Category: Where I Stand


“Politics is choking good sense.”  – President Bush


While I admit I didn’t get to watch the entire news conference, I liked most of what I heard.  It made sense to me.  I really wish people would lay off Bush.  While he may be responsible for some of the things people are unhappy with, so is Congress, the World Trade Associations, and about half a million other people. I get that people need a focal point for their negative energies, but good grief…  I’d still vote for him today, just like I did last election.

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Happy 4th of July!!!

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I hope everyone has a safe, enjoyable holiday.  I have been thinking all week about what it means to me to live in and be an American and while I admit that the upcoming electiomn terrifies me, I am still thankful that I have to right to express that opinion, and that I can do my part to see the lessor of the evils elected.  I am thankful that I have the right to defend myself and my family.  I am thankful that my children have access to an education, and even that I may choose to educate them myself, or pay someone else to do it.  I am thankful that there are men and women willing to give up time at home with their loved ones to defend these rights, and help give those rights to others.  People can complain all they want, but they have the freedom to leave this country any time they choose.  They can complain all they want, but this is one young woman who is thankful and damn proud to be an American. 

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.  Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.  It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.  We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous?  Actually, who are you not to be?  You are a child of God.  Your playing small doesn't serve the world.  There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you.  We are all meant to shine, as children do.  We are born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.  It's not just in some of us, it's in everyone.  And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.  As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others." – Barack Obama

Now I'm not a supporter of Barack.  To be perfectly honest, I have no idea who will win my vote in the coming election.  However, as a person, and not necessarily a politician, that phrase strikes me as extraordinary.  When we succeed, we are often made to feel as though we should not have succeeded, or that others failed because of our success.  When we fail, we feel inadequate and ashamed.  Why is that? 

While I don't necessarily agree with the religious aspects, even from a spiritual or universal standpoint, what good are we doing when we don't work to our full potential?  How can we truly make things better when we work only at only half our potential?  If we weren't meant to use all of our gifts, why bother receiving them?  

"We are all meant to shine, as children do."  I've learned so much from watching my children – from how good it must feel to laugh without thinking that an onlooker will think you're crazy, how to dance with reckless abandon even when no music is playing, and just how to love others without asking for anything in return.  Children shine, and this quote makes me think that we cover their light – that we teach them that it is not okay, or that it makes others feel bad when they reveal their light.  I don't want my children to squander their light.  I don't want to be the tarp that covers their light.  I want to be the lighthouse that guides their light and helps them find the best purpose for it.  Shine on, babies.  Shine on! 

Ownership

          As a child, we’re taught that we should own up to things we’ve done wrong – that we must take responsibility for our actions and accept the consequences that come with them.  Well, most of us are taught that way, anyway.  What if you aren’t?  Or what if you’re so ingrained with it that you accept too much fault?

          You can’t go through your life thinking that everyone owes you something because things didn’t turn out the way you wanted them to, or the way you thought you deserved for them to.  Life isn’t fair.  Period.  It doesn’t matter how much easier things would be if they all balanced out perfectly and things were all equal and perfect.  Life isn’t that way.  To expect me to compensate you for a bad childhood, or a series of failed romances is silly.  I had nothing to do with those things.  I can’t make up for someone else’s wrong doing, but I may be able to help you heal.  If I accept that and attempt to help you, fine.  You can’t thrust it upon me and expect me to do it against my will, though.  At some point, you have to take responsibility for those failed romances.  What about you attracts the "wrong kind of man" and then allows them to mistreat you?  Do women who get beat deserve it?  Of course not.  But at some point, you have to accept that there are things you can do to change the situation and if you’re not doing them, you have to own that.  Your husband beats your kids?  You chose him.  While it’s obvious that not all psychos look like psychos, it is obvious that you now know he’s a psycho, so get the hell out of there.  While not easy, how easy is it to see your kids get beat? 

          We all have dragons to dance with.  We’ve all had unpleasantness in our lives.  Some of us seem to have gotten double-helpings, but in the end, it’s still our choice how we handle those helpings.  Do we wallow in our misery, expecting others to pave our way so that we never have to experience another unpleasant event?  That’s a bit unfair, isn’t it?  If you want something, you have to get it.  No one will hand it to you, nor should they, in most cases.  If you truly want something, wouldn’t you feel a greater satisfation knowing that you earned it yourself?

