ability pregnancy and the living body
May 3, 2009 § Leave a comment
am thinking alot on able-ism and womens reproductive health. specifically when i got pregnant. and the way that pregnancy – the hormonal changes – made me tired tired tired. very low energy. 80 percent deaf. i couldnt work outside the house. and how very little understanding i received. i would tell folks i was deaf. they would say the next sentence or two louder and then go back to speaking in their normal tones. and then i would ask them to speak up again. they would speak louder for a sentence or two and then go back. and then (this is what got me) they would stop speaking to me because it was just too difficult – for them. so i would sit at family dinners with all of this conversation flying around me. and feeling so isolated. because it was about everyone around me feeling comfortable. and i just needed to adjust.
and i know that i have done this to others.
actually that is what pregnancy taught me. because i didnt have a ‘normal ideal’ pregnancy i learned alot about how folks treat you when you dont fit the norm in terms of body and ability. i took birthing classes where i could barely hear my instructors and then had them tell me that i seemed: out of it. like me being deaf wasnt a reality.
if i talked about how hard it was to be pregnant the conversation was re-routed to what a glorious time of life being pregnant was. or at least i think that is what it was re-routed to. i couldnt really hear folks.
people laughed at me being deaf. cause that is what you do when some one is feeling isolated. mock them.
you see my body, my being, my experience was under my control. and if i wasnt having a good time. well that was because i needed an attitude adjustment. not i needed to change where i was living. not i needed more sunshine. not i needed more money so that i could buy the type of foods and medicines that would make me not so deaf or tired. not i needed to be seen, respected, treated, and talked about (yeah even when i wasnt there) as a an equal human being who deserved any and all of the support that i deemed that i needed in order for me to be healthy.
no what i needed was to be less negative. less whiney. to suck it up.
i needed to be trusted that what i said i needed – was *actually* what i needed. and not what others decided that i *really* needed.
in the same way that for years for most of my life. i have had menses pain. cramps sounds way too benign. serious cervix dilation blood clots bigger than my fingers tears in my eyes praying for death pain. labor-like pain.
and when i tell folks this. they roll their eyes. start asking me if i have seen a doctor. or tried this herb. or had this surgery. because this cant be *normal*. no its not normal. its real.
this is why i get so sick of hearing how menses shouldnt affect any other part of our life because its ‘natural’. yeah so are earthquakes and tornados.
basically folks dont believe me. or think i have been somehow irresponsible toward my body. not taken care of it well enough. not seen enough doctors or something.
i actually had a woman tell me that she would not allow an employee to take off work because of menstrual pain without a doctors note! wtf would that doctors note say? and how would a woman who is already in so much pain that she cant go to work be able to make it to the doctors anyway? sit in a waiting room for how long? to say what? im in pain? what does this woman think? there are xrays for pain thresholds? he is going to hook her up to a monitor to see how hard she grits her teeth?
what if the woman is poor? how would she afford that doctors visit? esp since she already missed a day of work?
maybe just maybe we dont have any control over our bodies. and neither do doctors really. maybe that is the real lesson of nature. we cant control it. we cant control the pain if it comes. we cant control how life will gestate in our bodies. we just have to ride with it. be honest about it. and take care of each other by giving each other what we say we need.
maybe those folks who think that they can control their bodies are the ones living an illusion. just because your body acts like the ideal is just that…just because. its no great feat of yours. its just that there are 6-7 billion bodies on this planet. each one different. different just because. and there is no ‘secret’ or positive wishing attitude bull shit that makes your body act the way that it does or mine act the way that it does. its not karma. its not yoga. its not anything more than the difference in fingerprints.
and the fact that society has determined that *these* bodies that act *this* way are considered ideal, while is not a random designantion (because as moya points out the bodies that are idealized are also the ones that are best at being a means for production under capitalism and are white and male and intersect with a bunch of other isms) has nothing to do with you or me as a person. says nothing about our will power. or strength of character. our intelligence. our dedication. our fortitude. our ability to love.
so taking pride in one’s able-ism (and i used to do this all the time…that is a gift that pregnancy gave me…to see what a bunch of bullshit that pride was…)is nonsense. its not about will power. its just a living body.