I Am A Character In A Greek Myth

Taking care of a newborn calls to mind many a Greek or Roman mythology allusion. The number of rags and receiving blankets we tear through is obscene; the moment I put on clean sheets, and tunnel my way into clean, soft, bliss, they are christened with sprays of breast milk (my fault) or spit up (Little V’s fault). Sometimes, during a diaper change, Little V will pee and/or poo right as we are putting on the new diaper. On one particularly egregious occasion, I went through 4 diapers before I was able to finally take leave of the changing table. On another, after putting away 3 loads of laundry today, I realized another entire (almost full) load had accumulated in the meantime.

The time she spends feeding is not per se an unmanageable amount of time, but it seems that with the feeding, burping, feeding again, changing, burping again, then possibly changing again, a 40 minute process turns quickly into a two-hour ordeal. Or I finish the process, sit down for 10 minutes to start something, and it’s time to go again. I’m usually an extremely efficient person, and it’s difficult to suddenly realize 4 hours has passed, and not really be able to identify what I’ve accomplished, aside from feeding Little V. Today, I finished putting away 2 loads of laundry – by the way, I didn’t even do the laundry, my dad did – wrote a thank you note, cleaned the cat litter boxes, Googled symptoms of newborn constipation and acid reflux, and called an online boutique to bitch about the fact my order was placed 19 days ago and still has not been shipped. It’s now 1:45 p.m. Next up on the agenda include a call to lactation support, working out, and bath for baby. Let’s see how we fare.

This certainly harks back to the story of Sisyphus, who was doomed to roll a gigantic boulder up a hill, only to watch it roll back to the bottom, repeatedly, for all of eternity. My mother once told me cleaning up after us was a Sisyphean task, except she was referring to me as a teenager, not a newborn, so I guess this will continue for many years.

I also frequently describe leaving the house with a newborn (to do practically anything) as a Herculean task. Even a quick trip to the grocery store has required a concerted effort. We’ve had to learn how to make her comfortable in the car seat, time the outings when she is sleeping, and make sure there’s an exit plan in case she starts crying or gets hungry while we’re out. I like to think we’ve actually done quite well. We usually take no more than 15 minutes getting everything together on our way out, which I think is an accomplishment in and of itself. Yet, the planning and supplies that go with any outing do feel a bit daunting.

I’ve also always said that reproduction is an act of narcissism, in that people’s self-love drives them to replicate themselves. I do look at Little V sometimes and think she bears quite a bit of similarity to me as a baby. On the other hand, I saw a picture of her the other day and hoped she had not inherited my asymmetrical eyelids and that it was merely the angle of the photo.

We used to receive extra credit in Latin class for discussing daily references to Greek or Roman mythology, and I’m pretty sure this post would have pleased Ms. Altieri.

Yet, despite my complaints and ridiculous comparisons to mythology, I am incredibly grateful to be able to have a child in my particular circumstances, with the aid of a wonderful husband, parents, friends, advanced medicine, and Google.

Never Fuck Men Who Are Anti-Abortion

The Brisbane Times reports a Catholic school teacher threatened  to send an email to the staff and parents of the school at which he worked with a colleague if the colleague went through with a planned abortion. He has been charged with 3 counts of rape for threatening to release explicit videos and mar the reputation of a colleague if she refused to continue in a relationship and have sex with him. The man, who remains anonymous (but shouldn’t – the media should let us know who this vile mother fucker is) pleaded not guilty and claimed he took these measures as a “last resort” to prevent the woman from “murdering” his child.

And this is why women should never, ever, ever have sex with men who are anti-abortion.

Men who are against abortion think of women as less than human, because they value clumps of unconscious cells over the mind, desires, preferences, and bodily integrity of full-grown human women. These are the types of men who would sooner sentence 9-year-olds and 11 year-olds to a lifetime of depression, anxiety, and irreparable health consequences than permit her to abort a fetus created out of rape.

Most people do not value the preferences and needs of plants, snails, chickens, or goats, all constituting one form of biological life or another, over the lives and happiness of other people. Essentially then, men of this ilk who have sex with women are comparable to men who engage in bestiality. They have sex with creatures they perceive to be subhuman, over whom they believe they have intellectual and physical dominion, because it is more comfortable and convenient for their insecure egos. To these men, women are human-like, but are primarily vessels for propagation of a man’s DNA. Therefore, when faced with a situation in which the subhuman creature does not yield and succumb to this caveman’s expectations or desires, these primitive men may resort to threats, extortion, and/or violence to get their way in the name of “morality.”

