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Sunday, January 18, 2009

Puppies and Jesus: A Rant

Greetings KuKd Mommas and Inquisitive Guests!

A bunch of semi-bad-mood things piled up at once. You get to take the brunt of it here. I'm sorry.

The Obnoxious Red-Clad Aunt is on her way, I can sense her coming. Which sparked in me the the sudden urge to breed. Which prompted me to search for puppies online, since good old-fashioned breeding isn't quite working. Yes, another puppy to a add to our roost, and only apricot-colored westie-poodle mixes, which - in my completely biased mind - are the most beautiful and intelligent mixes on earth. Look how cute our Tebow is, and you'll see what I mean:


Of course, blah-blah-doodles are not to be found at the animal shelters, which means the only ones available are from sketchy-ass websites with Canadian post office boxes, shipped next day air for half-a-thousand dollars. Which - if I were to follow through on this - would make me a bad person who patronizes puppy mills, encouraging this purportedly despicable practice out of pure and greedy self-interest. So, I ex'ed out of all those websites before K caught me looking at them, and began catching up on my blog reading instead.

Which takes me to Part 2 of this post, surely the juicier part.

Now, let me preface this by saying: anyone who loses a baby to stillbirth deserves some serious sympathy, if not empathy. I respect and honor women who have lost a baby, and I respect and honor the babies they have lost.

Also, I believe that people can say whatever they want to on their blogs. If people don't like what you say, they shouldn't read your blog. If people go around hunting for controversial quotes on blogs, just to have something to argue about, well - it's their own waste of time.

Still, something on a blog-that-shall-not-be-named - authored by a woman who has had a stillborn child - caught my eye and started to bother me. Like an annoying gnat or a hangnail, it sat there in my brain, festering, until finally - now - I find myself utterly compelled to respond. Or perhaps to defend. Whatever.

Here is what it said:

I've been reading a lot of other blogs lately, mainly blogs about pregnancy loss and stillbirth. I've noticed a push for "sassy" blogs and blogs that bash religious affiliations, faith in God, and pro-life belief systems. I realize I'm opening myself up to criticism here. While I find myself in a fragile state these days, I'm still compelled to make a statement about such blogs: I can't relate.

I don't understand how women can want a child so badly, yet see no connection to God or the sanctity of life. We live in a society that does not value life. What I've learned is that many people reproduce simply to achieve their own goals. Selfish goals...

There was a bit more, but that was the heart of it. Of course, when I read it, I thought with great ego: by george, she must be talking about ME!! After all, in my twisted fantasy world, lots and lots of bored people sit around and talk about me all the time. How could she NOT be talking about me? I do, I would say, "sassily" bash "religious affilations, faith in God, and pro-life belief systems." Or I have at least once(much less than I do in real life, if that makes it better).

There are so many tangled ways in which I profoundly disagree this person's statements that I can hardly sort them out here. I suppose a good starting place is the suggestion that believing in God automatically equals valuing human life, and that lack thereof equals lack thereof. This is such a departure from rational thinking that all I can say in response is:

I hardly have to point out the most obvious case in point: a certain president of a certain country, anti-abortion and "good" Christian, yet quick to start lots of wars. Meaning lots and lots and lots and lots of deaths. Decidedly NOT valuing the sanctity human life, if you reduce this behavior to simplest terms. Unless, of course, you consider Iraqis and American soldiers as sub-humans. Dude, even I - as a non-follower-of-god-and-therefore-human-life-hater - can see the fucked-upness of that.

But let's not discuss politics or war or religion in a broad sense, for it isn't this blogger's political or religious views themselves that bother me. I do - believe it or not - have one or two religiously conservative friends. I'm totally fine with people being religious, and expressing those believes. I'm also fine with people not having abortions. More power to'em.

It is the author's self-proclaimed inability to understand "how women can want a child so badly, yet see no connection to God or the sanctity of life" that gets to me.

If I were to go out for coffee with this woman, here is what I would try to articulate in a calm manner. I would anchor all of my main points with the word "please" to make for a more sane and professional dialogue.

PLEASE DON'T: suggest a causal relationship between "sanctity of life" and "belief in god." Love doesn't always look the way you expect it to look. It comes in many forms, and that's one thing I've learned as a KuKd Momma. Do not suggest that I and my own parents and my many non-religious friends with kids (translate: ALL of them) do not value our/their children. Do not suggest or assume that I am not saddened and traumatized by my losses simply because I am a pro-choice voter and jesus-lover-basher, and because my public grief doesn't resemble yours.

To make such sweeping and unresearched (not to mention highly implausible) generalization makes me very afraid for the world. It is such flawed stereotyping and downright ignorance that leads to death and violence and hatred everywhere - suicide bombing, racial-related violence, you name it. People think: everyone who does X definitely also does Y. So let's bomb the shit out of them.

