January 23, 2013

The Truth Behind Choice: Part 2

In my last post I wrote about two interviews on the 40th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision; one with a woman who had an abortion and one with a woman who ran an anti-abortion pregnancy center

I admit that the interviewer, despite being on NPR Fresh Air, was asking very pointed questions at both women and she clearly had a bias. However, I will also say that it would be like interviewing an evolution-denier and trying to find legitimate questions... So I get it.

I remember hearing about the woman in the first interview, a journalist named Carolyn, when she had her abortion in 2011. She and her husband had wanted a second child, but got an abortion halfway through the pregnancy when it was discovered the fetus was severely deformed and would likely die. And while it's commendable that she's so open about her horrible experiences and willing to talk about them in order to change things, her situation is not the typical situation for women seeking an abortion. Medically necessary abortions are (almost) always given exceptions during debates about abortion, just like rape and incest: it's not the woman's fault that she needs one, so she should be allowed. But a woman who simply had sex and became pregnant, which I'd be willing to wager is the large majority of abortions, is something we're eager to debate for decades.

So few women who have gone through the abortion process are willing (or able) to be so vocal. Carolyn is able because she wanted her pregnancy, was hoping and trying for a baby and was crushed when she learned she would have to abort or condemn her child to a short life of suffering. Obviously hers was the logical, loving decision. But a woman who simply cannot afford to care for her baby, or who never wanted children and wouldn't make a good mother, or who isn't ready yet, or who just doesn't want the enormous responsibility of raising a human being is looked down upon as scum. We don't ask why women choose to have children, we just assume they should and that it's natural when they do. But it's the only thing a person will ever do that will forever alter their lives, and when half of all pregnancies are unplanned it seems it should be discussed a little bit more. I'd love for a woman to come forward in such a public manner and talk about her elective abortion. But I doubt that will ever happen.

There were a bunch of issues I had with the second interview, mostly because the interviewer was trying to get a straight answer on a few things and the woman, another Carolyn, was doing her best to paint her practice in the happiest of lights. Her pregnancy center, which counsels young girls and women on everything but abortion, advocates abstinence as the only way to prevent pregnancies. They will discuss other methods of birth control, even after a woman has given birth to her unplanned pregnancy, but tell her that they're not that good or don't do enough to prevent pregnancy. (As a woman who has relied exclusively on one method of birth control at a time for years and has had zero pregnancies I can tell you they work real well.) 

But to tell women they should only be having sex if they want to get pregnant is just ignoring reality, nature, and human habit. No one tells men that they shouldn't be having sex unless they want to get someone pregnant. Plus, these centers don't discriminate against married women, which means that even if you're married they'll tell you not to have sex with your husband unless you're trying to procreate. Which means sex once every few years until you want to stop having children, then no more sex until menopause. This is ridiculous. It stands to reason that if you're not planning on having children you should never have sex. And if you're never going to have sex or have children there's no point in getting married. Or dating. Or falling in love. 

I can't help but put myself in these situations in my mind and imagine being told these things. I don't want to have kids and I'm ill prepared to have one right now. Should I become pregnant now or in the next few years I would be unable to care for it financially, but also make too much money to qualify for assistance. Even if I were poor enough to qualify for government care, telling me I should have a baby because I'd get food stamps is ridiculously irresponsible. Plus, I do want to get married. Just because I don't plan to reproduce doesn't mean I don't deserve to spend my life with someone I love. I thought the point of marriage was to commit your life to another person that you're deeply in love with, not to lock someone else into parenthood.

So, it seems like we're still running in circles around somewhat ridiculous arguments around abortion. Until politicians and ideologists realize that everyone has sex, including the politicians and the ideologists, we can make better decisions about abortion, child care, and health care in general. But until then it looks like we're stuck telling women to stop being whores for sleeping with their husbands and boyfriends. Like normal goddamn people.

January 22, 2013

The Truth Behind Choice: Part 1

Today is the 40th anniversary of the groundbreaking Roe v Wade decision that allowed women in America to legally obtain an abortion. The decision no doubt saved lives (which is slightly ironic) and provided a way for women to move up in society, rather than begrudgingly be burdened with a child she does not want or cannot care for.

