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My Three Secrets: Secret # 3

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By now you’re in on two of my most important strategies for navigating the choppy waters of motherhood and careerhood (Secrets #1 and #2 in previous posts). And both of them have to do with clothing—one is about keeping yours career-ready longer, and the other is seeing dirty family laundry as friend-not-foe, as a fount of problem-solving resources, rather than a drain on your spiritual resources.  But woman cannot live by used and re-used laundry alone, oh no.  She must also have food—and not just for spilling on that laundry, but also for feeding herself.  And her family if she must.  My focus here is on the bane of my existence—dinner.  Dealing with dinner is probably the only part of my life that I hate.  Even with my partner sharing responsibility for it, I hate even the discussion of it, especially when said discussion is located late in the day.  What I want to do when I get home is sit.  Sit and sit and sit.  But the only way to get a meal that way is in the drive-through.  And you know? drive through doesn’t do it for me like it used to.  I’m just not feelin’ it at the end of the day.  Now, in fairness, I must say that I do sit and sit and sit, plenty of times, eating the food my partner has prepared for me, so let’s get that out there.  But dude is a late-night kind of guy, and dinner comes later for those breeds than it needs to come for me and plus, as I’ve mentioned in previous posts, dude is not a vegetable-cooking type guy, unless by vegetable you mean baked potato.  Or maybe mashed. (Bob Evans’ pre-packaged specifically, which, I must say, are awesome as mashed spuds go; you don’t even need gravy with these things because they’re magical).

But I can’t seem to shake the desire for food more like my mom made.  I’m pretty much a carnivore, and my preference is meat and veggies in some combination and, ideally, a salad.  Now, I’ve pretended to be vegetarian at various times in my life, and I grew up in a family of six that stretched a dollar so thin you could barely recognize it as currency, so I’m no stranger to meatless meals.  Plus, I do love vegetation in all its beautiful and varied and delicious forms.  Why, I just made a toasted cumin chili with acorn squash recently and it was heaven (though I forgot to toast the cumin seeds and had to use ground cumin; a substandard substitute to be sure).  But mostly it’s meat for me.  And this is especially convenient for when I’m pretending to eat low-carb food, if by low-carb you mean no croutons please and splitting in half each piece of bread that I dip in herb-and-garlic olive oil, and then eating both halves.  And the other desire I can’t seem to shake is the one for smelling food cooking in my house.  It warms me.  It soothes me.  Makes me feel cared-for.

I reconcile these desires with my fatigue at the end of my work day using Secret #3:  the slow cooker.  The slow cooker emerged on the pop domestic food scene in the seventies and fell out of fashion for a bit—don’t know why, really, except maybe that it cooked foods absolutely to death, potentially depleting them of all nutritional value I suppose, but whatever.  The slow cooker is back though, and awesome.  You can go from super-simple, 4-ingredient, most-from-a-can recipes, to ones that call for one chili pepper in adobo sauce, or fresh ginger root, or toasted cumin seeds.  And you’ll likely make the decision about how sexy you want your recipe to be based on how much time you have in the morning to muster it up.  Anyway, any fond feelings I may have about dinnertime are absolutely contingent on whether or not I’ve got something in the ‘crockpot’ while I’m at work.  I do love coming home to the smell of supper.  And other than a salad sometimes, I rarely offer up anything on the side; just the crockpot fare—usually meat and veggies, soup, stew, or beans.  We come home, we dish up our plates, and we sit and sit and sit for a while.  The slow cooker changed my life, I swear.  I do have to get rolling a little earlier in the morning, but comparing standing in the kitchen, mixing and chopping things in the morning, to doing the same thing at the end of the day when everyone else in the house is tired and…uninteresting…well there IS no comparison.  It’s doable early and hell later and that’s the long and short of it.   When I know during the day that food is cooking for me, I feel like my morning self is caring for my evening self and I do appreciate her!  Now, all this appreciation depends on whether she remembered to turn the thing on, which, often enough, alas, she doesn’t.  BUT.  When she does.  YUM.   When my partner asked me why I put all that effort into hectic mornings when people would be just as happy with something more haphazardly assembled by either of us at the end of the day, I told him because I like it.  I do it for me

