Pregnant women are public property

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remind remind's picture

'kay thanks.

Sean in Ottawa

It would be offensive for a bartender to have the responsibility of staring at each woman that asks for a drink to decide if she may be pregnant. Offensive on a few levels.

For those in some kind of crisis about wanting to impose their advice on women who are expecting a child consider this:

The baby you are thinking of -- its most important advocates and care givers will be the mother and perhaps a father. The baby will rely on the mother's judgement, her empowerment, her committment and her caring. Without those things, whatever you think you might be able to offer in that little moment of interference you think is yours to impose, will be meaningless, a drop in the bucket. Ultimately to trust and empower the mother is all that is available for those decisions are hers to make and the baby is reliant on how she responds not on some paternalistic drive-by.

Once this is fully appreciated one also can have a better understanding of what choice and reliance means and what that special relationship between a mother and child means.

I think if mothers had more power over their environments and their lives rather than less we would have more healthy babies rather than fewer. Of course this means social power, economic power etc. but that is a drift I guess.

Northern Shoveler Northern Shoveler's picture

I think bartenders should refuse to serve middle aged men with flushed complexions.  But only for their own good of course.

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

The alcohol while pregnant issue is a tough one for me.  My sister is an alcoholic and other various substance abuser.  She had 5 babies.  Two died shortly after birth.  The one she after a stint in Narcotics Anonymous had minor health problems and the other two are on the FASD spectrum.  They are both significantly intellectually challenged, and one nearly died shortly after birth. 

So while I support a woman's autonomy, I've got a long-term and personal view of the harm that can occur.  I might not say anything to a pregnant woman having a drink, but I'm going to have a little shudder because we don't know how much or not or at what point.  We just don't know.  Personally, my experience led me to abstain entirely from alcohol and caffeine and to be madam health freak.  I don't expect other women to do the same by any means.

I had great pregnancies and loved being pregnant, but didn't like people touching my belly uninvited.  I was in an elevator at work one day when a (male) co-worker reached over and rubbed my belly "for luck".  I told him that if he ever touched me in any way ever again for any reason I'd break his fucking arm.  Yes, he made out like I was over-reacting, so I told him that over-reacting would be breaking his fucking neck and to be happy we weren't going there just yet.  Nobody at work attempted to touch my belly after that.

There was the case of the intervention at the gym...  I was an avid runner in my second pregnancy, and continued to run up to my eighth month - letting up a little on speed and distance as my weight went up, and only quit when the change in centre of gravity started giving me shin splints.  One day at our indoor fieldhouse track, a bunch of older ladies who used the walking lanes were watching me intently.  When I went to the change room to get ready to go, they cornered me to tell me how I was robbing the baby of oxygen and damaging myself by running while preggers.  It was actually kind of funny, in an awful and inappropriate way.  I did tell them it wasn't any of their beeswax, but my midwife and GP both thought it was okay for me to run as long as I felt like it. 

I only address pregnant women I don't know to tell them how wonderful they look.  And I never rub a belly for luck!

Chauchat

Catchfire wrote:

If a woman wants to drink coffee, alcohol or laudnum during her pregnancy, that is her decision. If she wants to smoke cigarettes, marijuana or crack, that is her decision. If she wants to eat TV dinners, porterhouse steaks or nothing, that, too, is her decision. Any other way to say it--whether couching it in an ethical dilemma or references to jurisprudence--smacks of judgement, paternalism and sexism. If a pregnant woman comes into your bar and orders a glass of wine, serve her FFS!

I disagree. Well... sort of.

I do believe that the woman is within her rights to do whatever she wants with her body, but I also believe that people have the right to refuse any service they provide, for whatever reason they deem legitimate. So basically, the same part of my belief system that mandates people should have the freedom to do what they want with their bodies, also means that people can do whatever they want with the services they are providing. If you disagree, you have the right to go to a different establishment that will serve you.

Maysie Maysie's picture

Chauchat wrote:
 but I also believe that people have the right to refuse any service they provide, for whatever reason they deem legitimate.

Such as..... choosing to not serve people of colour? Aboriginal people? Gays and lesbians? Because such folks can always go elsewhere?

Sorry to burst your bubble but we have this silly little document called the Canadian Human Rights Act.

Canada ain't no libertarian fantasy. At least, not yet.

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Yeah, Chauchat, well the thing is, that level of thoughtful discrimination doesn't seem to get applied to red-nosed, sweaty round men with liver conditions. How many bartenders do you know have read up on exactly how alcohol affects pregnant women? And what makes you think that these bartenders care more about her baby's health than she does? The answer to those questions should show that refusal to serve pregnant women has nothing to do with health concerns and everything to do with ideology.

