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Jan 24 2009

Gag rule bagged for 4 years

But don’t think you’ll never see it again

I’m as pleased as six pigs that Barack has Obamanated the international gag rule that prevented federal dough from being doled out to overseas abortion providers. It’s high time that white American godbag dudes got their bible-stained paws off of global uteruses.

But Barack Obama is not the Feminist Messiah, he’s the president of the United States, which, I don’t care how gloppy and weeping-tears-of-joy you are over his election, pretty much makes him the King of World Patriarchy. By which I mean, however benevolent a dictator he is — and I’m not saying he is benevolent — he’s still a dude in charge of a dudely culture of dudely domination. So, until his administration eliminates oppression, he’s totally on the hook for blame.

Check it out, he snuck the order through on Friday night, pretty much keeping it on the DL. I get that he didn’t want to stir up a big partisan whoop-dee-doo, but he either believes women are human or he doesn’t. If he does believe women are human, I wouldn’t mind if he called a press conference during drive time and declared it openly. Ellie Smeal put him on the cover of her magazine wearing a Photoshopped “This Is What A Feminist Looks Like” T-shirt, but so far, for a “feminist,” he’s looking fairly, oh, I don’t know, dudely.

I also sniff with some disdain at the women-are-frail-damsels language the president used in his press release. To wit:

[I]t is right for us to rescind this policy and restore critical efforts to protect and empower women and promote global economic development.”

Instead of something like “It is right for us to rescind this policy because women are human beings who are entitled to personal sovereignty.”

So it is perpetuated, this national myth that “we” — meaning “we dudes” — “protect” women by meting out little bits of empowerment here and there as we see fit. You know what? Fuck “protection.” And fuck “empowerment,” too. It’s a flaccid, nearly meaningless term used to describe half-assed half-measures that placate the oppressed and their advocates in lieu of actually liberating them. Nobody who gets “protected” or “empowered” is ever allowed to forget that they enjoy their little perks at the pleasure of the oppressor.

Note also the “promote global economic development” tag. God forbid we should throw women a bone without reassuring an anxious public that there’s money in it somewhere for someone. What’s good for the goose had better be good for the gander, or why bother? Sure, women who have control over their reproductive functions have a better shot at clawing their way out of poverty, but if that’s what Obama meant — and I’m not saying it is — why didn’t he spell it out? Everybody knows who is likely to benefit the most from the promotion of “global economic development.”

Unto those of you who are about to make the “baby steps” argument concerning the language and style of Obama’s order, I say this: this godbag gag rule has already been rescinded once (by Bill Clinton), but the minute W strolled into the Oval Office it went right back on the books. So, to recap: according to official US policy, during the Reagan years women weren’t human, then we were kind of semi-human again for eight years, then for the next eight years we weren’t. Now we kind of are again. Obviously it’s just a matter of time until the next presidential buttmunch rescinds the rescindment. These aren’t “baby steps”; they don’t lead anywhere, least of all toward feminist revolt. This is just politics. You can tell it is, because Obama, a politician, says it isn’t.*

And while I’m at it, what about this zany doublespeak recently adopted by some pro-choicers?

“It is actually a great day for those who oppose abortion,” said Steven W. Sinding, a past director-general of the International Planned Parenthood Federation and population adviser to the World Bank. “This will help many of the most effective providers of family planning services to enable women to avoid unwanted pregnancies.”

Don’t misunderstand me; I’m as super-pro-birth control as the next spinster aunt, but this rhetoric about “reducing unwanted pregnancies” continues to allow the argument — nay, even promotes the argument — that abortion is bad. Which is bad. Because — I’ll say it again — what goes on in a person’s private uterus must be value-neutral if women are ever to be liberated from the sex class.

_______________
* “For too long,” [Obama] said, “international family planning assistance has been used as a political wedge issue, the subject of a back-and-forth debate that has served only to divide us. I have no desire to continue this stale and fruitless debate.”

