Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Say what??

Fellow twitterbugs will know this already but this is a conversation that happened yesterday.

Sitting outside for lunch yesterday and a colleague - who is a little strange - and she asks if I have any kids. I briefly explain that I lost a child last year, but that I am now 5 months pregnant. She responds with sympathy to the loss and then says....wait for it..... "So have you decided if you are going to keep this one?"


Ok so abortion is legal in SA. Since 1997 abortion, or the ever euphimistic "termination of pregnancy" has been pretty much legal up to 20 weeks. There seems to be a belief that the kindest thing to do is to abort if you don't want / can't afford a child. Some believe that thousands of SA orphanages are filled with kids wishing for families. Actually, that's not entirely accurate. If, for example, you were wanting to adopt a white kid in SA you would have to wait 5 - 8 years. White women in this country abort. Now don't get me wrong: we have orphanages, but I'd guesstimate that the majority of kids in these homes are Aids orphans or else have been removed from abusive / unhealthy situations. This last sentence is my impression and I stand to be corrected but I think it's true.

I am close to a few people who are adopted and I also have friends with adopted children. I can't see that any of these people believe it would have been kinder to have been killed in utero than to live a good life with people who have actually chosen them. Ok, granted, I am perhaps simplifying the situation quite a lot, but it's just that abortion has always been a heartbreaking thing to me and NOW! WOW! now I see those disgusting quickie "same day abortion" signs on Cape Town street poles and it makes me feel ill. There are so so many of us who would give anything for our child to live and all the while people are "terminating" pregnancies.

Anyway, of course abortion is its own entire debate and people will inevitably say "yes, but what if this and what if that". But what if, as I suspect, most abortions don't fall into the incest, rape, etc categories. They simply fall into the "Oh ****, that's not what I had planned!" category.

Back to the lunchtime conversation. WHY ON EARTH would a woman - who is a mother herself - EVER even legitimise a person like me - earning a good salary, married, fairly established - having an abortion?
I mean lets not even go near the fact that I've lost a child fullterm on top of it. But how on earth could it possibly be ok in her mind for me to consider abortion?

I thought about it a bit and realised the reason... this lady is particularly militant when it comes to feminism. A few examples: don't dare say "spokesman" or the "average guy on the street" or refer to people as "man" (like as in "fellow man"). It's all sexist in her eyes. I have a t-shirt that says "the incredible shopping with reusable bags woman" and it really upsets her! ("It's not like shopping is a woman's job!" nope... but I am a woman?!)
Anyway, you get the message. And so the only thing that makes sense to me is that her saying that is her just making the point that I do, in fact, have a choice.

It's got to be that, surely?

Yes, I have a choice. It's called condoms, the pill, abstinence, whatever. A middle income, 27 year old, married woman with a perfectly healthy baby on board choosing to have an abortion is not CHOICE, it's sick. If that's women's lib you can count me out.

(Besides at this stage I really need my bra and ain't nobody gonna be burning it!!)

Monday, March 29, 2010

Choosing bitterness or not

This weekend has given me some food for thought (ok, if I'm honest plenty of food for consumption as well - that appetite has kicked in!). Actually both an incident that happened this weekend and one that happened last week. What am I on about?

Incident 1: The hospital
Last week I (very bravely) went to visit a friend in hospital after her baby girl had been born. It was... easier and harder than I thought. The things you expect to be sore aren't so bad, but as always, it's the things you don't expect: the smell of the hospital, the sight of little ones fighting for their lives in the NICU. Anyway we were there past visiting hours and a nurse came in with definite gestapo tendencies informing us that visiting hours are now over and we are expected to leave promptly. We did (with a subtle Heil Hitler thrown in when she wasnt looking) and I guess when we left the room our friends mentioned to her that they'd specifically invited us at a time when there wouldnt be other visitors because of what we'd been through.

