I don't like to get into politics here, but I'm just going to say this because it's bugging me. You've probably heard about the recent controversy surrounding birth certificates for knocked down babies - specifically, for stillborn.
And there's a somewhat heated debate going on here, for example.
Physicians for Life brings forth some recent stillbirth stories:
"The 'devastated' couple got some 'stunning" news.' 'We could get a death certificate, but no birth certificate. It was like something out of an absurd dream. How can you have a death without a birth?'
Another bereaved mother from Arizona phoned the Bureau of Vital Statistics to request a birth certificate but, 'The woman on the other end said, 'You didn't have a baby, you had a fetus.'
Pro-abortion organizations, while professing sympathy for such mothers (of stillborns), nevertheless oppose the issuing of such a birth certificate, for it might inadvertently lend support to the right to life lobby.
"The concept of stillborn birth certificates are not new; it's only new as a government issued document. Certainly couples are free to memorialize their lost child any way they wish, but are people so fragile that they require emotional assistance from the government? If a stillborn baby can get a birth certificate, can an aborted fetus get a death certificate?"
I don't know. For whatever reason, I just haven't been very interested in this debate. I can't help but wonder if this is something that a lot of people honestly care about. Is it? Seriously, is it?
Is it something everyone feels angry and upset about now, and I've been somehow left out of the loop? Or am I just turning into an old, apathetic, quiet person who has lost all interest in politics?
I tried to muster up some interest by looking up "birth" on dictionary.com, hoping to shed some light on whether stillbirth actually IS birth. That seems, to me, like a rational starting point for figuring out if stillborn babes should receive birth certificates. The unhelpful definition provided for "birth" was:
"the act of being born."
So I looked up "born," which was equally unhelpfully defined as:
"brought forth by birth."
Gee thanks, dictinary.com. Smug bastards.
If I were pressed to partake in this debate, that is if somebody cornered me and demanded that I issue an opinion on the matter, I'd have to say that I really can't imagine stillbirth being the same thing as birth. Can you? Really now. It's totally not the same. And if it's totally not the same, then a "birth certificate" seems hardly appropriate.
I suppose it's the same in that there's a roughly six-pound infant lookalike coming out of your body, and your boobs kick into dairy mode, and you bend over to look at your "down there" region in the mirror and wonder what the hell just happened to your vagina. It's the same in that your man stands by your side, holding your hand and looking at you with grave concern and intense love. It's the same in that you lose a lot of weight in a short period of time, but the belly flab stays cruelly in place.
But other than that, how is it the same?
This is precisely why I refer to my own son's stillbirth as his "dirth" (death + birth). It's seems more like death than birth to me. I could understand the argument of "how can you have a death without a birth," if it weren't for my own mental picture of what "birth" really means. Birth, to me, means more than the sperm and egg colliding and a clump of cells forming. It means more than a fetus growing into an unborn baby. It means: A LIVING BABY CREATURE COMING OUT OF THE MOTHER'S BODY, HATCHING FROM AN EGG, OR DROPPING FROM A STORK'S MOUTH.
I know that sounds like a simplistic view of things, but it's honestly what I think of when I think of the word "birth." And stillbirth is none of those three things.
The real point I'm getting at, though, is that I don't feel strongly enough about this issue to actually ARGUE about it, to write letters to the state of Washington to profess myself for against birth certifcates for stillborn babes. Heck - if a KuKd couple wants a birth certificate, sure - give 'em one.
In fact, I admire any KuKd mommy or daddy who has/had the energy and enthusiasm to pursue such a thing. It's the kind of I might have cared about more if this swirling controversy were happening closer to my son's DIRTHday, but nowadays I see this kind of story, read the first few lines, stifle a yawn, and meander off to sit on the edge of the bathtub and clip my toenails.
Even back in the throes of my knocked downage, I don't think I would have cared, because I was so fixated on surviving, on making sure Kevin survived, that I'm fairly sure I hadn't the brain power left to write a letter to my congressional representative. The baby was gone, and a little piece of paper with an official stamp certainly wasn't going to make it any better.
All of that said, I can tell you when I will start caring about this issue. I'll start caring if any anti-abortion groups try to obviously, obnoxiously, publicly spin the birth-certificate-for-stillborns concept into hateful anti-abortion rhetoric and use crumpled stillborn birth certificates to construct makeshift bombs parts for abortion clincs. THEN I'll start cranking out letters to congress.
But fortunately so far, those groups seem to have been on their best behavior, so I'll just keep being my cautiously apathetic self about this.
Easter, tomorrow! It's all about eating spiral-sliced, honey glazed ham at my parents' house. A nice reward for the hours I wasted messing with my blog design this week, when I should have been grading student essays and Windexing the glass coffee table.