My Choice Not to Have Kids

Let’s face it: doesn’t every woman out there have hard-luck romance stories under our Hermes-H or other belt?

One of the psychics I went to told me: “Love’s been up and down and all around for you. It’s been to the dogs.”

This waterfront fortune teller told me I’d meet a lot of turkeys along the way. Yes, she used the word turkeys to talk about the guys I’d meet.

Taken in this context I haven’t been so quick to drop my skirt to get into bed with just any guy that walked on by in my life.

As a women with a mental health diagnosis I didn’t want to get married and raise a family either.

I’ve known without a doubt since I was easily only 15 or 16 that I didn’t want to have kids–not even one kid.

This stance of mine doesn’t fit into the white middle-class heterosexual norm that prevails in American society.

It’s this world that I was born into that I so intuitively rejected as not being the right lifestyle for me to live.

Leading yet again to how I championed everything Left of the Dial in my memoir.

I still haven’t found Mr. Right. Nor have I found Mr. Almost Right either.

And I definitely haven’t found Mr. Not-Right-Yet-I’ll-Take-Him-Anyway.

In this dry climate with no prospects does it make sense to risk getting pregnant by having sex just to prove you’re a normal woman?

This is the double-bind or double-standard women are in or held to:

If we’re not having sex we’re viewed as being screwed-up and that there’s something wrong with us.

If we’re having sex and heaven help us too much sex we’re viewed as having a lack of morals.

What do you say:

Isn’t it time to give the boot to restrictive regressive political policies that make it harder and harder for women to remain child-free by choice?

Isn’t it time to stop judging women for the choices we make?

Isn’t it time to accept the multitude of expressions of what constitutes normal in society?

It’s time.

I for one have failed at living a mainstream life.

I have failed to please the people who stand in judgment of me even though they haven’t met me.

I have failed to see the logic most of all in overpopulating the planet.

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Reproductive Health Choice Statistics

Here I’ll give statistics from Trust Women about women’s reproductive health choices:

91.6 percent of abortions happen in the first trimester.

73 percent of women indicate they could not afford to have a baby at that point in their lives.

74 percent cited interference with their education or job/career or responsibility for existing children or other dependents.

49 percent of women who had abortions in 2014 were living below the federal poverty line.

95 percent of women terminating pregnancies think it was the right decision for them.

Between 50 and 60 percent of women who have abortions were using some form of contraception the month they got pregnant.

60 percent of women who have abortions already have children.

I’ll end here with this according to Peters:

“Women also face a host of barriers when trying to obtain birth control: cost and lack of insurance..difficulty accessing a pharmacy…challenges in getting prescription contraception..in scheduling appointments and getting to a clinic or doctor’s office.”

These barriers were greater for women living below 200 percent of the poverty line.

I recommend that readers go out and buy and read this Rebecca Todd Peters book.

In the next blog entry I’ll talk about my own life as a women with a diagnosis and how my own health narrative has informed my choices.

 

New Reproductive Justice Book

As a Lefty, I want to talk about a new 2018 book Trust Women: A Progressive Christian Argument for Reproductive Justice by Rebecca Todd Peters.

This will be a 3-part blog carnival. To start here I’ll tell readers that I have always understood and aligned with people viewed as The Other.

My own life narrative is atypical. A woman I hired told me my story was “unusual.”

I don’t think and act like a lot of people of my race and gender do. I’ve always gone Left when everyone else goes Right.

First I’ll give an overview of this minister-author’s rationale. Then I’ll quote statistics. Lastly, I’ll talk about my own life.

I quote from Trust Women to encourage readers to go out and buy the book.

Rebecca Todd Peters asserts:

“The public rhetoric that insists women must justify their abortions represents a thinly veiled racial and class bias that does two things: It attempts to impose white, middle-class values about marriage, sexual activity, and childbearing on everyone. And it focuses on individual women’s behavior while effectively obfuscating the complexity of their day-to-day lives and the viability of their various choices.”