 

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My Three Secrets: Secret #2

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I have these 3 secrets to surviving the unholy mix of professional career and motherhood.  Last week I shared with you #1:  the cost efficient, energy saving, and environmentally sound spray bottle.  Don’t laugh—it saved my hide and my dignity many times, not to mention all that water I was wasting from laundering my clothes to death.  But secret #2 is equally invaluable, and equally economical, so let’s go there.

Ok. #2 secret is underwear.  Lots and lots of underwear.  Everybody in the house has scads of underwear.  If you have a drawer in everyone’s bedroom committed to their own underwear, and if that drawer on those very rare  days—the ones that come right after laundry days when everything’s still clean—if those drawers are so full of underwear on those rare days that you can barely close them, then I’d say you’re doing it right.  Now, I realize that means a financial investment up front.  I know that if you have felt, so far, like you and/or your family members have sufficient underwear, this seems like an unnecessary expenditure, but I submit that it’s necessary all right.  Absolutely positively necessary, because it alone may be the thing that keeps you from going completely nuts.  The return on this investment is so bountiful that you may have a hard time believing you didn’t convert before now.  A virtual cornucopia of benefits.  Including clothing that lasts way longer because it hasn’t been washed and dried to within an inch of its life.  The underwear secret is based on the premise that the only thing you really really need to have clean is underwear.  Now, if you buy into the premise that even that doesn’t have to be clean necessarily, then you’re a braver woman than I.  For me though, clean underwear is good and true and zen, and everybody in the house should have access to this tool for creating order out of the chaos of their lives, their bedrooms, their bathrooms, their schedules, their stinky laundry piles.

The thing is, you can drag dirty clothes out of the laundry, put on your cleanest dirty shirt or pants and go on your way. Especially if you employ secret #1 (see last week’s post).  You can find the clean and suitable in what was once a hampered castoff.  Maybe that stain isn’t a “stain” afterall…maybe a wet sponge, maybe the scratchy side of that sponge will get that shmutz (sp?) off there and you’re good to go.  Besides if you lower the lights and squint your eyes just so….  Plus we all know the same pair of jeans can be revived from the hamper or the bedroom corner untold numbers of times, and that, my friends, is why jeans are awesome.  But underwear, well, underwear’s a different story altogether.  What goes in the hamper stays in the hamper on that one, am I right?  At least until somebody can transport it, quickly and without thinking about it too much, to the washer.  But if everybody has gobs of underwear, you hardly have to do laundry at all.  Ever!  Certainly you can make it till Tuesday, anyway. That’s the day I do the stuff that, on Friday, I thought I had “all weekend” to do, then about 10 minutes later it’s Sunday night and no one has any clean laundry (or groceries, or completed homework, or a decent-looking lawn—nobody that is except the bodies that live next door or across the street) and so here we go on Monday in about as bad a shape as we were in on Friday.  But in my book that’s what Tuesdays are for and besides, if we’re all in clean underwear, how can the other stuff possibly matter?  Not much, as it turns out.  Now of course this secret won’t be useful for babies, who don’t wear underwear, or for mothers of tiny babies, who wear spitup (which must be washed out if anyone is ever going to voluntarily sit next to you again) but pretty much everybody else is golden when choosey parents choose a repository of underwear and release themselves from the chokehold of laundry.  So next time there’s a good sale on undies, do everyone in your house, and especially yourself if you’re the laundry doer, a big fat favor and buy up, stock up, and be free.

