A Message to the Gentlemen July 8, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Christina M @ 12:06 pm

You hear a lot these days about abortion being a “women’s issue.” (No pun intended.) You’ll hear people say that men have no right to an opinion on the subject, though those same people will welcome a man’s opinion if it is “pro choice.”  They will say, though, that it is none of your business if you presume to think about it beyond that. Until you can conceive, they yell, any other thoughts on the subject constitute a bullying attempt at male dominance over women, subjecting them to the barefoot and pregnant, in the kitchen, cowering under your fist role.

And you know you aren’t abusive.

So you begin to think that if you would never hit a woman or tell her she has no right to a paid job or respect of any kind, then your only other option is to support unlimited abortion on demand at taxpayer expense.

Honey,  I’ve got news for you. You’ve been manipulated.

Until men have no part in conception, no legal requirement to pay child support, no moral obligation to ensure their progeny’s well-being, it is your business. Giving rights to one group of people should never, ever, in a civilized society, mean trampling the rights of another group. To believe that isn’t old-fashioned, and it doesn’t make you an ogre or a wife-beater.

And for that matter, old fashoned isn’t beastly. And beastliness isn’t old-fashioned. A man who denies “his woman” basic rights or respect isn’t old-fashioned, he’s just a beast. That isn’t an element of conservatism or liberalism, modern thinking or tradition… it is oafishness of a kind that defies age and transcends generation. Some men are oafs, most are not. But to define a man as abusive based on his political bent or desire to have a say in his child’s well-being is preposterous. You do NOT have to fall for that machination.

Having a say isn’t merely a matter of men’s rights or women’s rights, anyway. It is also a matter of (listen carefully, it’s a phrase you won’t hear spoken loudly and in public often) ethics, compassion, and morality. It goes beyond party affiliation or self-definition as liberal or conservative. Morality is not reserved to the “Christian right,” no matter what some may tell you. For that matter, neither is manliness.

And manliness isn’t something to be ashamed of. Abuse isn’t manly. Disrespect isn’t manly. But protecting those who need protection is manly.

Helping a woman who is being raped is manly.  Stopping a mugger is manly. Buying (and cooking) food for your family is manly. Paying child support if you can’t raise your child yourself is manly. And defending a child — no matter how old or young — from child abuse or infanticide is definitely manly.

A man who refuses or neglects to protect those who need protecting doesn’t deserve the title of man. He isn’t modern or enlightened, he is a wimp and an ennabler. A man who supports a woman in killing his own offspring is cooperating in child abuse, and is therefore an abuser… the very sort of person he is trying to avoid being.

So don’t let people manipulate you into thinking you deserve no say. Remember, if they really believed that they would oppose you for being pro-choice as fast as they would oppose you for being pro-life. If they really believed that only those in “danger” of  bearing a child deserve a say, they would oppose lesbians and menopausal women from speaking their mind, too.

In a civilized society, one person should not have liberty to trample the rights of another.

 
 

The Central Question about Abortion July 4, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Christina M @ 10:48 am

The thing I think we sometimes forget is that people are human beings, not just causes or issues. I know our nation has forgotten that when it comes to abortion. Abortion has become a political platform, a women’s issue, or a crusading cause. People forget to ask themselves the simple, basic, obvious question: how should we treat vulnerable human beings?

If we have any kindness, any humanity in us, we need to ask not what side of the issue validates our political leanings, but what is the kind and compassionate thing to do to a tiny person.

It’s time to stop treating people like mere cogs in our political ideologies.

 
 

A letter to the President March 25, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Christina M @ 5:13 pm

Dear President Obama,

I don’t know that you will ever read this; yet I feel I must share my feelings, if nothing else because I know that so many others feel the same way. I hope that if enough people express these same thoughts, they will come to your attention and you may know that they are not just the ravings of an angry minority.

What I want to tell you is that I am deeply saddened by abortion. I am saddened by the loss that human beings, both unborn and mothers, face. I am also saddened that our nation has put such pressure on young people to stay young, avoid sexual responsibility, and do anything to keep a man, that millions of women who do not want abortions are being pressured into them anyway.

