"Why, if my neighbor sees me looking sad and asks me if I am okay, is it perfectly acceptable to tell her my aunt passed away, or I lost my job, or I had to put my dog down -- but if I tell her I experienced a miscarriage, I am somehow inappropriately oversharing?" (by Laura Benanti)
Pregnant? Scared? Need Options? Too Bad: "The majority of pregnancy-center staff I've met are Evangelical Christians who say they're dedicated to helping women escape a cycle of premarital sex and spiritual pain. Yet at the conference, Heartbeat speakers coached center staff to scrub their websites of Christian references. Speakers also recommended pregnancy-center staff to discourage women and girls from not only abortion but also contraception by emphasizing disproven "negative consequences" and encouraging "sexual integrity," meaning sex only within heterosexual marriage. All of this is supported by tens of millions of federal and state dollars." [more inside]
After seeing a young friend struggle with body image and depression, Florida-based photographer Natalie McCain was inspired to start the Honest Body Project, a series of portraits of mothers showing their beauty and imperfections to their children, paired with their stories in their own words. “My goal with this project is to help mothers everywhere learn to love their bodies and wear them proudly in front of their daughters,” McCain says. “Stop calling yourself fat. Stop shying away from being in photos. Stop body-shaming. Learn to love your body, and in turn, set a good example and start conversations with your children about how women really look.” A small number of images may be NSFW or triggering. Further details within. [more inside]
An overview of folklore, religion and popular intuition surrounding childbirth, pregnant women, and young infants: abortion by aswang, blood-drinking Lilith, curses from witches, skeletal-faced spirits, and demonic births. content advisory: infant mortality [more inside]
The myth of the pregnant mother who is high on hormones has had considerable staying power. Something sentimental in us likes the notion that the physical discomfort of pregnancy is outweighed by the thrill of nurturing a new life within your own body...We have not acknowledged how appropriately anxiety-ridden pregnancy is, how traumatic the change in identity that accompanies prospective motherhood can be. (slnyt) [more inside]
"I am waiting for my baby, waiting for summer, waiting for knowledge, but the waiting itself becomes the knowledge and then, even as I am so hungry for transition I am practically clawing out of my skin, I begin to mourn and maybe to fear the fading of this particular consciousness: the Zen state, the acid trip of gestation, and its changed relationship to time."
a lost possibility: women on miscarriage (an open discussion on a topic that nobody talks about) [more inside]
Although doctors have noticed that fathers-to-be can experience weight gain, morning vomiting, heartburn, and restlessness, as well as more random symptoms like toothaches and leg cramps, there hasn't been any agreement as to what causes it. Say hello to Couvade Syndrome aka 'Male Sympathetic Pregnancy'. [more inside]
Before the days of Roe v. Wade (and sometimes after) girls who got pregnant were sent away. Now one of the places that housed them is closing. [more inside]
Private Ceremonies. "Most women don’t talk about their abortions and miscarriages. Virtually none go through the experience with a loved one at their side. The greatest gift an abortion counselor can give is to bear witness, to be with a woman as she goes through this private journey, to witness her strength and weakness, her grief, her relief, her pain." A first person essay from a former abortion counselor.
The Geography of Abortion Access - Forty years ago Tuesday, the Supreme Court ushered in legal abortion for American women when it decided in Roe v. Wade. Today, states—particularly in the South and Midwest—are eroding that right by legislating hundreds of provisions intended to impede access with burdensome obstacles. To understand more fully the complex state of access to abortion services in America, The Daily Beast identified and confirmed the location of the country’s remaining 724 clinics and calculated the distance from every part of the country to its closest clinic. (more)
Jennie Linn McCormack "isn’t the only woman in recent years to be prosecuted for ending her own pregnancy. But her case could change the trajectory of abortion law in the United States": The Rise of DIY Abortions. [more inside]
What is it like to be a woman in the Pacific Northwest craft beer industry? The 2011 documentary The Love of Beer offers a look into the lives of several women who work with beer: Tonya Cornett, the brewmaster of Bend Brewing Company in Central Oregon; Teri Fahrendorf, who started the Pink Boots Society, the US's first professional society for female brewmasters; Sarah Pederson, a beer retailer who owns a Portland tavern; and Lisa Morrison, known as the Beer Goddess, who hosts a Portland radio show and writes about beer.