Next week:  Secret 3

 

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My Three Secrets: Secret #1

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I have three secrets to surviving full time motherhood and full time employment combined.  These secrets will be especially useful in an era that has moved beyond the 40 hour work week.  And that would be, of course, the era we’re in.  The “full time week” doesn’t mean what it used to; I would love to have a career in which “8-to-5” means something.  In which “lunch break” means something.  In which “home” means something…like something different from “work,” for starters.  But all that changed with internet and cell phones and email.  “Telecommuting” is something that few people use as a term but gobs of people use as a mode for living, or should I say gobs of companies use as a source for revenue, since they count on their employees doing email work from home, logging into the company’s system to check on things, trying to get a jump on tomorrow, except of course they don’t get a jump on it because tomorrow brings with it a whole slew of other emails and virtual world issues that have to be jumped into, not to mention all the live, tangible world issues cropping up through the workday.  All of this betraying our belief in some fictional boundary that ostensibly separates “home” from “work.”

Balance shmalance I say. She’s a clever one, that.  Ever elusive, ever out of reach, ever taunting me when I think I see her peeking out of the window dressings of other people’s lives.  I can’t say I’ve ever “found” balance; she’s a slithery one, she is.  And all of this points to an urgent need for survival secrets.  So I’m here offering mine:

Spray bottle, underwear, and crockpot.

Those are my secrets.  Those are what keep me from falling over the edge (or jumping off it).  Let me briefly elaborate on one.

First, the spray bottle.  I am expected to dress nice for work, professional even.  And though I never quite pull off the latter, I do accomplish the former and this is largely b/c of my spray bottle.  This miracle of not-very-modern science has rocked my world.  I have one hanging up and easily accessible in my closet and one likewise in my bathroom.  I take one with me every time I travel.  This marvel eliminates the need for ironing my clothes and at the risk of sounding like I would in billion years iron anything I wear anyway, I should say too that it has revived many a crumpled clothing item under my bed or under the shoes and bags that cover my closet floor.   I’ve even revived items that made it to the laundry basket and given them one more go round before finally succumbing to having my husband wash them.  His laundry skills have improved significantly and my micromanagement skills have decreased significantly, two feats which, when combined, makes for more time for other stuff, at least for me.  So to maximize the benefit of secret #1, all you have to do is decide the night before what you’re wearing, pull it from under your bed (or wherever you keep your nice clothes), hang it up and douse it with water spray.  By morning it looks nearly ironed and sometimes even nearly clean, which is close enough for me.  Now every once in a while an item is made of a fabric that requires more drastic measures.  Those I put back under my bed.  The spray bottle revives soccer uniforms that we forgot to wash but are nearly clean enough for one more go; it revives cleaned and dried clothes that sat in the dryer since two weekends ago, and permanent press that went through the ringer with the towels.  It also gets the pointy shoulders out of shirts that have been hanging since last season, or the crease in pants across the back of our knees that comes from the pants hanger, which you don’t see till you’re walking out of the bathroom and look back for a once-over but no worries—this can be doused as you’re leaving the house and it’ll be nearly dry by the time you get to work.  Listen, my toddlers hated being wet on the way to school, but they’ve adjusted.  And you can too.

Next week:  Secret 2


 

 
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Posted by on April 5, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

In Memory of Adrienne Rich

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Today I am going to do no justice to the person I seek to honor.  She was too significant, too brilliant, to courageous for me to adequately represent her contribution in a simple blog post.  But mother studies icon, major intellectual force, and “pioneering feminist poet” Adrienne Rich died this week at 82 years old, and I am compelled to pay tribute.  I focus on just a couple of her major and numerous intellectual contributions but please, take a moment to do a search about her and sit for a moment with what we have gained for her having been here and what we have lost in her passing.

