I just wanted to formally introduce myself to you.
My nom de guerre is TigerMom. I'm 48 years old, married 17 years this September to the love of my life.
I'm the mother of two fantastic boys, aged 12 and 10.
And I'm on birth control - an IUD, Mirena™ to be specific, and have been ever since the birth of my second child.
No, I don't sleep around or cheat on my husband, and yes, I wanted another child, but that was not a safe, reasonable path for me. And no, the 16 other forms of contraception were not acceptable for my health.
Come! Let me tell you my story how long, hard-thought decisions made amongst me, my husband and my healthcare providers made me a scourge of the right.
I married a bit later in life. Age 31 to be exact.
Before that time, I was involved in a few long-term, monogamous relationships, two of which almost ended up in marriage. But, that is a story for another time.
These relationships were real, emotional, monogamous, committed and sexual in nature. And during those times, I was on the pill for the simple reason that I did not want to get pregnant, because I was smart enough to know that I was neither ready nor willing to be a parent. But, to deny the sexual aspect of my life would be foolhardy. To deny the sexual aspect of my life in my MONOGOMOUS relationships would be to deny who I was and to deny a form of intimacy I shared with my partner.
I was personally responsible, a term the rabid right loves to throw around. I was acknowledging that engaging in a sexual, monogamous relationship could possibly result in children, and I took the necessary precautions to see that such a thing did not happen.
My health insurance carrier, at the time (late 80s, early 90s), provided by my employer, included coverage for birth control (somewhat ahead of its time) with a copay of $20 dollars, a bit of cabbage in its day, and something I had to save for.
That makes me a wonderful and incredibly responsible person, right?
According to the fundamentalist right, that makes me a slut. Because, you see, non-procreative sex is sinful! EVIL! Sex for pleasure is from the devil! And women, and WOMEN ONLY, regardless of their marital status, should never, EVER, engage in such salacious activities!
Think I'm exaggerating? Did you hear Rush the Druggie's recent tirade against women? Here's an excerpt:
And again, pregnancy is something that you have to do to cause. It doesn’t just happen to you while you’re walking down the street, except in this case of sexual abuse. But in the normal, everyday flow of events, pregnancy requires action that has consequences. Yet we treat it as a great imposition that women need to be protected from. It’s a sickness, it’s a disease, it’s whatever, and there’s gotta be a pill for it. Yet they wouldn’t have the problem if they didn’t do a certain thing. It’s that simple.Translation: pregnancy is completely the woman's fault for having sex. Men are completely exonerated from the process. It's all the woman's fault.
Think on that for a moment: pregnancy is a punishment for women having sex for pleasure.
Sweet fucking jesus on a pogo stick. How cynical can one be? If that's the mindset, then yes, women DO need protection so they don't have children with thoughtless fucks like Limbaugh.
Let's get one thing perfectly and unequivocally straight:
It takes two to tango, asshole. No woman gets pregnant on her own without a male being involved. And recreational sex exists. Especially among married folk like myself. These days, I have recreational sex with my husband because I love him, I'm very attracted to him, I don't want and shouldn't have any more children and BECAUSE IT FEELS FREAKIN' FANTASTIC!
And for the record, he isn't interested in having any more children, either. Is he a slut as well or is that just me?
Understand, the right-wing's rabid obsession with sex stems from the the very fact that they don't want women to dictate the course of their reproductive lives. A woman in control of her reproductive health is a woman in control of her life.
And that pisses a whole lot of people, mostly insecure men, and sends them into a fit of frenzy.
Bottom line, it is all about CONTROL OF WOMEN.
But, let's get back to where a woman's control over her reproductive life becomes an issue of a woman's health.
As previously stated, I was on the pill from the age of 19 until I went off at the age of 35 when my husband and I opened ourselves up to the prospect of having children. At that point, we were emotionally and financially ready to do so. Lo and behold, four months after I stopped the pill, I became, by choice, let me repeat that, BY CHOICE, pregnant with my first child. Funny how that works. Pill - no pregnancy. No pill - pregnancy.
