Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Should She Have the Baby?

Letters to advice columnists offer us a direct look inside the American mind. Sometimes we are appalled by what we see. Today’s letter to Carolyn Hax counts among them. Happily, Hax is up to the task and calls out the letter writer and her husband for their-- especially his-- appalling attitude. Toward what, you might ask: toward a pregnancy.

A 40 year old woman has just gotten pregnant. A lot of 40 year old women discover that they cannot get pregnant,  so she ought to be thrilled. In all likelihood it's her last chance at motherhood. Her husband ought to be thrilled. Neither of them are. We do not know exactly where the negativity is coming from, but it seems to be coming from the husband.

Since he has overtly stated that he does not want a child, pregnancy feels to Ashamed, as she dubs herself, to be a shameful betrayal. As I said, it’s appalling.

First, here is Ashamed’s letter:

I just found out I'm pregnant, and I'm not happy about it. Quick backstory: I'm about to turn 40 and recently married my boyfriend of six years. We almost didn't get married because he did not want to have kids and I was not prepared to say never.

After many (many) conversations and one near-breakup — a sad but kind one — he decided he'd rather be with me and would be open to having a child if it happened.

Well, it's happened and all I feel is dread. It's been a week and I can't seem to dig up one happy feeling. My husband says it's totally up to me what I want to do, though he's understandably concerned that I'm not more excited, and worried about proceeding if that doesn't change.

I feel absolutely disgusting for putting him through this. I'm scared about logistics and finances but mostly that I'll miss my current life and be miserable with a baby. I'm so stressed out that I can't believe there's any cortisol left in my body and I feel like I'm going down a shame spiral at a moment when I need a clear head. How can I get myself back on track to make this decision? Please help.

As Hax responds, what does any of this have to do with shame? After all, she continues, unless we are dealing with parthenogenesis the husband was an active participation in the baby making routine. But now, his message to the future mother of his child is: Honey, you're on your own.

Exasperated, Hax writes:

Ashamed. Of. What.

Seriously — what? And “absolutely disgusting”? How?! Obviously I don’t know you, but given just your brief letter, if you told me you ever spoke or even thought that way about someone you loved, then I wouldn’t believe you. Between these few lines I see a sensitive, conscientious person who’d take 10 burdens on herself before laying one on somebody else. (Yes?)

So have the same mercy on yourself, please, this once.

And let’s just get this out there: Your pregnancy was not immaculately conceived, was it? Your husband could have used contraception or gotten a vasectomy or not penetrated you. You are not “putting him through” this or anything else. Just stop.


Nicely put. She advises Ashamed to consult with a pregnancy counselor-- hopefully to guide her through the pregnancy.

She explains:

Next, call your OB/GYN’s office for names of pregnancy counselors. Since this topic has become repugnantly political, make sure you choose someone whose views align with your own; the last thing you need is cultural shame superimposed on your own.

Repugnantly political… yes, indeed it is. We note with dismay that this couple seems to believe that pregnancy is the new curse. I cannot imagine where they got the idea, but clearly, Ashamed has been trying valiantly to manage her husband’s politically correct thinking.

His attitude reeks of politics. He is telling her that she is totally autonomous and that the decision of whether or not to have the baby is hers and hers along. I cannot imagine where he got that idea, but hopefully Hax has disabused him of the thought.

Whatever side we take on the pro-life, pro-choice debate, we should perhaps get over the notion that a pregnant woman is in it by herself,  and the notion that pregnancy will ruin your life. True enough, having a baby will instantly make of a woman-- or should I say, female person-- a mother. But, is that the worst thing that can happen to her?

Clearly, Ashamed is a victim of today’s ideology. Or better, of a man who has drunk too deeply of it. It is sad, most especially to see a man who is about to become a father have no concern beyond his membership in a modern infertility cult.


Sam L. said...

My brother was born when our mom was 41. She had a friend who was the 6th (and last) child. The first one was 30 years older.

I recall reading some years back about a 52-year-old woman having a baby. It can be done.

So I'd say, yes, have the baby, with the understanding that it's not my call, but hers and her husband's.

roadgeek said...

Edna Gladney to the white courtesy phone. Edna Gladney.....

UbuMaccabee said...

"His attitude reeks of politics. He is telling her that she is totally autonomous and that the decision of whether or not to have the baby is hers and hers along. I cannot imagine where he got that idea, but hopefully Hax has disabused him of the thought."

The fetus exists as part of the mother, like a zit or a wart. He has no say whatsoever--in anything, and least of all in what a women chooses to do with her body. The fetus is a blabbermouth, and can just shut up about it as well. A blob of tissue, and a parasitic blob at that.

This is her body and her decision, not his; he has no standing whatsoever and can never understand anyway because he is not a woman. This is between her and her doctor.

I don't even know what anyone would bother to ask him. He's not welcome here--unless she decides to have the fetus, and then, at some indeterminate point, it becomes a baby through the pronouncement of the court (I think, or maybe not, depends on what the court says). If the court decides it's a baby, then he'd better get to work.

if not, she can change her mind and decide to bash it's brain on the leg of the nearest chair, or toss it out the window onto the street below to be eaten by the dogs.

"I dreamt I had entered the body of a hog, that I could not easily get out again, and that I was wallowing in the filthiest slime. Was it a kind of reward? My dearest wish had been granted, I no longer belonged to mankind."

Kermit Gosnell must go free, he was just trying to help poor women escape. He had a vision.

JPL17 said...

"[T]his couple seems to believe that pregnancy is the new curse. I cannot imagine where they got the idea ...."

Oh I can, and I suspect that you can, too, Stuart. It's from our former Abortionist-in-Chief, Barack Obama himself, who famously and shamefully said: "But if they [i.e., his daughters] make a mistake, I don't want them punished with a baby."

This couple has simply drunk from the Obama Cup.

Anonymous said...

In the modern fiction romance scenario what are the odds that her next letter will read: “dear agony aunt, I had an abortion at age 41 because my husband said he did not want children. We divorced soon after and he remarried— to the younger woman it turns out he cheated on me with. She is pregnant and he says he has always wanted a child...

I was diagnosed with early menopause and plunged into despair that I lost my chance to ever have a child.... however, at an equestrian pediatric fundraiser gala a handsome, world famous, multimillionaire fertility doctor riding a white horse swept me off my feet. Now we are jetting off on his plane to Italy to begin treatments to conceive our third child.”

As if,


UbuMaccabee said...

Brilliant, JPL. Mistake...punished... baby. Fish rotten from the head.