Wednesday, October 18, 2006


sidenote: i’m thinking about making these “honestly" posts a regular, if inconsistent, feature of this little blog. i often have these thoughts that i think i can’t really blog about for one reason or another - people will hate me! they won't understand me! they'll think i'm a bad person, send me nasty emails, stop reading my blog! but really, that's stupid. i should write about what it strikes me to write about, and people can certainly do with it what they will. at the very least, it’ll keep things interesting. hopefully.

ok, so. i don’t understand women who get pregnant.

(hackles up! got ‘em up? all right.)

i mean the above statement in two different ways. the first is that, yeah, i personally don’t understand women who get pregnant, period. i say “personally” because i do understand it in a logical sense, in a sociological sense, in a biological sense, etc. but on a personal level? i am flat-out flabbergasted by women who knowingly get pregnant.

why? here’s the thing. pregnancy, on a visceral level, grosses me out.* sometimes, when i see very pregnant women out in public, it turns my stomach. i’m not exaggerating. the idea of growing something inside you – very disturbing to me. and yes, pregnancy is a natural process, happens all the time, totally organic and blah blah blah. but i’m sorry, it’s weird to think about. i mean, if you had something growing inside you in any other context, you’d be wigged out. i’m not sure what makes a fetus any different. it is living inside your organs! it is (inflammatory but metaphorically fair language ahead) a parasite that lives off of you in order to survive! for nine months, you and the fetus attempt to share the resources of one human body – sometimes it works out fine, sometimes it doesn’t.

i know that millions of women choose this condition voluntarily, but i’ve just gotta say, i am mystified by that.

but do you want to know what i really don’t understand? (there’s more!)

women who get pregnant by accident.

now i’m not talking about women who are using some kind of birth control that fails (condom breakage, that unlucky winner of the 2% pill failure rate, etc). i guess it’s more women who, in this day and age, find themselves pregnant when they weren’t explicitly looking to get that way.

i must say, women who do this actually kinda fascinate me. it’s a little sick on my part, and entirely not my business, but i’m just dying to know how the hell it happened. (oh shut up, i know how it “happened,” all right.) i’m thinking, hey, have you heard? the 70s happened! margaret sanger happened! planned parenthood happened! widely available birth control, look into it!

there is one huge caveat here, and that is women who can’t afford birth control. before you come after me about not being class-conscious, these are not the women that i am talking about. lack of affordable birth control is one of the shames of this country, and if the anti-abortion folks actually cared about reducing the number of abortions in America, they would be advocating for free condoms on every street corner. but that’s a whole ‘nother story.

no, really, i’m referring to the women that i know can afford birth control (and there are real-life women, that i’ve known, who fall into this category – this is not even hypothetical) and yet somehow end up pregnant. and oh my god, i want nothing more than to ask them what the hell happened. what happened?? do people still get “caught up in the moment”? is that for real?? do you just play the odds (which, by the way, aren’t very good if you’re having unprotected sex and trying to remain unpregnant)? did you have a moment of amnesia, or involuntary hypnosis, or what?

i think, at bottom, it’s the level of nonchalance about it that i’ve witnessed that blows me away. women who unintentionally find themselves pregnant and then are like “well, i guess i’m pregnant.” what?? if you weren’t intending to get pregnant and then did, wouldn’t that raise your blood pressure a little? wouldn’t you be just a little freaked out? and if you’re so unsurprised by it, then wouldn’t that indicate that you were trying in the first place?

all of this rambling befuddlement stems, of course, from my earlier point that i just don’t understand wanting to be pregnant. so i sure as hell don’t understand a “que sera” attitude to accidentally landing in that state. but certainly, it is something that will continue to simultaneously horrify and intrigue me.

if anyone wants to share thoughts, stories, or sling verbal tomatoes, please do! i’m especially interested to hear about it if people know someone who got “accidentally” pregnant and also know the circumstances around it. because that’s like the freaking da vinci code to me - a mystery i’m desperate to crack, but assuredly never will.