After the birth of my first child (a boy) and after weaning him from the breast, I went back on the pill. But, something was different. My body reacted differently to the hormones that for years earlier had no side effects for me. Here's what many, many men don't understand: pregnancy changes a woman emotionally, mentally, hormonally and physically, and I found that using the pill affected my differently. It actually made me physically ill and very disinterested in sex with the one man who I wanted beyond all other men, a/k/a my husband.
Fast forward, visit to my midwife for a lengthy discussion.
Fast forward, went off pill and decided to go with condoms which were very uncomfortable for me and a couple of times, it slipped off.
Fast forward, decided to have another baby, so stopped all birth control, and la voila, again BY CHOICE, I becomes pregnant with child number 2 - another boy.
Fast forward - another lengthy discussion with my midwife about having baby number 3, and was STRONGLY advised against it because it could severely compromise my health.
My pregnancies were normal, but my deliveries had complications. First birth ended up in an emergency c-section, followed by a very serious postpartum infection. Second delivery was a scheduled c-section as a result of complications from first delivery. Unfortunately, during the delivery, baby #2 took a bad first breath, aspirated (as sometimes happens with c-section babies) and ended up in the NICU for a week.
My uterus was severely compromised by the two births, and I was approaching 40.
After a long consultation with my VERY EXPERIENCED HEALTH PROFESSIONAL, it was advised that a third pregnancy had a very high percentage of the following complications:
Down syndrome or other fetal abnormalities
Read that last one: posthumous birth. For the uneducated out there, that would mean that I was dead but the baby would be delivered post-mortem.
So, there would be three live children and a dead mother. And, according to the theocratic RWNJ, that would have been all good as it was "God's will."
W...T...F? You think God willfully takes a wife and mother from her family for the birth of another child that will have no mother to nurse him/her? Nurture him/her? If that is your God, then he is completely cruel and fucked up.
Notice that all my reproductive health choices were among the following: me, my husband, and my healthcare provider. It was based on facts, reality and personal choice - the trifecta that sends the irrational rabid right-wing into a fit of frenzy.
Because reality does not fit their warped ideology. Because a reality where women have control over their reproductive choices is a threat to their "traditional" concept of gender roles. Because facts and science clash with their "beliefs." Because in their mind a woman should be willing to be the martyr and sacrifice her life for the ideal that all (unborn) life is sacred. The living - not so much.
This is total bullshit. And I grew up listening to such crap and bought into it for a while.
But now, I am a woman, a wife, a mother, with responsibilities to my family. And that responsibility involves me being whole and healthy. Another child would take all that away. Another child has the ability to maim or kill me.
So, yes. My IUD is for my health, as are the many other forms of birth control/hormone therapy that are specifically prescribed by a woman's healthcare provider to meet her specific health needs, whether it be to plan a family when time and circumstances dictate it to be right, or to help with painful and irregular periods, or to prevent a maternal death.
Bottom line, it is about a woman's health. But, the SCOTUS just made it about control and who should have it - the individual or their employer.
Think on that.
P.S. And guys, if you think that this doesn't affect you, wait until a company brings suit saying vasectomies go against their "sincerely held religious beliefs" or that pharmaceuticals promoting "non-procreative sex" also go against said beliefs. Don't think it's coming?
Wait for it.
Fri Jul 04, 2014 at 6:03 PM PT: A quick clarification: I wrote this story to share solely my own experience. And I am willing to share my story if it means that it may give even just one person pause for thought about how significant personal reproductive health choices are, not just for women, but for their families and the people who love and rely on them. I hope that there are folks out there who might just stop and think, "What if my wife/fiancee/girlfriend/partner/
mother/daughter/sister/niece/friend/etc. were facing the same circumstances? I am trying, in my own way, to make this issue REAL.
Every woman's story is different. I recognize that. But it is my hope that with my diary, my personal story, it may help someone recognize that no two stories are the same, and that every woman should be left to determine the direction of her own story.
Thank you to everyone who took the time to read this. I am deeply grateful