You wouldn't know it, however, if you looked at politics today. For whatever reason, 40 years later abortion is a huge issue. People who have not had abortions, especially people who physically cannot have abortions, are trying very hard to dictate what those who need and want them can or not do. The amount of outright lies, in addition to the extreme ignorance surrounding abortions is disgusting. Men (and the women who back them, for whatever reason) who advocate abstinence only and pro-life in every scenario are at the height of hypocrisy: if over 95% of American adults have had sex and 20% of women (just women, mind you) are choosing to remain childless, that points to a bit of an overlap. That means there are women out there who are having sex without the intention of becoming pregnant (gasp!). In this day and age, too. Women are educated just as much as men are (sometimes more), are earning almost as much as men are, and are found in every manly profession. We're getting married later, making more important decisions, and are pretty much real people now. And some of us are having abortions. And those abortions are helping us maintain our status in life, which often is being in a position to care for the children we already have.

Today on NPR's Fresh Air two very different women were interviewed. The first woman decided with her husband that it was time to have a second child and became pregnant, only to discover halfway into the pregnancy that the fetus had a severe developmental problem that would lead to certain suffering. The second woman runs a pregnancy center called Involved For Life, which counsels pregnant women on every option except for abortion. Both women live in Texas, a state that recently made it mandatory for women seeking abortion to undergo a sonogram (women in early pregnancy endure a transvaginal sonogram because it picks up a better picture), wait 24 hours, and listen to government propaganda.

Here's a (pretty comprehensive) summary of both of the interviews:

In America there were more abortion restrictions passed at the state level in 2011 than in any prior year, and 2012 had the second highest number of state level abortion restrictions. This is a country that made it legal in every state for any woman to receive an abortion for any reason 40 years ago, and is now back tracking, making it harder and harder for women to do so. The first woman, a journalist named Carolyn, wanted her pregnancy. Thanks to modern healthcare she was able to plan when she got pregnant and made a conscious decision with the help of her husband to have a second child when they were both ready. When they went in for the sonogram (the "jelly on the belly" kind) that was supposed to determine the sex of the baby, the doctor noticed an problem. The fetus had a major neurological flaw that caused his brain, spine and legs to not develop correctly. The doctor said he wasn't sure the baby would survive. If he did, he would live a life of crippling pain and be in and out of hospitals until he died. He would always suffer.

Carolyn says in the interview that any parent understands the innate impulse to protect your child from any pain. She and her husband realized that by bringing this child into the world they would be causing him a lifetime of pain and suffering. She says that the decision to have an abortion was "a terrible, a heart wrenching choice, but also a simple choice." She wanted to prevent him from knowing a life of pain, which made it a relatively quick decision, an "almost instinctive response." But it was heart breaking.

Two weeks earlier Texas passed a law that required any woman seeking an abortion to undergo a sonogram first, and then wait 24 hours. It turns out that women seeking an abortion due to rape, incest, or medical necessity (as was Carolyn's case) do not have to endure a sonogram, though her doctor didn't know that at the time. But the rest of the state requirements still apply, no matter what reason a woman is seeking an abortion, and these include:
  • a 24 hour waiting period
  • requiring the same doctor to perform the sonogram and the abortion (which can create a scheduling nightmare, which can result in delayed abortions) 
  • the doctor must describe the fetus' characteristics to the woman
  • the doctor must play the heartbeat for the woman
  • the doctor must read a state-written script about the risks of abortion (that includes two parts that have been discredited) 
  • the doctor must read a script describing in graphic detail the abortion process
  • the doctor must read a script that informs the woman that the father is required to pay child support even if he wants the abortion and that the state may pay for maternity care.
Quite a bit of effort, no? Could you imagine going through this if you'd been raped?