Most of all, I am saddened that our nation appears to be heading in the direction of such callousness that it no longer offers any protection to its most vulnerable people.

I am not entirely sad, though. I am also happy to know that polls have repeatedly shown that most people support the limiting or elimination of abortion on demand. The vast majority want it either ended, or limited to only extreme and rare cases. And that is the primary reason I am writing to you. I want to remind you that America is not a heartless nation.

I know that you may feel that we are a pro-choice nation, because you ran on a pro-choice platform and won. But I and many others want to tell you that this is a mistaken perception. Many of the people who voted for you are pro-life, but hoped that abortion would take a back seat in your policies because they had financial fears that they hoped you would help to solve. It may look like a majority support your pro-choice platform, but the reality is that most Americans do not. They are simply troubled on so many issues that this was not the issue that decided their vote.

I believe, Mr. President, that you and many others in the federal government try to keep to views that you perceive as being popular among your constituents. I honestly understand this. You want to get elected, and you want to represent the views of the majority. But what you may not realize is that pro-choice politics do not represent the views of most Americans. Most of us are moderate, and truly wish to see the abortion struggle end differently from this slaughter we see today.

I ask you, Mr. President, to reconsider your views on abortion and other issues that affect vulnerable people in the United States. I ask you to pay attention to the vast numbers of people who believe that abortion should be limited. And I ask you to realize that corporate money from those who profit from abortion is not what won you the election. You owe a far greater debt to the people of the US than you do to corporate electioneers.

Finally, I want to say that this is a tremendous opportunity for you. We live in a time of such turmoil that your decisions on matters like this can make or break our nation. You have the opportunity to show yourself as the courageous and compassionate person who had the strength to protect those who cannot protect yourself. In so doing, you would gain a level of respect that I suspect you cannot even imagine.

Thank you for considering my words, and the thoughts of so many others who feel the same way.

—Christina Martin

 
 

I’m a Little Angry… or Maybe it’s a Power Surge March 23, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Christina M @ 10:59 am

You know how we keep hearing that sex ed is really health education, right? They say that Planned Parenthood is about educating young people about their bodies because those mean Christians would keep them in the dark. It isn’t really about promoting sexual abandon, it’s just about letting them have enough information to make their own choices… right?

But if it were really about educating women so that they know their bodies and how they work, where is the information about menopause? We are bombarded with talk about pubic hair and menstruation and liberation from “outdated” morality; but when do we ever hear the realities of what happens to our bodies after menarche?

They tell us how to apply a condom, but they don’t tell us how to tell when we’re fertile. They tell us how to get body-altering hormone treatments when we are not sick, but they don’t tell us about the side effects. They tell us about “all” those changes of our bodies, but they don’t say word one about menopause. Let’s face it, Planned Parenthood and others like them are only interested in teen sexuality, not in the overall sexual health of females.

This is why, when I wanted to learn how to tell when I’m fertile, I had to go to Christian sources and alternative health sources. This is why my state repeatedly tells me they’ll pay for pills for me, but not for a thermometer and a class. And this is why it is darn near impossible to find any information at all about menopause.

When I wanted to find out when it typically happens, it took me months of research to find the answer. Learning about the phases of menopause (and perimenopause) was tougher. They all said “oh, you get hot flashes and mood swings.” But I couldn’t find out for how long, or what is happening inside the body when these things happen. And frankly, maybe it’s because I’m a perimenopausal bundle of hostilities, but it makes me mad that those who get so much credit for caring about women’s health and disseminating information are completely ignoring menopause. I guess there’s no money in those who aren’t getting unwanted pregnancies.

I did finally find my information, though. I finally realized I needed to stop searching for “menopause” and start searching for “menopause” and “nfp.” (That’s natural family planning.) Only then did I find real information beyond hot flashes. And surprise, surprise, most of those promoting NFP are Christians.

I recently bought a couple of books on menopause at a thrift store. I’ve begun reading one of them, and by the end of the first paragraph was already frustrated. That’s the first paragraph of the introduction, mind you. The author said that one of the consolations of menopause is the kids moving out. Please tell me she doesn’t mean I can expect this process to last the next 17 years, till my youngest reaches adulthood. Ok, I know that isn’t what she means. What she means is the same thing most people in the secular world seem to believe: that sex is not related to childbearing.