There was no shortage of women who were writing works that pushed up against normative practices and thinking in the sixties and seventies.  And there was no shortage of women who were agitating against the widely accepted practices of family life that were oppressing women and constricting their opportunities beyond the home, their personal identities, and their self-expression. It was Rich, though, who wrote eloquently and at length about how mothering held the capacity for passionate connection, spiritual union, and loving tenderness, at the same time that it was generally lived out in a way that had the power to crush a woman’s soul. It was Adrienne Rich who distinguished, in her book Of Woman Born, between the institution of motherhood and the experience of mothering.  She writes of motherhood:

This institution has been a keystone of the most diverse social and political systems.  It has withheld over one-half the human species from the decisions affecting their lives; it exonerates men from fatherhood in any authentic sense; it creates the dangerous schism between “private” and “public” life; it calcifies human choices and potentialities.  (Introduction in Of Woman Born)

Taking us far beyond the simplistic point that the institution is “bad” and the experience is “good,” she worked to clarify that what many feminists and others were critiquing in the seventies was not potential maternal-child connection, union, and growth in their own right, but rather the ways in which motherhood was constructed and defined by society, and the ways in which those constructions and definitions negatively impacted not only women’s agency and freedom but also maternal-child experience. And she was not saying that mothers will by definition feel affirmed in or nourished by motherwork, but rather that mothering experience hold potential for this, especially if it were released from the constraints of the institution.  This distinction between institution and experience was important because it helped us see that women could love mothering, but hate how motherhood was defined for them; they could love their children even as they sought change in maternal life; they could acknowledge the unparalleled intimacy they felt with their children and also resent how the guts of motherwork is overshadowed by grossly misleading but beautific images of perpetual maternal bliss.  Rich was reacting to ideas of her time that motherhood either was inherently magical and lovely and the be-all end-all of womanhood (according to dominant views), or was inherently oppressive, and a trap, and devoid of opportunities for women to have meaningful lives (which some few feminists argued but which popular representations of feminism held up as at the core of feminism as a whole).  She gave voice to the tension and contradiction in maternal experience:

Throughout pregnancy and nursing, women are urged to relax, to mime the serenity of madonnas. No one mentions the psychic crisis of bearing a first child, the excitation of long-buried feelings about one’s own mother, the sense of confused power and powerlessness, of being taken over on one hand and of touching new physical and psychic potentialities on the other, a heightened sensibility which can be exhilarating, bewildering, and exhausting.  No one mentions the strangeness of attraction—which can be as single-minded and overwhelming as the early days of a love affair—to a being so tiny, so dependent, so folded-in to itself—who is, and yet is not, part of oneself  (In Of Woman Born).

Rich was an intrepid explorer who ventured into areas rarely travelled and who cut a path toward thinking about maternal life in ways that were brazen and honorable.  Mothering held potential to be a nourishing and rewarding and empowering experience, she said.  Motherhood, as it is defined socially, often is stifling, annihilating of a woman’s spirit.  But that could be changed.  And it doesn’t have to happen, she said, by women rejecting motherhood everywhere, though some women may choose that and ought be free to.  What we do have to change is what we expect from mothers, how we support mothers, who participates in the work of caring for children, what we insist children must have, how much we pony up evidence that we truly value motherwork.  What we have to change is assuming that ‘mother’ and ‘woman’ are synonyms.  What we have to change is our expectation that a mother’s emotional life is restricted to pure adoration and affection toward her children, without any frustration, any need to be alone, or any ambivalence.  Rich writes in her audacious essay, “Anger and Tenderness,” through which she shares journal entries and deep considerations about her life as a mother and writer and wife (who later left the institution of marriage) during the sixties and seventies:

I was haunted by the stereotype of the mother whose love is “unconditional”; and by the visual and literary images of motherhood as a single-minded identity.  If I knew parts of myself existed that would never cohere to those images, weren’t those parts then abnormal, monstrous?  (In Of Woman Born)

We don’t of course expect such a constricted emotional life from any other living being but we do expect if from mothers.  We don’t allow mothers the right to feel conflicted.  Adrienne Rich gave us a way to talk about that conflict, both by naming maternal ambivalence and by making clear what it is, exactly, that begs for change.  And her distinction between mothering experience and motherhood as an institution that needs radical transformation is at the core of Motherhood Studies today and forever altered how we talk about maternal life and women’s identities.