It’s not that these men respect “life” in general. These same men are not using extortion, violence, and laws to prevent people from killing goats or pigs for food, or hunting bears and elephants for sport, all of which have more mental capacity and consciousness than many early stage fetuses. They are not bombing in vitro fertilization clinics to protest the countless fertilized eggs idly sitting around, or even being destroyed in medical laboratories.

Rather, the highly selective concern for “life” is limited to clumps of cells that reside in women’s bodies, and their insistence on using violence, force, and threats in furtherance of propagation of that “life” is limited to coercing women into spreading genes. Disingenuously, the only time such a clump of cells matters, is when the burden, inconvenience, or threat to life and limb must be borne by a human woman. This convenient concern for otherwise indistinguishable cells is without any ostensible or reasonable basis compared to concern for the lives of lions, tigers, baboons, or zygotes in petri dishes, and can only be explained by misogyny.

These men believe that just as a pig or cow on a farm has no inherent right to determine the terms or circumstances of reproduction, neither do women. It is the farmer who has the right to decide whether and when to increase the size of his stock for the good of the herd, and it is men and/or society who have the right to tell women whether and when to reproduce for the collective good of the (human) farm.

Certainly, if one does choose to have sex with such a base man of this mentality, resulting in pregnancy, abortions can be procured in secret, but why even accord such a disgusting person the privilege to begin with? There is no reason on earth to ever fuck someone who first and foremost, does not even recognize a woman’s fundamental humanity and right to self-determination.

Thus, unless one is completely comfortable with fucking a man who fucks donkeys and sheep, one should be just as uneasy as fucking a man who is against abortion. Because to that kind of man, you are the donkey.

Thoughts on Ignorance as a Cause of Post-Partum Depression

I am not a psychiatrist, a medical specialist, or even a scientist, but I have a sneaking suspicion that post-partum depression, while obviously a complex condition, is rooted at least in part in one phenomenon: distorted expectations from lack of sufficient and accurate information.

Likely owing to society’s desire to increase the population of humans, and general squeamishness and avoidance of gross subjects, most women are exposed to only a very topical and rosy view of pregnancy, birth, and motherhood throughout their lives leading up to the decision to reproduce. Everyone’s heard of “pregnancy glow.” On the other hand, things like pregnancy constipation, pregnancy constant flatulence, pregnancy insomnia, pregnancy leaking of urine, and pregnancy leaking of amniotic fluid are less frequently mentioned, if at all. After labor, everyone knows about the “bundle of joy,” but probably not the bundle of shit on the delivery table.

Unless a woman happens to keep company with a horde of brutally honest women who don’t mind sharing things like a desire to literally die during childbirth because of the horrible pain (thanks mom!); how badly their vaginas tore, got infected, then tore again; among other horrifying stories not fit for dinner conversation, a woman may find herself pregnant and learning these very real possibilities for the first time. Society wants you to think of the glow, not the farting, leaking, pain, tearing, and shitting, because if women carefully considered all these downsides, some undoubtedly would have second thoughts. It is true the more women know and contemplate the implications of these realities, the more careful they are going to be about their decision to reproduce, but this should not be a bad thing.

Again, I’m not a medical professional, but I speculate jumping into pregnancy imagining the glow and the rewards of motherhood, then being subsequently ambushed by a slew of physical ailments, followed by serious physical compromise or injury during labor, topped off with the reality of becoming responsible for a squirming, screaming, crying, shitting bundle of mess all while suffering sleep deprivation and possible problems with breastfeeding, is an easy recipe for depression.

This is exactly why all women should seek out all the relevant information, both positive and negative before deciding to have children. Having worked in the field of healthcare law for many years, I know the detailed and precise description of risks and complications, both common and rare, discussed with women before they have so much as an appendix removal, brow lift, or boob job. For almost all surgeries, no matter how minor, physicians will review risks, benefits, and alternatives, providing an overview of common complications, expected outcomes, and even some remote risks, such as death. They are required to do this for every procedure, even life-saving surgeries most people in their right mind would never refuse. The basic rationale behind this practice is that people should know what they are getting into, and that includes not only common and expected risks and outcomes, but at least an idea of remote and unlikely complications as well.

