Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Don't be that creepy boundary-crossing voyeur-like person. Please.

Probably the thing that irritates me the absolute most when it comes to pregnancy is the whining.

No, not my whining.  My whining, coming from a pregnant woman, is perfectly acceptable.  (Shut up; I'm pregnantist.)  I'm talking about those stupid arguments you end up having with other people about their so-called "rights" to the 9-month show that is your pregnant body.

We've heard it all, seen it all, or been through it all, right?

"My husband thinks that because my mother has [come to all my appointments/ultrasounds/has listened to the baby's heartbeat], his mother is allowed too."  (And sometimes even his 12-year-old younger brother.)  Okay, let me think about this one for a minute.  Let's see... No.  Good God.  It doesn't matter who you are, you have no right to be at my doctor's appointment.  Even the baby's father has no real right to be there.  Why?  Because I'm the one that gets to be poked, prodded, and has to answer uncomfortable questions.  My mother-in-law does not need to know when the last time I had sex was, or if my vaginal discharge has smelled fishy.  My father-in-law does not need to see my belly and my waistband around my hips while cold gel is slathered all over my belly.  Hell, if I'm uncomfortable with my doctor seeing my belly, I can request a new doctor.  What makes you think anyone else in the world is exempt from this?  On a similar note, what if my baby's father is no longer my significant other and demands to be at every baby appointment?  Sure, he has a right to the baby and all, but he doesn't have the right to see up my vagina, how often I've had sex, what my discharge is like, and how I'm feeling.  That's my business, thank you very much.  And there are women who are uncomfortable with imparting that sort of knowledge in front of their husbands, too -- so no.  I'm sorry.  Baby daddies don't have the "right" to be there, either.  Other than a past medical history, the doctors don't give a shit about how Daddy is doing -- much less how Grandma is!

"If your mom is going to be there to see the baby being born, my mom is too."  I've already said my piece.  Labor isn't a freaking show.

Let me just put it this way:  If somebody is babysitting your child in their house, that does not mean that you are allowed to have a key to their home to give out to whomever you wanted, security cameras set up so you can watch everything that's going on in every nook and cranny of that house with your friends while eating popcorn, and you certainly don't have the right to watch people in the bathroom or while they're getting dressed/undressed.  Especially with popcorn.  That's sick.

But, that is exactly what you are doing to a mother when you demand that somebody be there for these things.  If she's uncomfortable with it, it doesn't matter who you are -- you've just been labeled "creepy boundary-crossing voyeur-like person."  You're violating her body, and to me, that's a seriously creepy thing to do.  Just because there's a baby in there doesn't make it okay.  And how many of you men out there would invite your mother-in-law to your colonoscopy?  Prostate exam?  Vasectomy?  I'm going to guess very, very few.

Well then, Sandra, I can hear you asking, what about the father's rights?

I know my husband doesn't agree with me over this, but I really don't care:  For the most part, the daddy's rights are less than the mom's.  (There are exceptions, as far as I'm concerned, though not everyone agrees.)  There is a reality to the "it's my body" thing.

For example, I want to be on antidepressants during my pregnancy.  (I need to reschedule my appointment with my psychiatrist, now that I'm thinking about it...)  My husband doesn't like this idea, though he's finally agreed to it (for the second time).  And he drove me nuts during the 2 times we've had this conversation.  In all honesty, honey-dear-darling-dearest, I don't give a flying fuck about whether or not you want me on antidepressants or not.  If it's okayed by my doctor, it's my decision.  My health is just as important as the baby's, and can even affect the baby's health.

It's not just antidepressants -- any medication.  And yes, that includes medication with serious side effects.  Now, I would absolutely inform my husband or ask his advice if that is what I wanted if I were to take something with serious side effects for the baby.  But I will not ask his permission.  Why?  Because it's my body.

I know -- men hate that line, and disagree with it strongly.  But the fact remains that it is 100% true.  Yes; it is my body.  You do not "share" my pregnancy and its side effects on my health, physical or emotional; or, for that matter, my health's side effects on the baby!  And before you say "Oh, yes I do, because I'm the one that has to take care of you if something bad happens/I have to deal with the mood swings and craziness/I'm the one that has to pay for everything", that's not "sharing."  Bearing, yes. (And you can stop at any time if you really wanted, but that's a whole different bag of worms.)  Sharing?  No.  If you "shared" my health and complications, we'd both be getting treatment.  We're not.  I am.  Any decisions on what to do during pregnancy for my health is done by me, because you have no right to make a decision on what I can and cannot do for myself.  Even if, in the end, that impinges on what you see as your right as a father.

Let's go to an extreme and say I have high blood pressure, heart failure, diabetes, seizure disorders, and I'm schizophrenic.  My doctor is probably going to take one long look at my list of issues, wonder why the fuck I got pregnant in the first place, and is going to put me on a lot of medication.  Much of it is probably not going to do the baby a lot of good.  So let's say that you, as my husband, say "Absolutely not!" and I'm not put on this medication.  How are you going to feel about your "fatherly rights" when I die of complications due to heart failure because you took me off my medication?  How are you going to feel if I jump off a balcony, survive as a quadriplegic, and lose the baby, because I had a very bad "episode" with my schizophrenia?  How are you going to feel if I have an aneurysm and die on the operating table, baby and all?  How are you going to feel if I die, and that baby survives... with severe issues and the inability to live a "normal" life, or even one past the age of 10?

"Oh, you're being overly dramatic.  Being on an antidepressant/migraine medication/the occasional Vicodin is different than that.  You're not going to die without them."  No, dear, it's not different.  It's still risks, benefits, and probability.

When a doctor looks at putting the mom on medication, they weigh the probability of the baby having any sort of side effects/defects from that medication and the severity of the defect/side effect against the benefits of the mother being on that medication.  Whichever looks more important in that case is chosen. In some cases, that means the doctor isn't comfortable putting the mom-to-be on certain medications.  In others, the risk of the baby being born without a left leg is less important than the mom dying in her 18th week of pregnancy.  Or the mom being unable to get out of bed due to extreme pain.  Or the twice-a-week ER visits due to her disabling migraines.

You may think it's not a big deal.  But then again, you're not the one going through it.  So again, the my body rules apply, with doctor approval.

I'm pretty sure men hate me now, so let's just take a look at some math I've put together:  In pregnancy, 50% of decisions go to the pregnant body owner, 25% to the mom, and 25% to the dad*.  (In cases of surrogacy this percentage is probably not used. I think.)

So I, being the mother of the child, have 75% decision-making power.  You, as the father to my child, have 25%.  In any "fair" world, I have more decision-making power than you do, and I have majority vote.  In other words:  Screw you.  It's my body.  Pregnancy isn't fair.  Get over it.

With that said, I firmly believe that all fathers should have a say in such things as abortion that is not medically necessary for the health of the mother.  I believe all fathers have the right to basic knowledge about their unborn child, such as whether or not the pregnancy is high-risk and how it is progressing.  I believe all fathers have the right to demand you stop abusing the child by using illegal substances, because duh that's illegal.  So it's not like I'm saying daddies out there have no rights during pregnancy... They just have very few in which there is an equal "weight" to their opinion.

And if you have a problem with that, you should probably talk to whoever or whatever created pregnancy in the first place.  Don't look at us.  We're just the baby factories.  And we thrive on chocolate.

Also I probably shouldn't have written this when I'm so tired.  I'm also in pain, I'm grouchy, and I feel like there are a million stressful thoughts floating around my head, but I can't grasp a single one to figure out what I'm stressed about.  I probably jumped from point to point and was incoherent.  But who cares? It's my blog, not my thesis paper.  I think.

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