Thank you Adrienne.

 
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Posted by on March 29, 2012 in Families, Feminism, Motherhood, Parenting

 

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On the Delusion of Uniqueness

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As I get older and continue to grow up—a long process, that one—I find myself assuming less and less often that I am unique.  One of the reasons, I think, is that one of the truly lovely outcomes of getting older is that you get tired.  Now some might think this a lamentable thing but I submit that it’s one of the kindest gifts of nature.

One of my very best friends would talk with me about this mothering woe or that one and how she had to expend so much energy monitoring her child’s moves and contending with the uninvited input from others about her mothering practices.  I told her she’s just not tired enough yet, that fatigue would happily set in before long, and that she could look forward to caring a whole lot less about all those details and even having some energy left for things that rather matter. “It’ll get easier,” I would tell her.  Not because the issues get easier, actually those get more complicated, but because you get better at not caring so dang much about all of it.  What also evolves is that you get clearer on the fact that these quirks of yours, and your child’s, are the same ones surfacing in innumerable other families.  I mentioned to my daughter not long ago, when we were talking about family holiday tensions, that the very conversation we were having at that moment was the same conversation that families all over were having about the holidays, and probably even at that same moment.  It’s complicated.  Families get together and there are tensions.  We are not unique.

It takes a great deal of commitment, and so enormous amounts of energy, to maintain the position that nobody knows the trouble we’ve seen, largely because it requires blindness and deafness from sighted and hearing people.   Truth be told, plenty of people have known the trouble I’ve seen, and worse.  They know the insecurities I feel, they are as confused by their successes, as self-deprecating in their failures, as convinced that they’re the only ones in the room who don’t know what’s going on.  And they always have felt these ways.  But in my younger years I worked hard, it seems, at resisting awareness to this.  It’s exhausting, really, to maintain uniqueness; you have to work so hard to study what other people are doing so you can then work so hard at doing something different, instead of just doing what flies for you even though, through youthful eyes, you saw yourself doing the latter all along.  And it’s exhausting to maintain the self-delusion of uniqueness; you have to work so hard to ignore evidence to the contrary, to pretend that nobody travels the roads you do.  But at this point in my life I am more frugal with my energies and my assumptions.  I am able to conjure up images of other people feeling the darkness I feel.

I was asked to sit on a committee in which I am the only active faculty member and the only department chair; all others are administrative types.  I was honored but intimidated by the invitation, particularly because I it was grounded, according to the big administrator type who extended the invitation to me, in my “ability to think outside the box.” Once I got past the initial self-applause that this wording invoked, I began to reckon with the fact that the person who thinks this way is really annoying to everybody else and, given that these folks have more power than me, and probably more class for that matter, I was none too secure about my role in this group.  This was especially so given the strands of what feel to me like an administrative and staff disdain for faculty that I’m coming to see more clearly in the university setting.  What happens between faculty and their students is actually, it turns out, not at the core of university life as I’d always thought it was, and still think it ought be.  Anyway, I felt like the odd woman out on this committee, like my inability to swoon over spreadsheets would make me an outcast should the fact be revealed, like everyone else was following the indiscernible arguments being put on the table.   But as I conjured up images over the next few meetings of what I know to be true—that other people in the room felt lost, or “out of place,” or like person X should be here instead of them because that person is so much more whatever, I started to quiet my claims that I was the odd one out.

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve been able to really hear the countless times when people voice their fears to me—and lots and lots of people voice this.  All the time.  To all of us.  They’ve been saying this stuff to me my whole life, I have no doubt, but I was too immersed in my own junk to notice.    So I still have needling doubts but I catch and redirect myself more readily now when I fall into the trap of thinking that my “issues” are unique.