Carolyn said having to hear that her baby had 4 healthy heart chambers was traumatizing. It was the only part of him that was healthy and her doctor was required to describe it to her. She said nothing anyone said or could have said swayed her in the slightest - she was making the right decision by not bringing him into a world of nothing but pain and suffering. But she noted that politicians want women to have a sonogram so they can see the life they're about to end. It's completely ideological, has no medical purpose, and does not belong in the doctor's office. After a while she couldn't take it any more - she wanted her baby and was devastated to have to have the abortion, and these state laws were horrible. The nurse in the room noticed her distress and turned up the radio. The doctor apologized for having to follow these new orders - no one in the room wanted to do this. How could someone who has no say in her personal decisions invade her private life, reduce her dignity, and give her such injustice? It still makes her angry, and that's why she writes about it so openly.

Obviously the goal of all of these obstacles is to get women to reconsider abortion. Texas slashed the family planning budget to two thirds of what it used to be in order to try to starve out Planned Parenthood. Instead, 60 small town clinics that served the poorest Texans went out of business. These clinics didn't just offer abortion services or birth control, they provided women who had no other means of health care with breast cancer screening and well woman visits.  State legislators are budgeting for an extra 24,000 births for 2014 and 2015, and need hundreds of thousands of extra dollars in their budget. (That's saying nothing about the cancer cases that won't get caught in time...)

Instead, Texas is giving the funding it used to give to clinics that performed abortions to Crisis Pregnancy Centers, which are usually Christian run anti-abortion centers. These centers claim to provide women in need with alternative options. As if the first thing women think of when they find out they're pregnant is "must...get...abortion." The centers convince women (most of their clients are low income women 15-24 years old) to keep their unborn children rather than have an abortion, telling them that abortions aren't the right decision for them. Medical professionals criticize these centers for giving women incorrect, inaccurate or incomplete information in order to get them to keep their pregnancies.

The state of Texas takes money away from family planning centers and gives that money to centers that encourage more births to women of all ages, abilities and incomes. Oh, and those centers are not required to discuss contraception with women seeking abortion (whether or not they go through with it), and the centers most often do not provide any detailed counseling on birth control options. Seems totally counterintuitive. Abstinence is 100% effective, so anyone not willing to immediately give birth to a child should not have sex at all. Even married women.

The centers, one of which is run by the second woman (also named Carolyn), offer alternatives to abortion, counseling, ultrasound, STD screening and treatment, and parenting classes. They also have mobile sonogram units, which they park in front of abortion clinics, and offer free sonograms to women. The second Carolyn says their goal is to provide nothing but education for women. She says that often women don't know their options (a claim I find impossible to believe), and the centers provide the support these women so desperately need. I agree that women who find themselves unexpectedly and unhappily pregnant do need loads of support... but the misleading half-truths these centers are known for telling are not the kind of support women can rely on once that baby comes. Carolyn says "we do not ever mislead;" they are up front about their unwillingness to perform abortions or even refer women seeking one to a qualified doctor. In fact, she tells stories of women who become successful even after "unplanned circumstances." But a pat on the back and go-getem-girl does not raise a child...

One of the most surprising parts of the second interview was when Carolyn (the second one) said that they have to point out on the sonogram what is a baby. They actually point to the image on the screen (which she says the women say is blurry and not clear in the abortion clinics and hospitals) and tell them that is a baby. And apparently the women are surprised that that's what's growing inside them. If that's the case we need to put a lot more money into Texas schools... Carolyn seems to have her heart in the right place, which is wanting to help women, but her ideals keep getting in the way. She says, "I don't think the Supreme Court had any idea that there would be thousands and thousands of women who regret that they ever had an abortion." Yes, women must regret their abortions. If I had one I know I would. But it would be far more regret that the abortion had to happen, not that I had one. If I were in these women's shoes I imagine I would know it was the right thing to do, not just for me but for the child I would unfairly be bringing into the world. Of course there would be regret... I imagine that's almost unavoidable. But regretting the situation and regretting my actions would probably be two different things.

Carolyn, the journalist, talked about a pamphlet that these centers give out to women called "A Woman's Right To Know" which describes the abortion process in unnecessary, graphic, upsetting detail. Women are told that now that they're pregnant they're already a mommy.

