Saturday, July 11, 2009

"I pledge allegiance to my uterus..."

"I pledge allegiance
to my uterus,
my sexual reproductive system,
and the rights it demands.
My body,
governed by ME,
with liberty and justice
for all women."

Friday, July 10, 2009

#4: "I haz had a nu kitteh!!!1!!1!"

For almost a week, we had a nu kitteh. Her name was Cha-Cha DiGregorio.

She showed up around midnight on a Tuesday. There was meowing outside our front door, and while it didn't sound like any of my babies, I figured I have so many I might be forgetting what they sound like.

And there she was. All tiny and cute.

I tried to pick her up, and discovered she had mommy boobies, which was cause for alarm. We looked for her babies, but she was not interested in finding them, so we didn't get very far. We fed her, because she was really skinny and if she really was a mommy kitty, then she really needed some nutrition.

We tried taking her to the cat hospital around the corner, but they were full. We put up signs and called other shelters, but pretty much everyone was full.

Slowly we introduced her to the rest of the family. Because even though she was a teen mother, she deserved a home.

Indy could not have cared less. I think when we brought Gus that was it for him. We've done our worst, we can't hurt him any more.

Princess and Happy didn't care much for her. But they've always been pretty standoffish. (We never should have let them watch Mean Girls. I think it gave them ideas.)

Gus was not sure about this whole thing, but two days later he had a new wrestling buddy, which worked out great for Princess and Happy because he was no longer attacking them.

Freddy was not too keen on the idea of taking in YET ANOTHER cat, but he finally gave in. And we made an appointment to get Cha-Cha fixed and make sure she had all her shots. We had even bought her a collar.

The morning before she was supposed to go to the vet, she decided to disappear. And we haven't seen her since.

So, I had a nu kitteh. Now she's gone. (And Gus is back to tormenting the girls.)

Hopefully her other owners found her and took her back. Which is what I like to tell myself.

Gus is taking it in stride, but I know he misses his new girlfriend. After all, she was the best dancer at Saint Bernadette's. Wouldn't you miss her, if you were him?

#5: "I haz a nu PHONE!!!1!!1!"

I'm blogging from my BlackBerry, because I can!
Since the new job will involve driving to other campuses, I felt justified in upgrading to this phone because it includes GPS navigation. But the real reason is that I can now Twitter and Facebook anytime, anywhere!

Thursday, July 09, 2009

The difference between a miscarriage and an abortion

Thanks to a discussion with my uncle on Facebook, I realized I never wrote this post when I was doing my month of reproductive-rights posts. So here it is.

When I was student teaching, the kids were working on biographies of different Hispanic figures. One group was researching Frida Kahlo, and they asked me what the Spanish word for "miscarriage" was. I looked it up, and the dictionary just said "aborto" which, as you can tell, is the word for "abortion." I looked in several other dictionaries, but there was no separate word in Spanish for "miscarriage," which infuriated me.

I know technically, medically speaking, "abortion" refers to "a termination of pregnancy" and that a miscarriage is the termination of a pregnancy, but word have meaning and they have context. A miscarriage is a spontaneous abortion: it happens naturally, without the woman knowing or wishing it. When we speak of "an abortion" we refer to the choice a woman makes to terminate the pregnancy. There should be a separate word in Spanish to show the difference between these two events, because they are entirely different.

Speeding is speeding, right? But don't you agree there is a HUGE difference between someone going 2 miles over the speed limit in a residential area and someone going 20 miles over the speed limit in that same residential area? One is a slip of the foot that will not have any serious effects on your reaction time if you need to stop, the other is a blatant disregard for laws and the safety of the children in that neighborhood.

A miscarriage happens to a woman who has already decided she wants to have that child. To her, it is a child, because she wants it. To her, that is a life, that is her child. To that woman, and to her family, that loss is as great as if that child had already fully formed and come out of the womb.

An abortion is something a woman goes through voluntarily. Not always because she wants to, but she does make the choice to do it and she knows why she's making that choice. It may not be the way she wanted things to be, but it's the best option of the ones offered to her. Most of the time that woman does not consider that fetus inside of her to be a life. She does not want the child, for many reasons and almost never simple ones.

There are times a woman who very much wanted that child must have an abortion, but she still chooses to go through the procedure, because of medical reasons (the details of which I won't go into because I'm not a medical doctor and I won't pretend to talk about things I know nothing about, and I know the list of possible medical complications, for the mother and the fetus, is long). She then makes the choice knowing this is the best thing she can do for her potential child. While I have no personal experience with this myself, this woman does [EDIT: another eloquent post on late-term abortion and what it means]. I think she they says it pretty well. Clicking around a little, I found this post by a woman who does happen to be a medical doctor. If you want to go into the gory details of how pregnancy can kill you, read her post.

But back to my point: when a woman suffers a miscarriage, she has a completely different experience than a woman who chooses to have an abortion. There is no way you can compare the two.

A woman who suffers a miscarriage was pregnant with a wanted child. This is the opposite situation of a woman facing an unwanted pregnancy.

