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Posts from the ‘discussion’ Category

Live and Let Live | Love and Let Love

Recently, I was browsing my facebook news feed ( I know, I really need to stay off of facebook) when I came across a story that one of my family members had left a comment on. The story was about a married couple who had just given birth to a beautiful and healthy baby girl. The reason the story was newsworthy was because the mother has down syndrome and the father has a form of mental retardation. The baby was born with no deficits. This to me was a very heartwarming story that made me smile and gave me goose bumps.

Then I saw the comment that my family member had left, and my heart sunk and my stomach rolled over. My family member was apparently outraged by the fact that these two people were “allowed” to have a child and stated his belief that persons with disabilities should be “sterilized”, at birth, so that their “defective genes couldn’t be passed on.” He expressed his concern for the child, imagining them growing up being teased and tormented. Then my family member declared that the parents should be deemed unfit and that the child should be removed from the home because “being in foster care would be better than being raised by two retarded parents”. I was shocked to read these words from a young man whom I had known since he was a boy. I am sure that he was not raised under this type of thinking. Tears welled in my eyes and I felt compelled to reply to his outrageous comment. I expressed to him my shock and disappointment, how I felt that his words were cruel and hateful and ugly. I carried around that sick feeling in my stomach for the rest of the day. I waited to see if my family member had anything to say in return, he did not.

Why did his words offend me so deeply and effectively break my heart? Maybe because I am a mother of a child who was born too soon, a child who narrowly escaped very serious deficits related to his premature birth. Maybe because I am a mother, and I know how deeply those words would cut me if they were directed at my family. The very idea of someone wanting to prevent me from being a mother because of something biologically out of my control is horrifying. I understand that my family member is a young single man, with very limited knowledge and experience in such matters, but I do not feel that excuses his words. I have what I refer to as, “zero tolerance for this type of thinking.” I believe that  the rationalizations he made were akin to that of the Nazis. It is not his place to judge this family, their life, or their love. Is it my place to judge him for his remarks? absolutely.

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Opinions Abound

What’s that saying? Oh yeah.”Opinions are like assholes, everybody’s got one.”

Lately, I can’t scroll thru the news or my Facebook feed without encountering the hot-button topic of the moment; planned parenthood and subsequently, abortion. It’s a heated issue, surrounded by much debate, fueled by intense emotions and powerful political agendas. It seems to me that every soul in the nation with internet access has a passionate opinion on the subject. Some of these opinions are formed by education and or experience, but the larger number of them appear to be formed by ignorance, and misinformation.

I would like to state for the record that I am pro-choice, and I stand with planned parenthood. (You can read more about planned parenthood here.) Furthermore, it is my strong belief that had I sought prenatal care from planned parenthood; when I was pregnant with my son, they would have treated the infection that I had, instead of brushing it off like my regular OBGYN doctor did, and my son would have been born full term, instead of three months premature. However, at the time I did not feel safe going to planned parenthood for my prenatal care, due to all the unfortunate controversy and threats surrounding their clinics. That all being said, I would now like to shift gears and take this opportunity to redirect your attention to what are, in this humble blogger’s opinion, more pressing matters.

Prematurity Awareness. 

Every year, an estimated 15 million babies are born preterm (before 37 completed weeks of gestation), and this number is rising.

Preterm birth complications are the leading cause of death among children under 5 years of age, responsible for nearly 1 million deaths in 2013.

Three-quarters of them could be saved with current, cost-effective interventions.

Across 184 countries, the rate of preterm birth ranges from 5% to 18% of babies born.

Via who.int

Additionally, the CDC website states that:

In 2012, preterm birth affected more than 450,000 babies—that’s 1 of every 9 infants born in the United States. Preterm birth is the birth of an infant before 37 weeks of pregnancy. Preterm-related causes of death together accounted for 35% of all infant deaths in 2010, more than any other single cause. Preterm birth is also a leading cause of long-term neurological disabilities in children. Preterm birth costs the U.S. health care system more than $26 billion in 2005.

Risk factors for premature birth include, but are not limited to:

Carrying more than one baby (twins, triplets, or more).

Problems with the uterus or cervix.

Chronic health problems in the mother, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and clotting disorders.

Certain infections during pregnancy.

Cigarette smoking, alcohol use, or illicit drug use during pregnancy.