* * * * *

PLEASE DO: consider the purpose and audience of blogging in general, and of individual people's blogs. Don't presume that a blog reveals every aspect of the author's life and personality, or that a KuKd blogger will fill you in on every aspect of his or her personal grieving (unless, of course, you make what are essentially personal attacks on atheistic dead baby mommas, which you seem to be doing). Blogs are entirely one-sided and done for selfish reasons, usually just to hear ourselves blather about whatever. My blog is no exception. To vomit out and defend my emotions, to make sure that everyone knows I'm sufficiently sad, is neither the purpose of this blog, nor the business of the general public.

There is this thing called a "private life," which - fortunately - I've found that one is able to maintain despite entering the blogosphere. That means I get to do the teary-eyed stuff in the comfort of my own bedroom or car, and use my blog for the very cathartic and healing purpose of cracking myself up. And yes: that means sometimes making occasional fun of jesus-lovers, which - sorry- but a lot of them are pretty much asking for.

* * * * *

PLEASE DON'T: impose your sense of how people "should grieve" on other people, or think that losing a baby automatically turns you into a weepy, wailing jesus-lover. Why should it? Why would it? You come into a pregnancy with your own system of values, your own personality, and all of that colors the way that you deal with trauma. As a Murphy from a beer-drinking, belly-laughing Irish family, that is - of course - the same attitude I employ when dealing with getting knocked down. So stop worrying yourself over how I'm grieving. Trust me: I'm doing it in my own way. Go pour yourself some whiskey on the rocks and relax, my dear. Everything will be okay - it's the luck 'o the Irish.

* * * * *

PLEASE DO: realize that it probably isn't a good idea to bash stillbirth-and-miscarriage mommies, particularly about our grieving methods and loving methods and religious beliefs. We're a sensitive bunch; losing a baby is like constantly being on the rag. Hence the fact that I'm using up a perfectly good morning to crank out this post, for no reason other than to scrape some pissy feelings out of my system.

* * * * *

AS AN ASIDE: I wouldn't say this part at our coffee date unless we really got into shop-talk. But I'll add it here.

A bit of linguistic history about the term "pro-life:" it is a made-up word that's loaded with propaganda, and I wish that fewer people fell for this word and absorbed it into their repertoire of everyday vocabulary. Sometimes people make up words in order to change others' internal beliefs - this is a historic and linguistic fact. "Pro-life" has served that purpose brilliantly, coined by anti-abortion rights activists after the Supreme Court's 1973 decision to protect abortion rights for the purpose of portraying pro-choice people as anti-life. Which is a ridiculous-beyond-all-ridiculousness presumption. Who ISN'T pro-life, other than, say, serial killers and warmongers (not naming any names here)? I won't go deeper into this here, because - speaking of "purposes of blogs" - political ranting isn't the purpose of this one.

* * * * *

THAT'S ALL, I think. I don't know why; I really felt I needed to defend so many people and so many things, including the many women out there who dare to find humor - crass or otherwise - in the face of god-awful loss. Thanks for listening - I feel better already. Whew - I needed that.

Now it's a glorious kid-free day: a greasy diner breakfast, followed by a hike up Mount Si with friend from out of town, husband, and Tebow. Then probably home to do more covert Google-searching for puppies. Yes, I will continue to call them Cheap Baby Substitutes.

Isn't that "sassy?"


Anabelle said...

You go girl lol

Brenna said...

Yeesh. That comment you pulled from the other blog is tough to read--my blood boiled for just a minute there while I was reading it too. That blogger pointed out that she "can't relate" to "sassy" blogs like yours (which, yay!, I love...) and likewise, I'd probably have a hard time relating to hers. That said, I do read several faith-based blogs written by women who've lost children (women who I can't imagine would ever write anything as offensive as what the writer of the blog you quoted wrote) and I envy them. I envy their faith. I wish that I could find comfort in the thought that my children are in heaven with their grandparents and their uncle...I think it's a beautiful image. I've heard other women mention that grief brought them closer to G-d, and that sounds like it could be a positive thing. I'm not there yet, but who knows? I do know that my respect for life and the sanctity of it has nothing to do with my belief in G-d (and in fact my reluctance to follow an organized religion has quite a lot to do with the fact that so many f'ing wars seem to be born out of them!). So thanks for your post, because you said it well and I enjoyed reading your thoughts on this!

Tebow, by the way, is not only adorable and much like a minature version of our dog Liam (an Irish Wolfhound mix) but he shares my name...spelled like the Florida QB rather than the French spelling of my last name, but mine is pronounced the same way. I'm a big Tebow fan!

*~*Lis*~* said...

here here! you say what you want - it's your blog, it's your place. those that don't agree don't have to read.

chicklet said...

The thing that rang with me is when you said "don't impose your way of grief on me" (although you said it differently). That's the part that gets me with infertility overall - everyone wants you to grieve the way they do, the speed they do, in relation to the things they do. That makes me insane.

'Murgdan' said...

Well said. Well said. You are sooooooo 'sassy'...


Michelle said...

I do believe in God but I also struggle with it. I LOVE your SASSY blog! That is why I read. You can find the humor in almost anything and that is great!

It makes my blood boil when people judge others. Just because you believe a certain way does not make you a better person. It does not make everyone who does not agree or believe as you do any less worthy of having children or grieving for the loss of your children.