When a woman miscarries, she is a victim of her body. She suffers physical pain as her body bleeds the fetus out of it, and she suffers emotional pain as she mourns the loss of that wanted child. That fetus was a child to her, it was her son or daughter, because she wanted it to be.

When a woman has an abortion, she is taking control of her life. She is taking control of her body, either to terminate an unwanted pregnancy -- a fetus, not a child to her -- or to do what's best for that would-be potential child, because her doctor has informed her the child would not survive anyway.

When you miscarry, you are a victim. Something bad and painful has happened to you.

When you have an abortion, you are acting. You are taking control of your body and your life.

Abortion is a choice. The word itself grants empowerment. This is one of the reasons why we use that word to describe our movement; women are taking control, making their own choices, instead of doing what someone else expects us to do.

You cannot compare a miscarriage to an abortion because of how they happen: you are helpless when a miscarriage decides to happen to you; you are in control of the abortion.

A woman who has had a miscarriage has had something taken from her; a woman who has had an abortion has not lost anything because either she didn't want it to begin with, or she knew she wasn't going to be able to keep it (because of medical complications).

This is why the emotional responses to a miscarriage and to an abortion are also completely different. You cannot compare them.

Now, sadly, there are some women who are pressured, coerced, or forced into having an abortion (by a boyfriend who doesn't want a kid, by parents who don't want the scandal, by the abusive step-father/uncle/teacher who raped her and doesn't want to go to jail, etc.). These women are not making the choice on their own, they are being forced to make the choice by someone else.

These women do suffer a loss. They have control taken from them, and are forced to do something they do not want to do, even if at the time the person forcing her is sweet-talking his way into making her feel that this is what she wants to do. (If you have never been on the receiving end of an abusive relationship, then maybe you don't understand what I'm talking about, but that it hasn't happened to you doesn't mean it doesn't happen.)

These women have an entirely different experience than the woman who miscarries or the woman who chooses an abortion. A woman forced into having an abortion suffers the loss, and feel the guilt, since "she did it" -- even though the didn't, because she was manipulated and forced into making the choice.

When a woman is forced to have sex, we don't call it sex anymore. We call it rape. It becomes something different.

Let's realize that the vast majority of women who have abortions thought their decision through and they suffer no "emotional scarring." Some women are scared, pressured, coerced, or forced into making a decision without thinking it through, and/or without being able to have a frank, honest conversation with someone who knows what she's talking about on this issue. Because the topic is so polarized, because supporting a woman's right to choose is so "taboo," because the issue is clouded by rhetoric and propaganda and the yelling of people who have no business talking about this because they will never, ever have to face the decision themselves, women who need more counseling, women who need a forum where they can talk openly about their unintended and maybe unwanted pregnancy don't really have anywhere to go.

If we were really concerned about these women and their emotional wellbeing, we'd cut all the crap and let doctors, nurses, and trained professionals talk to these women. We'd stop feeding them lies and rhetoric and propaganda, and we'd give them a chance to have open, honest, candid, and medically-accurate discourse on the issue.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

#3: "I haz a nu JOB!!!1!!1!"

It feels silly to write about it now. I was offered the job about two weeks ago, then had to wait from a Wednesday to a Monday for the background check to clear to make it 100% official (because I'm paranoid and supersticious). I didn't want to tell people until the background check came through, so when I was all excited with the new-ness of the news I kept it quiet, then when it was 100% official it was kind of old news to me... And I don't start work until August 1st, so really not much has changed in my day-to-day life since I was unemployed.

Except I'm NOT! I have rejoined the ranks of the employed. I am once again a productive member of society.

I'll be working with one of the Dallas County Community Colleges, not teaching but rather coordinating tutors for a high-school outreach program. Should be fun. I'm looking forward to it.

Freddy is very excited as well. He was very supportive of my leaving my old job because I was unhappy there, but while he supported my decision he also was not too excited about suddenly no longer having my income. I get teacher pay through August, so it'll be nice to get two paychecks that month! (Don't worry, we'll be responsible. The extra money is going to our emergency fund.)

Since I haven't started work (and won't for another month), I can't tell you much else about it. But I'm sure I will in the future.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

#2: "I haz a nu BATHROOMS!!!1!!1!!"

The bathrooms needed new floors as well, since the workers had to jackhammer through the old floors to fix the leak. I had no objection, since the old floors were stick-on tile, which is quite gauche.

The old bathrooms also had butt-fugly wallpaper, which was also damaged from the water leakage. Alas, it had to go.

As did the vanity. I was not overly fond of it, either.

So now the guest bathroom has non-stick-on floors (still not real tile, but much nicer than the old stuff), a pretty, new vanity, and pretty, pretty purple walls. (I still need to paint the medicine cabinet, which is why the door is off and randomly sitting on the floor, but ignore that for now.)

The "master" bathroom has the same floors (both bathrooms are connected), but a lighter shade of purple on the walls.

And isn't that the most loveliest shower curtain you have ever seen?

Yes, it is.