So Tell Me ... What's The Weather Like on YOUR Planet?

31 January, 2009

The Standardised Woman

Back when I was evaluating possibilities for a care provider for my pregnancy, I called the office of a highly recommended (and thus highly in-demand) gynecologist to see if she had any space available.

"And when was the date of your last menstrual period?"

I had been asked that question so often that I could just rattle it off without thinking, so I did.

"Let me check The Wheel.... Okay, your due date is ...."

Let me take a moment to explain my understanding of "The Wheel". The idea is that since the standard-issue woman has a standard-issue menstrual cycle of 28 days, therefore one can use 'date of last menstrual period' to determine 'date of ovulation' and thus 'due date' on a standard-issue pregnancy. All standard-issue medicine and standard-issue bureaucratic paperwork.

"I'm sorry, she doesn't have any space open for July. And we're not booking for August yet."

"I'm almost certainly not going to have this baby before August."

"The Wheel says ..."

"I have a long cycle. I ovulated on this date, not the Wheel-assumed date, which means August, not July."

"We go by The Wheel."

"Even though I know when I ovulated because I was tracking my temperature?"

"We go by The Wheel."

Well, okay then.

I have my doubts I could get decent medical care from an office that expects me to gestate on the clock, anyway. Punch in, punch out, I'm not gonna get paid for this overtime, am I?

My defective long menstrual cycle and I hauled our ass to a midwife.

20 January, 2009

Inauguration Day

My patchwork heritage
Of Puritan blood on thieved land
New York millers
German soldiers
Migrant Irish workers
Polish woman driven from her heritage by hate
Painters and poets and patriots
Ministers and madmen
Scientists and subversives
Buried in Arlington
Stones and bones and old silver
Alcohol and backroom deals
Hardworking union workers
Ivory-tower elitists
Sewn-together pieces of history
Quilted by this land
Extending from then into now and beyond
And with the child resting beneath my heart
Conceived the fourth of November
We've all come to look for America.

14 January, 2009

Echoes of the First Parent

"... you spat out Shu, you expectorated Tefnut, and you set your arms about them as the arms of a ka, that your ka might be in them." - Pyramid Texts, Utterance 600

One of the things about theology is the way that it translates, encapsulates, and expresses basic truths, basic concepts, basic meanings.

Consider this word, "ka". I got in elementary school the instruction that the Egyptians thought people had two souls, the "ka" and the "ba", and the "ka" was their double. Not very sophisticated, and we spent a lot more time on architecture anyway.

But what is this thing, "ka"? This wikipedia article has a photo of a ka statue and the hieroglyph, both showing the symbol referred to in "as the arms of a ka". There are figure statues with the arms held in the ka position, uplifted, with children all along the upper arms (and that's gotta be some strong biceps, man). Etymologically, the word is related to words for fecundity, genitalia, and, in the plural, is a synonym for victuals. The Egyptians would present gifts to each other with the phrase, "For your ka", and make offerings to the gods with "May your ka be fed."

Life-energy. Family-energy. Animating soul. Linked to reproduction but not reproduction itself; sustained by gifts, offerings, that which is fed and sustains being.

Shu and Tefnut, the first children of the Creator, were born, existent, and it was not until their Parent's embrace that they were invested with that life-energy, that the animating soul of creation was in them.

Set arms about those children and embrace them, that they may have life; this is the gift and essence of parenthood. Not the making of the form; the sharing of the soul. Parent is a thing that we do, not a thing that we are by happenstance or breeding; it is a holy act, the extending of the lifeline that came from the first Parent and the outspread, welcoming arms of being.

12 January, 2009

Getting Into My Head

I hate the way she does it. The way she's able to do it.

I can get a note and have it roll off me and think how great I'm doing, how easy it is to look at that and say, "Oh look, she's pulling this trick, that trick, the other; the subtext here and here is all about how great she is, the subtext there and there is all about how horrible I am. It reads surface-level as supportive, and is completely full of undermining. Ha ha ha, how remarkable. Good thing I'm able to draw that boundary, huh?"

And then ...

... then there's the way a decision I had more or less made winds up getting ripped out from under me and turned on its head because of a totally reasonable conversation, just letting you know, and of course she would do this responsible thing rather than the thing that I was intending, and it wasn't like I told her what I was doing anyway for her to undermine, I think she just guessed, or maybe it doesn't matter and she'll do what she does without knowing anything and ....

Yeah, around and around in a giant damn loop of self-doubt and uncertainty and needing to balance what is real and what isn't, and I don't know anymore.

I'm full of hormones and full of fear and my mother is in my head again and I don't know how to get her out.

In my head in my head in my head ....

02 January, 2009

Welcome to the Mommy Wars

The other night I went chasing links around on 'Heartless Bitches International' due to a link posted at Figleaf's. ... until I got sickly depressed and had to stop. It's not enough dealing with crazy shit like GreenConsciousness, as documented at Bastante Already, but one of those sites that I find darkly and crankily amusing went at it too.

The context: mail from a rather skeevy-sounding fellow who had a quote-unquote traditional relationship with a stay-at-home-wife-and-mother type whose responsibilities were childcare and "looking good", for which end he invested a pretty penny in miscellaneous beauty products and what have you and yet expected other people to police their websites for him rather than supervising the kid.

Quite the prize, eh?

So I read this. And the editorial comments start out all right. Stuff like, "Equality would be if she CHOSE this."

And then there's ...

"I'll bet your wife is on an antidepressant, and you convince yourself that all "happy, well-adjusted" women are."

And the mental-health-ablism-thing hits me like a punch in the nose. Oh yeah, right, real women aren't on Prozac. I forgot that. That's all part of housewife ennui, which we've been medicating for for a while to keep those Donna Reeds mellow and in their places, not something that might actually have a history, an etiology, a deeper meaning.

Carry on a little further and we get:

"[Being a stay-at-home mother]'s really a shelter for a woman who is afraid to fail or try."

... where was that 'choice' thing again that I thought we were talking about?

And then we go on. And on. And on.

"She's set herself up to be a parasite her whole life, and you are more than happy to have her this way. You couldn't be more prehistoric if you hobbled her. Frankly, I'm glad the two of you found each other."

"I have known some women that have turned their backs on the life of the "kept woman" simply because their values were more than skin deep."

"You might not have worked so hard, however, if you had motherhood, sexual favors and the ability to have someone ELSE bring home the bacon, to fall back on."


"Oh... that's right -because in YOUR opinion, it's more valuable for a WOMAN to raise a child than contribute things like a cure for cancer, or ensure justice is served, or design buildings to withstand earthquakes..."

And now we get this -- not only must one be out there doing the career thing, but really, the ones who count and matter, the ones everyone is measured against, are the elites.

And since I was never going to cure cancer anyway ....


I just, just. Fuck it all, y'know?

Hi. Mentally ill housewife here. 'Scuse me for breathing, feminist movement.