Let me explain. Sex, or actually fertile sex, is something that is perceived to last long after a woman might realistically have children. Any woman who hits menopause hasn’t had any babies for twenty years. Sure, she’s having sex; but what does that have to do with having babies? People like me, who believe that fertility and parenting go hand in hand, simply aren’t supposed to exist. We contradict the current thinking about the purpose of sex, so we just get ignored. Besides, I suspect we’re believed to be too ignorant to be reading books like this about sexual health, anyway.

I really hope the other book turns out to be better. I’m looking for information, not preconceived notions about the social aspects of middle aged sex and childbearing. (No pun intended.)

I guess I’m ranting more than offering a genuine insight; but I am extremely frustrated. Why is in-depth information so difficult to find? I want to know what to expect as I enter a new phase, as much now as I did when I was twelve. Maybe those who do have information should be a little more forthcoming, and less private about it. It’s just as well I don’t get my information from Planned Parenthood, all things considered. I probably wouldn’t trust it much. But I do wish that NFP and its perspectives on fertility and understanding what the female body is doing were not so closely guarded and reserved for people who can afford classes.

 
 

Why I’m Pro-Life November 15, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — Christina M @ 8:43 am

I could post on this subject a million times and have something different to say each time. Today, I want to give the un-reasons. The I’m not pro-life becauses.

  • I’m not pro-life because I’m conservative. Yes, I am more conservative than liberal, but I am not a “my side at all costs” conservative. I’m liberal on several issues, at least at heart. I oppose the death penalty. I believe that society must help those who need help (though I frequently disagree with modern liberal thinking about how that help should occur, I tend also to disagree with conservatives on the subject). I am not afraid to disagree with the “conservative” canon when I think it’s wrong.

  • I’m not pro-life because I’m a Republican. In fact, I’m only marginally a Republican in many ways, because I believe that conscience must always come before party affiliation. This ties in with the previous comment, because I believe that conscience must always come before political persuasion of the non-party type, also.

  • I’m not pro-life because I hate women. I love women, and I love being a woman. In fact, I am pro-life because I’m sick of the bum deal that men are giving women in abortion. Abortionists (mostly men) are making a pretty penny off of women by selling their wares, and pushing, and hawking, and instructing, and indoctrinating, and luring. I’ve seen women (girls) forced into abortion clinics to have abortions against their will. I’ve known women who were in situations where someone tried to force them to have abortions against their wills. I know three such women very closely.

  • Which brings me to my next not. I’m not pro-life because I’m anti-choice. I have seen too many instances where “pro-choice” politics and individuals have fought against individual and group choice. When “pro-choice” organizations like Planned Parenthood fight against informed consent (the right to a sonogram and accurate pregnancy information before making a choice about abortion, for example) it tells me that they are not concerned with women’s choice at all, but only with the bottom line.

  • I’m not pro-life because I’m judgmental. I want people to stop judging girls and women for being pregnant. First of all, I am, and you are, a sinner and unworthy to cast the first stone. Second, premarital sex may be a sin, but babies are never a sin. Let me reiterate that: Babies are NEVER a sin. Got that?

  • I’m not pro-life because I’m mean. I think it’s mean to pressure women into a painful and psychologically damaging procedure. I think it’s mean to dismember a human being because he or she is an inconvenience. I think it is mean to treat any human individual as a political issue or tool, rather than as a person. I believe that whenever possible, we as a society should be compassionate. And killing people is not compassionate.

  • I’m not pro-life because I’m Catholic. Yes, my faith requires me to uphold the value of human life. But frankly, I would be pro-life even if I were an atheist, because every human being has inherent value and I do not believe that one has more value than another, just because of age. And I do not think you have to be a Christian to believe in human worth.