Women may have a legal right to have an abortion, but those rights are being chipped away by the states. Federal funding is not allowed to go towards abortions (family planning clinics that provide abortions are in a pickle), so any clinic or center that does want to provide safe abortions to women must charge for it. Which puts the poorest women at a significant disadvantage. Oh, and birth control funding is cut, too. Carolyn, who runs the Crisis Pregnancy Center, applauds the "progressive" nature of Texas schools that make it easier for young single mothers to stay in school by providing day care, but is this not something that could be prevented with education and access to birth control? Is that not the type of information these pregnancy centers mean when they talk about providing women with resources?

The moral of the story, here, is don't have sex unless you actively want a child; don't get raped; and no matter what don't have an abortion.

Here's Part 2.

January 21, 2013

An Inauguration On Martin Luther King Jr. Day

It really did say something about our country when we elected a black president, especially one with Hussain as a middle name in the midst of a war in Iraq and Afghanistan. But I feel like it says just as much, if not more, that we reelected him. It wasn't without hardship, controversy and a still severely divided nation - and yes, still plenty of racism - but enough of the country believed in his actions and policies to give him the votes he needed to be president again. 

And that's awesome. I haven't forgotten the hate and disgust so many people felt when President Bush was in office and although I see very little of the hate and disgust towards President Obama I do know it exists, and it's strong. But I also have a feeling a lot of that is unfounded racism and prejudice and has little to do with his actions as a leader.

But there is a little extra symbolism in Obama's inauguration today: today we inaugurated a black president in his second term on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. More than 50 years ago Martin Luther King Jr campaigned tirelessly for equal rights for people of all types and on the day we honor his efforts we celebrate the reelection of our first black president. Pretty awesome. (Obama's inauguration today wasn't the first time a presidential inauguration landed on MLK day... Clinton's second inauguration also did.)

You can watch his official inauguration and his speech. Now that elections are out of the way I really hope we'll see even more progress on some of the most important things he campaigned for in the last 4 years. I'm specifically hoping for more environmental reform and equal rights for all types of people. 

January 19, 2013

Ditching The Hormones

The last few years have not been kind to my hormones, so I've decided to protest. 

In an experiment of sorts I'm giving up hormonal contraception. Other than keep me baby-free it hasn't really been helping. I've felt... off... using it lately. I know I'm just on the wrong one because when I was using a different type I felt great and used it even when I didn't need to, but after trying a few of the wrong ones I'm just sick of trying. I know how I feel and act when I'm not using them, so it's time for a good long break.

I took a very brief break a year and a half ago planning for it to be 6 months or so (or maybe even longer), happy to reset my body and give it a rest. Then I met the boyfriend and, well, back to the pills I went (and was incredibly happy to do so). While each type of hormonal contraception has been excellent at doing its number 1 job - keeping me from getting pregnant - they've been using shady tactics to do so. So fuck you, hormones, I'm done.

There is a downside to giving up the pills (or rings, as of late): I'm down dependent on condoms. You know who loves condoms? No one. But now they're necessary again and that's something we need to think about ahead of time and remember. The idea is that this will be a small price to pay, but only time will be able to tell that. 


The super-awesome-couldn't-be-greater news is that I now officially have health insurance. And my employer pays for it. And contraception, wellness visits (gyno exams), and contraceptive devices are free. Hooooooraaaaaaaaay! The plan seems to have adopted the contraception part of ObamaCare already (a year before it had to, go them) and made it free for us working women. Halle-fricken-luja. Seriously I was so excited when I found that out. Oh, and I can get my tubes tied for free. Free.

So when I'm ready to discuss regular/semi-permanent/ permanent methods of birth control I'll have any option I want and I'm so excited. I can go back to the specific pill that worked for me, I can get an implant, I can get a little snip and be worry free forever. 

It's hard enough physically and emotionally to talk with nurses about how different pills totally fuck with you, spend months on each option to give it a chance to work, and feeling bad the whole time because you know that's not how you normally are. Having options, free options, makes a huge difference. I wish the male birth control pill would be out already so at least I could share the burden... 