Childhood Cancer.

Each year, the parents of approximately 15,700 kids will hear the words “your child has cancer.” Across all ages, ethnic groups and socio-economics, this disease remains the number one cause of death by disease in children. Despite major advances – from an overall survival rate of 10 percent just fifty years ago to nearly 90 percent today, for many rare cancers, the survival rate is much lower. Furthermore, the number of diagnosed cases annually has not declined in nearly 20 years.

Every day, 43 children are diagnosed with cancer.

12% of children diagnosed with cancer do not survive.

Children’s cancer affects all ethnic, gender and socio-economic groups.

The average age of children diagnosed is six.

More than 40,000 children undergo treatment for cancer each year.

60% of children who survive cancer suffer late-effects, such as infertility, heart failure and secondary cancers.

There are approximately 375,000 adult survivors of children’s cancer in the United States.

That equates to 1 in 530 adults ages 20-39.

Via curesearch.org

Childhood Hunger.

Poor nutrition causes nearly half (45%) of deaths in children under five – 3.1 million children each year.

One out of six children — roughly 100 million — in developing countries is underweight.

One in four of the world’s children are stunted. In developing countries the proportion can rise to one in three.

If women farmers had the same access to resources as men, the number of hungry in the world could be reduced by up to 150 million.

66 million primary school-age children attend classes hungry across the developing world, with 23 million in Africa alone.

WFP calculates that US$3.2 billion is needed per year to reach all 66 million hungry school-age children.

Via wfp.org

Child Abuse and Neglect.

1 in 10 children suffer from child maltreatment. 1 in 16 children suffer from sexual abuse. Nearly 1 in 10 children are witnesses to family violence.

The youngest children are the most vulnerable to maltreatment. Over 25% of abused children are under the age of three while over 45% of abused children are under the age of five.

Number of children in the United States who died because of abuse or neglect in 2012: 1,593

Of the number of children who died because of abuse or neglect…

70.3% were younger than three years of age

44.4% were younger than one year of age

Via safehorizon.org

Child Trafficking.

In 2012 the (UNODC) United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime reports the percentage of child victims had risen in a 3 year span from 20 per cent to 27 per cent. Of every three child victims, two are girls and one is a boy.

Gender and age profile of victims detected globally: 59% Women – 14% Men – 17% Girls and 10% were Boys.

600,000 to 800,000 women, children and men bought and sold across international borders every year and exploited for forced labor or commercial sex (U.S. Government)

When internal trafficking victims are added to the estimates, the number of victims annually is in the range of 2 to 4 million

50% of those victims are estimated to be children

It is estimated that 76 percent of transactions for sex with underage girls start on the Internet

2 million children are subjected to prostitution in the global commercial sex trade (UNICEF)

There are 20.9 Million victims of Trafficking World wide as of 2012

1.5 Million victims in the United States

Via arkofhopeforchildren.org

Now, dear reader, if these numbers are not enough to draw your fire away from a woman’s right to choose, and on to other matters which could truly benefit from your outrage; then please, “consider the following.” http://bigthink.com/embeds/video_idea/bill-nye-on-abortion-and-womens-rights

Further Reading: If you are still unable to draw your anger away from abortion, then at least re-focus it onto forced abortion in china.

Pink

My son Jack and I were strolling thru Target the other day, and we went by the toy aisle. They had one of those large cage bins full of colorful beach balls out. There was a mother with her son, a boy a few years older than Jack, and he was making a selection from that ball bin. He brought out a pink one. The boy’s mother told him outright, without pause for consideration, “No. Not that one. That’s a girl color.”

That woman missed a major opportunity with her son. She should have felt proud of the fact that he, without pause for consideration, chose the pink ball. Instead, she shot him down and perpetuated a negative stereotype.

Pink is a color, just like any other color. It is equal to blue, red, green, purple, and orange. It is not a sub-color. It is not an inferior color because our culture chooses to assign it to Barbie’s dream house, and the breast cancer awareness ribbon.

As we passed by this woman, and her son, I thought to myself “If that were her daughter, selecting a blue ball, there wouldn’t be an issue.” Perhaps that would be an issue, though, perhaps that mother would say to her daughter, “No. Not that one. Pick a girl color.”

Jack having lunch.

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