Let’s Talk About My Uterus

The Wonder Years

I mean, everyone else is talking about my uterus.  Well, not mine specifically.  But what happens inside, outside, and around the uteruses of our nation’s women is deemed so important that they get their own special laws and Supreme Court rulings!  Hooray!  Don’t you just feel like there are so many legislators and jurists out there who are super concerned for women’s health and just want to protect us from ourselves?  I sure do!

For years, Republican state governments have been trying to weasel their way around Roe v. Wade, passing laws which make it increasingly difficult for women to have access to good healthcare and safe abortions.  The vitriolic pushback that met President Obama’s Obamacare rule for birth control coverage in insurance policies was astounding.  I wasn’t aware that we had time traveled back to the 60s and 70s, when only married women with permission from their husbands could gain access to birth control.  Eventually, after hard fought legal battles, the birth control provision went into effect, (with a few notable exceptions, (I’m looking at you, religious zealots!)  Now that President-elect Trump has a Republican House and Senate, who knows what sort of laws will be passed which strip women of their autonomy? And with Trump’s potential to fill more than one vacancy in the Supreme Court, will Roe v. Wade be relegated, a Vice President-elect Mike Pence said, “…to the ash heap of history.”

I used to believe that birth control was the gateway to parenthood.  What do you call people who use birth control?  Parents!  I used to believe that abortion was the easy way out and you were being selfish after being a slutty slut.  I even had a t-shirt from the Christian bookstore that said “Endangered Species” at the top and the Earth surrounded by animals, including elephants and panda bears.  But smack dab in the middle, with the Earth as its amniotic sac, was a white fetus.  Yeah.  I was that asshole.  I calmed down significantly during college, (you know, because those ungodly liberals exposed me to dangerous things like “ideas” and “critical thinking” and “other points of view”) but I remember when I had my lightbulb moment on abortion.  It was after my rape-adjacent experience.  In the morning light, he noticed that the condom had broken.  Shit!  So not only did I get to feel gross and guilty and ashamed of allowing someone to have sex with me, even though I didn’t want it, because it didn’t seem like my consent really mattered to him anyway, but I had to worry about whether or not I’d be knocked up with this shit-for-brains’ kid.  I don’t remember why I didn’t just go get Plan B* at the Health Center.  I remember thinking, There is no way I’m going to have the rest of my life ruined because of this.  If I end up pregnant, I’ll need an abortion.  

Oh.  It hit me.  What was apparent to plenty of other people had finally broken through the life-long pro-life programming- This was my body and my decision.  Whatever I thought was best for myself and my life wasn’t anyone else’s business.  And if something like this was happening in my life and I wanted this access to abortion and proper healthcare, without interference from outside forces who know nothing about me nor my body, then who the hell was I to limit other women in their choices?  I sure as hell wasn’t going to be one of those hypocritical people who justified their own abortion, but denied that choice for someone else.

Fortunately, I did not get pregnant.  Thanks to access to good healthcare, education, and a dose of good luck, I’ve only ever been pregnant on purpose.  (Tell a non-OB doctor some time that you might be pregnant because you’re trying to get pregnant.  It will confuse the hell out of them!)  I’ve been fortunate enough to not have to make that choice.  But I’ve thought about what Mike and I would do if I were to accidentally get pregnant now.  He and I have talked about it, and the reality for us right now is that another pregnancy and baby would be a catastrophe.  Both of my pregnancies with the girls were miserable; Rachael had me barfing until I delivered her and ZoĆ« caused me to have a horrible case of PUPPPS for 20 weeks.  After experiencing pregnancy, I don’t think anyone should be forced to go through it, especially if the pregnancy is the result of sexual violence. Add that to fibromyalgia, which includes chronic fatigue as a symptom.  Now add one child with ADD and an executive functioning disorder and another with ADHD and Oppsitional Defiant Disorder.  Yeah, no.  We’re barely coping now.  So we take precautions.  I have a hormonal IUD which, not only prevents pregnancy, but also regulates a very painful uterine condition called adenomyosis.  Of course, now that I think about it, there are scientists people who feel the IUD is an abortifacient.  It’s not true, but that’s how they feel, so laws and mandates need to be changed so women don’t have access to not just medical and surgical abortions, but different forms of birth control.  But let’s not pay attention to the nitty gritty details of women’s healthcare.  That ruins all the fun, fun, fun!

Last night, I watched the most recent episode of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.  Spoilers ahead if you’re not caught up.  

Main character, Rebecca’s, paralegal and best friend, Paula, has been accepted into law school.  At the same time, she discovers that the rekindling the passion in her marriage has led to her accidental pregnancy.  Paula has a full-time career, two children who are the worst, and a husband who, (bless his heart) is trying to pick up the slack at home so she can have the baby and go to law school.  But their family just isn’t in the right place to add another child, even without law school.  So, after agonizing over the decision, Paula makes a choice.  She chooses to have an abortion, not because she’s selfish or a bad person, but because it’s the best choice for her, her family, and their future.  Given the taboo nature of the subject, I was heartened to see it talked about in this context.  