January 8, 2013

Why The World Might Actually End

End of the world prophesies and predictions are everywhere these days and each one passes as if nothing changed. And that's because nothing has changed. But I'm beginning to think it's not really that far off.

Our ethics and morals the world over are fucked. This might not come as news for a lot of people, but the part that scares me the most is that we know our ethics and morals are fucked, but we're doing absolutely nothing about it.

We think saving the planet is weak.
Possibly the most important thing for us as a species to be concerned about is the planet we live on because, despite what movies predict, we won't be inhabiting the moon or mars or the space station or anything other than this one planet we have. I mean, maybe in a few thousand years. But not before then, if ever. So it would make sense to recognize that we don't really have a choice but to be good stewards of the planet. It would also be awesome to not be so goddamn self centered and think about what those future generations are going to deal with, but I do realize that's asking a lot. For whatever reason.

Thing is, though, we're not just protecting the planet for our great grandchildren, or our grandchildren, or even our children. We're not getting out of our very own lives without some serious consequences. Not just if we don't start protecting it now. It's already too late. It's very, very likely I'll never see a wild elephant. In a few years they'll be extinct in the wild, and while elephants can be reintroduced into the wild eventually, too much has to change for that to be a viable option. War has ravaged their habitat for decades - that's not just going to stop because elephants need to be reintroduced. The demand for ivory has only been growing (which infuriates me to no end - there truly are no words to describe my anger at a whole generation of people whose frivolous purchases fuel murders and extinctions), and as soon as elephants are back on the market they'll be poached before they can reproduce. We'll also lose the Arctic circle, which means bye-bye polar bears. Because the planet is warming every year the ice will never return, which means reintroduction of anything in that area is impossible.

We blame unpopular victims.
It seems like the whole world has adopted a boys will be boys attitude about how we treat our fellow people. I don't know if I've just been paying more attention the last couple years, but it seems like more and more high profile people are raping and getting away with it. Raping students, raping children, raping and taking pictures. And it's ok, cause no one calls them out. No one punishes them. It's no big deal. 

And you know what we do then? We blame the victim. Woman out at a bar gets raped? Shouldn't have worn whatever it was that she wore. Woman walking home alone gets raped? Shouldn't have been out alone. Woman with her friend on a bus? Shouldn't have had a vagina. Seriously, that's all it is. It should not matter how much the girl was "asking for it" with her clothes or actions or existence. When did simply having a vagina come to mean you are a receptacle for everyone else's whims? Why on earth does it matter what a woman wore to a club on the night she was raped? Why does it matter that she had sex with someone else the night before? Why does it matter that she consented before that one time? Why do we argue whether or not it was rape if she was passed out? Or too drunk to stand? Or she agreed at the bar but changed her mind at home? How desperate do boys have to be to think that all of those situations equal legitimate sex? Are they afraid of rejection? Do they feel entitled because they got her a cab? Do they really believe we ask for it? I used to love wearing overalls when I was a kid (and in high school... shut up, it was cool). But I was told to be careful when wearing them because the back strap was easy to cut with scissors and all a rapist would have to do is yank them down, and it'd be just like I was wearing a skirt. I was literally told I could be raped for wearing overalls.

We tax the poor.
At least in America we argue over who should be taxed and how much everyone should pay. I'm not willing (or able) to get into the details of the tax exemptions that expired at the beginning of the year or how that will affect me and the rest of the country (partially because I haven't seen an effect yet), but I do know that the vast majority of Americans will take home less money right when many of us were thinking we were home free. It's been a true struggle for years for all of us and most people are starting to climb out of the hole we found ourselves in a few years ago. But to now see less of our paychecks? I do know that our economy is not all better just yet - taking more money out of the hands of people who do the buying can't be the best idea. Then again I'm not a politician, so I don't know the nuances of why that's an arguing point. 