Mr.Tea

I'm not a doctor (except for teeth) and I haven't read up on how alcohol affects pregnant women, but if I were working as a bartender and pregnant woman came up and ordered liquor, I'd certainly feel pretty uncomfortable. Legally, I don't think I'd have any option but to serve her, however. Certainly, in my smoking days, if a pregnant woman asked me for a cigarette (and it was clearly for her to smoke), I wouldn't give it to her. Personally, the day I found out my wife was pregnant was the day I quit smoking and during her pregnancy, I made a point of not drinking alcohol around her, given that she had given it up and I wanted to be supportive.

I don't think the analogy to the "red-nosed sweaty round men with liver conditions" necessarily holds since such people are only damaging their own health, not somebody else's. On the other hand, if you work at McDonald's and a parent brings their severely obese child in and orders a double mac and super-size fries with a gallon of coca-cola for them, is that really any better than having a glass of wine or cigarette when pregnant? I don't know. Again, I'm not an MD.

But, again if i were a bartender, and somebody I knew to be a recovering alcoholic came up to ask for liquor, I'd be very uncomfortable giving it to him, while also knowing that I had no legal right to refuse service.

jas

Having formatting problems. Will post this later.

MegB

Thing is, a woman is the sole judge of what is good for her body and the life it carries.  Women who are addicted can be pointed to programs and clinics that might help, but that's pretty much all that's rightful and appropriate.  Offering a pregnant woman a cigarette?  It might be the first one she's had in six months, or maybe she's cut back on tobacco as much as she can during her pregnancy, or maybe not at all.  You don't know, so you have no right to judge, only the right to withhold your tobacco product.

Alcohol?  We don't know how much is too much, though the effects of a mother's alcoholism has been well-documented.  Again, refusing a glass of wine to a pregnant woman is wrong, unless she is already so intoxicated that you wouldn't serve her even if she weren't pregnant.  Making the comparison between a pregnant woman and a man who is obviously suffering the health effects of alcoholism is a valid one.  With the latter, you figure it's his life if he wants to drink himself to death.  With a pregnant woman, the life she carries is a part of her body, so it's her decision to make.  Yet the discrimination exists.  It's not about health.  It's still about controlling women and what they do with their bodies.

Chauchat

Maysie wrote:

Chauchat wrote:
 but I also believe that people have the right to refuse any service they provide, for whatever reason they deem legitimate.

Such as..... choosing to not serve people of colour? Aboriginal people? Gays and lesbians? Because such folks can always go elsewhere?

Sorry to burst your bubble but we have this silly little document called the Canadian Human Rights Act.

Canada ain't no libertarian fantasy. At least, not yet.

Since when is giving your unborn child FAS a human right?

Also, I wasn't talking about breaking the law and not serving people because of race, creed, etc. When someone makes a statement that could be construed as ambiguous, you always assume the most reasonable argument. It's good form to do so. You acted as if I suggested that people blatantly ignore the law, and act in a racist manner, which is not what a reasonable person would argue. I was talking about refusing service because you believe that serving them will cause harm to themselves or others. IMO it's no different than refusing to serve someone because they are too drunk.

Chauchat

Rebecca West wrote:

With the latter, you figure it's his life if he wants to drink himself to death.  With a pregnant woman, the life she carries is a part of her body, so it's her decision to make.  Yet the discrimination exists.  It's not about health.  It's still about controlling women and what they do with their bodies.

It is about health... The health of her child.

As I've said, if she wants to go and drink, fine... but don't force people to assist her in doing so. Allow them to act on their conscience. After all, how would you feel if a woman was pregnant and drinking at a bar, and the alcohol you served her gave her child FAS. I know it would bother me.

MegB

Chauchat wrote:

Rebecca West wrote:

With the latter, you figure it's his life if he wants to drink himself to death.  With a pregnant woman, the life she carries is a part of her body, so it's her decision to make.  Yet the discrimination exists.  It's not about health.  It's still about controlling women and what they do with their bodies.

It is about health... The health of her child.

As I've said, if she wants to go and drink, fine... but don't force people to assist her in doing so. Allow them to act on their conscience. After all, how would you feel if a woman was pregnant and drinking at a bar, and the alcohol you served her gave her child FAS. I know it would bother me.

No one is forced to serve anyone.  That idea isn't even on the table.  Yet.

