-hating first trimester!)
But in order to have those lovey moments, first we’ve got to agree on what’s for dinner, and other more thorny issues.
One of the things Bryan and I did, which made our road a lot smoother, was to settle the big issues early on, before we were even engaged. And that’s an on-going process.
We’re like two sovereign nations negotiating trade agreements and border policy. If you want the good times, we’ve learned you must come to the table with respect, and leave your pride at the door (that last bit is really hard for me).
There’s no trespassing here, no massing of troops at the border. Just honest conversations about how we can stay together happily, given our differences on the issues.
Having those agreements between us means that Bryan can be completely supportive of my pregnancy, with no need for tense negotiations that I’m not up for right now.
It’s enough to think of all the challenges that come with parenting, and wonder where I’ll find the necessary patience and strength. I’m so glad I can count on Bryan’s patience and strength to help me through!
When we got pregnant, we had already agreed to raise the baby vegetarian. We eat vegetarian at home, and when our child is old enough, she’ll be free to choose her own diet. The way I’ve been eating lately, I suspect the kid will be a fruitarian!
I think people sometimes forget that their kids are also people, who belong to themselves and make their own decisions. Many Savvy Veg readers are first generation vegetarians, and have suffered family conflict about their diets. Imagine how much pain could have been avoided if their families accepted their dietary decisions?
I am resolved that I will share with my child the things I believe, and the lessons I’ve learned, and allow her the right to make her own choices. Most important is that she knows she has my love and support, and feels welcome in our family always.
Speaking of family, when I have the baby, Mom will come to stay, and we’ll be eating vegan. Partly because she’ll take over the kitchen (she can’t help herself), and also because accommodating her diet makes her feel welcome. In turn she’ll be fine if we fry an egg, or butter our toast, or help ourselves to the Parmesan cheese.