 

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Take Me to the River

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I am feeling regimented and controlled to within an inch of my life.  It’s coming at me from every angle and I’m feeling a distinct desire to run.  Or drive, anyway.  What I really need is a mountaintop, solitude, and a cool breeze.  Or maybe a nice sunny spot at a river.  Or…wait.  A river running through a mountain range and no one but me and a thermos of coffee.  Plus some water because coffee dehydrates.  And maybe a good work of fiction.  Hunger Games maybe, since everyone and their mother, or in my case daughter, is posting about it on Facebook or exclaiming about it on my couch.  And a notepad; I’d want a notepad in case I get inspired and about a half dozen super-sharp pencils.  And a chair.  And a blanket for when the inspiration to write gets replaced by the inspiration to nap.  OK this spot by the river in the mountains will have to be easily accessible by car since I have too much stuff to carry, but this road is really only known to me…and maybe some boy I used to date…but he moved and forgot about this place. But not me; he would have said he’d never forget me. He would be thinking of me whenever he sees forget-me-nots, and how much fun we had getting zen at this place in the mountains by the river.  Oh, and cheese.  I’d also have to have cheese with my coffee and water…no…not cheese—bread.  No.  Fruit!  Coffee, water and fruit.  There.  Plus a few pieces of dark chocolate.

Up here on this open, breezy space in the mountains with the river running past just below me, cuppa joe in my hand, I am reminded of my post from a little while ago about how you can’t step into the same river twice in family life…actually I’m trying to think of anything except how regimented I’m feeling and, since my therapist and I can’t seem to get me to meditate with any regularity, I’m having a hard time just being here, despite how beautiful and peaceful it is in this place  I made up.  What I’ve got waiting for me when I drive back down that undiscovered access road after my fruit and water and chocolate are gone are people and policies that want to control my every single move. I’ve got academic administration injecting its toxicity into the lifeblood of my teaching, insisting  that I only use certain verbs for certain classes when I plunk out my “learning outcomes” which I must articulate just so, so that we can assess, assess, assess and then document, document, document that assessment for people who haven’t been in an actual classroom  in forever, if ever, and who wouldn’t go near one now with a ten foot pole.  (I’d like to make a comment here about that pole, but I won’t.)  You may have noticed a conspicuous absence of passion or zeal for teaching or love of the subject matter in any of this stuff about learning; that’s because college pedagogy has been polluted by people who don’t really, finally, care about teaching—the heat and energy of ideas and the fire that can be ignited about movement and change—because what they are positioned to care about is documentation of teaching, which is altogether different.  And altogether extinguishing.  And also neither interesting nor fun nor liberating nor what I or my colleagues busted a hump and went into big fat debt to learn how to do.

And if I happen to have driven down from this riverside mountain place with blanket and chocolate on my secret road on a weekend when I’m not working and also miraculously managing to not even think about work, what I will reckon with instead are the ways in which the politicos and freaks are regimenting my body.  I will feel mauled by all the discussion about my uterus and my genitals and what I am permitted do with them and how the only one who doesn’t have right to access and control of me is me.  Once that beautiful and mighty river isn’t drowning out the arguments in my head about how Emma Goldman and Margaret Sanger could come back today and start their work all over again, from the beginning, using the exact same speeches and letters, because we’ve been thrown back an actual century in the fight for women’s right to personhood, I’d have to confront more blisteringly idiotic and stupefying legislation about women not being able to use birth control pills to—guess what—CONTROL BIRTHS and having to provide documentation (my favorite) that they are not using it for that purpose to their employers (HIPAA anyone?) and could risk losing their jobs if they are sexually active and want to control their fertility.  All of this reducing the very real social issue of controlling births and planning families and the very personal issue of women’s sexuality and fertility to a discussion of what one astounded blogger referred to as whore pills.