          On the other end of the spectrum are people who own too much – who accept responsibility for things they shouldn’t and carry it with them like the weight of Atlas.  The abuse survivors who still feel they deserved the beatings, the children of divorced parents who believe their parents couldn’t be happy together because of their existence, the abused child who believes that maybe if they were better in school or better behaved, their parent(s) would stop drinking and hitting them…  Now, if those people turn around and perpetuate the cycle, then yes, they have something to own.  You can’t assume responsibility for someone else’s actions, only your part in them.  It’s not fair to carry someone else’s blame. 

          Sometimes, I feel like this…  I feel like I own too much, though I know at least one person who would refute that and say I still have lots of things to own up to.  In my defense, there are worse things I could have done.  I snuck out, I broke curfew, I dated guys I shouldn’t have.  I didn’t smoke pot or even experiment with any of drug.  I didn’t get drunk and hurt people.  I think I cut class maybe 5 times in my entire life.  I never cheated on an exam, though I did with 2 poems I simply didn’t understand no matter how many times I read them.  I cheated on boyfriends, but never on my husband.  I have never intentionally hurt a child or an animal.  In the scheme of things, I pulled some minor stupid stunts.  I never intentionally endangered my life or the lives of those around me.  I don’t ignore my kids or expect others to provide for them.  I don’t talk to my husband like he is inferior to me.  I don’t utilize free government programs just because I qualify for them because I feel better knowing that while we might struggle, we’re doing it on our own.  We chose to have these kids, and we choose to provide for them.  For me, it’s that simple…  I have a social responsibility to not burden others because of my decisions. 

          You know something, though?  I am really tired of always feeling like the bad guy.  I am really tired of feeling like I own what’s mine, but knowing that others feel that I still have more.  In some respects, you can only own what you accept.  However, I don’t feel like one of those people who refuse to believe I did anything wrong.  I know I screwed up.  I also know I was young and had a lot more going on than I knew how to process.  My methods of coping weren’t the best or even close to healthy, but I think I did what I felt I had to, or the only things I knew to, in order to survive an keep from going insane.  Maybe that’s not good enough for some people, or sounds like excuses, but it’s all I can say, and all I will say.  I did what I had to, made the choices I thought were best and I live with and own those consequences every day.  For people to continue to make judgements about me based on things that happened 5, 8, and 10 years ago isn’t entirely fair.  It’s like looking at someone who ate their cousin when they were trapped in an avalance after a plane crash.  Ordinarily, never would have happened.  After a serious catastrophe and life-altering event, we all do what we feel is necessary to survive.  While we still have to own it and live with it, it’s not your place to constantly remind me and make me feel inferior because of it.  Life may not be fair, but Karma doesn’t ignore anyone.

        Bottom line: Own it.  If you did it or didn’t do it, but could have, own it.  It’s easier to own it now than to have to own it and everything that comes with it later on down the road. 

          There are a very limited number of times when I find my views to be in a grey area.  I am usually an extreme end of the spectrum.  I hate being called a conservative – I favor gay marriage and am very pro-choice, so I’m not ultra-conservative.  I hate being called a bleeding heart liberal – I favor a more rigid immigration policy and the death penalty.  I don’t fall on either extreme when it comes to politics.  While I have always voted Republican, my views tend to be more in line with the Democraps Democrats.  Was that a cheap shot?  I’m sorry. 

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*chortle*  At least I make fun of both parties.

But I digress…

When I look at the candidates, I get a little squirrely…  Okay, I freak out!  I don’t like one of them.  Not one.  I hate thinking that my vote is going to someone that I feel to be the lessor of all the evils, you know?

I have spent the past several days researching various candidates – not only through their own web-sites, but through public forums and other sites that document bills and amendments each government official has championed.  When I was looking at Obama’s and Clinton’s site, they gave very general ideas and their breakdown was pretty simplistic.  I liked a lot of what Obama wants to do, but from a cost-management standpoint, I don’t see where all this money would come from.  I can’t stand the idea of Hillary in office, so we won’t touch that one, but I will admit that I did like some of her ideas. 

