Saturday, November 01, 2008

A frustrating morning

Now that my pre-dawn gym expeditions are on hold, Saturday mornings I have come to look forward to my pre-natal yoga class for the stretching and physical challenge. I really enjoy the way that yoga challenges my body and I've heard that pre-natal yoga's focus on strengthening and stretching the hips and thighs can be very helpful for the birthing process. So, the perfect investment - short-term and long-term benefits.

But what is driving me NUTS is the 15-20 minute "bonding" session at the beginning of the practice, 'led' by the yoga instructor.

The premise is good - have moms in different stages of pregnancy share their experiences from the week. In reality, however, it's 15-20 minutes of the instructor preaching her holistic, spiritual clap-trap (to coin a very British phrase) in a patronizingly hushed tone and lullaby-like rhythm. Here is just a short list of some of the stuff I am being sold just to get a 45 minute yoga session:

  • Gestational diabetes doesn't exist - it was created by the medical profession to give them something to do.
  • Risks for mature moms (35+) is a myth. There is no such thing. (Again made up by all those bored doctors in their 4 years at medical school.)
  • Your subconscious fears actually keep your baby "inside" you, resulting in delayed labors and difficult births or even (gasp!) ceasarians. You should go to therapy to find out what is wrong with you now and cast-out those nasty demons to allow you to have only happy thoughts and to give birth naturally and easily. (Yeah, that's what it was - my mum was 2 months late and in labor for 36 hours because she didn't go to therapy.)
  • You can't take your baby to the nail salon because the fumes are toxic. (Give me a break - a little common sense and good ventilation can overcome this ridiculous fear.)
  • You don't need any of the pregnancy tests they subject you to. They're dangerous to the baby and unecessary.
  • You don't need epidurals or caesarians, even (in the latter case) if your doctor says you do. Even if your baby is breach and delivering vaginally poses a risk to you and your unborn child, only you know what's best for you and you should ignore the doctor if it "feels" right. The medical community is trying to force unecessary drugs and procedures on you - you must be strong and resist!!!! (I KID YOU NOT)

All of this is accompanied by recommendations for books you can read to further convince you to ignore everything your doctor says.

There is more and I'll endeavor to update you with any news ones as the weeks go on. Needless to say, I'm keeping my mouth shut through all of this. I already made the mistake in week 1 of mentioning that I still have the occasional glass of wine with dinner (can you say misreading your audience?) and I think that telling them that I'm doing every test in the book including, if necessary, the amnio, plus will be rooting for the epidural and all other drugs available to me, AND will quite happily jump on any opportunity to do it all through a scheduled c-section, will send them all into spontaneous labor right there and then.

My answer is that I am listening to my body and it's telling me to listen to the person who went to medical school for 4 years and that pain is bad, drugs are good.

So, that was frustration number one.

I was done with reeling from that experience and had just had a yummy lunch when I had the misfortune of turning onto a major street in my area, only to be assaulted by literally hundreds of people waving "YES ON 8" signs at me for at least 10 blocks.

For those of you who don't live in California, Proposition 8 is a ballot measure that seeks to modify the state constitution to prevent gay people from getting married. This isn't just a law against same-sex marriages, this is a law to modify the consitution - a document that is premised on fairness and equality for all. So, modifying it to prevent same-sex couples from marrying is somewhat akin, in a historical context, to putting in the constitution that black people or women can't vote.

For the last god-knows how many months now, we've been bombarded by Yes and No on 8 tv commercials and signs everywhere we look. Ridiculous, fear-based claims have been made by the prop's supporters that our children will be taught same-sex marriage in schools. They claim that they are "preserving" marriage as if gay people are suddenly going to come on into their homes, ravage them and turn their kids gay. It's all nonsense of course - marriage is just between a man and a woman right now and plenty of gay people still seem be born and plenty of heterosexual marriages still seem to end in divorce without any help from those batting for the other team. To suggest that the family unit is about to be smashed apart because two people of the same sex that love each other can get married, is so crazy that it's hard to believe anyone buys into it. I can list a thousand societal changes and ills in the last century that have led to decreased marriages and increased divorces, the loss of community, and the break-down of the family unit and not one of them has anything to do with women having sex with women or men having sex with men behind closed doors.

Of course, I do understand that homosexuality is a sin in many religions. I understand AND respect those views. If you're deeply religious and you don't want to be homosexual or don't want to acknowledge homosexuals, you know what? You don't have to do either. There's not a law anywhere that says you should be or embrace homosexuality either in your own life or in the lives of others. That's what's so great about democracy and a secular, pluralistic society - everyone can believe and do, within reason, what they want. It's one of the things Americans, as a whole, pride themselves on. The country was built upon those beliefs, for heavens's sake.

So, what makes me mad is not that some people don't want gays to marry. That I understand. What makes me boiling mad and sick to my stomach, is that they would try to legislate their right to. That they would support placing discriminatory language in a document - the constitution, a document that is built upon fairness and equality for "all", not just the people your God or church approves of.

You know, I looked up just the 10 commandments (because it was easier than reading through the whole bible) and the following are listed. Should we legislate against those too?

- Do not have any other gods before me.

- You shall not make wrongful use of the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not acquit anyone who misuses his name.

- But the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God; you shall not do any work—you, your son or your daughter, your male or female slave, your livestock, or the alien resident in your towns.

- You shall not commit adultery.

If we legislated based upon just judeo-christian beliefs, then all those Macy's workers who greet us on Sunday would be imprisoned; every time someone said "Oh God!" they'd be thrown in jail (I'd have been executed by now but that's besides the point); Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, and Jews would be thrown in the clinker; and church attendance would drop in half because all the cheating wives and husbands of the world would have received 6-months.

But I digress...

A YES on Prop 8 no matter what your beliefs are, is discrimination pure and simple. I just can't get my conscience around it. And perhaps it's because I'm pregnant that seeing these people jumping up and down on street corners around me makes my blood, quite literally boil.

I had tears of anger in my eyes today as I drove down those ten blocks with my arm out the window, rain soaking my sleeve and thumb pointed firmly down in dissent. I picked up the phone to my husband and told him what I was seeing. Per chance, he had also driven down the same street just minutes earlier and was equally as worked up. We agreed there and then that we would bring our child up to treat everyone equally, even if he or she doesn't agree with them, and that if our son or daughter was gay or lesbian then we would not feel disappointment or sadness. Many of the nicest, most caring and joyful people we have met in our lives are gay and we would be proud to have a joyful, caring son our daughter in our lives.

Whether our son/daughter or someone else's, they deserve the same rights as the rest of us.

NO ON 8.


e said...

NO ON 8!!!!!!

I agree wholeheartedly with everything you say. Fight, fight, fight!

Mala said...

Amen to that.
And it totally felt RIGHT to get that epidural.
Congratulations on keeping your thoughts to yourself during those bonding sessions. :)

Mala said...

Btw, for some reason I am not able to comment on your other blog.

e said...

That yoga lady sounds like a looney. Don't listen to that nonsense. Not that you are.

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