Friday, April 8, 2016

Odds & ends: About TV, movies, dildocams & graduation

Does anyone else watch "The Big Bang Theory"?  And did you temporarily freeze up last night, when Howard tried -- and initially failed -- to find the baby's heartbeat with the portable Doppler on Bernadette's stomach??  I drew in my breath & moaned aloud, "Oh no!!"  Dh paused too -- and then sharply reminded me, "It's a COMEDY -- nothing's going to happen!" 

And it didn't, of course. 

Bernadette's pregnancy has been the source of some grumbling in the childfree by choice community. There have been several past episodes where Bernadette and Howard expressed differing viewpoints on having children -- with Bernadette -- who isn't exactly the nurturing type -- expressing clear reservations about motherhood. So her surprise pregnancy this season seemed somewhat out of character.  I couldn't help but wonder whether she might be "punished" for her previous ambivalence over pregnancy with a miscarriage.

There are so very few positive childless women role models on television these days -- let alone those who have clearly expressed a childfree by choice point of view. So many of them somehow still wind up with a child.

Not every woman who wants a child winds up with one. Not every woman who says she doesn't want a child eventually changes her mind. It's time that television and movies start to reflect that.

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On a somewhat related note (how childless/infertile/grieving women are portrayed in the media): Gateway Women flagged this article on Facebook today -- & I can't stop thinking about it: The hand that robs the cradle: why does cinema still demonise grieving mothers? 

Any woman who has been infertile or lost a child is familiar with the stereotype of the deranged childless/grieving woman who threatens the happiness of others' families. I don't think I've ever seen an article about it in the media, though -- and certainly not one as thorough and well-analyzed as this one -- particularly the comparison of how bereaved mothers are treated cinematically versus grieving fathers. What a great point;  I hadn't thought about that angle before. I literally had my jaw hanging open & dh may have overheard a "Yes!!" or two as I read excellent points such as these:
  • “There is still a romanticised notion of motherhood in our culture,” says Denise Turner, a lecturer in social work at the University of Sussex whose research focuses on bereaved parents. “To be an archetypal ‘mother’ is to be selfless: endlessly loving and without negative emotion. To be a ‘good’ mother is also to nurture your children – certainly not to ‘let’ your child die. There are ever-increasing expectations on mothers to entertain and nurture children, often to impossible standards. Therefore, death is the ultimate failure of motherhood.” [emphasis mine]
  • “I think that culturally we need mothers to go mad because it is unthinkable to us that children die – mothers cannot ‘survive’ this event because we can’t survive this event,” says Turner. “It’s also possible that there is a cultural penitence in mothers going mad it’s their punishment for letting the child die.”
  • Turner lost her own son, Joe, when he was 19 months old. In the past, she has suggested that mothers may not be broken by the death of a child and that with time, they can find strength. Yet this, she believes, is an “unacceptable thing to say, culturally”.
  • Male characters, too, are frequently seen as transformed by grief – many of them spurred by the death of a child down equally bloody paths. But there is a key difference. The reaction of men is generally presented as rational – if over-energetic – driven by an honourable and even aspirational thirst for justice... But when the same thing happens to a woman, her journey is shown as lunacy. Rather than seeking the restoration of some balance, she is an agent of chaos.
There's more. Go and read the whole thing, and tell me what you think.

(For the record, I saw "Halloween" back in the day, and I did not remember the spoiler referred to at the beginning of the article.) 

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For the first time in about 14 years, I had a date with the dildocam yesterday. :p  Long time no see, old frenemy. The technician asked if I'd had a transvaginal ultrasound before;  "OH YES," I was able to advise her wryly.  

At age 55, my cycles have continued chugging along more or less regularly & normally -- until just recently. I had a 19-day cycle last year, which was out of the normal range for me -- and then I kicked off the New Year with my longest cycle ever, starting Jan. 2 -- 63 days, from day one of my period through to the beginning of my next period on March 4th. Aunt Flo usually comes & goes within a week -- but I continued spotting & cramping for a week after that too, winding up with a flourish of the most debilitating cramps I've had in quite a long time. Dh brought me a couple of ibuprofen, and they finally subsided enough for me to drag myself off the couch and call my ob-gyn's office.