We were nearly out the maternity ward when she caught up to us. Her entire countenance had changed. She came to tell me that she too had lost a baby - stillborn at 32 weeks. We chatted for a bit, commiserated, empathised and parted as friends. You see the thing is that when you share that kind of common ground with someone all else fades a way. She was no longer gestapo nurse and I was no longer rule breaking visitor. We were both in The Club. The Club that no one ever wants to be a part of, but when you are you are dam grateful that you're not alone. Anyway, I am sure that when I am back in July she will be my fiercest supporter.

Incident 2: Earth Hour
So Saturday night saw the culmination of many months of hard work. There was basically a core team of 5 of us working to ensure that Earth Hour happened in SA. My role was all the media relations stuff and considering that our media monitoring service has picked up 200 media hits just in the last 2 days you can imagine it's been pretty busy.

Anyway, typically, I digress!
So Saturday night I was at the Earth Hour media function in CT. My boss's wife was there as well. Chat chat chat, polite stuff etc. Until.... "Oh yes, you're the one whose baby was born at 38 weeks.... Dead."


What the hell do you say to that? "Yep, that's me! I'm that one!"??? Felt like I'd been kicked in the throat.
However, she went on to say that her first husband was killed when she was 5 months pregnant with her first child. When the child was born there were complications and 10 days later her first child died.

I felt sick. I can not even begin to imagine having your life snatched from you like that - in 4 months you lose your husband and your child. Horrific.

The thing is though that I've always wondered about this lady. There is a hardness about her. A bitterness. Her mouth turns down. I know that's an arb thing to say, but it is true both physcially and metaphorically. I guess when she told me her story - coldly, detachedly (<== is that a word?), bluntly, I think she started to make a lot more sense to me.

She is remarried now - for more than 15 years and she has two daughters, but you can see the bitterness on her face, hear it in her words and in the way she speaks them and feel it in her manner.
I don't want that to be me. I don't want to carry bitterness like a shield. Am I wounded? absolutely! Is that loss a part of me? Always. But not only LOSS, also the joy of the time we did have with Sophia and the anticipation of the eternity we'll spend with her. Also the gratitude for the life I have - my husband, my family, my friends, my health and of course The Kernel on her way.

Today I wrote to a friend that I was proud of her. It's something that has always annoyed me when people have said it of me and this situation. What's there to be proud of? the fact that I'm surviving? That I get dressed and brush my teeth everyday? That's not an achievement, it's barely even a choice. But I realised that actually there is something to be proud of, or at least glad about: I am proud of her because despite losing the love of her life she still loves life. Despite suffering the most unfair loss, she is not bitter. And I guess I think and I hope that (for the most part, at least) I can say the same of myself.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

21 weeks

All seems to be going well. I had a scan on Thursday and The Kernel is healthy. We are now confirmed for 9 July - we will be doing the induction that day, on the 36 week mark. Hoping and praying that the induction works so I don't have to have a caesar. **104 sleeps til The Kernel arrives**

Else all fine. Still feeling good - lots of waking up in the middle of the night, but aside from that I'm ok.

Wow this really is a boring post. Sorry... work has been frantic in the lead up to Earth Hour tonight which myself and about 4 colleagues have organised in South Africa. I do all the media side of things and so it has been contant interviews and press releases and sorting out footage and photos and and and.
I'll be VERY glad when it's done and everything is a little calmer!

In just over 2 months I'll be on maternity leave and in just over 3 months I'll be holding my baby at last. yay

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Yep, I've joined the Desktop Activists #SpeakZA

Enough with the bullying, ANC Youth League, we've all had enough.

If you'd like to echo these sentiments (which are in turn being echoed by me) - please do your own version of this post and add your name to the blog roll below. (Just cut and paste the post and blogroll below and then add your own link at the bottom. Like a chain letter, only cooler. :) Then tweet/Facebook about it too.