45 comments

4 pings

  1. virago

    I’m glad Obama is getting rid of the global gag rule, but I agree that it might very well be temporary until the next pro-life president anyway, and then it’s back to fighting for full human status again. It’s just a vicious cycle.

  2. Pinko Punko

    I’d love it if this blog were viewed in the WH. Perhaps on RSS. I was just reading how the gov is PC only which means their dose of Blame is read through the hazy lens if Internet Explorer.

    Steve King R-Crazytown was going off on all this yesterday. I can’t even repeat his godbaggery, but it was filled with a profound love of snowflake babies.

  3. Kathleen

    Oh my stars, the last paragraph of this post — yes, yes, YES! If I had a horse for every time I heard a supposed “pro-choicer” lamenting the sad fact of abortion, I’d be Genghis Khan.

  4. wisewebwoman

    This is ALL negotiable depending on the whims of the incoming Prez and on the Corporocratic Dudebags that finance him/her?
    Like each Prez is a dictator who can dictate laws through a personal bible/misogyny/Freudian lens?
    I’m sure glad I live in Canada.

  5. wiggles

    What the hell is someone named Steven doing as a past director-general of the International Planned Parenthood Federation?

  6. Kristin

    I srsly did not appreciate Obama tacking on the statement that “No one is pro-abortion. It’s pretty much always a tragedy”. Or something stupid like that.

    Hi. Mr President? yeah, I’M PRO ABORTION. Just like I’m pro-appendectomy, pro-heart surgery, pro-bone marrow transplant, you know, just generally PRO NECESSARY HEALTH CARE BEING AVAILABLE.

    Duh. How does this even get clouded? Oh yeah, I know who to blame.

  7. Tanya

    We Canadians shouldn’t get too cocky. Our government is overrun by godbags. Our politicians believe in creationism and all manner of wacky godbaggism. Not only that, I have heard them lament about abortion being a tragedy. Every so often, some politician whines about abortion being a publicly funded procedure. The Conservatives would love to take that away if the outpouring of anger from the public could be avoided.

  8. TP

    So it is perpetuated, this national myth that “we” — meaning “we dudes” — “protect” women by meting out little bits of empowerment here and there as we see fit. You know what? Fuck “protection.” And fuck “empowerment,” too. It’s a flaccid, nearly meaningless term used to describe half-assed half-measures that placate the oppressed and their advocates in lieu of actually liberating them. Nobody who gets “protected” or “empowered” is ever allowed to forget that they enjoy their little perks at the pleasure of the oppressor.

    You’d think that someone as keenly aware of being patronized as this President might have the slightest inkling of the truth of these words. But then, rarely are words like these heard in the halls of power, where patronizing is a quotidian occurrence.

    And rarely are such ideas strung together so clearly and without the passive-aggressive obscurantism of the traditional mumbling of the bruised and bleeding oppressed. You can really put obvious truths into the clearest possible words, Twisty.

  9. cafesiren

    Well, I’ll go ahead and admit that I’m hopeful. And I find it fantastic that rescinding the gag rule, on the DL or not, was on the agenda for the FIRST FRICKIN’ WEEK.

    However, for all my Pollyanish optimism, I dispute none of what’s been said above, and am glad that IBTP isn’t giving anyone a free pass.

  10. Mo

    Twisty, you sure do have superpowers.

    I expected to find a page full of comments hand-wringingly, outragedly offensed that you had the gall to criticize the great and wonderful wizard of Prez. But lo and behold, not a whit of it!

  11. yttik

    You’ll get no argument from me. LOL, I’m bitter, angry, and I don’t do hope. Hope gave me four decades of waiting for the ERA to pass.