Having admitted to voting Republican, I will freely admit that I didn’t like quite a few of McCain’s ideas.  For starters, he would overturn Roe v. Wade and give states the power to decide what a woman can or cannot do with her pregnancy.  He would also veto certain bills that would make armor piercing ammunition legal.  He takes the stand that hunters use the ammo and I understand that making it illegal doesn’t keep it out of the country, just makes it a bit harder to get your hands on.  Being married to someone who could be a potential target, I’d like to think armor-piercing rounds aren’t what is being fired at him.  Another huge issue – he would make gay marriage illegal.  I just don’t think that is anyone’s call but the couples’.  Period.  Abortion is a huge issue for me.  While not someone who has walked that path personally, I can see where it could be the best option for many women, in many situations.  While I don’t support a 14 year old’s right to an abortion without parental consent, I also don’t support banning it completely.  Gay marriage is a big deal for me, not as a homosexual, but because to me, it’s about equality.  If someone assaulting a gay man leaving a gay bar is a hate crime and not just "assault", not allowing that same gay man to marry seems like discrimination.  You preclude them from many privileges by refusing them the right to marry, and you’re refusing them simply because they are homosexual.  How isn’t it discriminatory?  Since when did marriage become something elitist?

Anywho…  I am really trippin’ about the next Presidential election.  I’ve actually lost sleep over it.  One way or another, I have to find a candidate that won’t make me sick to my stomach to support.  While I don’t think any vote is a wasted vote, I think that, like the last election, voting for an independent or candidate other than the Dem. or Rep. majority will be fruitless.  It will come to those two…  Period.  I’d hate to see the one who makes me upchuck in office and know that I didn’t vote ‘against’ him or her…

Ow…  My head hurts…

What are the most important issues you will be looking at in the next Presidential election?    

          Sang-Shil‘s post.

          As I said in my comments, when DH and I were trying so hard to adopt, we had many obstacles.  Do you know what hit me first, though?  "We can’t help you, but many you can try a black infant adoption program."  It made it seem as though black infants weren’t as "good" as white infants, so we might have a chance to "get one."  How horrible.  They’re children.  They need homes and stability and love and education and so many other things.  Regardless of their race or any other silly little thing, they all need those things.  My family knows that and we were willing and wanting to give those things to a child, not just a white child, or an Asian child. 

          What made things sting even more?  When I contacted those in charge of the black infant adoption programs, I was told that because we were not black, they could not help us.  "Placing a black infant in a white home would disturb the child’s cultural identity."  What do you think keeping an infant in a group home or orphanage is doing to his or her complete identity?  We’re also not completely white.  When people ask me, I identify myself as Filipino, if it really matters.  Are we less capable of love, stability, education, nurturing, simply because we’re a different color?

          Sickening.  Sickening that children are treated as commodities and that we still arrange families by color.  My blonde-haired, blue-eyed, fair-skinned boys look nothing like their olive-skinned, dark-haired, brown-eyed mommy at first glance.  Does it matter?  Do I care for them less because they are not instantly recognizable as my offspring?  Didn’t think so… 

         Absolutely appalling!  Thank you, Sang-Shil, for refusing to let things like this be swept under the rug.

In Good Company

          I found this in a forum post on Cafe Mom.  It’s proof that leaving your son intact will put him in good company.  From recent film stars like Will Smith, to earlier film stars like Clark Gable of "Gone With the Wind", there are a growing number of boys whose parents are opting not to operate.  The web-site lists athletes, world leaders, and other men who aren’t US citizens, as well.  Pretty nifty.

Pushed

          I finished Jennifer Block’s Pushed: The Painful Truth About Childbirth and Modern Maternity Care in the wee hours of Friday morning.  The last two chapters were just so intense that I couldn’t put the book down to sleep if I had wanted to.  I don’t think a book has ever held me so rapt because of its truth.  I’m not usually one for non-fiction, though I don’t mind reading for career-advancement or just to keep myself current about particular birth practices and "procedures," but books like this are not what I would look for at Barnes & Noble.  However, after reading it, I think every person should read it.  Even if you don’t plan on having children, you have a right to know what passes as sound medical practice these days.  You have a right to know that informed consent is usually bullying, rather than being presented with unbiased information and a chance to arrive at a decision you feel comfortable making after you have had a chance to review the pros and cons.  As a consumer, it’s your right to know what you’re paying for and why.