Yet, as it relates to reproduction, a completely elective choice in this day and age, women hear merely about “pregnancy glow,” “bundle of joy,” and perhaps vague references to fatigue and morning sickness before committing to something of significant medical, physical, and emotional impact not only for the next 9 months, but indeed, possibly for the next 18 years. With this in mind, it’s actually amazing more women do not suffer post-partum depression.

Of course, while society has a tendency to give women inaccurate impressions, women need to take responsibility for their own decisions. I doubt many women look into the full panoply of risks, complications, and outcomes associated with pregnancy, labor, and the post-partum period in great detail before deciding to become pregnant; I know I didn’t, and I am actually someone who really took my sweet time deciding to have children at all. I had cataloged in the back of my mind a collection of horror stories from honest women over the years, and went into this with an understanding of a lot of worst case scenarios, because that’s my personality. I figured if I could accept the possibility of these worst case scenarios, then I would not have any regrets, but as far as being actually informed, this is totally not sufficient, and I met with plenty of surprises upon finding myself pregnant.

As with most things in life, preparation is key, and I surmise the more women know, the more they can do to prepare emotionally and physically, and the less shock and disappointment they will experience, which in turn would reduce the likelihood of post-partum depression.

Dumbest Reasons Not To Use Birth Control

Birth Control, whether in pill form or otherwise, isn’t for everyone. That being said, there are logical reasons to avoid using any kind of birth control, such as actually wanting to get pregnant, or a religious affirmation of celibacy. There are also logical reasons for wanting to avoid certain types of birth control, such as health concerns, interactions with other medications, side effects, etc. And then there are reasons that make no sense. BuzzFeed recently featured a post called “We Asked 24 Women Why They Don’t Use Birth Control And These Are Their Answers.” Many of the answers, unfortunately, are shockingly stupid. As an example, I give you Exhibit 1 from the BuzzFeed post:

Well, you learn something new every day. It definitely had not occurred to me that condoms, diaphragms, the rhythm method, and the pull-out method (all recognized forms of “birth control”) could be categorized as “poisons,” but OK. We’ll give you the benefit of the doubt on that one. Maybe BuzzFeed phrased its question in an ambiguous manner. This would be a perfect time to point out that “birth control” has had a longstanding and broad definition that refers to a method to limit or control one’s reproductive capacity. Hormonal birth control is merely a subset of this category.

BC 7
True, no one can really bitch about someone who wants to take responsibility for their actions. Except, logically speaking, a person who uses birth control to avoid a child they are not ready for and cannot afford is also doing just that, so this is not really a distinguishing reason for which to avoid using birth control.

BC 3
Actually, it is if you want to have sex, but don’t want to have children, like a great, great proportion of women on the face of this planet. Individual minds may differ on what can be done to “fix” fertility, but unless a woman wants many children, she will want to control her fertility in some manner or another.

So now “womanhood” is defined by the physical/biological capacity to breed? By her logic, the multitudes of women out there who are childless, whether by choice or by infertility are not real “women” then – and that makes her a “feminist.” I have a sneaking suspicion that many feminists would not be on board with defining a woman only as someone who procreates.

Right, because sex without making babies is of course, merely men “using “women. So infertile women presumably are always being “used” if they ever have sex. It also absurdly follows that a woman who does not use birth control and has sex with her husband is also being used – except that there are consequences – so I guess that’s OK? Definitely in the running for dumbest response of all time.

One of the crazy “everything needs to be natural” weirdos. I understand not wanting to eat too many processed foods or artificial flavors, but you may want to re-evaluate your very broad claim in this context. OK, Ms. All-Natural, tell this to a guy who needs a pacemaker (an artificial device) to avoid dying (a natural condition/disease process of the body). Or someone who needs antibiotics (something artificial) for a sinus infection (a natural disease process). Also, why not ingest some arsenic or uranium while you’re pursuing the “natural” lifestyle? That shit’s natural for sure.

True to an extent, I’ll give her that. But certainly not true for a lot of people, for example, a couple who has 5 children, can’t afford any more, and (god forbid!) still wants to have sex.

Everyone obviously should make choices for themselves; but they should be encouraged to make informed choices that are not based on nonsensical, illogical reasons. It’s not nice to make fun of people; I know. But then maybe these women should have thought twice before posing with their self-righteous, supercilious, and highly-misinformed slogans.