Yup. Pregnant for the first time. Not quite how I was expecting the day to start. I'd been peeing on sticks for so long I didn't possibly think this one would come up positive when none of the others had. Surprise. I, still in a bit of shock, shoved the positive test in DH's face as a wake up call and after convincing him that it was not a joke we went about our day as planned, with one unscheduled stop so I could pick up a new journal.
It was a strange day to say the least. I knew that DH's aunt would not make some magical miracle recovery. She was such an amazing woman and for the last 10 years had accepted me fully and treated me as if I were one of her own, offering me unconditional love, a shoulder to cry on when the loss of my own mother caught up to me, someone to vent to about anything, and teaching me so much about every aspect of life from cooking to fishing. I also knew she was tired, and had refused round two of a "treatment" that nearly killed her the first time, but I found comfort in my faith.
Paganism teaches us that the universe is about balance. Where there is life there is also death, and thankfully death is never the end.
Fast forward 3 months.
We have found out our little bundle is a girl, and she'll be making her debut in the first weeks of October. We've managed to get through the first trimester without any major freak outs, but each day I find myself afraid of something new.
The major fear that has overrun my thoughts lately, and the main reason for this post?
DH is agnostic and after a lengthy discussion he agreed that raising our daughter in my faith would be the right decision for our family. The problem I fear comes from the extended family.
Like most Pagans I was raised in a Christian family. We did the church thing every Sunday, and Wednesday, and sometimes Saturdays, faithfully. I went to church camp, did community work, and tried so very hard to be the good Christian girl I knew my family wanted me to be, and found myself battling depression when I felt I couldn't meet their expectations. My mother got sick, I got angry, and things got worse until I found that first book on Wicca.
Suddenly what I always felt and believed at my core had a name. Suddenly I wasn't staring at a lifetime of trying to force myself into a faith that just didn't fit. Suddenly I was free... to hide my faith from everyone I knew. Being anything but die-hard Christian is hard in the Bible Belt. As I got closer to graduating and getting out of my tiny home town I became more comfortable in my path and began, well, really just NOT hiding. I didn't come out of the broom closet crystals blazing, but I wore my pentacle openly and actually drew one on a "self portrait collage" assignment in art class.
Of course my grandma pulled my pentacle off my neck and told me to be careful lest a cross be burned in my front yard, and my principal tried to make me take my collage down, but I wasn't deterred.
So all of DH's family, and most of my family, knows that I'm Pagan. I don't hide anymore, and even post Pagan related things on Facebook, but it's not really something that we ever talk about, aside from the random "So is that a Wicca thing?" question.
Therein lies the problem. We're going to have to talk about it. We're going to have to have several discussions on the fact my daughter will not be raised Christian and what this means for us as a whole family. I have a feeling this is going to suck.
How do I explain to them that while I respect their faith and understand their good intentions when it comes to my child's own spiritual path I don't want her indoctrinated into a religion before she understands what it means.
Yes, I realize that I just said that I want to raise her in my faith, and that's the thing. My faith, not my religion. What does that mean exactly?
- I don't ever want her to hate someone because they are different. It doesn't matter who they love, how they pray, or to whom they pray. What matters is doing everything that you can to be a good person.
- I don't want her to be ashamed of herself, or her body. I want her to have a healthy self image and realize her self worth. There are too many broken girls out there willing to share their body with anybody in the mistaken hope that it means they will be loved, even if just for the night, I don't want one of them to be mine.
- I want to give her the tools to be confident enough to make her own decisions. I want her to have the strength to look me in the eye and tell me Paganism isn't for her if she knows it's not the path she's supposed to walk. I want her to find her spiritual home, not because she was told she was going to hell if she didn't believe but because she knows in her soul it is where she is supposed to be.
I hope my family understands that I'm trying to raise her to be a strong person. I hope they see past the titles of religion and into the heart of why I'm doing what I'm doing. I hope they don't let their good intentions get in the way of being our support system. They were each given the opportunity to raise their children the way they saw fit, and I only ask for that same courtesy.