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Chauchat, you need to contact WHO, the Surgeon General, the Canadian Medical Association--hell, grab every doctor you can find and give them a good shake!--and tell them that you've discovered that a single drink can give a fetus fetal alcohol syndrome.

In all seriousness, I hope you realize you are being very offensive. What is you experience such that you can tell a pregnant woman her business?

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

Chauchat wrote:

Rebecca West wrote:

With the latter, you figure it's his life if he wants to drink himself to death.  With a pregnant woman, the life she carries is a part of her body, so it's her decision to make.  Yet the discrimination exists.  It's not about health.  It's still about controlling women and what they do with their bodies.

It is about health... The health of her child.

 

OK, then...if it's about "the health of her child", then would you ALSO support legislation forbidding employers to fire pregnant women if those women were providing for the child by themselves(due to lack of a spouse for whatever reason or due to the spouse being put out of work)and would you favor making it illegal for landlords to evict pregnant women, especially in the dead of winter?  You do realize that poverty and homelessness are just as bad for the health of a child as drinking while pregnant, right?

Chauchat

Rebecca West wrote:

No one is forced to serve anyone.  That idea isn't even on the table.  Yet.

Yet? So it is a long term goal then? I must disagree with that. Legislation compelling someone to serve alcohol to a pregnant woman is as bad as legislation banning them from doing so.

Catchfire wrote:

Chauchat, you need to contact WHO, the Surgeon General, the Canadian Medical Association--hell, grab every doctor you can find and give them a good shake!--and tell them that you've discovered that a single drink can give a fetus fetal alcohol syndrome.

In all seriousness, I hope you realize you are being very offensive. What is you experience such that you can tell a pregnant woman her business?

I never said that a single drink can give a fetus fetal alcohol syndrome. Do not act as if I ever made such a claim.

Also, note that in 2 of my previous posts (#55 and #62) I said that a pregnant woman is within her rights to drink if she wishes. So how am I telling her what her business is? If my post offended you, I assure you that it was not intentional, but you really need to toughen up a bit in these regards. We're having a debate, there is no need to get offended by comments you disagree with as no offence is intended.

Ken Burch wrote:

OK, then...if it's about "the health of her child", then would you ALSO support legislation forbidding employers to fire pregnant women if those women were providing for the child by themselves(due to lack of a spouse for whatever reason or due to the spouse being put out of work)and would you favor making it illegal for landlords to evict pregnant women, especially in the dead of winter?  You do realize that poverty and homelessness are just as bad for the health of a child as drinking while pregnant, right?

I'm against legislation in regards to either side of the issue. I'm just for allowing servers to follow their conscience in regards to serving pregnant women alcohol. Please don't try and make this more than what it is.

RevolutionPlease RevolutionPlease's picture

Until I, as a man, am able to conceive and bring a baby to term, I'll tell other men to STFU about this.

Perhaps, when this country doesn't force women to raise children in poverty, I'll begin to think about these other implications.

Perhaps, when women are treated equal and are representative in the boardrooms of power, I'll take them to task like others here.

Until then, us men should STFU 'til we're ready to walk the talk. And I find that seriously lacking.

6079_Smith_W

Chauchat wrote:

I'm against legislation in regards to either side of the issue. I'm just for allowing servers to follow their conscience in regards to serving pregnant women alcohol. Please don't try and make this more than what it is.

Unfortunately that is exactly the same argument that doctors and marriage commissioners are using when it comes to complying with certain other services which are perfectly legal. 

I am fine with following conscience, so long as a resignation letter comes with it, and the job can be done by someone who is willing to comply with the law.

 

RevolutionPlease RevolutionPlease's picture

Funny how so much conversation amongst men at times concerns the lives of women. Abortion, alcohol while pregnant, wearing veils, what they wear from a cop.

How would that look in reverse?

Laws forcing men to take birth control, no drinking or smoking while your partner is pregnant, illegal to go shirtless or look like a slob. (Sorry for the heteronormative narrative)

How would that conversation go?

Walk the talk.

RevolutionPlease RevolutionPlease's picture

And 6079, even the law is an ass. We should hold out more hope than that.

But I agree otherwise.

Maysie Maysie's picture

Chauchat, you're actually getting kinda funny.

Please, share more.

Laughing

Maysie Maysie's picture

RP that was a great analogy. Thanks.

6079_Smith_W

RevolutionPlease wrote:
And 6079, even the law is an ass. We should hold out more hope than that. But I agree otherwise.

We can disagree on that one. Even when it needs to be changed or resisted, the law is one of the most important things there is, and we ignore it at our peril.

