I’ve Lived It All: One Woman’s Story of Child Birth, Loss and Choices

by Irish Stewart

I love to talk to people. Every person has a story that helped make them who they are, and every person’s story is meaningful to them.  But, once in a while, someone has a story that could be truly meaningful to many others; a story that needs to be shared.

Recently, I was talking with a female friend that I have known for quite some time when she decided to share her story with me.  We were discussing the “War on Women” that is being waged in our country.  After listening to it, I knew it needed to be shared with you.

“I’m tired of all the so-called ‘pro-life’ people and politicians in this country trying to tell me what’s best for me, my body and my family. None of them know me or what I have been through. I am a woman who has lived it all. I’ve experienced every possible pregnancy situation a woman can experience.

My 1st baby, a little girl, was stillborn after I had a late-term miscarriage at eight months. Her brain was underdeveloped.

Two years later, I was beaten and raped by a man I had been dating for three weeks because I wanted to stop seeing him. That was an awful experience on it’s own, but then, I discovered – to my horror – that I was pregnant. I made the difficult choice to give the baby up for an open adoption because I could not be CERTAIN that I could look at the child of my rapist every day and not, somehow, blame them. I had an emergency C-section and gave birth to a healthy baby boy. The adoptive family was thrilled.

A year later, my third pregnancy was unplanned. I was just getting ready to finally begin college and I was still emotionally torn apart from my last experience. I had an abortion at eleven weeks.

My next pregnancy came eight years later, after I had been married for two years. I gave birth, vaginally, to a beautiful baby boy.

Two years later, my husband and I were thrilled to find out we were expecting again, but then were devastated when I had an early miscarriage at three months.

You know what was the hardest on me? The one that caused me the most emotional distress, regret and residual mental issues? The adoption. Having an abortion seems like nothing after carrying a baby, giving birth to it and then, giving it away. Not that I’m knocking adoption, mind you. It’s a very important option for people to have…especially for kids in foster care who need families.

But, I rarely ever think about the abortion, and to have so many politicians and rabid ‘pro-life’ strangers trying to convince me that I shouldn’t have the CHOICE to have an abortion as opposed to being FORCED to give birth and go through that awful decades long emotional turmoil isn’t right. “

Exactly. It’s not right.  –> OUR lives! OUR bodies! OUR choice!

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Irish StewartIrish Stewart is a recalcitrant Progressive with a Twitter obsession, a mother, a business owner, a wife and a Jell-O eater. Follow her here: @NakedAxiom
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Challenges For Our Next 20 Years – Part One: Reaching Out

As Progressives, we share a common interest, a common ideal but, as we all know, a common ideal doesn’t always mean a common idea.  Anyone who has spent any time talking with other Progressives knows that we don’t always have the same ideas on how to do things but, we come together because we have a shared goal – moving our country forward in the best way possible for The People and the nation.

The first of the questions we need to concern ourselves with: What is to be the scope of our outreach in the next 20 years? How do we grow in the number and types of people we reach? The fact is, we can’t move our country forward properly with just us.  We need new Progressives, new recruits – if you will – we need an ‘evangelical’ movement without using some of the techniques and tools traditionally used by evangelicals.

There are terms used in many churches that we may annex for our purposes: ‘evangelism’, a need to reach out and a need to bring new people into the group, and ‘bishoping’, nurturing and empowering those already within the circle. So, on one hand we must reach out and, on the the other hand, nurture the base.  One challenge will be to improve both, while keeping the balance.

As Progressives, we understand the complexity of the multiple challenges we face as a nation and a world. We know issues are never black and white, and there are definitely more than 50 shades of grey. Paring down the scope of those challenges to create a few simple core messages seems impossible, at best but, it may be the only way to grab the attention of those living in a sound-bite society such as ours.

As a way to more easily spread core messages, in 1912 the Progressive party released a postcard of “The Progressive Creed,” an idea we might attempt to adopt for today’s generations.Progressive-Creed-1912>>click to enlarge<<

Once we simplify our core messages, we must reach other people with those messages and to do that, we must first learn to speak their language; become educated in new ways of thinking and speaking. Without it, our goal of really communicating with people will become much more difficult. Ground yourself in the language of some ‘traditional’ part of our society, so you can help build bridges.

Other than learning to speak their language, we also have to remember how important it is to listen. If you don’t listen to where someone is coming from, who they are, what their needs and interests are, then any discussion you attempt about politics is going to be a waste of time and a missed opportunity. Engage them. Ask questions and really listen to their answers. Show empathy for their situation.