She needs to stop worrying about what others are doing and worry about herself. I live my life and she can live hers. I find the more people are judging others it is usually because they are insecure about something in themselves so they find fault with others.

You keep on writing and I say SASS away!! I will keep reading and I know many others will too!

Michelle said...

BTW your dog is sooo cute!

Cara said...

Thank God - or not - for you. You defend us well, sweet KuKd momma.

Monica LeMoine said...

Thanks, y'all, for your supportive words. It's SOOOOO nice of you. I thought I would seriously alienate myself with this post and lose all of my e-friends. Of course, I was hoping somebody - in addition to all this honey love - would sling some mud my way for me to argue against. Maybe somebody will.

Monica LeMoine said...

By the way, I need to emphasize once more that, on top of all this ranting, I mean no ill will or disrespect toward this particular blogger. My heart goes out to her and her lost child, as with all KuKd mommas and their lost babies. I respect her, her beliefs, her family. It's just that she seems a bit misguided, that's all. I say misguided things all the time, so I really shouldn't call her on it. Just ask my mother.

sharonvw said...

To each his own I guess? None of us will ever understand everyone and I suppose our beliefs are also what make us individuals? I'm a firm believer in God but would not try to judge those who aren't or who have a different belief system to me. Sometimes I believet that to be the biggest downfall of organized religion?

*~*Bodhi~*~Englightenment*~* said...

You're so sassy that there's a picture of your next to the word sassy in the dictionary!

It's your blog, so your words, people don't like it or take the little x and leave!

I do NOT believe in GOD as such does that mean I'm less worthy to have a child of my own? Or that I don't have as much right to grieve my 3 miscarriages?

Oh you've got me started lol....think this might be blog topic for today too!!


Jaime Lee said...

Just mostly: xoxoxoxoxoxo to you.

cori said...

i'm glad you posted this blog...while those who comment here are more likely than not to be part of your "choir", perhaps those not of our choral unit will read it and think once more about what the word "diversity" really means, and the fact that there is diversity among us is what has helped us to progress and make our lives richer and longer.

on the other hand, i expect that your arguments will fall on deaf ears for the bulk of the non-choral unit. not many of the "pro-lifers" seem to be fair and balanced, rather they anticipate that their beliefs are "truth" and anyone who doesn't see that is profoundly misguided (or perhaps they think worse).

what's interesting is i've known people who very much do believe in God, and yet, they also support a woman's right to choose between bringing a fetus to term or having an abortion. so her assumption that believing in God is equivalent to respecting the sanctity of life is flawed on multiple fronts.

but...onto the real controvery inherent within your blog...

tebow = intelligent

really, mon? no doubt he is one of the cutest dogs to have ever sat in my lap (which means cuter than my own!), but you have to admit he's a few sandwiches short of a picnic (and not just because he would swipe them if you weren't looking ;) you know that i do love him though!

on the other hand, if we ever do find a suitable suitor for ninja, you'd be welcome to one of her pups. in keeping with the "diversity" theme, it might be better to have a yin-yang component ensure canine harmony within the household.

Natalie said...

To be so very tongue-in-cheek: amen to that! Me = athiest. Me also = life-lovin' hippy weirdo who works for a non profit saving the lives of innocent little cats. But... oh, wait, I don't believe in god, so apparently I have no sense of morality or true love for my child who died. Hmmm. Yeah. That makes sense.....

People are weird.

Barbara said...

I've been putting off posting a blog about religion and grief. I don't want to offend but fervently religious people don't seem to mind offending. Hmmm and religious people are the compassionate ones?

But it's been difficult finding grief resources that don't reference religion or tell me what to feel in relation to a deity.

I feel for that lady, I can understand her feelings and her need for belief. And I'm the atheist mother-to-a-dead-son who is presumably languishing in someone's idea of a hell. And religious people are the compassionate ones?

Hi, by the way. I just found your blog and it got me a-commenting!

Another Dreamer said...

Ahhh, you said it so wonderfully!

Kevin Taylor said...

As an adherent of reason and evidence, I have found this issue - the unexpected lost of an unborn child, to be one of the things that makes clear the idiocy of so many doctrines of faith in Christianity, which might not be so stark and obvious with small events like a flat tire. My comment to add to your rant is that the real items that bothered my wife and I with our two losses all came from the rote and un-heartfelt "sympathies" than seem to come from Christians on these topics. My trilogy of disdain which I've heard often enough:

"He/She is in a better place now"

"God has a plan for us, even if it might not be clear to us when it happens" and it's close sibling, "God doesn't close one door without opening another"

That it's some form of "test of faith"

The thing about all of it is how *bad* it actually makes their faith and religion look to those not sipping their same cool-aid and nodding their heads. If they took 2 minutes and actually thought through the implications of what it means when they say these things rather than repeating them like a unthinking mantra, I doubt it would continue on like it has.

If these sentiments were attributed to a tangible, living human being rather than God, I doubt he would have one friend, let alone billions.

I have but a single blog post to my name, but it was on this topic after our last loss, and it's worth a read if you have feelings on this topic: