I was talking to my little sister yesterday, and somehow the subject of drugs during delivery came up. I said I don't want any, and she was surprised. Really surprised.
Which I don't get, since I have always fallen on the crunchier, granola-inclined side of things. Of course, this is the same sister who asked me if I'd accidentally gotten pregnant, when she knows I don't even like to go to the grocery store without a painfully specific, footnoted, annotated, bilbliographied list. I won't even take an asprin right now, won't drink diet soda, won't take allergy medicine or cough syrup. I don't know why she thinks I'd be that careful for ten months and then get shot chock-full of paralyzing, numbing stuff just when I come to the end of it all.
Maybe it's just that she's 21 years old, a happily self-involved college student, and has no frame of reference for things like this. Maybe it's that since I am far away now, she's forgotten who I am. I get this feeling a lot when I'm talking about the baby, but curiously enough it doesn't happen when I tell a stranger I find the thought of an epidural horrifying or I can't eat tuna right now. The strongest confusion/criticism/surprise always comes from the people I thought knew me best. Although they are all 3,000 miles away so I can't actually see them, I get the feeling my friends, relatives, and assorted loved ones have been looking at me oddly since we let the word out. I definitely get the impression their view of me has been...skewed somehow, as though they're all looking at me sideways or something.
I understand surprise; that I get. I was not exactly on the "Top 10 People Most Likely to Procreate" list. What I don't understand is surprise and bewilderment at other choices, like no drugs and no Elmo. It's very much like the craziness that ensued when we decided to get married; people who've known me my whole life and who have discussed my loathing of mascara, refusal to wear pantyhose, and absolute hatred of the color pink didn't understand why I didn't want to be some poofy, pastel, overly-made-up Rent-A-Bride publicly given away by people who, while they did create me, I have never gotten along with terribly well.
It was very lonely and difficult standing up to all their expectations (not to mention meddling, guilt, and anger) in that case, and I didn't even do a very good job. I wound up, for the most part, the poofy Rent-A-Bride I'd tried so hard to avoid. I just hope the smothering attentions of my loved ones don't turn me into a friggin' soccer mom before I realize what's going on. Ugh.