But that's another issue. I think we agree on this one.

 

Unionist

Rebecca West wrote:

No one is forced to serve anyone.  That idea isn't even on the table.  Yet.

Actually, Rebecca, that is quite inaccurate. Maysie referred above to the [url=http://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/acts/h-6/FullText.html]Canadian Human Rights Act[/url], and its provincial equivalents are all very similar on the issue of gender discrimination. Here's what the law says, at Section 5:

Quote:

5. It is a discriminatory practice in the provision of goods, services, facilities or accommodation customarily available to the general public

  • (a) to deny, or to deny access to, any such good, service, facility or accommodation to any individual, or

  • (b) to differentiate adversely in relation to any individual,

on a prohibited ground of discrimination.

Discrimination against pregnant women has long been held by tribunals to fall under discrimination on the basis of sex - going right back to the days when airlines used to fire flight attendants who became pregnant.

Short form: It's against the law for an establishment to refuse to serve alcohol to a woman because she's pregnant. They'd have to find, or concoct, some other excuse.

By way of contrast: Human rights codes also prohibit discrimination on the basis of age. But there are laws everywhere providing that you can't serve alcohol to persons under 18. Unless and until those laws were invalidated, bartenders have not only an excuse, but an obligation, to refuse to serve minors.

Another contrast: A bartender can lawfully refuse to serve an acquaintance whom they really dislike based on some personal interactions (e.g. a neighbour whose dog keeps soiling the bartender's lawn). As long as it can't be traced to one of the prohibited grounds (race, language, religion, sexual orientation, etc.), the bartender might get in trouble with her boss - but not with the law.

 

 

Sineed

Ken Burch wrote:
You do realize that poverty and homelessness are just as bad for the health of a child as drinking while pregnant, right?

I agree with your post in general but quibble with this particular bit because it just isn't accurate. Drinking while pregnant causes lifelong harm, including impaired growth, and brain damage. Being poor doesn't cause harm on this level.

Ripple

And I'll quibble with this: "Drinking while pregnant causes lifelong harm, including impaired growth, and brain damage."  Always? How much? When?

Malnutrition as a result of poverty can cause harm on that level.

 

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

As can the exposure to the elements resulting from homelessness.  If a pregnant woman is sleeping rough, that has a great potential to affect the health(including the neurological development)of the child she's carrying-to say nothing of the risk of violent attack on the streets(from criminals or, on a bad day, from the police themselves).

Maysie Maysie's picture

Sineed wrote:
 Drinking while pregnant causes lifelong harm, including impaired growth, and brain damage. Being poor doesn't cause harm on this level.

Ripple covered the first part, so I'll cover the second.

Poverty and other social determinants of health absolutely and often permanently affect health. This is documented and no longer speculation. 

The point is not to blame individuals for being poor, but to make accountable the societal forces that have enabled poverty, homelessness, etc to run rampant without systemic solutions. And to reduce poverty. And to look at improving all 14 social determinants of health for communities that are negatively affected by the social determinants.

Sorry, we're way off topic now.

jas

Here's the information I was trying to post yesterday:

Estimating the Prevalence of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome: A Summary

I can't post the table but see Table 2 for the main risk factors.

 

This site summarizes the research on moderate drinking during pregnancy and why it has created such confusion (see under "Confusion"), but concludes that

Quote:
... there is no evidence that light drinking, even on a daily basis, leads to fetal alcohol syndrome. 

The author, a sociologist, seems to express a fairly liberal, anti-prohibition stance. However the review of the research is useful.

http://www2.potsdam.edu/hansondj/FetalAlcoholSyndrome.html

 

jas

Some excerpts:

Quote:
There is even evidence that light drinking during pregnancy may be beneficial to children. A study of 12,495 three-year-old children found that those born to mothers who drank light amounts of alcohol (beer, wine or spirits) during pregnancy had fewer conduct, emotional and peer problems than did those born to abstaining mothers or those who drank heavily while pregnant....16

This is as I would suspect. If a mother-to-be is abstaining out of fear of consequences rather than out of a naturally occurring aversion to alcohol, then she may be denying something that is beneficial to her physiologically, and thereby denying her fetus those benefits.

Slumberjack

There would ultimately have to be a legal basis to support the denial of alcohol service to a pregnant woman in a public establishment, regardless of personal opinion or conscience or whatever on the part of a bartender.  In the event of a court challenge from someone carrying a foetus who was denied a drink on that account alone, and in order to find in favour of the drinking establishment, the legal opinion would have to designate the foetus as a person in need of protection, removing the right to control over the applicant's body from the applicant herself, and placing it under the supervision of the state, or in this instance, bartenders and servers...and any churches/evangelical interveners licking their chops over such a decision.  These matters have already been settled in this country...but perhaps not for the most part it would seem.