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend


We see her, after having been to the doctor, lying in bed.  She’s not a devastated mess, but you can see the sadness in her eyes.  It wasn’t a decision she wanted to make, but she made that decision with her husband and her doctor.  Thank goodness no one was standing in her way, presuming to know what was best for her.

*I did end up using Plan B twice during college.  Again, thank goodness for access to healthcare.  And, no, those don’t cause abortions either, because science. 

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Hurting Each Other

Doctor Who

I’m going to try something different.  Rather than writing a blog on how devasted I am by Donald Trump’s presidential win or a think piece on the minutiae of all of Donald Trump’s policies…. again…. that will only preach to the choir or make the other side of the debate see,  if they would just OPEN THEIR MINDS!….. Ahem…. I want to write about the arguments people are having from both sides.  I want to invite comment, dialogue, and introspection.  I want people to speak to one another, respectfully, to see if there’s any possible way we can understand one another. It’s been my experience, in conversations and fights, that we are quick to assume one another’s thought processes, beliefs, and motives.  On the one hand, supporters of Donald Trump must be racist, misogynist, xenophobic, uneducated, bigots.  On the other hand, supporters of Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders must be Godless baby killers, who think everything should be handed to them by the government, without any thought of responsibility or impunity, and cares more about the welfare of foreigners than the security and economic well-being of our own country.  The moment we begin doing this, all is lost.  We’re all guilty of it.  Yesterday, a good friend let me know that, even though my careless words weren’t directed at her, they had made her feel like I thought she was dumb and racist and even a bad parent.  

I’ve also noticed how, post-election, things seem to have been turned upside down.  For years, white, blue collar workers, especially, have been crying out that they feel ignored and their fears, invalidated.  Unemployed and underemployed, they’ve said that President Obama has done nothing for the economy.  Rather than addressing that real fear, we Godless liberals simply tried to shut them up by pointing out how much the unemployment rate has fallen.  When people complained about the cost of their Obamacare premium or how they were losing their insurance, we scoffed, assuming they were doing something wrong or that they just didn’t understand the way the system works.  Then we pointed out how it was really the fault of the greedy health insurance companies pulling out of the Obamacare system, as though pointing that out magically fixed their problem.  

Now, with Trump’s election, we’re the ones being told to calm down, in what feels like the most patronizing way possible.  Immigrants are terrified that they will be rounded up and placed in internment camps.  Muslim citizens are fearful that they will be persecuted or unlawfully deported, and wonder if they should just flee the country now.  LGBT citizens are fearful that they will lose their right to marry and federal protections from discrimination, (because Mike Pence has said those protections would be rolled back.)  Mike Pence also supports conversion therapy, (and paying for it with federal funds) something that has been found to not only not work, (nor should it have to, because there’s nothing wrong with being gay) but is extremely harmful. They also fear for their lives, as there has been a surge in LGBT hate crime, especially within the last 48 hours.  African American communities are worried by the election of the “Law and Order Candidate”.  The one who said he would bring back “stop and frisk”, the policing practice which was ruled unconstitutional for its targeting of black and brown men.  They worry that the endorsement from the KKK and David Duke’s rejoicing upon Trump’s election means even more open racism and racially-motivated hate crimes ahead.  Women are worried that their health and rights to their own bodies are in jeopardy because Trump has said that women should be punished for having abortions, he would defund Planned Parenthood, and that he would work to overturn Roe v. Wade, (which could happen as he fills Supreme Court seats.)  As the governor of Indiana, Mike Pence has signed multiple anti- women’s health and abortion rights bills into law.  If Obamacare were to somehow magically not get repealed, Pence has said that they will roll back the birth control mandate for health insurance.  Speaking of health insurance, there are plenty of people who do like Obamacare and the benefits it provides. Like the fact that you can’t be denied because of a pre-existing condition, or kicked off because you’re too sick, or can’t have lifetime monetary caps placed on your treatment. Speaking personally, as someone with a chronic illness, I now worry that insurance will stop paying for my treatment at some point. 

I list all these grievances and think, How could people think we’re all overreacting or just sore losers?  How do they not understand our fear or that we no longer feel safe in our own country?  This President-elect certainly doesn’t represent me or most people I know and our values.  We’re going to fight back and return our country to what it was….Oh.
It hits me. I finally get it.  Rightly or wrongly, this is how the people who voted for Trump have felt the past 8 years.  Obviously, I disagree and voted for Hillary, but I think I finally understand what it is we have to do in order to engage with one another productively.  We need to engage with one another on those feelings of fear and marginalization, not on tax policy, trade policy, and how to wage the war on terror. We need to acknowledge those feelings in one another and try to understand that they come from a place of honesty, without ill intention. We have to drop the facade of superiority, leave our armor on the moral high ground, and meet one another on neutral ground to listen to one another, without having the next shot already loaded in the cannon and ready to fire.  We have to explain how we feel, without insisting that the other person come around to our way of thinking.  I do not suggest that we abandon our principles and advocating for them. I do not suggest that we do not stand and defend others and ourselves against vitriol and hatred whenever it comes our way.  I do, however, insist that if we continue on our current path of discourse, we will do nothing but continue to talk past one another and hurt each other.

Doctor Who