Instead the Christian minister proposes:

“Public policy ought to focus on addressing systemic social problems rather than attempting to police and control the behavior of women and their bodies.”

In her view the real issue is that women who have abortions are told they need to take responsibility. The truth is that “difficult real-life moral decisions stand in contrast” with the prevailing white, middle-class politicians and anti-choice crusaders perception that women who terminate pregnancies need to take responsibility.

In the next blog entry I’m going to quote statistics that reveal the real issues facing ordinary women tasked with deciding whether or not to give birth.

People Have the Power

“People Have the Power” is my favorite Patti Smith song.

Yes I believe it’s true people in America have the power to change the the direction our country has been going in.

This starts when we challenge the hateful rhetoric in the media. It continues when we speak out against the drastic policies being enacted. The dialog can’t end it can only change its focus.

Why just fight for our rights? Why not figure out new rights we haven’t had that we can champion for everyone?

Instead of merely reacting to what goes on. We can be proactive in helping each other. We can treat each other with dignity.

Responding to hate with hate solves nothing. To love bomb the haters is the solution.

I read somewhere that if America wanted to convert other nations to our democratic ideals we shouldn’t bomb them. We should drop TVs on them.

I doubt anyone who needs to read what I’m writing will chance upon this blog. Yet here goes for those of you aren’t loyal readers. Here goes too for the ones who tune in every week. Here goes for everyone:

See who a person is not who you think they are. Labeling other people and judging them and stereotyping them is not the way to go.

I’ve listed in here the names of the over 30 people cops killed as well as written about Kate Spade.

Having been bullied early in life and having a diagnosis I’m no stranger to being viewed as the Other.

Yet it seems that before a person meets me or you or someone else that person sees fit to judge us and stereotype us and label us with a name.

Those of us with this kind of psychic ability to figure out a person’s life story just by looking at them: should set up a table on Venice Beach telling fortunes.

This aim might not be accurate so then again that would be a lousy way to make money.

Only our elected officials are making hundreds of thousands of dollars by daring to judge the needs of ordinary Americans as subservient to corporate greed.

Our elected officials are daring to think that the lives of ordinary Americans–lost to poverty, disability, lack of education, imprisonment, etc.–aren’t worth saving.

Sadly, I have given up on our government as being an agent of change.

The latest measure I’ve heard coming from Mr. Toupee is to stop funding public libraries.

No kidding.

Bombs away? I think not.

Let’s band together to treat each other with the respect, dignity, and compassion that seems to be lacking in media editorials and congressional fiats.

This blog will always be a hate-free and stigma-free forum.

 

Kate Spade – A Tragedy

Today Kate Spade–the designer of iconic handbags–took her own life.

She had everything going for her in terms of external success.

It’s a tragedy that inside at her core she wasn’t doing very well.

A year or two ago in my Flourish blog I wrote about the phenomenon of “smiling depression.”

Women are suffering all alone because no one takes them seriously.

“How could you be depressed when you have a great life?”

“Just pray and go to church and you’ll be fine.”

“Get married and have babies and raise a family.”

That last sentence contains actual words a young woman was told years ago.

The other two sentences are oft-repeated ill advice that women are given too.

I remember vividly when I was going on a job interview in the 1990s.

I rode the elevator up to the office with another woman. She held a Kate Spade tote against her shoulder. I coveted that Kate Spade pocketbook.

It wasn’t until this spring that I dared splurge to buy myself a Kate Spade pocketbook.

I bought it at a reduced yet not cheap cost at an off-price discount retailer in New York City.

Kate and her husband sold their company years ago. Yet American women have coveted the Kate Spade handbags since their first creation.

Disability is no joke.

Mental health issues strike everyone from all walks of life.

It’s a tragedy that Kate Spade and hundreds possibly thousands of nameless faceless individuals feel the only way out of their pain is to end their life.