Red Tory Tea Girl

RevolutionPlease wrote:
Until I, as a man, am able to conceive and bring a baby to term, I'll tell other men to STFU about this. Perhaps, when this country doesn't force women to raise children in poverty, I'll begin to think about these other implications. Perhaps, when women are treated equal and are representative in the boardrooms of power, I'll take them to task like others here. Until then, us men should STFU 'til we're ready to walk the talk. And I find that seriously lacking.

Well, I imagine as a woman, you wouldn't be able to conceive... cisessentialism aside, I'd also be remiss if I didn't point out that based on the 10-4-3 metric (For every ten dollars a single adult needs to live alone, an additional adult needs four dollars and an additional child needs three, a good rule of thumb for determinine household utility) single parent, single child households on social assistance have much higher benefits in absolute and utilitarian terms than do dual parent dual child households... that all of these benefits are a pittance in comparison to even the Fraser institute's stated absolute poverty line (about 900 a month by their metric) doesn't say much, other than it's bad all around, but yes, there's also an inherently sexist belief that men should be breadwinners and thus are less deserving of government support. Policies that claim to be gender-blind often exascerbate institutional sexism.

And the boardrooms, I hate to break it to you, are not the sole repositories of power. When we mourn an equal amount of women during workplace fatality days of rememberance, when cis women are jailed in the same proportion (I don't want to launch into a discussion about Andrea Jones et al right now), when we  recognize and deplore the rape of people regardless of gender, then that bit of rhetorical self-immolation will ring true. Until then, I'll maintain that everyone's got their own basket of gendered oppression, and for those of you who don't want to talk about the death gap or the invisibility of male victims of rape, I wonder if your goal is to separate sex from destiny, or to perpetuate misandry. (which I will admit to indulging in, but only for recrational purposes)

No woman or man or person otherwise identified ought to be told what to do with their gestation. Sometimes I'm reminded of the old saw, "if men could get pregnant..." (Many of them can, and many women, myself included, cannot) and I tend to think that Henry Morgentaler would've still gone to jail for the rights of those men to terminate their pregnancies... and Michelle Landsberg would've called it the desire of men to murder women, even in the womb. Of course, I'm just basing that on what most of the 2nd wave, at least those who got paid to be activists, said about trans women.

RP, men, including you, have a responsibility to be active, and you have a responsibility to be active on your own terms. We women don't know what it's like to internalize message of objectification as breadwinner, bodyguard, emotional rock. Or to have your sexuality treated as something you can't control, and something hideous and inherently transactional. If you really want to help women, stop putting up so much of a brave face. Admit that there's something patronizing about women being less likely to be sentenced to jail time when convicted, or being put in the 'safe' or 'less strenuous' jobs, or that there's something destructive about a society where one gender holds a three-to-two advantage over the other in liklihood of getting the post-secondary education that is now mandatory should one want to be in the middle-class.

The less willing you are to be graded on your ability to be a meat shield the less likely I am to be graded on my ability to be a piece of meat.

Therein endeth the rant. (And yes, before I get someone implying otherwise, I'm very much a feminist. I just don't subscribe to a unidirectional construction of gender-power, and there are lots of women who feel the same way and identify as feminists... if I can manage to be a left-wing-tory, I can manage that too.)

jas

Red Tory Tea Girl wrote:
Admit that there's something patronizing about women being less likely to be sentenced to jail time when convicted, or being put in the 'safe' or 'less strenuous' jobs, or that there's something destructive about a society where one gender holds a three-to-two advantage over the other in liklihood of getting the post-secondary education that is now mandatory should one want to be in the middle-class.

The less willing you are to be graded on your ability to be a meat shield the less likely I am to be graded on my ability to be a piece of meat.

... (And yes, before I get someone implying otherwise, I'm very much a feminist.....

I'm.... speechless.

Yes, the darn feminists and their secret, man-as-meat-shield agendas...

This is hilarious. Smile  Thanks for the guffaws, RTTG.

Sineed

Red Tory Tea Girl wrote:
meat shield

Surprised

Maysie wrote:
Poverty and other social determinants of health absolutely and often permanently affect health. This is documented and no longer speculation.

A little clarity is required.

