This was and is the absolute last straw. I have been writing health and medical-related content on this blog for almost 2 years now and I have deliberately avoided this topic because I knew how it would be received. Mothers have been criticized and punished for their choices (and their femaleness) forever and now that we are all enlightened and feminist and shit, mothers and motherhood are beyond reproach. I know because the internet said so! Mom-shaming is right out, no one is allowed to criticize women who conceive, gestate, birth and/or raise children for anything because liberal feminism and besides, under patriarchy, women’s and mothers’ choices are artificially limited and (therefore) coerced so the fucked up things women “choose” for themselves and their children are not women’s fault. Radical feminism supposes that the things women choose are not even choices at all.
First as a liberal feminist and later as a radical, I accepted one or the other of these rationalizations for a long time and refused to criticize women and mothers on feminist grounds, where women as oppressed people previously and/or currently lack the social and political power to be fully actualized, engaged human beings and the central agents in their own lives. Between feminist arguments centering agency and non-agency (liberal and radical viewpoints respectively) women and mothers have secured a free pass to do and choose anything, absolutely anything, regardless of the consequences to themselves or to other people, or to animals, or to the living planet. Rather than examining cause and effect — meaning the intended and unintended consequences of our action and inaction — somehow “shame” has become the focus and women are not to be shamed, and by shamed we apparently mean held accountable for their own actions.
For one reason and then another, cause and effect have been deemed irrelevant to women and women’s choices and women’s interactions with our world — well, with mensworld as it were. Before feminism, women were simply expected to do what they were told and they usually did. But cause and effect are always relevant so long as we are alive on this planet because cause and effect is consistent with natural law. Get it? There are laws that have existed longer than humans, longer than civilization, longer than patriarchy, and which sure as hell predate feminism, and for a long, long time we have acted as if these natural laws were unimportant, or less important than other things. Less important than men’s laws. More recently, less important than not-shaming women. This has been our mindset for thousands of years by now — at least 10,000 years by my estimation, which was approximately the beginning of agriculture where humans sought to overcome or tame nature to our own ends.
We did this, we chose this, and we have been doing it and choosing it for a long time. Where we are now could be said to be the result of 10,000 years of that unnatural/patriarchal policy and practice of eschewing natural law. And where are we? I don’t think it would be exaggerating to say that we are in hell, utter hell, and if the above-linked article isn’t the perfect illustration of that type and degree of hell then I don’t know what is.
This woman gave birth to a child who was born with no anus, a missing kidney, a neurologically dysfunctional colon and bladder and a tethered spine. He was therefore temporarily stomatized for fecal collection as an infant and would later require laxatives and enemas daily for life to eliminate waste through a surgically-constructed “anus” and would likewise need to be catheterized every 3-4 hours for life in order to pee. The child was in pain every moment of every day and night even though his doctors were certain his conditions weren’t painful, and their negligence including misdiagnoses and complications from his spinal surgeries caused his bowel and bladder conditions to become even more debilitating and more painful than they would’ve been without their help. And that’s saying something isn’t it.
This child was born with a single kidney and without an ass (no hole and no cheeks) couldn’t pee and had a malformed spine (tethered spine is a neurological problem closely related to spina bifida) and these literal mother fuckers managed to make him worse. When he woke up screaming a dozen times a night the doctors told his mother that he wasn’t in pain and therefore, to let him cry it out. It took 18 months and yet another specialist to eventually conclude that the baby was in agony and wracked with excruciating bladder spasms which disallowed him to sleep. Seeing pee in his diapers for 18 months, everyone assumed he was urinating the normal way. He wasn’t. He was actually unable to pee at all but the spasms made him incontinent of urine. And being chronically unable to empty his bladder when it was full caused further damage. Despite this, the baby managed to be happy and playful during his days, but his nights were unbearable. 18 months worth. When the mother learned this, she cried.
And she should cry, mkay? Sorry not sorry, but this woman should be fucking ashamed. I strongly suspect she knows it too, and that’s what the tears were about. Just as I strongly suspect (well, I know) that she likely had people all around her telling her that it wasn’t her fault, that she did nothing wrong, that she had no choice, that’s not exactly true is it? She did have a choice, and she chose to give her nonviable infant over to doctors to
medically treat him. She chose to trust/believe them when they told her he felt no pain and to ignore his agonized screams. She let sadistic men torture her nonviable infant and later, her seriously, chronically ill child. No one did that but her. And I contend that this woman and her actions — where she gave birth to a nonviable infant and served him up to Big Medicine on a silver platter so it could have its gnarly way with him — were unconscionable and unforgivable, and not consistent with natural law. In fact, her actions were unconscionable and unforgivable because they were inconsistent with natural law.
That has to be our criteria for what is shameful or not, for what is correct or not. Doesn’t it? We see what happens when we use other (unnatural, male-made) criteria to judge our actions and inactions: we end up here, after 10,000 years of women letting men do whatever the fuck they wanted to do, and to whomever and whatever they desired to do it. After 10,000 years of women not protecting their kids, themselves or anyone or anything from male whims, fantasies and utter megalomania, and choosing to follow men’s law and to disregard natural law, we now exist in this hell-dimension where (among other horrors which are beyond the scope of this post) babies, young people and adults are ruthlessly tortured and made to endure pain of a type, degree and duration that has never been a part of the human experience ever.
And while I am not singling out any woman in particular, as this result has truly been a group effort across time and place, individual women are not — cannot be — beyond reproach. Not when the acts of individuals form the acts of the collective, and our collective action and inaction has produced this result: nonviable infants are disallowed a natural death and instead are unnaturally revived, cut open and experimented on, affixed with man-made devices, and left to suffer for years, decades, and lifetimes, only to die without dignity either as a consequence of their disease or its treatment.
Because they will succumb early and likely suffer painsomnia (the inability to sleep due to chronic pain) these seriously ill people will never die peacefully, as elderly people asleep in their beds. Being physically and/or mentally disabled or immobile they will likely be disallowed the dignity of an exciting death, where their pain and fear are tempered by naturally-produced endorphins and they go out with a bang. Many seriously chronically ill people won’t even be well enough to end their lives on their own terms, or will be denied euthanasia when the time comes. For anyone who doubts the hellish experience of people with chronic bowel dysfunction and elimination problems, I have written before about this man who was a nonviable infant stomatized at birth due to an unnervated colon (thanks, Mom! And Grandma! And 10-times great-Grandma!) and who lobbied successfully as an adult to be euthanized for the intractable pain and symptoms of his (allegedly) nonterminal Hirschprung disease. In the end, he died of a bowel infection related to his illness for which he declined treatment.
This is not okay, this type, degree and duration of suffering via Big Medicine is not okay, and women and mothers should be ashamed for letting doctors do this to their children. And very shortly thereafter, they should stop behaving shamefully and do the right thing, whatever that might be: that is, whatever is consistent with natural law. And when I say anyone “should” do anything, I only mean in the natural sense that we disregard natural law for male-made laws at our (and everyone’s and everything’s) peril. Cause and effect, ladies. Cause and effect.