    Politically I also believe that abortion rights have become a tool of the patriarchy, used to manipulate us. Used to frighten women, to divide them, to coerce us into believing our rights are bestowed upon us by the government. We’ve been left with nothing but this weak court ruling Roe v Wade, and every election cycle they say, vote for me or you’ll lose your rights! For four fricken decades. Congress could always pass a law saying women have complete dominion over their uteruses, but they won’t because they would lose their ability to terrorize us into supporting them year after year. Ironically the same is true on the Pro-life side of the patriarchy, they also need the abortion issue in order to manipulate their base.

    It’s a fantasy, but I always wonder what would happen if Pro-Life women and Pro-choice women got together and found some common ground. I wonder if we could make it a criminal act for a man to cause an unwanted pregnancy? LOL, now that would make things interesting.

  12. Anna Belle

    I’ve written about the division of abortion rhetoric on both sides in a series called The Specter of Roe v Wade. I’ve never been an Obama fan, so I was pretty unsurprised to hear this was signed late in the night and then rolled out over the weekend. Wouldn’t want to upset the Rick Warren constituency, now, would we?

    Also, Dr. Violet Socks has a whole post up on how the Obama administration is merely a victory for bi-racial patriarchy: The Triumph of Patriarchy

  13. KMTBERRY

    I have always felt that a law such as: IF a dude causes an unwanted pregnancy, he must pay the woman involved $40,000.00 a year FOR LIFE. OK, say for twenty years. You know , or something like that.

    WATCH the DUDES write abortion into an everlasting HUMAN RIGHT in less thana minute.

    HA HA the problem is getting dudes to pass a loaw anything like that. Gosh, they sure would be shitting in their pants even FEARING such a law would be considered, if the Congress were hugely-majority FEMALE. THat would R*O*C*K !!

  14. j

    yttik:

    It’s a fantasy, but I always wonder what would happen if Pro-Life women and Pro-choice women got together and found some common ground.

    Maybe The New Agenda?

    http://thenewagenda.net/

  15. Ayla

    I’ve noticed that my Doublespeak-O-Meter tends to go crazy quite frequently when people talk about Obama. Particularly when it pertains to women and lgbt people.

  16. denelian

    twisty, you are my hero.

    if there wasn’t this patriarchy, if women weren’t somehow the “gatekeepers” of sex and morality, if men were expected and required to act and civilised, responsible adults, abortion would not be an issue.

    if the fucking “pro-life” movement actually cared about women, abortion would not be an issue.

    if pregnancy were dangerous and “inconvenient” to me, abortion would not be a issue.

    i have wondered for years why women still have to carry fetus’ in their uteri – i mean, we SHOULD by technically capable of making artifical unteri, and then everyone would be a HELL of a lot better off… women wouldn’t have to suffer morning sickness, could still do everything the liked to do, could take medicine, wouldn’t have to hurt or get very large and gain weight or have their feet swell – wouldn’t have to through labor and (almost always) a cesarian.

    but this is not important; or rather, it is important that women MUST GO THROUGH HELL.

    i think forced pregnancy is one of the most evil evils around. its *MY* body; as one of my professors put it, “i do not have to donate my kidney, so why must i donate my uterus?”

    sorry for the long post :) but thank you for all the work you put in.

  17. denelian

    whoops! dropped a VERY important letter up there – it should read “if pregnancy were dangerous and “inconvientent” to MEN”. sorry about that.

  18. Hedgepig

    AnnaBelle, Dr Violet Socks has hit the nail on the head. Thanks for the link.

  19. atheistwoman

    I nominate Obamanated as best new awkwardly appropriate pun of 2009.

  20. Nolabelfits

    Hey Denelian,

    I just wanted to say I hear your pain but pregnancy does not have to be hell. Neither does giving birth. You have fight like hell to do it naturally, because the Patriarchy wants to sell you on interventions, but giving birth is not so bad. Its not hell. Its okay and kind of cool if you want to do it and have chosen it. For me, it did not even hurt.

  21. Daisy P

    I noted with some bemusement, that a lot of women seemed to think that Obama would be the “substitute-woman president”.