The hash tag is #SpeakZA

The post we are sharing is:

Last week, shocking revelations concerning the activities of the ANC Youth League spokesperson Nyiko Floyd Shivambu came to the fore. According to a letter published in various news outlets, a complaint was laid by 19 political journalists with the Secretary General of the ANC, against Shivambu. This complaint letter detailed attempts by Shivambu to leak a dossier to certain journalists, purporting to expose the money laundering practices of Dumisani Lubisi, a journalist at the City Press. The letter also detailed the intimidation that followed when these journalists refused to publish these revelations.

We condemn in the strongest possible terms the reprisals against journalists by Shivambu. His actions constitute a blatant attack on media freedom and a grave infringement on Constitutional rights. It is a disturbing step towards dictatorial rule in South Africa. We call on the ANC and the ANC Youth League to distance themselves from the actions of Shivambu. The media have, time and again, been a vital democratic
safeguard by exposing the actions of individuals who have abused their positions of power for personal and political gain.

The press have played a vital role in the liberation struggle, operating under difficult and often dangerous conditions to document some of the most crucial moments in the struggle against apartheid. It is therefore distressing to note that certain people within the ruling party are willing to maliciously target journalists by invading their privacy and threatening their colleagues in a bid to silence them in their legitimate work.

We also note the breathtaking hubris displayed by Shivambu and the ANC Youth League President Julius Malema in their response to the letter of complaint. Shivambu and Malema clearly have no respect for the media and the rights afforded to the media by the Constitution of South Africa. Such a response serves only to reinforce the position that the motive for leaking the so-called dossier was not a legitimate concern, but an insolent effort to intimidate and bully a journalist who had exposed embarrassing information about the Youth League President.

We urge the ANC as a whole to reaffirm its commitment to media freedom and other Constitutional rights we enjoy as a country.

Blog Roll:

Friday, March 12, 2010


I haven't been blogging much coz work has been keeping me crazily busy - between planning for Earth Hour and trying (with success - woohoo) to stop the mining in the winelands it has been manic.

I don't have too much news. Last weekend The Band and I went shopping for a carpet for the nursery at Mat's Carpets - meh he he.

The carpet arrived on Tuesday and it is gorgeous. We splashed out and got a really soft one - the only carpet in the whole house (the rest being wooden and washed stone/cement?). It is soooo soft. The Band and I lie on it frequently - SO NICE. It transforms the room completely. The Band has also moved the furniture back in so it is starting to look gorgeous. Pics soon, but still a bit to be done!

The Parental Units arrived last night. My dad is cycling the Argus on Sunday.

As for movement... I have maybe felt teeeeeeeeeeeeensy movements every other day but they are SO small. Hoping they get much bigger soon! And that's about it.

Monday, March 08, 2010

A successful peptalk

The heat. The infernal heat. Generally I can't bear grumpy people. But if there is one thing that makes me grumpy it is this endless heatwave we're having. Temperatures in the 40s. THE FORTIES! Today is meant to be 43 in the winelands. Apparently if you're pregnant you're about 2 degrees hotter! The sad thing is that on weekends it actually occurs to me that I'd rather be at work with aircon than at home without. That is how bad it is. (To all readers in Europe freezing your bums off, I KNOW! But extremity is bad either way!) I showered I think 4 times (sorry planet!) and also showered the two dogs and even a VERY compliant Guv - he let me soak him and was quite grateful!!

Anyway, The Band and I were plonked on the bed yesterday afternoon with two fans going and I decided to give The Kernel a pep talk. It went something along these lines:
"Why do you refuse to kick me? Seriously... just about anyone else would take that opportunity if it was offered to them!"
About ten minutes later, voila! She kicks! And a while after that again.


Friday, March 05, 2010

Kernel: we're halfway there!

Today I hit the halfway mark - 18 weeks pregnant - in 18 weeks I will be induced (I'd like to add in a little disclaimer like "if all goes well" but bugger that. It's time to stop with the disclaimers, the constant fear, the provisos just in case.*)

In 18 weeks we will meet The Kernel face to face.