  • I’m not pro-life because I “just don’t understand.” Yes, I do understand that for many women carrying a child and having the pregnancy become public knowledge can be traumatic and even have devastating repurcussions. Yes, I do understand financial difficulty. (Ask anyone who knows me; boy, oh boy do I understand that one.) Yes, I do understand fear, and having one’s life plans interrupted, and having to make sacrifices. I’ve been through all of those things. Yes, even in conjunction with some of my own pregnancies. But having been through those difficulties, I’ve also learned that there is light at the end of the tunnel, even when we are too far away from it to see it yet. I’ve learned that every single time I’ve made a sacrifice because it was the right thing to do, blessing has resulted. Long term, permanent, beautiful, life-altering blessing. Blessing of a sort that we cannot create for ourselves.

I know all the stereotypes about why people are pro-life. I’ve even known a few (very few) people who fit those stereotypes. But most of the people I know who oppose abortion do so for very similar reasons to my own.

My friends, and even those who might think themselves my enemies, if you are pro-choice, I beg you to spend half an hour today considering the other side. Nobody but you has to hear your thought processes. Nobody will judge you for it, and nobody will force you to change your views. But please, in the name of kindness, just spend half an hour thinking about it. Then, if you remain unchanged on the subject, you can return to your regularly scheduled thoughts. And may God bless you.

 
 

Catechism Highlights October 9, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — Christina M @ 10:36 am

Some teaching worth reflecting upon as those of us in the United States prepare to vote:

1867 The catechetical tradition also recalls that there are “sins that cry to heaven”: the blood of Abel,[139] the sin of the Sodomites,[140] the cry of the people oppressed in Egypt,[141] the cry of the foreigner, the widow, and the orphan,[142] injustice to the wage earner.[143]

1868 Sin is a personal act. Moreover, we have a responsibility for the sins committed by others when we cooperate in them:
– by participating directly and voluntarily in them;
– by ordering, advising, praising, or approving them;
– by not disclosing or not hindering them when we have an obligation to do so;
– by protecting evil-doers.

 
 

I’ll be waiting to hear apologies to the Palins. September 1, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — Christina M @ 9:00 am

I have a feeling I’ll be waiting a long time. Even people who did not believe the rumors were very, very quick to spread them just the same. These same people often people who would call it “mean,” “uncharitable,” or “immature” if similar rumors were spread about a Democrat. Now it’s been announced that Bristol Palin is 5 months pregnant, which of course makes it virtually impossible for her to be the mother of her 4 month old sibling.

The evidence was overwhelmingly against the rumors: legal documents, including birth certificates. Announcements of Sarah Palin’s pregnancy, the fact that the baby has Down Syndrome, which is much, much more likely in one’s 40’s than in one’s teens. The only evidence I’ve seen to the contrary is photos that show Sarah covered with bulky clothing, and the comment that no 44 year old with grown children would get pregnant. All of the speculation was spurious, yet those who knew it still spread the rumors.

Now that the rumors are known to be false, I don’t really anticipate any apologies from those mean-spirited people who spread them. I hope they prove me wrong.

 
 

The Death of Inconvenience June 27, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — Christina M @ 7:56 pm

Today I was greeted at the entrance to the store by a man seeking petition signatures to get items on the ballot. One of them was called “Death with dignity.” I cringe even thinking about what it means. “If you have any dignity, you’ll off yourself when you become inconvenient.”

If that sounds cynical, ask yourself what the message of abortion on demand is. Take a refresher course on the Michael Schiavo School of Disability Management. Let’s face it, those who are not 100% self-reliant are treated like parasites on society, no thought given to their past or future accomplishments, or to the fact that by the very fact of their life they have dignity.

So we call it “choice” and kill inconvenient babies. We call it “dignity” and hurry the elderly on their way. We call it “right to die,” and we decide for the disabled that they can’t really want to live. And we pat ourselves on the back for having brought ourselves to this advanced, modern, humanist way of thinking. We value humans so much that we convince ourselves that the ones who don’t have any value should be gone to help those who do have value to have a better human existence. Not only that, but we then go on to convince ourselves it’s a kindness we have done.

All of this reminds me of the quote attributed to Ben Franklin, that democracy is two wolves and a sheep deciding what’s for dinner. We cannot truly call ourselves enlightened until we start caring about the needs of the sheep.