    The world order is as thus, simply put:

    White Men
    Black Men
    White Women
    Black Women

    The democratic nominees kind of proved this.

    Ask yourself this…..Can you see people turning out in droves, in record numbers, to an inauguration which was for the first WOMAN president? Can you see men and women of all colours and faiths, uniting in the hope that this big change will be the ringing in of huge changes for the benefit of all humankind?

    This man is not a miracle-worker, cannot walk on water, and yes, he is still a dude, and no said-scenario, as above would happen, as super-celebrating the election of a woman president would represent the admission, in the eyes of a lot of people, that gender-based issues are well and truly still not addressed or acknowledged, and such celebrations would mean an admission of huge wrongdoing by MEN over the ages.

    No woman will ever be president until she proves she keeps herself fit by using a pole and taking strippercise classes.

    And I found it also bemusing, that before the election, there was much protesting that being in favour of the Big O was nothing to do with colour….now, that’s all you hear. Make up your minds people.

    And, if Hilary C had managed miraculously to become elected, what a sweet and personal, but still public, victory for her and other women with pornified husbands, this would have been…..but can’t be having that can we? *sarcasm*

    The Dude-ocratic party is just that….Dudes and Dude-ettes who want to keep the boys happy.

    Fuck politics.

  22. Daisy P

    I did not even mention the “A”(bortion) word above.

    Here’s something else to try to make ya’ll think:

    Abortions clinics make profit as a rule, and they are businesses which need to make money to keep going. And probably run usually by whom?

    Think hard people.

    I am not here to say abortion is right or wrong, but have a little think about that.

    Just some food for thought…..Blame you know what/who.

  23. Daisy P

    Excuse all the posts in a row, but having resurrected my commentating career as of today, somewhat, (this is my job, as royally appointed by, errrrr….me), I am trying to get up to speed toot sweet.

    Things are a-joining up in my brain, from reading old blogs, as I type…..in the course of going through all my old blog links, came across this blog and found this page (see link after this paragraph) ….it’s thematic of this thread in that it’s about the Big O (ie, they new guy who is NOT A WOMAN AND NOT BUSH), and the World-wide one-political party called Dude-ocratism (or, if you really want to fool yourself into thinking that it’s multi-partisan, Re-dude-licans too), here is a link to another blog, and I hope she does not mind I’ve pasted it here.

    Much food for thought.

    http://www.reclusiveleftist.com/category/if-you-vote-for-obama-this-is-what-youre-voting-for/

    Note….in case of any doubt, Dude-ocrats and Re-dude-licans all have daily mini-conventions political all year, every year, between elections….Lapdancing clubs around the world are the meeting places for these conferences, attended by all members of all parties. Womwn welcome, buy only if you take the page out of Katy Perry’s book and objectify other women for the pleasure of the men. That’s ok.

    These parties also unite in serious discussions, waiving party divisions, at bars and in private homes everywhere, while they get a chance to combine it with ogling and objectifying women in one way or another, whether in public at Hooters, or privately, as downloaded pron, while the little woman keeps the nuclear family ethos going by raising his kids, and cooking, cleaning and just being a bit of a semen receptacle when the pron builds up and the dudes are in danger of exploding unless they find someone to pump their poison into.

    I won’t beat around the bush or sugar-coat next time.

    *spits*

  24. Sniff

    I’m in full agreement with Twisty’s post and with the majority of comments here. This, however, I disagree with for a couple of reasons:

    The world order is as thus, simply put:

    White Men
    Black Men
    White Women
    Black Women

    Firstly, I think the two lines in the middle often flip around. Yes, men of colour wield male privilege, but in the same way that white women wield white privilege. In various circumstances either set of privileges can and does trump the other. I think we’re ignoring the nuances of intersectionality when we claim that male privilege always comes out on top (this doesn’t mean I am in favour of ever forgetting that it is always present), and I think this is something that we, as white women fighting for equality, need to be vastly more aware of.

