the middle path. in considering unassisted childbirth, by which i mean giving birth by myself without the assistance of a birth attendant aside from perhaps my husband, i find myself caught between two opposing viewpoints, each pressuring me to conform. on the one hand is the notion that there is a danger inherent in childbirth and that having no assistance risks being unprepared for or unaware of something going wrong. on the other hand, it is not radical enough to merely consider, or to have a backup plan or to believe in the benefit of assistance. truthfully, either side should be supporting what i know to be true about myself and should support my intuition in either circumstance, calling for either need - the space to be alone or the need for support. which is why i have chosen a middle path wherein i have both a support person on call and the option to not call them. and even the option to call after having already felt the need not to - the option to change my mind. and yet - i go and i read the viewpoints of one side and feel wholly inadequate for trusting my own intuition, or for providing for the unknown, as though it could somehow jinx me despite my belief in support as an option and not a cop-out. the truth of what i will need i cannot begin to predict. i cannot know the path before i walk it. it will reveal itself and i will reveal myself in the process. i will learn the truth of what a moment calls for, but it will not be this moment, it will be that one. there is no way to prepare or to predict. the same goes with all matters of parenting and of mothering. i am for instance, scared to death in part, of what nursing will be like as i've never done it before, but only pumped breastmilk electronically for thirteen months. i am scared that i will have trouble, that it will hurt dramatically, that i don't know proper holds or latching techniques. i have cause in my past to fear this. there is doubt buried in my history from the guilt of aleksander's defect and the terrible lack of a nursing relationship between us. i cannot help that. though it was impossible for him to nurse, there will always be the question in my mind that perhaps i simply did not try hard enough. even though i have forgiven myself and made my peace with that aspect of our relationship, a former me asked it and it will hang forever now in my memory. and so i seek out ways to have resources for the support that i could potentially need despite my strong familial support and my intense committment and my personal desire to breastfeed. there may be trouble nontheless and i believe that it is in my best interest to know ahead of time where i can go to for outside support or instruction when it may be what i need. and does this belief in the skill and knowledge of others betray a doubting of my own abilities and the potentiality of my biology? in understanding and appreciating the misgivings of biology and the potential complications of breastfeeding, is it really a vote of no confidence cast for my qualification as a breeder? does the fear that i've already admitted to really say that i ultimately believe that i am built incapable, that i would be hard-pressed to figure it out without the assistance of experts? is that what i'm inferring between the lines? an inherent self-doubt in my own faculties? or can i be confident yet cautious? is that possible? or is the superstition of creating a self-fulfilling prophecy, of setting myself up for failure more accurate? fuck that. i believe whole-heartedly in my ability, and yet at moments i waiver for whatever reason and am unwilling to struggle at length simply to prove myself some master of instinct, some champion of biology, the ultimate mother. i will do what the situation calls for and fall for neither a machismo independence nor a weakling dependency. i am, after all, what i am.