The sorting of the cupboard was difficult, but also good. It was difficult to decide what to keep for The Kernel, what to give away and what to treasure always as Sophia's. But it was also good. I never really got to sort through the majority of the stuff last time as we went to Plett days after the (3rd) baby shower. Much of the stuff was completely unfamiliar - don't remember it at all. In keeping with my sentiment in the paragraph above I went about ripping off tags, taking all manner of thermometers and bath mats and spoons etc etc out of their plastic packaging and placing them properly as if this cupboard is indeed going to be used for a baby (and quite soon too!). I did a big load of washing and will be packing everything in place. I'm not sure if it is the process or the timing of the process but I am starting to feel optimistic. Maybe, just maybe, it will all be fine and the Kernel will make her way into this world with a hearty cry! (hopefully hers, not mine!)

It was on the 18 week mark that I first felt Sophia's little kicks. I remember it so clearly. Lying on my back and two little taps. I sort of rubbed that spot and tap tap happened again. Hoping to feel The Kernel's movements soon.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

6 months and a gift

Today marks 6 long months since you were born. If you were here now perhaps you'd be teething and starting on solids. We'd know all your habits so well and I bet we'd wonder if there was ever a time when you hadn't been part of our little family. I think the dogs would be protective of you and your dad would probably have a special something - perhaps a put on voice or a method of zerbit to make you laugh. I think I'd be so proud of you but would try not to be too obvious about it and everyone would see straight through the feeble attempts at feigned humility. I'd show you off bigtime. I think you'd have LOVED bath time. You did when you were in my belly. You also loved the singing at church.. that was your absolute favourite.

This morning I resolved to sort out your cupboard tonight. More and more is being bought for your sister by excited family and friends and your cupboard is overflowing. I need to decide what I am going to be ok with giving to your sister, what I want to give away to Bosom Buddies and what I want to set aside forever, what's yours. I guess if you were still here it might be the same and that's the way I should look at it. There would be hand-me-downs and stuff that I'd rather give away and stuff that was essentially yours. I need to not be cut up that a cupboard bursting with all your things gets minimised to a shelf. I've put off this process for six months. Leaving the cupboard mostly closed, but now and then opening it and breathing in the sweet pink smell of baby products and touching your clothing. Perhaps it's silly sentamentalism - it's certainly not like you need these things where you are, but hey, I guess the guilt proves I'm a mom! :)

Today I saw something I've never seen before...
When I held you for that all too short time in the hospital there was a moment where your little rosebud mouth fell open. A perfect baby overbite. Eyes closed as if peacefully asleep. I've often regretted not having a photo of that.
This morning I looked at your dad and I saw the same image. I'd never seen the resemblance before, but something about how he was sleeping and the expression on his face mirrored how you looked that night 6 months ago. I don't need the photo. You are etched on my heart.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

17.5 weeks and all is well

I can't say I got much sleep on Sunday night. I had weird nightmares galore... snakes, chinese babies with terminal cancer and, of course, the ubiquitous spiders all haunted my sleep.

By the time I got up I felt ill. Didn't want to eat. Scale was still down. eesh.

Luckily Best Mate was with me and somehow we got to the doctor's by which time I was a bit of a useless wreck with a heartbeat rivalling the baby's for speed!

Yes... the baby's. There is a heartbeat. Worst fear did not come true. Baby is alive and well and even waved at me:

She is now about 13cm long and everything is looking just as it should.

Big relief to say the least. I don't know how I manage to work myself up so much every time. I have now stopped enquiring about people's pregnancies, I avoid reading pregnancy websites and I stay far away from pregnancy mags because reading "I felt the first wonderful flutters at 13 weeks" when I'm close on 18 with no flutters at all does not help me. Fear is a nasty thing to have following you around!

Truth be told I am having the "dream pregnancy" in terms of the physical side. No nausea, no headaches, no sore boobs, no heartburn, barely showing. All the things that most preggers women would envy. But emotionally? Emotionally this is the most exhausting thing I've ever been thru... and I'm only half way!