    Secondly, I’m hugely uncomfortable about the way this statement erases anyone who is neither white nor black. What about people of Asian descent? Hispanic? Indigenous? Biracial?? Do they simply not exist in your world order?

  25. ivyleaves

    Hey Nolabelfits

    Quore:
    I just wanted to say I hear your pain but pregnancy does not have to be hell. Neither does giving birth. You have fight like hell to do it naturally, because the Patriarchy wants to sell you on interventions, but giving birth is not so bad. Its not hell. Its okay and kind of cool if you want to do it and have chosen it. For me, it did not even hurt.

    Congratulations for being the exception to the rule, but for the vast majority of us it does have to hurt and is pretty much hell, even before labor. This is regardless of interventions or no interventions, and my personal vote is choose all the pain relief you can get, after trying it the other way.

  26. Daisy P

    The statement on the world order stated “simply put”….use brain to embellish and interpret the basic order.

    This order was also meant as a reference to political systems, not as a comment on male priveledge in everyday life.

    I hope that explains it…..disagreements are ok as long as you don’t disagree with me! Joke!!!!

    Yours in Blame-o-craticism

    Daisy

  27. Nolabelfits

    You must have had a terrible pregnancy. I am sorry about that. I know a lot of mothers, and I would not say the vast majority had painful hellish pregnancies and births. Part of what causes the pain is that men still control birthing and the birth process, and the medical profession puts women in all kinds of situations that are not conducive to easy labor and delivery. They push C-sections just for expediency, for one thing. I was fortunate enough to have the wherewithal to educate myself on the whole process and managed to make things go my way, although with my limited insurance I had to fight for it. I had to fight with the OB ( a woman!) in the delivery room not to put a screw in the fetus’ head attached to a monitor, which pissed her off. So there’s that, but I did manage natural childbirth, and with the second one, I had a midwife, only because the insurance company figured out that midwives are cheaper than interventions. I am sorry it was so bad for you, but I blame the patriarchy.

  28. thebewilderness

    I hear you, sniff.
    From a Western perspective, it is very much white male entitlement, and everyone else scrabbling for what is left.
    What is left, of course, is individual status accrued in service to white male entitlement.

  29. yttik

    Child birth can be a good experience for some women, especially if they have a lot of control over the situation. LOL, by the same token so can body piercings or sky diving.

    However, I am of the other mindset that some posters have mentioned. It’s an incredibly inconvenient and uncomfortable and excruciating experience. They don’t call it labor for nothing.

  30. Anna Belle

    Daisy, allow me to introduce a new term: Progressive Dude Nation. That’s what I call the “Dude-ocratic” party.

    They actually have wording in their platform about convincing vaginabots that sleeping with Republicans is NOT COOL.

    Whoever said FUCK POLITICS nailed it. It’s all pussy domination.

  31. Nolabelfits

    Hy Yttk,

    I don’t agree that pregnancy and childbirth is always an Incredively inconvenient and uncomfortable and excruciating experience.” If you believe what the Patriarchy tells you…that you need to do this, that or the other in order to give birth, you will have that experience…if you choose to give birth and are not forced to, and you can choose your birthing venue, and understand the process as a female experience and that your body knows what it it doing, you will probably have a pretty good experience. I recognized that the Patriarchy controlled the birth experience, I educated myself in how to counteract that, and I had a good birthing experience under my control. Anyone how buys into the ideology that certain experiences of being female, such as giving birth, are inherently subjugating, or horrific for any reason, is buying into the whole Patriarchial Order, hook line and sinker. I oppose the systems that oppress women, systems such as Patriarchy and The Nuclear Family Unit, not biological realities of life such as giving birth. Giving birth is not our downfall, Patriarchy is.