*to those of you that want to say, “it’ll be different when it’s you/your pregnancy/your kid, i can’t wait ‘til you get pregnant and have to eat your words about this,” congrats. you are the 3,459th person to make this claim. i’m thinking about giving out a prize to the 5,000th commenter. a year’s supply of the Today sponge, or something.


Roni said...


You do know that we named Ella "Paris" while I was pregnant BECAUSE I thought of the fetus as a parasite. I knew the science that one reason why preggers have to drink so much damn milk is because the fetus leaches calcium from your bones. OMFG! But yeah, I still got pregnant. It was very much an emotions over brains situation.

And OMFG, it totally baffles me when I look at my sassy 3yo and realize that she was inside of me. When she kicks me, I remember, oh,'re the one who kicked my ass.

educand said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
educand said...

*chuckle* First of all, I did have a moment of what-about-the-low-income-teenager-from-the-anti-birth-control-religion , but yeah, you aren't really talking about her. There are also the women who are date-raped, even if they don't call it that, and those whose abusive male partners won't let them have birth control and/or refuse to use condoms. And women who have substance abuse problems, also whether they say so or not, which leads to a greater likelihood of their having unprotected sex. Also probably not what you intended. I can only assume that otherwise, people get overly comfortable or complacent; they don't want to use the pill or medical contraceptives because they gain weight on them, or their emotions get screwed up, or they're over 35 and smoke, so they shouldn't because of the risk of heart attack, and a lot of guys (so I hear, my personal experience is limited, to say the least) don't like to wear condoms... rather than insisting on it, some people are masters at denial and spin the old roulette wheel instead. Some people even think they're infertile and find out they aren't, like a former roommate of mine's parents.

But yeah... I agree with you on the pregnancy-is-weird thing. Funny how people abruptly stop saying you'll change your mind about kids when you tell them you're a dyke, though.

Toast said...

pregnancy, on a guttural level, grosses me out

Talking about pregnancy in a harsh, throaty voice grosses you out? I don't get it.

But seriously, can we take this to mean that you aren't planning on having kids? Or are you just going to make BoyCat carry them to term for you?

Totally agree on the preganancy-by-accident thing. Mind-boggling, it is.

kate.d. said...

ha, toast, fair point. i knew the word "guttural" just wasn't quite right, but i was on a roll and let it slide :)

what would be a better term? ooh, i know, visceral. i'm gonna change it now...

jayniek said...

toast is right on.

please, please allow boycat to bear your children.

imagine the pregnancy glow of his skullcap! I suspect it would be awe-inspiring.

Heather said...

Blorg. I am also of the pregnancy-is-appalling belief system. I'm glad that other people choose to bear children, that whole propagation of the species thing, as long as I'm not the one doing it. I find babies appalling too, so having the hubby bear children wouldn't work either. Iew iew iew. And yes, I also get the you'll-change-your-mind-when-it's-yours schpiel. I'm not willing to bet the rest of my life on that. :P

Kate said...

I'm not going to address the pregnancy-is-gross stuff because that's a personal standpoint.

I just want to offer an explanation for women who get pregnant "by accident." I think a lot of women have trouble thinking well about their bodies, and this includes thinking well about contraception and protection from sexually transmitted diseases. I think there are women out there who feel guilty about the choice they are making to have sex (perhaps it goes against morals they were taught), there are women out there who hate their bodies to the point that they have a big blind spot, and yes, there are women who are convinced that it won't possibly happen to them because they've been "good" all the other times.

I was a birth assistant to my best friend several years ago, who got pregnant by accident. She misunderstood the way her birth control pills worked and when she had to miss a month for financial reasons she didn't realize that when she re-started the pill she had a slightly increased risk of getting pregnant for that cycle.

