Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Red Flags

My friend who was in the hospital for two weeks, and in intensive care for several days, is headed home today. She is okay – for now. But end-of-life planning is in the works. She is not quite fifty years old. Too young.

Another young woman I know is raising one child rather than the five she always dreamed of. She had her tubes tied because her much-older husband wants no more children, and she believes, religiously, that he - as the man, the head of the household - knows best. When I met her she was clearly depressed, but trying to convince herself otherwise. Because of recent health issues, she has had a hysterectomy. She is twenty-seven.

"But what if something happens to him and she remarries?" J~ wondered, when I told him this story. "Why couldn't he have had a vasectomy?"

What does it say about me that I didn't think of that, such a basic and better alternative?

Which reminds me, conversely, of the abortion client I had who was surprised to learn that she didn't need her husband's permission to get her tubes tied.

It is interesting to realize that reproductive choice, as a feminist issue, isn't just about choosing NOT to have kids.

Today on NPR, thanks to the break-out success of the movie Juno, Talk of the Nation is doing a show (right now, as I write this post) on abortion. An old woman is speaking about her abortions and subsequent miscarriages. I am glad to hear her. "There is no public grief..." she says, "and I think that's where the problem is." Another speaker talked about how striking it was that people in her life had very strong opinions on her very personal choice...

Speaking of strong opinions: since I am waiting on the verdict about whether or not I will be accepted to graduate school, I've been censoring myself on this blog - temporarily - for fear that any one's strong opinions about my present-day very personal choices might color an admissions decision. It's not that I have anything to hide. There is nothing to suggest I wouldn't make an excellent and committed student. But I wouldn't want to raise any red flags.

Wouldn't it be nice to live in a culture, in a world, that honored women for grappling with reproductive choice and challenge, without ever supposing to know what's best for anyone other than oneself?


Sam said...

I recently saw Juno, and although I enjoyed it very much there were parts that outraged me from the point of view of a birth mother. I need to get off my butt and post about I suppose.

Tiff said...

I heard the NRP show too. It is good to hear actual 'discussions' on the topic..and not just arguing.
Thanks for this post.

Amanda said...

Didn't hear the NPR story...

But, I have very personal opinions on this. Having gone through 4 births, 3 miscarriages and 1 abortion. I am now active with our local crisis pregnancy center. If I can help one woman not experience the emotional post traumatic stress I experienced, I am willing to try.

Interesting, how a woman doesn't need a husband's permission for a tubal, but I had to sign a consent form for my hubby to have a vasectomy. Even after 4 children and 10 years together.