Genetic Progenies

The thing about living things is that reproduction for them is a biological imperative. Like take the virus, for example — its main reason for being is to produce another virus and then another and another; until it is just swimming in a sea, an ocean of its copies.

FYI, humans are not viruses. Although we are mammals (and the creationists would probably disagree), we have developed this thing called “culture” and we have (supposedly) this trait called “rational thought” ; so that our actions are governed by them and not by instincts alone. We act after an intelligent discernment of our condition and surroundings — ideally.

So genetic progenies are not necessarily bad, if they are already there. Like, kicking and screaming and demanding for milk or attention. If they are still zygotes … well their right to “live” is probably debatable. I think that the right of a living, breathing, thinking, woman should take precedence over a zygote’s … but that’s just me.

It is terribly insulting and very sexist to ask a woman why she doesn’t have a child; men are never asked that question (thank you Zooey Deschanel for that wonderful idea!).

There may be something racist and classist in perceiving minority women or poor women as irresponsible  sluts for having kids like rabbits. However … I have met some of these women … and they can sound very irresponsible. I lay the blame on their parents though, for not bringing them up well and not giving them a good education. Parents can so fuck up their children’s lives — especially when/if those children become parents themselves. Talk about a cycle of irresponsibility.

There is a whole world of reason why women (hey men are part of this too, or aren’t they?) have or do not have genetic progenies. Sometimes, there may not even be a reason. It (the pregnancy) just happened.

Like a thunderstorm or an earthquake.

I was interviewing a pregnant patient, and I was counseling her on family planning. She tells me that after this child, she does not want another. So I suggest, that she and her husband should decide on a family planning method. I drone on and on about the methods that are available. And this morning, the woman gave birth, and I offered her the family planning method that is currently available in the clinic which is IUD. The woman refused; said that she will just take the pill. I do not believe her. This is her fifth child by husband number 4 and I have this niggling feeling that she keeps having children to have a hold over the men she has relationships with.

I am saying this from the point of view of the child, who was not asked to be born: Hey parents, it is not your right to have kids. If you cannot bring us up in a manner that will not make us a nuisance to society, then do not have us at all. Underpopulation is currently not a world problem. And hey, it should be okay to have sex … I mean what hypocrisy is it that you tell a 15 year old child to preserve her virginity when sex is so much fun that you “accidentally” had me when you were young.

Fuck.

 

***

Reading Lists:

http://mic.com/articles/112910/12-women-who-had-the-best-response-to-society-s-biggest-expectation

http://nymag.com/thecut/2014/08/25-famous-women-on-childlessness.html

http://theoatmeal.com/comics/kids

http://nymag.com/thecut/2015/03/when-men-want-kids-and-women-arent-so-sure.html

http://www.rappler.com/move-ph/issues/gender-issues/83453-early-pregnancy-philippines?utm_content=buffere26f1&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_campaign=buffer

http://www.lifehack.org/articles/money/10-differences-between-middle-class-and-rich-people.html

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Necessary Fictions

Ana met up with Carrie after the conference. This was one of those seminars that people in Ana’s profession go to out of obligation. In her case, Ana felt obligated to attend because Carrie, who is a dear friend, already paid for her registration.

 

Ana started reading Mills and Boon before puberty. So maybe that's why she is R-rated and Carrie is PG. Mills and Boon are the precursors of Fifty Shades of Grey, with better editing.

Ana started reading Mills and Boon before puberty. So maybe that’s why she is R-rated and Carrie is PG. Mills and Boon are the precursors of Fifty Shades of Grey, with better editing. They sold to women who wanted to have fun. People cannot seem to understand this. Sex+love=romance and romance sells because it’s fun. Atrocious editing, bad narrative structure and seemingly shallow characterizations are (sometimes, though not all the time) superfluous. A roller coaster does not need to be blue for one to feel adrenaline rush while riding it. An orgasm is an orgasm whether one has had  it with a dildo or with something else. Picture from bankstownnorthps.com.au

 

Once upon a time, Ana and Carrie worked in the trenches together. They were excellent soldiers — obedient with just the right amount of cynicism; they could look at blood and gore with clinical detachment; they could sublimate their fear, disgust and depression, until a more appropriate time (however long that takes). They could have been made into generals. Ana actually rose to captain but she found that she  hated soldiering and was in it only for the money. For these girls (or women), Carrie and Ana, their passive-aggressiveness is an effective antibiotic to future success.

Now Ana  is thinking: there is something about being in a war-zone (which is basically what their previous job was all about) that draw people closer. If I had been more determined, and gave in to my Inner Goddess and quit while I was still  relatively sane, Carrie would not have been my friend. I would not be sitting here now, drinking mojito and commiserating about our husband’s infrequent erections.

Carrie: I think something happened after I gave birth. That fourth degree laceration really took something out of my sex life. Maybe it’s the lubrication or something.

Ana: I miss it when we were in our twenties and would have sex every other day. Half the time I was asleep, which is a bummer now that I look back on it. Men’s interest really go down with age.

Carrie: I love our daughter and I think I don’t mind not having sex with Ian at all.

Ana: Really!? You mean that?

Carrie: Ana, of course I’m lying! But I can’t help thinking that he doesn’t really love me. That he just married me because I got pregnant?