So I am feeling regimented. Constricted.  Confined. Bound.  And I need to go for a very serious and very unaccompanied drive to a very open and airy and breezy and sunny and rivery and mountainy place where people have gotten up out of my business.

*Image provided by DreamsTime

 

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Reproductive Wrongs

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I’ve been thinking about reproductive rights of late.  This is neither surprising, nor exclusive to me, given the full-scale attack on them in political arenas.  One of these days, I’m going to stop being stunned by the ways in which women’s bodies are held to standards of scrutiny, and surveillance, and regulation that men’s bodies are not.   I am.  One of these days, my jaw will not drop when I hear about legislation like the fetal ultrasound bill.  I’m not going to keep being astounded by inane arguments  proliferating, most often among the extreme right, like that of the loosest cannon I’ve seen in a long time, Rick Santorum, who argued recently—and it’s hard to pick which of his inane “arguments” to highlight here because gosh, there are so many—that single mothers are “‘breeding’ criminals.”  Hell, while I’m at it, I may even consider not being shocked when those  laundry tags sewn into the waists and collars of clothing say , “Give it to your woman.  It’s her job,” as in this case reported by NPR yesterday.

Who would have guessed in 1973, or in 1983, or 1993 for that matter, that the right for mothers to make decisions about how to best care for their families and themselves that was ensured by Roe v. Wade would actually be in danger. I still can’t grasp it even as I write it.  I know there have been lots of discussions and concerns about this possibility that became particularly concentrated in the last decade, but honestly, I didn’t get pulled into those worries much because I could not fathom that my daughter and son would be living in a world where these rights were revoked.  I just really couldn’t believe it.  Wouldn’t allow myself to believe it.  But fetal ultrasound bills couched in terms like “women’s right to know” are not only  a veneer for the more insidious goals of shaming women and disempowering them in family care, they also completely dismiss a woman’s complex process that already has preceded the decision to end a pregnancy.   I submit here that women seeking abortions are quite aware of what it is they are doing, intellectually and emotionally.  By the time they arrive at the physician’s office for the procedure, they may have gotten to a comfortable place about it or they may be unsettled by the position they are in, but they haven’t not thought about it; they haven’t not gathered information already.   I wonder why a man who is having a vasectomy isn’t required to watch videos of lovely children laughing and playing, of men holding babies they coo over, as a way of coercing him to not take control of his reproductive life.   Goose and gander and all that.

I find quizzical that this concern for a “woman’s right to know” enters into public dialogue at the point of pregnancy, and at this point in pregnancy more particularly, while no such arguments about women’s rights to information and knowledge surface from politicos in discussions of other issues, like sex education, for example, or broader educational access.  The “right to know” argument would be easier to buy if the people slinging the phrase in political arenas and marching behind it in their communities had any record whatsoever of commitment to women’s right to knowledge.  But they do not.

Do those who support mandatory pre-abortion ultrasounds also expect that women who change their minds on the ultrasound table will then be given an equally clear picture of how little they will be supported in the raising of the child, either by those politicians or those marching communities?  I’m not talking about baby clothes and diapers here, which help through about the first five minutes of motherhood.  I’m talking about the two decades of support that a mother will need to bring a child to adulthood.  Will they detail what those two decades will look like?  Doesn’t she have a “right to know” this?  Will they clarify that it won’t be long before both she and her child fade from the memories of those who coerced her into raising it?  That she will be blamed for all manner of consequence for her child, consequence over which she has had no control—like the state of healthcare, education, and food justice—but over which those who coerced her and forgot her had full control?  Will she be told that workplaces will likely treat her as anathema to their ideal employee profile and that her pay, sick leave, promotion opportunities, and retirement benefits will reflect that?  Will they tell her that the ultrasound is actually not remotely designed to provide rational information but rather to stir surface-level emotional guilt that is hardly the foundation for good decision-making of any kind, much less that related to raising a child?  No?  Really?  Gosh.  Shocking.

 

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