Naturally, he was away on vacation. :p  I have an appointment for my regular Pap & checkup scheduled for mid-May, but wondered if that should be moved up.  His assistant advised me to call when he got back, in two weeks. Of course, after that last hurrah of cramping, AF disappeared and I felt fine -- but I called earlier this week, and we decided I should go for a look-see. Based on the results, he may move up my appointment, or I may just go in May as scheduled.

I know that when you get to be 55, strange & unusual things can start happening (if they haven't already) -- and no doubt the stress I've been under lately (selling a house, buying a condo and making moving arrangements) might also have had an impact -- but I prefer to know, for sure and sooner vs later, if it's just wonky (peri)menopausal hormones or something else going on. I am not (overly) worried, but would appreciate any positive vibes, thoughts, prayers, etc.

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My appointment was at an ultrasound clinic in the city, and after I was done, I walked over to the Toronto Eaton Centre to shop (something I won't be able to do as easily or as often after our move), and walked into the Hallmark store. And I almost walked out again when I came face to face with a prominent display of graduation/Class of 2016 items near the front of the store. (I made a fast about-face and walked down a different aisle.)  It's something I know is coming, in the back of my head, and something I've blogged about -- but it was one of those reminders that absolutely smacked me right in the face:  "Oh. Yeah. This should be us and Katie right now." 

It's mid-April -- prom season will be starting soon, and then in June comes graduation. The one saving grace: in a couple of weeks' time, we will be in our new condo, away from here, and won't have to drive by the two local high schools where Katie would have been a student, and the signboards out front with the helpful reminders of events and dates.


  1. This article is very interesting! I found myself nodding along with the comparison about men vs women who have lost children in cinema plot lines. It was one of the reasons I hated Serena (started out well, but ended poorly) and other story lines about women losing children. It's just not fair how these women are portrayed.

    Glad you went in for a PAP. Though the experience involved the dildocam.

    And hooray for moving!

  2. Sending lots of positive thoughts your way. I'm sure it's just normal, age-related stuff that's going on. At 43, I'm already going through the craziness, so I feel your pain.

    And I'm truly sorry about all the reminders right now. People always talk about how having a child changes your life forever, but to me, it seems even more true when you lose a child. The pain just never goes away completely. Sending you lots of love and hugs!

  3. I must admit that "dildocam" in the title line was click bait for me. I have everything crossed that it turns out to be nothing. I can relate on the wonky cycles/lady parts doing weird things and I think that the not knowing part is the worst. I'm actually (over)due for my annual exam, so this is a good reminder.

    I love Big Bang (even used some clips in my class yesterday) and we watch old reruns all the time. But I quit watching part way through the episode where she told Howard that she was pregnant. It hit me harder than a comedy should should, so I've had to step away from it this season.

    I'm so sorry about the Hallmark store/graduation display. I can't even imagine. I'll be thinking about you over the next few months!

  4. Sending you best wishes in your new digs when the move happens, LB. Here's to a (hopefully) more trigger free environment!!

    Thanks for the links as usual, the portrayal of any scenario that is not the nurturing, doting mother with conveniently living children is an important thing to chew on. Turner's analysis is quite interesting.

    GL with the crazy cycle stuff, I'll hold a good thought for you:-)

  5. Annnndddd I'm spotting again. :p And feeling vaguely crampy. It IS day 36 which (assuming it is indeed Aunt Flo) would be a slightly long-normal cycle for me. I guess I'm lucky (??) that my cycles have been so normal for so long, but I am not looking forward to this next last-gasp phase of my relationship with Aunt Flo. :p

  6. I was an avid Big Bang watcher, but once I knew the Bernadette/baby storyline was coming I stopped tuning in.
    I can’t always pinpoint what situations might discombobulate (what a great word – I heard it on the radio today) me in my real life, but I do what I can to prevent it happening with the TV shows I watch.

    Oh gah, you and your walks down my memory lane.... transvaginal ultrasounds, taking me back, way back... Hope it’s just all normal for your (our!) age type stuff… ;)