Ana: Oh please! Are we going back to this storyline? Harlequin, Loveswept, Silhouette, even Mills and Boon novels are teeming with the accidental-pregnancy-plot-that-leads-to-marriage — haven’t you learned anything by now?

(Carrie’s face is blank so Ana would have to spell it out for her)

Ana: Ian loves you, get that through your thick head. It’s not as if you pointed a gun at him and made him marry you.

Carrie: For men, isn’t an accidental gestation just like pointing a gun to their  heads?

Ana: (Silent. How would she know? She had never been pregnant.) Tell me again how your daughter was an accident?

Carrie: I forgot to take my pill.

Ana: Wow, that’s stupid.

Carrie: Thank you, Ana. That is very insightful.

Ana: Well if you will do it all over again, I’m sure that that you will not prefer not having had your daughter. I mean, Arielle is cute and smart and she will probably be your last chance at genetic mortality because, and I quote, women’s chance at conception drastically go down at 39 even with IVF. Hey look, you should have another kid, otherwise, you will smother this one.

Carrie: I am on DMPA.

Ana: Wow, is that so. Well you’re 38, you should probably give yourself a deadline. Don’t be like me. I am still not passionate about progenies and I’m only 3 years younger than you.

Carrie: Having a child is difficult. A real drain on the finances, and on your energy. You want to give her the best. And it’s depressing when you realize you can’t.

Ana: I am so glad you said that. I am tired of these women, and even men, who keep yammering on like having a kid is the Holy Grail.

Carrie: Of course they will say that Ana. It’s a necessary fiction.

 

***

Review of the week: Fifty Shades of Grey

“we should not begrudge E. L. James her triumph, for she has, in her lumbering fashion, tapped into a truth that often eludes more elegant writers—that eternal disappointment, deep in the human heart, at the failure of our loved ones to acquire their own helipad.”

 

fifty-shades-grey-men

 

 

 

Sex Ed and Other Matters

I was about to attend a Policy Forum on Teen Pregnancy. It’s supposed to be today, but I just found that it has been postponed.

I expect it to be rich on informative, insightful lectures and speeches; and poor on workable solutions.

There is a culture of hypocrisy in this country as far as pregnancy is concerned. As far as sex is concerned, actually.

We are a people who tell our children, “do as I say, not as I do.”

For example, a grandmother of 35 brought her 16 year old pregnant daughter to the clinic yesterday. The grandmother is also pregnant with her 5th child with husband number 2. She tells me, referring to her pregnant daughter, “Ewan ko ba kung bakit nagpabuntis yan ng ang aga aga.” (I don’t know how she got herself pregnant at such a young age..”) What did they say about the pot and the kettle?

Congressman Manny Pacquaio is adamantly opposed to artificial contraception. His wife Jinkee has been using oral contraceptive pills to space her pregnancies. Good for you Jinkee … now please tell your husband to be consistent in his convictions.

Health workers are supposed to advise our clients about family planning. A week ago, a patient was willing and able to undergo tubal ligation (a procedure to tie her fallopian tubes that will permanently prevent her from getting pregnant). So I was ready to perform the procedure when my midwife reminded me that we have no anesthesia supplies.

Uhhh … I’m sorry Ms. Family Planning Client, I will have to refer you to another government facility because we lack supplies. And no, we weren’t given supplies for IUD or DMPA either. I can advise you about Lactational Amenorrhea Method (LAM) and Calendar-Based Methods. Oh I see, LAM didn’t work for you because you had to work in a factory that doesn’t have breastfeeding facilities;  and Calendar Based Method is so difficult to do because, really it feels sooo good to have sex when you’re ovulating … I can agree with the great sex during ovulation part 🙂

During Women’s Month (which is, incidentally, this month!), the mayor proudly announces that the health facilities in the local government provide complete and comprehensive family planning services.

The truth is: most funding for Family Planning come from foreign aid agencies.

Another truth is: the Department of Health (DOH), like a lot of government agencies, is wishy washy about reproductive health because of the Catholic lobby.  When they ask for funding for family planning supplies from Congress, god-fearing congressmen shoot them down.

Yeah, yeah, Undersecretary Garin is now at the helm of the Family Health Office and she was a proponent of the RH Law. Well good luck to her. I hope she doesn’t use her DOH post as just another stepping stone to higher political office.

In countries that have curbed teen pregnancy and have decreased unplanned pregnancy, education played a big role. And so in the Philippines, sex education is  being espoused as a solution to prevent pregnancy among adolescents. So okay, fine, but where and how will we conduct this so-called sex education if we lack classrooms; we lack teachers; the teachers are uninspired and underpaid; the school books are crap;  and the students are hungry?

And was I the only one who has noticed that the agencies who are very active in the Sex Ed/Teen Pregnancy advocacy are DSWD and DOH? Where does the DepEd come in all this? Are they, or are they not, the ones who are primarily in charge of education? Ah but my dear, Education is quite different from sex education

Do the people advocating sex education even know how  it is supposed to be conducted?

I can hear my 16-year old self: If sex feels soooo good, how can you keep us from it? If being a parent is so stress inducing, why did you go through with it?

The thing is, people become parents even if they don’t know how to answer such questions from a 16-year old.

Cynicism has its place and I don’t know if mine is warranted.

The virgin mary and me. I'm sure even she and Joseph had sex.

The Virgin Mary and me. I’m sure even she and Joseph had sex.