  32. denelian

    Nolabelfits

    i can say, first off, that you are very lucky.

    i will never guve birth. pregnancy will kill me. literally.
    i have a disease that makes pregnancy deadly.

    but i have been around a fair number of pregnant women, and have sat in on a couple of deliveries. i have NEVER seen a woman NOT go through various horrible things in pregnancy; they don’t all go through the SAME horrible things, but there are always horrible things. morning sickness and your body CHANGING like that are only the two most obvious. then there are little, creeping things – no longer allowed to drink, or take most medications, seat belts that become overly restrictive, having to buy clothes you can only really wear whilst pregnant – over priced clothes, that you can only wear for PART of the pregnancy at that. the list of things that women suffer through while pregnant could go on for DAYS.

    i am very happy for you that you didn’t suffer as so many others have. but their suffering is real, and it’s very hard to not take some offense at what you are saying. please re-read what you are saying and think about how the rest of us are taking it – you are saying that because YOU didn’t have difficulties during pregnancy and labor, that NO ONE should, and if there ARE difficulties, well, those difficulties aren’t REAL, we only think that they are difficulties because we have been told that they are.

    i don’t think that this is the message that you were intending to convey, but it is the message that WAS conveyed. most women have at least SOME difficulties with pregnancy. until you wrote that i would have said ALL women. each woman has the right to decide for herself if those difficulties are outweighed by the end result. in many case, i really think that if women knew everything they would suffer they would say “NO!”, but most people don’t know everything that is going to happen. and once the pain stops (any pain) we forget how bad it was.

    even more though, you really are telling us that if our experiences don’t match your experiences, that our experiences are INVALID. that when a woman goes through something unpleasant in the name of pregnancy, she didn’t REALLY go through it, or if she did, it was ONLY because she was told it WOULD be unpleasant. you are telling us that if we have a problem with pregnancy or labor that we DON’T have a real problem, we just have lies and if we would just relax it would all be kittens and rainbows. which is bullshit. you may have been that 1/1billion who has a wonderful pregnancy. but almost all pregnancies are NOT kittens and rainbows, they are painful in many ways. and most of that pain, it is ACTUAL FUCKING PHYSICAL PAIN, the pain that comes from your body blowing up and something inhabiting it and feeding off of it, it comes from your pelvis moving itself and your vaginia tearing itself open to get that little alien out.

    jut, please, stop. stop telling us that pregnancy is more fun that a box of puppies, stop telling us that any issues that arise over pregnancy are just socialized constructs. the problems with pregnancy are real, the rate of death, disablity or distress is hugely high (we have the WORST rates of maternal death in the 1st world, the worst rates of infant mortality in the 1st world, the highest rates of sepsis and other diseases and poisons in the 1st world…). i am very happy for you that you had such a good experience. but please understand how rare your experience is.

  33. Nolabelfits

    Wow. YOu have completely misunderstood what I was intending to say. I won’t even bother to try and refute what you have to say because this is not the place for it.

    You know, I gave birth twice and my vagina is not all torn open, nor do I think of my daughters as “aliens.”

    Sorry for your disease, and I hope you don’t ever have to suffer a pregnancy.

  34. Nolabelfits

    I’ll you what hurt more than pushing a baby out of my twat. As a result of it I lost my job, and my husband GOT A RAISE. Now THAT hurt like hell.

  35. tinfoil hattie

    I’ll you what hurt more than pushing a baby out of my twat. As a result of it I lost my job, and my husband GOT A RAISE. Now THAT hurt like hell.

    – snort –

    I hear you. I am someone who enjoyed pregnancy (except for the nausea & vomiting) and childbirth also. Not every pregnancy and childbirth is hellish, and I fail to see how NOT having a horrible maternity experience de facto invalidates the experience of women who have had such. That we’re even arguing over whether it’s okay to have a good maternity experience and discuss it on a feminist website is something for which IBTP.

