Tuesday, October 4, 2022

Odds & ends for early October

  • My left knee is giving me grief again. :p  It's been a chronic issue for years now, even before I left work, but it hasn't been too noticeable in recent months -- until, at dh's aunt's funeral mass last week, I knelt during prayers...!  Being at dh's cousin's cottage last weekend -- where it's 40+ steep stone steps between the house and the dock on the lake (plus 16 steps between the main level of the house and the bottom level (which leads out to the steps leading to & from the lake...) -- did not help matters...! I've been using an arnica rub, an essential oils roll-on remedy for muscle pain, and occasionally some ibuprofen. 
  • It's October -- and you know what that means: it's Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Month, with Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Day on Oct. 15th.  
    • An Unexpected Family Outing had a great post on Facebook and on Instagram about this. She makes the excellent point that WE don't need a day or a month to gain a greater awareness about pregnancy loss issues, or to remember our babies. We're pretty aware already. We we live this reality and think about our children every day, and will for the rest of our lives. Then she writes about who this month is really for. I thought it was so great I actually dared to share it on my own Facebook feed. :)  (*cough!*)  
  • "Canada significantly undercounts maternal deaths, and doctors are sounding the alarm,"  says a story on CBC News this week. (Subhead:  "Most deaths can be prevented, experts say, but there is no national system to learn lessons, change outcomes.") 
    • "The Current" on CBC Radio did a 19+-minute story on the same subject. (There's an embedded listening link within the story, which I haven't listened to yet.) 
    • There was also a 7+-minute story on CBC television's "The National" (nightly newscast) on Monday night. 
    • Related article: " 'I don't know if I'm going to wake up': Mothers share stories of pregnancy-related complications." 
    • One of the women in the main story, who developed (and survived) eclampsia at the five-month mark of her pregnancy, was from the same area where we used to live. I remarked to dh that if we were still facilitating our pregnancy loss support group, she might have been one of our clients. Incredibly, though, her baby also survived, although she was born weighing just 750 grams (! -- less than 2 pounds) and spent more than two months in the NICU. You can see her in the CBC TV news story video. 
    • Dr. Jon Barrett of McMaster University, quoted in the article, used to practice as a high-risk ob-gyn at a hospital in Toronto, and was regarded as "God" by many of the women who came to our group.  ;)  
  • The New York Times Magazine had an amazing story about children stolen from their mothers at birth (many of whom were told their children were stillborn)(!) and sold to/adopted by "suitable" (i.e., ideologically acceptable) infertile couples in Spain during the authoritarian Franco regime of the late 1930s through 1970s. There's now a growing movement among these children -- the youngest of whom are now in their 40s and 50s -- to learn the truth about their biological parents.
    • Jill Filipovic expanded on the NYT Magazine article in her own piece about "Pro-Life Baby Thieves," to include reminders of similar schemes over the past century in the U.K., Ireland, Australia, Argentina, and, yes, in the U.S. and Canada. She also mentions the book "The Child Catchers" by Kathryn Joyce, which I read and reviewed here.  (Unfortunately, Filipovic's piece is only available to paid subscribers of her Substack newsletter.  I am one of them.) Says Filipovic:  "The long history of baby thefts, often by religious institutions and individuals, almost always in the service of a “pro-life and pro-family,” traditional, anti-feminist ideology? It keeps happening when anti-feminist authoritarians are in charge. It is still happening now, if you pay attention." Highly thought-provoking (and troubling). 
  • Yael Wolfe is brilliant. :)  Have a look at her latest piece on Medium, "Single & Childless Women Are Tired of Justifying Their Existence" (subhead: "We have enough problems without having to constantly explain ourselves" -- yes!!).  Sample passage:  

I’ve been asked by cousins, friends, and even strangers on the internet when I’m going to “get my act together,” “contribute to society,” or “pursue a happier, more selfless life.”

It’s such an odd — and cruel, frankly — phenomenon to find one’s life open to public scrutiny by people who assume they know me well enough to determine that I made all these choices on purpose.

If I had had my way, I would have gotten married and had babies. I hate to say that, because honestly, how unoriginal. But it’s the truth. I would have loved to have had a husband and two or three kids, a dog, and a four-bedroom house in the suburbs. What can I say? I know how to follow orders.

But, despite people insisting that you can have whatever you want if you just put your mind to it, life does not always go the way you planned...

You would think, however, by the way people — even my very young nieces — talk to me that I made a deliberate choice not to get married and not to have children. There is no room for my story, for facts, for nuance. I did not achieve these things, and therefore, the only possible truth can be that I failed.


  1. I'm sorry about your knee, ouch. And thinking of you this October! Good for you, posting that article on facebook. :)

    I love Yael Wolfe so much. I really enjoyed the comparison between the judgments of her life and the lack thereof with her brother, who is 35 and unpartnered and childless as well. Pronatalism and patriarchy all together! Argle. I do see that insistence that everyone will have children and marriage in younger kids. And you feel like a sort of grim reaper of reality when you are like, "well, sometimes things don't work out the way you thought they were, and that can be okay!" Which I would think would be DAMN INSPIRING, lol. Sigh.

  2. Sorry about your knee. Have you ever had physiotherapy/physical therapy? I've had knee issues, and my physio did wonders with it (over time), and periodically I have to remember to do the strengthening exercise. If so, ignore me! It sucks that you're in pain. Knees are taken for granted, till they start causing us problems, I know. Sympathies.

    More good articles. Thanks!