Quote:
A baby with fetal alcohol syndrome may have the following symptoms:

  • Poor growth while the baby is in the womb and after birth

  • Decreased muscle tone and poor coordination

  • Delayed development and problems in three or more major areas: thinking, speech, movement, or social skills

  • Heart defects such as ventricular septal defect (VSD) or atrial septal defect (ASD)

  • Problems with the face, including:

    • Narrow, small eyes with large epicanthal folds

    • Small head

    • Small upper jaw

    • Smooth groove in upper lip

    • Smooth and thin upper lip

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0001909/

From Health Canada:

Quote:
Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) and Fetal Alcohol Effects (FAE) are the leading known causes of preventable birth defects among Canadian children.

  • The estimated FAS rate in Canada is 1 to 3 for every 1,000 live births.
  • The estimated FAE rate in Canada is 30 for every 1000 live births.

Alcohol is a teratogen, meaning it causes birth defects. Its impact on First Nations communities is especially devastating; there was that study of a Manitoba reserve that found one in ten children were affected and as many as 40% exhibited signs of alcohol exposure. To say that it's all about a woman's right to choose to drink as much as she wants, and men should "STFU," is rather reductionist and doesn't begin to address how this is a devastating social problem and the leading cause of intellectual disability.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1227669/pdf/cmaj_157_1_59.pdf

Quote:
In Manitoba, many addiction treatment centres have been closed or cut back in size at a time when more money is needed for education and prevention. “FAS/FAE is entirely preventable,” Moffatt said, “but many mothers are still unaware of the harm that can be done to a fetus when alcohol is consumed during pregnancy.” 

 

jas

That's a fair point, Sineed, and it does seem that FASD is over-represented in First Nations communities. I wonder if that has more to do with aboriginal people's lower physiological tolerance to alcohol or to the disproportionate incidence of alcoholism in First Nations communities. I would guess both.

RevolutionPlease RevolutionPlease's picture

I'm confused by RTTG's post. Perhaps someone can help me understand it or I'll try to go over it a few more times.

jas

What's not to understand?  ;)

 

I think it boils down to this: Do you find that the women in your life often hold you in front of them when bullets or sharp projectiles are flying? And do you like this, or do you resent it?

 

 

RevolutionPlease RevolutionPlease's picture

Well, never any bullets or projectiles but I have intervened for all 3 of my sisters and mom and a few other women when men were being abusive to them. I've never really given any thought to whether I liked or resented it. It seemed to happen organically. And no, I didn't find they were holding me in front, I inserted myself quite voluntarily. In retrospect, one case, I will admit I briefly took a bit of violent pleasure in it when I was a teen.

Ok, I've reread it a few times and am starting to see what RTTG is saying. I guess I disagree. There's a physiology dynamic I just can't ignore when men are abusive to women. The breadwinner I can't speak to as I've never been there. The social assistance argument is a bit strange too as it doesn't matter if that single parent is male or female, they receive the same either way. Yes, it's normally women but I find that's normally because too many men walk away and abdicate their responsibility.

The post-secondary inference gave me a bit of a chuckle too as when I attended just 20 years ago us males were vastly overrepresented. That the pendulum has swung after 100's of years to a brief blip on the side of women is laughable.

As to rape, is Jerry Sandusky, the NCAA scandal, Scouts or Catholic priests just swept under the carpet?

I guess I should stop the drift. The post was so out there, I thought I must be missing something. To turn such a complex dynamic into binary thinking doesn't fly with me.

I think I'll keep my brave face, it's one thing I do enjoy. I'm no white knight. Just interested in the interests of the women in my family. And seeing the privilege I've enjoyed over them starting to tilt in their direction is something I'm not going to get too worked up over.

Unionist

jas wrote:

This site summarizes the research on moderate drinking during pregnancy and why it has created such confusion (see under "Confusion"), but concludes that

Quote:
... there is no evidence that light drinking, even on a daily basis, leads to fetal alcohol syndrome. 

The author, a sociologist, seems to express a fairly liberal, anti-prohibition stance. However the review of the research is useful.

http://www2.potsdam.edu/hansondj/FetalAlcoholSyndrome.html

[my emphasis]

"Fairly liberal, anti-prohibition" definitely describes the rest of this site, all the work of one Prof. David Hanson, which seems dedicated to proving that alcohol is good for you. Some tidbits:

Quote:

Drinking Alcohol Reduces Dementia Risk

Prospective study of persons aged 75 and older found those who consumed alcohol in moderation had about a 30% reduced risk of developing dementia and about a 40% reduced risk of developing Alzheimer's dementia or disease compared to abstainers or non-drinkers.