But it disturbs me to see our politicians arguing over how to spend the money we do have. Congress argued over relief money for Hurricane Sandy. Excuse me, super storm Sandy. It got downgraded from hurricane to super storm, depriving homeowners from their insurance money. Because they were only insured for hurricane damage, not super storm damage. So the insurance companies are bullshit, and Congress trying to decide whether or not to be good goddamn people and put aside a little extra for a natural disaster is extreme bullshit. I honestly do not understand why, whenever we're talking about the budget and where we're allowed to allocate money, why why why schools and Planned Parenthood and disaster relief and infrastructure are the first things on the chopping block when Congress makes fucking good money for the measly amount of work they do. While their constituents, who they talk about all the goddamn time, work 40 hours a week at at least one job (many work more than that at multiple jobs) to make rent and feed ourselves and our kids, congress members get whole months off and spend their work days bickering and arguing over which of the poor gets money, meanwhile enjoying perks like government cars and phones, and some have even better perks. I don't see why Congress deserves the pay they get. They should receive the same pay as cops and firefighters or at the absolute minimum have penalties that affect their pay whenever they put off doing their jobs.

We argue over the wrong things.
Gun laws have been talked about more than ever since 20 kids were murdered last month. Gun enthusiasts refuse to admit that guns kill people, despite studies and records every year that say otherwise. Guns are more likely to kill someone the owner had no intention of killing than they are of being used for their intended purpose, yet people still want to have them around. In their homes, with their children, cocked and loaded. In fact, politicians are making it easier for those with mental health issues to obtain guns legally and want to make it illegal for physicians and psychiatrists to caution against gun safety

And we're also still arguing whether gays should be allowed to marry. Whether two grown adults who love each other and want to spend the rest of their lives together be allowed to wed gets just as much debate as whether or not mentally unstable people should be allowed to have military style, automatic weapons that cause mass murder. This is utterly ridiculous and says more about our morals and ethics than anything else. 

The world has to be coming to an end. It's 2013 and it feels 200 years earlier.

January 7, 2013

Dear Allie

My favorite.

Dear Allie,

I get it. And I'm really sorry that I get it because I didn't get it for so long (and there's a lot of other things that I don't get). 

It is disappointing to feel sad for no reason. And I imagine it doesn't help when people tell you how awesome you are all the time. In fact, it probably makes you feel like you shouldn't feel sad, especially for no reason, which makes you sadder. Or more sad. Because that's the correct way to say that. Goddamnit.

I don't know anything about you other than what you've posted on your blog. And perhaps Google+, because I found that profile the other day and stalked you a little bit. But I very much enjoyed your blog. It seems like you and I created our blogs for very similar reasons... although yours was consistently funnier and had more pictures  (and a cult following... if I have that no one's told me). 

You could have a great job where people like your work and your personality. You could live in a destination city where the weather is perfect for most of the year and the landscape is beautiful no matter what. You could have (and probably do, if I recall that you have a fiance) the most wonderful person in your life who gives you space and cuddles when you need them. But you still get sad for no fucking reason. And it's awesome.

The good news, for me at least, is my sadness is only in passing. And it's definitely not the debilitating version you got. I've been reading psychology articles (for work) and the back of my brain is trying to self diagnose the rest of my brain, without my permission and even though I'm 99.9% sure there's nothing diagnosable about my brain. It's like when you hear the symptoms of a deadly disease that only occurs in one tribe somewhere in Africa and you think "I coughed last week! I have the plague!" and start planning your obituary. Except less extreme. I also have been fighting with hormones for months (well, years, really) and I'm convinced those boogers just like to fuck with you. Birth control is by design supposed to make it possible to have sex and not get pregnant (and various other medical benefits). Some  types make women not want to have sex. At all. Which is fantastic birth control. I, however, have a secret weapon that my birth control is perhaps not prepared for, and that's a ridiculously sexy boyfriend. I usually win that battle. But I don't appreciate there being a battle in the first place. And although she's cuddling one arm at this very moment, making me get creative to type, the cat has been ignoring me almost completely. And it's not like she's a dog, where I could be annoyed or worried by her ignoring me, or even a particularly nice or social cat. She's a very stereotypical cat who hates pretty much everything, especially me. It doesn't help that I made her spend a week with a bunch of dogs. Oh, and my skin is trying to attack me.