          I was always very happy with the way our boys were born.  For the most part, I always felt very confident and self-fulfilled about their births.  I love our midwives and the doula that was present for Bear’s birth.  I will never forget them or be able to thank them enough for allowing me to do what I needed to do to deliver my babes.  But now, after beginning to truly work in L&D wards, seeing what most hospitals are like, and after reading more and more, I am appalled.  I wouldn’t deliver my baby elsewhere if you paid me.  I would deliver at home, unassisted before I would set foot into a hospital labor and delivery ward.  A 30%+ national cesarean rate is not only unwarranted, but in most cases, unwanted.  Episiotomies being performed without knowledge, let alone consent is simply unacceptable.  If you cut someone on the street without their consent, you’d be facing assault charges, yet few people even raise their eyebrows when an OB cuts a woman’s vagina without her consent.  Ridiculous.

          We’re the only country where the overwhelming majority of women are seen by OB’s throughout pregnancy.  We spend the most on maternity care, but have one of the worst maternal death rates in the developed countries, and the second worst newborn death rate.  If we’re so great and our interventions improve mother-baby outcomes, why are we still at the bottom of the totem pole? 

            As consumers, we would run a car company out of business if they told us to change the oil every 2,000 miles, the diagnostic computers gave warnings every 3 days, and the car spent more time in the shop than on the road.  Why are we any different when it comes to the births of our children?  Why is it okay for a C-section to be the most performed operation in US hospitals?  Do you truly believe that many women are incapable of delivering their babies?  Why is it okay to increase a woman’s healing time by cutting an episiotomy, but not offering perineal massage or compresses as she delivers her baby?  I don’t get it…

          Before I go off the deep end, I will get off my soap box.  I am angry that this book had to be written, but glad that it was and I hope that people read it, pass it along, and that we really begin to question the policies and procedures being shoved down our throats when we walk into a delivery room. 

Pay it forward.

          When Bear was born, we were pretty sure DH wasn’t going to be there. While I absolutely adored my midwives, I wanted someone to be there *just for me.*  Should they have another mom laboring, they would be divided between the 2 of us, and I wanted someone who wouldn’t leave the room and be there just for me.  Thanks to Operation Special Delivery, we were set up with a fantastic doula at no charge to us.  It was perfect!  I feel honored to now be a "co-worker" of sorts with Bear’s doula.  It is something I will never forget and will be infinitely grateful for.

          Seeing that our financial situation has not changed, I have been looking for ways to give back what was given to me.  Attending a delivery costs me roughly $100.00 just for child care, food, and transportation.  That doesn’t count replenishing supplies, or any other incidental expenses I may incur.  I kept thinking about volunteering for OSD, but knowing what it would cost our family always stopped me.

          Yesterday, I got an E-mail from the Virginia State Coordinator for OSD.  There are 3 mothers delivering at a local hospital in need of doulas…  I felt tugged.  I wanted to help, but in the back of my mind, I knew what a blow it would be to my family…  I sent an E-mail saying that I was sorry I would be unable to assist these women due to the financial strain it would inflict on my family, but that I would certainly spread the word to other doulas I know.

          It didn’t take long before I knew that was wrong.  The best and hardest thing about volunteering is that sometimes, you have to give more than your time.  Sometimes, you have to sacrifice. 

          I sent the coordinator another E-mail saying that I would help with the first client (due in less than a week!), and would see what I could do about the other 2 due in February and March.  Sometimes, you just have to jump.  I am meeting that mother tomorrow and I sincerely hope we’re a good fit. 

          To find out more about OSD, check our their web-site or their brochure.  As a doula, you can volunteer services, taking only as many clients as you are comfortable with.  As someone who is not a doula, you can shop at their Cafe Press store for things like T-shirts, aprons, mouse pads, and more.  Finally, you can donate to OSD to help keep their efforts going.  If you are a mother who would like to learn more about these services, you can apply here.      

          So a few commenters pointed out that there was much more to the bill, which I did actually read.  I was under the impression that Bush could use his powers of line-item veto and in my head, that meant he could scratch everything out except for that 3.5% pay increase.  Heh…  Let’s just say that I am having a really hard few days, and with no light at the end of the tunnel just yet, this seemed like a good thing to pounce on.  While I am still highly irate that there will not be another .5% raise coming to us any time, soon, I admit that there were several items in that bill that I am pleased did not pass.

          We’ll have to keep an eye on that one…