    But I digress. I am SO tired of the whole “Abortion is so bad, and we know you gals wouldn’t do it if you didn’t have to, but we’ll let you, because it helps us get off the hook too” argument being pitted against the “You gals are such sluts that can’t keep your legs closed, so if you get pregnant you DESERVE it, and we menz will help you see the immorality of your ways” argument, which are two sides of the Men Controlling Women’s Bodies coin.

  36. Anna Belle

    I loved being pregnant, nolabel, and I recognized the patriarchal interference in one of the few solely female activities on this planet was a real problem. This awareness and commitment to do it different is probably why I had a good experience. Well, that and the gads of women helping me out. I never felt a stronger sisterly connection to women than during those 9 months.

  37. Sniff

    Thanks, thebewilderness, s’precicely (and far more succinctly) what I was trying to get at with the first half of my comment.

  38. Claire (CJ)

    Well, pregnancy sucked for me.

    Couldn’t keep even water down for the first 4 months. Violent flu-like sickness for 4 FUCKING MONTHS. Not fun. Couldn’t sleep or rest or be at all comfortable during that time, either.

    The 4-7 month period was okay, except for the crippling exhaustion.

    8th and 9th month? Forget it. I was in so much pain from gaining so much weight (4 months of starvation would cause you to overeat once you were able, too), and from being so huge, that I could barely walk. Couldn’t sleep either.

    Labor was the most painful and excruciating experience of my life. I was completely traumatized by it. I did all kinds of research, and was going to have the baby at home (without a midwife, even). Transition kicked my ass (though I didn’t end up getting any pain medication, which is the whole reason I went…refusing an epidural/other interventions pissed the nurses off so bad that they refused to give me a pill. Nice).

    My kid’s great and all, but due to the above, and the fact that working life sucks EVEN MORE in a female-parent-unfriendly world and aggravated second shift shit, I won’t be experience the ‘joy’ of another pregnancy. Honestly, most days I’d rather die. I have no idea how women with more than one child manage. None.

    Anyway, men like abortion when it suits them/is to their advantage, and not when it doesn’t. Easy as patriarchal pie.

    For which I blame the Pie-Making Patriarchy.

    CJ.

  39. Claire (CJ)

    That would be ‘experiencing the joy of another pregnancy’.

    Sorry.

  40. Kristin

    I expect that if pregnancy were ACTUALLY regarded as the incredibly important and demanding job that it is, and ACTUALLY supported instead of being given cutesy patriarchal lip service to, it would be unpleasant for way fewer women.

    Pregnant women *should* be able to lie down and nap or take the load off their feet whenever they feel like it. They *should* be able to get massages and other supportive, therapeutic touch, they *should* be free of the stress of trying to keep a job or making ends meet or finding healthcare or childcare, they *should* have a wide choice of medications that are thoroughly tested to be safe for pregnancy and access to delicious nutritious food and forms of movement that make them feel good. They *should* be encouraged to birth how, where and when they feel most comfortable down to the last fucking detail, free from lies and unnecessary fear, and they *should* be free from worry about how their pregnancy, motherhood, physical changes and all that changes their status in the patriarchy.

    That they are not, that they have to labor under myriad large and small burdens in addition to, you know, growing another fucking human being with their own bodies, makes pregnancy a huge pain in the ass even for those of us who really enjoyed being pregnant and had a largely pleasant experience free of major discomfort.

    It’s not that being pregnant and giving birth are in themselves horrible, degrading or a torment. It’s that having to do those things in a world that doesn’t accommodate them is guaranteed to be a negative experience on some level.