 
 

You know you’re a big family if… August 14, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — Christina M @ 7:45 pm

You know you’re a big family when…

…people count the number of your children out loud when you’re in public
…people ask, “Are they all yours?”
you start counting your children when you’re out in public
…you have at least three bunk beds set up in your home
…almost everyone you know has less children than you do
…people say, “Wow! How do you manage?”
…people ask you, out of the blue, if you are Mormon or Catholic.
…you buy your pots and pans in the restaurant supply store
…supposed “family size” food portions seem awfully small
…you complain, “Doesn’t anyone make large dining tables anymore?”
…you outgrow your mini-van
…you’ve heard “Don’t you know what causes that?” more times than you’d care to remember
…you’ve forgotten what it’s like to be alone anywhere else but in the bathroom
…your children never run out of playmates among their siblings
…everything you buy is in bulk
…people ask, “Don’t you get overwhelmed?”
…you and your husband can no longer hold each child’s hand while crossing the street
…it takes a wonderfully long time to hug and kiss everybody
…one of your children looks wistfully at the newborn and asks you, “Can’t you have another baby really soon? I hardly get to hold this one because everybody else is taking turns.”
…you realize that few houses are designed with your family in mind
…people ask you if you’ve ever accidentally left any of your children behind
…life around your family never seems boring or dull
…your tent is the largest one in any campground
…you feel sorry for people with only two children
…you sometimes wonder what on earth mothers with only two children do with all their spare time
…whenever you set your dining table, it looks like it used to look when you were expecting lots of company
…you read a cookbook and joke, “They call these meals? Sounds like a little snack to me.”
…your gratitude at the abundance of God’s blessing moves you to tears unexpectedly
…you start thinking of yourself as “rich in children”
…you secretly think that life in your family might possibly be a much more joyous adventure than life in smaller families
…you are vastly amused at much modern parenting advice, realizing that it is unnecessary, impossible, impractical, or simply silly to try to apply it in a large family setting
…it seems as if you pack more stuff going on a short trip than some people pack when moving their entire household
…you and your husband laugh, “And to think that when we got married, we wanted only four children!”
…your husband sighs happily, “I’ve finally got my dream car”–and it’s a used 15- passenger van.

I don’t know where this list originated, but I cannot tell you how true it rings.

 
 

There was an old lady who lived in a shoe June 8, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — Christina M @ 7:10 am

Very old, to hear my doctor talk.

I had my first OB appointment yesterday afternoon, and got the litany of risks, most of them age related. “You do realize that there’s a drastic increase in the chances of having a Down Syndrome child because of your age?” Yes. “As much as 1 in 260.” Yes. “There is also an increased risk of other genetic problems. Are there are any genetic or congenital conditions in your family?” Tourettes, Autism, Aspergers. (Scribble, scribble.) “Is there any diabetes in your family?” Yes. “Who?” I list various family branches and relationships. (Scribble, scribble.) “Do you remember the weights of your previous children?” Yes. 8-12, 7, 7, 8-14, “8-14? David, right? Are you sure?” Yes. (Thoughtful look.) 10-6 1/2. (Scribble, scribble.)

Then the lecture about what to expect. High risk pregnancy, watching it more closely, especially after 30 weeks… if there are any problems I get referred to an OB (my doctor is in family practice), am I sure I don’t have any particular worries about this one? Do I want genetic testing? Do I want genetic counseling?

The end conclusion is that the doctor is more worried than I am. I’m less than two years older than I was when the last pregnancy began, and I have no reason to think that 40 is some magic cutoff line between a healthy and an unhealthy pregnancy. I’m marginally older, and I believe I have marginally more risk. Frankly I’m more concerned with the risk of an upcoming c-section than I am with the risk of a baby with problems.

I’m also not terribly concerned that someone — even a doctor — think I’m old.

When You Are Old

When you are old and grey and full of sleep,
And nodding by the fire, take down this book,
And slowly read, and dream of the soft look
Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep;
How many loved your moments of glad grace,
And loved your beauty with love false or true,
But one man loved the pilgrim Soul in you,
And loved the sorrows of your changing face;
And bending down beside the glowing bars,
Murmur, a little sadly, how Love fled
And paced upon the mountains overhead
And hid his face amid a crowd of stars.
(William Butler Yeats)

My love has not fled. How can I be truly old?