I guess what I'm saying is, accidents happen, and while this might feel like a pretty big one, I actually think bafflement to this degree is a bit unfair. We've got enough going against us as women. If you ever meet someone who got pregnant accidentally, or a friend or acquaintance does in the future, well, listen to her. See what she has to say.

kate.d. said...

kate, you make good points about women potentially having some emotional confusion/anxiety around being sexual, be it body issues, morality issues, or other things.

i guess where my bafflement comes from is that of the women i know who were in this position, i wasn't close enough to them to warrant any real inquiry on my part as to the circumstances of their pregnancies, so i wanted to know but couldn't really ask. that, and pregnancy wigs me out! but really, that's part of why i ask, because i really want to know how this happens to women, and how/why they often seem to be much more relaxed about it than i would ever be.

Kate said...

I wouldn't be surprised if being breezy/relaxed about an accidental pregnancy was a defense mechanism to deflect folks who wanted to judge their decisions that led to getting pregnant, or their decisions coming off of getting pregnant. If you seem unconcerned, you provide a bit more of a barrier between your feelings and someone who wants to attack you. (And by the way, I am definitely NOT putting you in the category of attacker. I'm talking about folks who approach women and demand answers, who give advice without being asked, and who judge women.)

You know, thinking about it a bit more, I'd be really interested to hear why you think pregnancy is so yucky. I mean from a personal standpoint, when did you first come to this conclusion? What did you think of having children when you were a young person? That kind of thing.

Obviously this is a charged, personal and political topic for most women. I think the more we talk about the origins of our personal feelings on this stuff the better.

anathea said...

Aw! I was glad this hadn't rolled off into the archives yet - I spotted it last week and wanted to comment, but damn, yes, busy and all that. :)

It's interesting, because both of my babes were 'accidents' so to speak. With Maya, we knew that someday we wanted kids, but I had been the proud owner of a long term fertility issue, so skipped the birth control because the hormones suck, and BAM! Thusly, a little sproutling was sprouted.

It is emotional, and definately not wholly positive. I chose to skip the BC, of course, and knew the possibilty (not so much probabilty in my case) of getting pregnant, but like a dumb kid, never expected it. The news came with a big dose of shock and surprise, and some joy, because it was gonna be a kid after all, and tim's a good guy and it was something we wanted for our future, but still, DAMN.

I did end up loving being a mother, but I say pretty honestly that I don't recommend it to most people. It's NOT what its cracked up to be, and three generations worth of Other Mothers telling you "your life is gonna change" doesn't mean CRAPOLA compared to how it really turns everything upside down.

Molly Sky was a much bigger surprise, and again, my own damn fault, but I took it ALOT harder. (I had moved to MA, packed my BC in AZ, left that box behind with Timmy who was supposed to be enroute in a couple of weeks, not a couple of MONTHS as it ended up, and, being a horny long-separated couple, got ourselves knocked up the very day he rolled into town, jeebus almighty.)

But, it was terrible. It was six months of going WHAT THE HECK HAPpENED, I cant cope with this, I don't WANT this baby, yes it sounds freaking cruel to say, but I didn't, and I didn't know what we would do.

I should note that Mollysky is totally the light of my life now, and is the happiest, most content and rewarding baby I could possibly imagine.

But, that won't ever change the shock and difficulty of my pregnancy with her. Which you are right to think is gross, because it TOTALLY is gross. And sure, sometimes you can think it's amazing, and maybe even beautiful, but seriously, that amounts to about .007% of the 9 (Really closer to 10, those lying bastages) months of gestation.

So, you know, you're absolutely, totally 100% NOT NUTS on this subject. Its crazy that people get knocked up by accident, but it is a true fact of our world.

I will venture to say that most of the outcoming babies of those pregnancies aren't necissarily as fortunate as my girls, because we're a family who loves them and wants them and are totally willing to sacrifice ourselves for their benefit. But really - there are alot of families who find that they won't/can't do that, even with PLANNED and wanted babies.

There's no question, that the imagined pre-concieved baby is NOTHING like the real thing. Not even a little.