  41. Nolabelfits

    Kristin,

    Well said. I’m don’t claim to be the most articulate person out there, so I appreciate those who are. My whole point, which I apparently failed to make, is that Patriarchy, and the whole male dominated medical profession, has hijacked the entire process jof pregnancy, labor and delivery, and much of the pain (but not all) experienced in labor and delivery are the result of medical procedures that complicate rather than assist a pregnancy. Excessive tearing of the vagina, for example, is usually a result of some method of expediency, either by forcing labor using drugs like pitocin, or not having sufficient massaging of the perineum (which midwives do but OB’s don’t.) If the Patriarchy did not control the whole damn process from conception to delivery, horrible pain would likely be the exception, rather than the rule. I never said it was easy, hell I pushed out a nine and half pounder, and it was hard fucking work.

  42. Anna Belle

    Claire, thanks for sharing your experience. I think the whole myriad of experiences needs to be openly aired. Anything to do with human reproduction is still so private, or medicalized when it’s made public, that I think genuine stories from real women are some of the most informative avenues we have when it comes to discussing the topic and engaging in generational transfers of knowledge.

    I do realize I was very lucky in that I never had a day of morning sickness. I can’t imagine what that’s like for women who do, and a number of my friends have expressed feeling flu-like symptoms for months, which has got to wear on a body and mind.

    We do have a great tool for personal birth narratives and re-framing pregnancy: Our Bodies, Ourselves. They update it every few years. I found my first copy in a library at the tender age of 13, and bought my daughter her first copy at the tenderer age of 8.

    Sorry for the hijack.

  43. denelian

    Nolabelfits

    i am probably a day or so late, but i hope that you are still watching this thread.

    because yes, i DID take your post wrong. for which i VERY much appologize – i keep getting these lectures from the older women in my family about how “pregnancy is wonderful – it’s totally worth the 80% risk of you dying just to experience it!”.

    which is my fault, for running with my first reaction, and not your fault, for posting how you feel. i AM very sorry.

  44. Amy

    I love you, Twisty

  45. ivyleaves

    Just now coming back here, and want to say that I did NOT have a “horrible” pregnancy, in my estimation. I had a bit of “afternoon” sickness. I did have near constant indigestion, which has really not gone away since (my son is 18). I felt like hell when I was near to giving birth because of the physical facts of being full of baby. I don’t consider any of these things to be noteworthy in the context of being pregnant. That doesn’t make them wonderful and they are more or less painful based upon our expectations – as exemplified by this statement by tinfoil hattie: “I am someone who enjoyed pregnancy (except for the nausea & vomiting) and childbirth also.” – now that is humor.

    As far as interventions – I had none during the pregnancy, by choice. I gave birth exactly on schedule 2 days after I turned 40. I refused amniocentesis to determine birth defects because I knew I would not abort at 4 months no matter the results. That was a personal choice that every woman has the right to make. I took birthing classes with my partner given by a nice puppies and rainbows birthing enthusiast like yourself.

    The labor was extremely painful – just like most of my periods only more so. And when I said painful AFTER, I mean after the birth I was still in pain from contractions, even when given a high dose of morphine. BTW, this was a cesarean birth, but the pain was internal cramping, not the surgery part. Demerol later on controlled it very well, thank you. I had the surgery after lack of progress for hours due to the extremely large head of my son and his birth position. I believe the fact that about 20 women gave birth that night resulted in so little intervention that he would have been (painfully) repositioned to allow a vaginal birth had conditions been more optimal at the time. No one WANTED to give me a cesarean because they were too busy. None of this negates the negative aspects of childbirthing as it exists in hospitals today, nor does it point to the likelihood of a positive experience precisely because this state will be the one most will encounter! My point being, exactly as so ably detailed by denelian, that the rainbows and puppies only apply to the few or the brainwashed, and you can’t know in advance. (Kidding about the brainwashing, but that feels like your main input here, nolabel)

    To add another perspective, I have a friend who gave birth shortly after me, and at the same general age. She does bodywork, her husband is a homeopathic practitioner. They planned the perfect birth as well. Due to a horrible accident with the umbilical cord, their son has mild cerebral palsy from lack of oxygen. I reiterate, you just don’t know what you are going to get, and perfection is rare.

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