"The only thing that makes my abortion decision different from anyone else’s abortion decision is that some people who are against abortion will think that my abortion is acceptable." Boing Boing's Maggie Koerth-Baker on what she's dubbed "The World's Shittiest Secret Society."
If you asked me two years ago whether I’d have a baby and give it away for money, I wouldn’t just laugh at you, I would be so insulted I might hit you in the face,” said Indirani, a 30-year old garment worker and gestational surrogate mother.
Since 1988, the Center for Reproductive Rights has compiled a visual map of the laws regulating abortion throughout the world. Earlier this month, they released their 2011 Map in pdf and updated their online World Abortion Laws Map in a new interactive format which allows country comparisons and provides text of abortion laws for certain countries. (Via Good: Can I get an Abortion Here? The Abortion Rights Map of the World)
"What Every Woman Should Know" by Susie Cagle on Cartoon Movement provides an illustrated investigation of "crisis pregnancy centers" like First Resort. (via)
One in every 8 babies born in the US is premature. A new study (pdf/via) published online Wednesday in Ultrasound in Obstetrics and Gynecology indicates that vaginal progesterone gel can help women who are pregnant for the first time and at risk of premature birth extend their pregnancies, reduce potential complications and boost the health of their newborns. [more inside]
"The fact is that the Pill, while giving women control of their bodies for the first time in history, allowed them to forget about the biological realities of being female until it was, in some cases, too late." New York magazine explores the connection between the Pill and the infertility industry. The XX Factor blog takes issue with the article, calling it "sexist" and "condescending."
Marie Stopes International will tonight screen the first pro-choice Television advert to air in the UK - you can watch it on YouTube here. Debate on the appropriateness or otherwise if the advert has been predictably fierce. Meanwhile, Channel 4 have chosen not to screen the advert in Northern Ireland, prompting further arguments.
Provoking pro-choice advocates, Oklahoma passed two highly restrictive abortion laws on Tuesday. One (rtf file) requires doctors to show women an ultrasound of their fetus and point out its physical characteristics — even if the patient was impregnated through rape or incest. The second (rtf file) stipulates that doctors cannot be sued if they decide to lie to an expectant mother regarding her baby's birth defects. A third requires clinics to post signs telling patients they cannot be forced to have an abortion. The first law prompted an immediate lawsuit from Tulsa's only abortion clinic. [more inside]
Sixteen states already have laws [PDF] related to abortion ultrasounds . Eleven more states have recently introduced bills that demand that a woman who wants an abortion be forced to look at the ultrasound, while a doctor describes what she is seeing. All of these bills are because the legislators believe that adoption is the only choice a woman should make. This essay, On Living Pro-Lifer's Choice for Women, explores the difficulties faced by birth mothers who choose that path.
Forever Pregnant. The CDC has released guidelines for improving the "preconception health" of all women of childbearing age whether they plan to have children or not. From the the WaPo article: "among other things, this means all women between first menstrual period and menopause should take folic acid supplements, refrain from smoking, maintain a healthy weight and keep chronic conditions such as asthma and diabetes under control." So ladies, don't even think of touching the litter box. You know, just in case.
Sending the pregnant to fight Saddam: The dramatic rescue of GI Jessica brings up the issue [preemptive post justification]. This article has a nice historical overview of women's role in the military, in the form of a time-travel dialogue between today's soldier and a Vietnam era grunt.
Pregnant women on death row. I don't understand why this is an issue. I'm not commenting on capital punishment here, a problem in itself, but what's the rush? Why not just wait until the child is born?