You'll never see this, Allie, but I feel better having told you, kind of. I wish good things for whatever is going on with you and should you come back to the internet and give more pictures of your dog and the silly things that happen I wouldn't mind. 

Until then, I get it.


January 2, 2013

One Is Not Like The Other: Part 3

Kids are not animals. Or property.


The boyfriend and I took the dog to the dog park in Balboa Park on the first day of the year (happy new year!) and boy was it packed. There were dozens of dogs of all sizes and even more people wandering around. There were balls being thrown and caught, games of chase being played, and everyone - dog and person - was in a good mood. 

The boyfriend and I couldn't help laughing at the dogs standing around us: a great dane puppy who took a liking to Argo, little fuzzy somethings running around and yapping, pretty collies pausing mid-air catching a ball. We talked about our weird relationship with these animals, and wondered to ourselves how anyone could not love a dog. Which is the same thing some people wonder when we say we don't want kids. 

But how could anyone not want kids? What will you do with your lives without kids? How will you spend your money and your time without kids? How will you spend your evenings at home without kids? 

But you could replace the word kids in each of those questions with the word dogs. And I'm positive I'll be a million times happier. 

Look how happy and excited they are for a tiny treat!

Here are some differences between kids an dogs:

  • I can pick out my dog. I can't pick out my kid.
  • I don't have to get pregnant and fat to get a dog and it will cost waaaaaaay less to adopt a dog than a kid.
  • The baby stage for puppies is a lot shorter and I can get to the good stuff way quicker.
  • Dogs can be trained much faster and more effectively than kids.
  • Dogs don't go to college. Or ask for cars. But they do drive! 
  • A dog will always be happy to see me. A kid will sometimes be happy to see me.
  • I can leave my dog with a sitter and go on vacation without hearing "you never take me anywhere - I hate you!"
  • A dog will go running with me, happily. I don't know that a kid will want to once it's old enough to keep up. And if it does it will likely outpace me.
At least she can't verbalize her hatred for me.

Here are some reasons why I highly, highly doubt my thoughts on kids will change:
  • When I see pictures of new babies, or see new babies in person, my thought is "oh, that's nice," or "that's a baby," or "I know I'm supposed to express happiness for you, but that's a weird looking kid." (I'm all ooohs and aahhs when it's baby animal pictures.)
  • I know I'm going to be a big grumpy pants for 9 months if I get pregnant. And then again for the first several months to the first years of my baby's life.
  • Babies smell. And not in a good way. And baby powder is gross.
  • I've been around dogs and cats (and rats and rabbits and birds) long enough to know when something's wrong, and I know to trust the vet if it gets to that point. I wouldn't know why a baby just sits there and cries. All. God. Damn. Night. (I had colic... I can only imagine my mother's sanity.)
  • I get cranky when I'm tired and hungry and parents are frequently tired and hungry.
  • Having a house full of small dogs all trying their not-hardest to get along was not frustrating. Sleeping with the boyfriend and a dog and a cat in a small bed was a little frustrating. But if the house had been full of small children and we couldn't sleep because there was a crying baby I'd have had so much more alcohol.
  • My wonderful boyfriend is on board with the dog train, but not on board with the baby train.
But what if I change my mind? Well, since the rest of the world is convinced that will happen within 3 years, I'll address that: 
  1. If I do suddenly change my mind and decide I absolutely have to have children, I hope someone asks me if that's what I really, really want. Having gone so many years not wanting children, wouldn't it be a little weird to suddenly change my mind and want an entirely different lifestyle?  It would be like someone wanting their whole lives to go on missionary assignments around the world then suddenly changing their mind at 30 and taking a desk job in finance.
  2. If I am to suddenly change my mind I hope that happens before I marry someone who doesn't want kids. Otherwise hello divorce. 
  3. To address the scenario that I unintentionally become pregnant and can't bring myself to abort or give it up for adoption (because seriously... foster care?), that's my choice and one I would hope my partner would agree with. However, this doesn't change the fact that I will spend the rest of my childbearing years trying my damndest to not become pregnant in the first place.
For funzies, here is Part 1 and Part 2.