Quote:

Drinking Alcohol and Risk of Cardiovascular Disease: Research Evidence

Analysis of 84 prospective studies found that, compared with not drinking alcohol, consuming alcohol was associated with a 25% reduced risk of death from either cardiovascular disease or coronary heart diseasee and a 29% reduced risk of death from incident or recurring coronary heart disease.

Quote:

Effect of Alcohol Advertising on College Students' Drinking

Viewing alcohol advertising did not lead to higher alcohol consumption among young college men, according to experimental study.

Quote:
The U.S. government reports that moderate consumption of alcohol (beer, wine or distilled spirits) improves health and increases longevity.

Quote:
Distilled spirits (whiskey, brandy, rum, tequila, gin, etc.) contain no carbohydrates, no fats of any kind, and no cholesterol.

Quote:
Did you know that the human body produces its own supply of alcohol naturally on a continous [sic] basis, 24 hours a day, seven days a week? Did you know that the world's oldest known recipe is for beer?

Enough said, I think.

 

jas

Unionist wrote:

Enough said, I think.

Well, like I said, it's helpful for the summary of the research that's so far been done.

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Five years of Radical Doula!

The blogpost that started it all.

Quote:
During the pre-conference training organized by Be Present, Inc, I stood up and introduced myself as a radical doulaThis was a designation that I came to assume for myself through an understanding that my beliefs (which seemed to me completely logical and altogether natural) placed me apart from a large part of what I have come to call the 'birth activist'? community (midwives, doulas and advocates who work toward changing the standards of care for birthing women in the US). This conference highlighted many of the ways my politics are a seeming contradiction: I'm a doula and I'm a pro-choice abortion advocate. I'm a doula and I'm a lesbian. I'm a doula and I may never have children. I'm a doula and I'm Latina. I'm doula and I'm not entirely comfortable with the gender/sex binary.

What was so groundbreaking about this conference was that it brought together two of my worlds, the birth activists (midwives, doulas, academics) and the pro-choice activists (policy people, advocates, organizers). I can see now how these two groups, the former of which dedicates its time to supporting women as they bring children into the world, and the latter that fights for women's rights to not bring children into the world, don't necessarily go together. The irony is that I never understood the contradictions that exist between the them until Lynn Paltrow pointed it out to me precisely because the two are really good about not mentioning the others issues. The midwifery conferences I have been to in the past never mentioned the issue of abortion allowing me to erroneously assume that they were all pro-choice just like me. Likewise, the pro-choice conferences rarely mentioned the issues that face birthing women so focused as they are on the rights of women fighting not to birth. So congratulations NAPW, you succeeded in beginning a dialogue between the two movements (as stilted and precarious as it may have been at times) even just by creating a space where that dialogue was possible.

What this conference made entirely clear to me (and maybe what I already understood from my own dual roles) is that the activists from these two camps need to be in the same room, if not simply because the people whom we are fighting are one and the same. The people who want to take away women's rights to abortion, contraception, and comprehensive sex education are the same ones who aren't afraid to forcibly subject women to c-sections, limit the scope of women's choices about how they birth or place the rights of an unborn fetus above the rights of a woman. So let's keep the conversation going, and focus on how we can protect women's choices throughout all the phases of their lives.

Red Tory Tea Girl

I'm a doula and I'm a lesbian. I'm a doula and I may never have children. I'm a doula and I'm Latina. I'm doula and I'm not entirely comfortable with the gender/sex binary.

 

Oh good, someone identifies as a lesbian despite not identifying as a woman... that's not relying on the cissexism of coercive-female-assignment at all...

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

 

What to reject when you're expecting

Quote:
Despite a health-care system that outspends those in the rest of the world, infants and mothers fare worse in the U.S. than in many other industrialized nations. The infant mortality rate in Canada is 25 percent lower than it is in the U.S.; the Japanese rate, more than 60 percent lower. According to the World Health Organization, America ranks behind 41 other countries in preventing mothers from dying during childbirth.

With technological advances in medicine, you would expect those numbers to steadily improve. But the rate of maternal deaths has risen over the last decade, and the number of premature and low-birth-weight babies is higher now than it was in the 1980s and 1990s.

Why are we doing so badly? Partly because mothers tend to be less healthy than in the past, “which contributes to a higher-risk pregnancy,” says Diane Ashton, M.D., deputy medical director of the March of Dimes.

