Tuesday, March 17, 2009

systemic ass kicking

She didn’t call you back because her ultrasound read that she is 36 weeks.

This particular patient told me she was 6-8 weeks but actually she is going to give birth to a baby in about a month.

I find this scenario perplexing. I told someone at work about the woman and she said, “I just don’t understand, I mean didn't she get bigger as she got later?.”

Some people might argue that some women truly never show. This sounds ridiculous to me, lots of people in my life are pregnant and no matter what by week 36 they end up with more than what could be considered a beer belly. But every woman’s body is different and just because she gained some weight, maybe even in her stomach does not mean she knew exactly why. Lots of people’s weight fluctuates for all kind of reasons. This woman was definitely disconnected from what was going on with her physical body in same way. But I don't have the right to judge her experience of her body pregnant or not.

I wondered to myself if that woman would be ok, Will she find someone else to care for this child she did not want to bring into the world? Will she rise to the occasion? Or just become more lost and disengaged from world? Mostly I just hope she will figure out something that works for her and that might find a way to provide the kid with a life worth living. Adoption could be one option, except she is a brown woman so adoption would more than likely mean foster care of some kind. I take a moment to say a silent prayer for her and the child she will give birth to.

The mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual disconnection of people’s lives is so apparent in stories like these. The world we live in does not breed an environment that is conducive to holistic health and well being. An individual’s life is constantly determined by outside structures. So many people do not have the space to focus inward in order to rectify each part of their self or do any kind of healing physical or otherwise.

While trying to maneuver through the healthcare system a woman who needs an abortion may come in contact with the religious system when people protest her personal choice, she will come in contact with state laws that determine waiting periods and parental consent laws, she might be facing utility shut offs, her kids might need clothes for school and she will have to face the educational system and retail because their uniforms are just too expensive and the old ones don’t fit, she might deal with housing if she is facing eviction, or maybe she just got out of jail or the man involved is in jail and can’t give her any money. The criminal justice system isn’t about to chip in on the cause.

Each person’s life is structured based on their interaction with multiple institutions which make up multiple systems, creating a social structure. This is paraphrasing of an explanation of society found in most American sociology textbooks. Women who need abortions, particularly when they are poor, are dealing with multiple systems kicking them in the ass all at once. I guess it’s much easier to ignore a seemingly pudgy belly up until your due date when you are consistently occupied with survival. There really is never time to think about how you are feeling or what that cramp in you back is, or why your periods have seemed so light, it’s probably just from stress anyway.

1 comment:

  1. omg so true, all of it. thanks for writing this. and let's not forget how disconnected one can be from one's body because of ongoing abuse (sexual or not) or ptsd related to past abuse. women with current intimate partner violence are less aware of their LMPs than other women!


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