What if Kate Spade could’ve gotten treatment? What if she had bipolar or another mental health issue that wasn’t diagnosed?

A part of Kate Spade lives on in the pocketbook I bought this spring.

Yet that’s no consolation for the fact that another human being’s life ended in tragedy not recovery.

God bless you Kate Spade. God bless everyone living with a mental health issue who suffers. You are not alone.

The Suicide Prevention Helpline can be reached at (800) 273-TALK (8255).

You can use the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741741.

Please. The pain you are in can be healed. People care about you. Help is available.

There is a way out of the pain that will enable you to live a better life.

There’s no shame. What you feel is real and true. What you feel can be healed

 

More Facts About Women’s Health and Assistance Programs

Instead of women attacking women for the choices we make it’s time to band together to have each other’s backs.

We each of us have the power to make things better for ourselves and others.

Regardless of which guy with a red tie is elected into office.

Just the facts:

Abortions are illegal in America after 3 months.

There’s no killing of babies at 7 or 8 months.

Only in rare cases of risk to the life of the mother is an abortion allowed after 3 months.

The truth is that Planned Parenthood offers mammograms, PAP smears, STD testing, and prenatal visits as well as routine gynecological exams.

Women living in poverty often don’t have access to these kinds of services as well as birth control except through Planned Parenthood.

Want to know some other facts?

A lot of the homeless are women with children who’ve had to escape domestic violence.

A lot of women diagnosed with schizophrenia who give birth to their kid are abandoned by the baby’s father when their symptoms get too severe for the boyfriend’s liking.

There is no more welfare that makes it easy for women to have four or five kids and collect government benefits.

Welfare has been replaced with Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF):

About TANF

The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program is designed to help needy families achieve self-sufficiency. States receive block grants to design and operate programs that accomplish one of the purposes of the TANF program.

The four purposes of the TANF program are to:

  • Provide assistance to needy families so that children can be cared for in their own homes
  • Reduce the dependency of needy parents by promoting job preparation, work and marriage
  • Prevent and reduce the incidence of out-of-wedlock pregnancies
  • Encourage the formation and maintenance of two-parent families

 

Taken from: https://www.acf.hhs.gov/ofa/programs/tanf/about

Remember: the word is temporary not permanent.

Those convicted of a drug felony are not able to receive TANF benefits by the way.

 

From Wikipedia:

President Bill Clinton signed PRWORA into law on August 22, 1996, fulfilling his 1992 campaign promise to “end welfare as we have come to know it”. PRWORA instituted Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), which became effective July 1, 1997.

 

It seems a lot of Americans might not know anything about political history or legislative history.

I call what’s going on in Washington a Democrap and Republicon fight to control the minds of Americans to get us to vote for their party.

Only I’m no fan of either party.

In the coming blog entry I’m going to talk about how “People Have the Power.”

This is the title of my favorite Patti Smith song.

 

The Child-Free Road Taken

I’m 53.

I’ve been trying to convince others that free choice is a right that shouldn’t be taken away.

Only by framing it in the context of reproductive health choices I don’t think a lot of people will ever buy what I’m selling.

Only I know this much is true:

Ever since I was 15 or 16 years old I didn’t want to get married and raise a family.

Since I didn’t want to be forced to choose to get an abortion I used birth control.

This is the road taken in my life: to remain child-free.

In 1987 when I was 22 my life changed forever on a single night.

Having a breakdown is like a right of passage for some women.

This sealed the deal for me: I didn’t want to bring into the world a kid who could have a chronic unremitting illness.

A kid who might not be given mental health treatment as soon as they need it.

A kid who could become an adult who thus wouldn’t recover because they didn’t get treatment.

Most of all I didn’t want to have to discontinue medication to be able to carry a baby to term.

Doing so would put my life at risk.

When I was the Health Guide at the HealthCentral mental health website I wrote in a news article:

I’d rather be dead than psychotic.

Fighting words yet oh so true.