But another key reason appears to be a health-care system that has developed into a highly profitable labor-and-delivery machine, operating according to its own timetable rather than the less predictable schedule of mothers and babies. Childbirth is the leading reason for hospital admission, and the system is set up to make the most of the opportunity. Keeping things chugging along are technological interventions that can be lifesaving in some situations but also interfere with healthy, natural processes and increase risk when used inappropriately.

Use a midwife!

 

MegB

Midwives rock!

Nearly 27 years ago (holy crap!) when my eldest was born, there was so much pressure to medicalize every aspect of childbirth.  I actually had a night nurse try to bully me into taking pain meds (I left my midwife behind in the US when we moved back here at the last minute) after being in labour for 30+ hours.  Good thing I'd seen a midwife, read everything I could get my hands on about natural childbirth.  The excuses they provided for trying to medicalize my daughter's birth were window-dressing -- it was for their own convenience.

Wow, can't believe I'm still pissed about that after all these years ...

6079_Smith_W

Rebecca West wrote:

Wow, can't believe I'm still pissed about that after all these years ...

I can understand it; doctors have a lot of power, especially at a very vulnerable time. I can't speak for my partner, but I still feel like a fucking patsy for letting the obstetrician terrify us to the point where my partner got the amnio, even though all the indicators in the ultrasounds showed that nothing was amiss. The whole thing was a horrible and demoralizing experience.

... and doulas. Let's not forget the work they do.

 

MegB

Even though I was nearly 40 with my youngest, I looked at the miscarriage rates for amnio and said no way.  Like you, we had very positive ultrasounds.

6079_Smith_W

Exactly. My partner was that age as well. The obstetrician didn't mind scaring the shit out of us and shaming us into the amnio, but she did not once mention those risks. We had to dig that up ourselves.

They just brought in a similar rule last year here in SK that doctors must warn women of ALL the potential risks of abortion. Given how we felt as 40-year-olds, I don't want to think about how a 17-year-old would react to being told she might become sterile, wind up having a hysterectomy or die if she goes through with the procedure, 

 

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

I was in my mid 30s with both kids, and was fortunate to have an FP with a very pragmatic approach to the advance testing.  When I questioned whether it was really necessary, he asked what I'd do with the information if I had it, and when I said nothing different, he said he figured I didn't need to if I didn't want to.  End of conversation.

The obstetrician bullied us into inducing with Thing 1 because she was an arbitrary number of days overdue (even though I thought she might not be for other reasons).  Didn't like that, made labour tougher than it needed to be.  We stayed home to have Thing 2, which freaked out my wonderful FP a bit, but he is able to agree to disagree.  Much preferred birthing at home, but I'm hinky about hospitals. 

MegB

I planned birthing at home with both girls, but anatomy and circumstance forced us into a medical environment both times.  What can I say?  Weird hips, they get 'stuck'.  At least I was able to have a natural birth with my first, because she was small enough for me to push her past the barrier.  17 years later, my youngest was in the same jammed-up position, and she was too big and I was too old to push her out.  C-section.

The best thing that women/couples can do is be as well informed as possible.  Sometimes things don't go as they should, but being educated about the process, even if you're seeing an OB/GYN, or a midwife, it will allow you to take control of the birthing to whatever extent you can.

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

Home birthing here in SK is still sort of a grey area - midwives can't practice in hospital and while midwifery has been recognized (first step of implementation), there are no rules or provisions set up.  So, while it's not technically illegal, it's also not part of, supported by or paid for through our provincial medical system.  So choosing to birth at home was a bit radical.  I was lucky that we didn't need to go to the hospital or I'm sure I would have encountered some flak.

I've had a few people say that home birthing was a foolhardy decision, that something can change or go wrong so quickly - but in comparing my first labour and birth in hospital with the second at home I keep stumbling up against the issue of attention.  In hospital, we were sharing one nurse among three or four labouring women.  Because I tend to be pretty stoic and have fairly easy labours, I was not getting the lion's share of the nurse's attention.  She'd pop her head in every so often and ask the blond guy how I was doing - like he'd know!!  At home, we had a midwife and my SIL, who was a degree-carrying RN with extra training as a doula in the room with me at all times.  I can't help but think that if something was amiss, they'd have caught it a lot sooner.  And we're only a few minutes from hospital in any case. 

Yes to more information and education!!  But I think there are some who don't want to know in as much detail as I did.  I think how comfortable you are with the idea of what's going on with your body makes an enormous difference as well.  I had a friend who was freaked out by the whole idea of pushing a human out of her nethers and just got more worked up the more she found out.  I think it was really a hard experience for her emotionally. 

Sorry you didn't get your home birth - you do your best, but there are no guarantees. 

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