After you discover what you need to know, how do you proceed? What do you say? Do you have a story for mothers, for health care professionals, for people deeply involved in their church? Do you have a story that will speak to them? The important thing is that through that story, you meet people at their level, speak their language, meet their needs, but don’t necessarily play into their ideological assumptions. Sometimes that’s a tricky business.

Next, we must create new outreach programs, classes and groups, organize local, regional and national conferences and conventions, help create educational outreach curriculum and materials for schools, approach business organizations and professional associations.

There is a lot we can learn and much we can teach.

Next time –> Part 2: The Issues

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Irish StewartIrish Stewart is a recalcitrant Progressive with a Twitter obsession, a mother, a business owner, a wife and a Jell-O eater. Follow her here: @NakedAxiom
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“Conservatives donate more to charity than Liberals.”

When a conservative tells you this, they are most likely referencing a 2006 book by Arthur C. Brooks called, “Who Really Cares: The Surprising Truth About Compassionate Conservatism—America’s Charity Divide, Who Gives, Who Doesn’t, and Why It Matters.”

According to Brooks, households headed by conservatives give 30 percent more to charity than households headed by liberals, and he claims a correlation between charitable behavior and “the values that lie beneath” liberal and conservative labels.  To him, the two main influences on charitable behavior are religion and attitudes about the proper role of government.

Brooks also cites the statistic that ninety-one percent of people who identify themselves as religious are likely to give to charity as opposed to 66 percent of people who do not however, he ignores the fact that religious liberals are just as generous as religious conservatives (the stingiest are secular conservatives), and religion is the essential reason conservatives give more.  They shower their ‘charity’ dollars on their own personal churches, and a fair amount of that money isn’t helping the poor, but simply constructing lavish spires & supporting church staff.

“When it comes to giving or not giving, conservatives and liberals look a lot alike. Conservative people are a percentage point or two more likely to give money each year than liberal people, but a percentage point or so less likely to volunteer.”

In other words, conservatives are more likely to toss a little cash at their church (Biblical mandate? Religious guilt? Social pressures? Bragging rights?) than to get their hands dirty physically helping those who need it most.

He also ignores the fact that if donations to all religious organizations are excluded, liberals give slightly more to charity than conservatives do.

Brooks’ numbers are also suspect and so, he tries to explain it away by telling us:

“to describe every data source and explain every statistical test that went into the analysis in this book would make for an appendix nearly as long as the book itself” (pp. 185–186).

Instead, he selected “the data summaries and statistical tests that are particularly important for building the book’s arguments.”  Hm. So, Arthur C. Brooks did a bit of cherry-picking in the statistics orchard to find the sweetest fruit to support his argument, or in other words, Brooks admits that he is guilty of reporting bias.

Conservatives tout the fact that Brooks is a “registered Independent” and not a Democrat or Republican as a way to prove his impartiality but – honestly – any claims made by an author who admits to skewing data sources to reach the ‘expected’ conclusion or who makes statements such as these: “For many people, the desire to donate other people’s money displaces the act of giving one’s own” (p. 55) and “Statistically it is nearly impossible to disentangle welfare, single parenting, and antisocial behavior—including selfishness” (p. 108) has to be looked at with – at best – skepticism.

Debate Points: “Conservatives Donate More To Charity Than Liberals”

PAR – Daily News Round Up – Monday 2/27/2012

Politics:

Poll: Obama holds double digit leads over Romney and Santorum.

It seems the debates, caucuses, primaries and recent GOP gaffes have taken their toll. Pres. Barack Obama holds double digit leads over the GOP candidates, according to…  Read more

 

Romney’s Job Growth Record: More Low Wages Than Middle Income

Mitt Romney points to his hand in founding companies such as Staples & Sports Authority to show he can create jobs but, the reality paints an ugly picture…   Read more

 

Why We Should Fear Rick Santorum – And His Followers

After looking at this breakdown of Santorum’s radical views, it’s no small wonder that he was not re-elected as a Pennsylvania Senator.   Read more

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Science:

Why Exploring Space Still Matters

We’re at a critical moment for America’s space program and future. In just one year, the expenditure of the US’s military budget equals the entire 50-year budget… Read more

Stratospheric Superbugs Offer New Source of Power

Bacteria normally found 30 kilometres above Earth have been identified as highly efficient generators of electricity. The microbe, commonly found…  Read more

Health:

Human Eggs Created from Stem Cells Could Be a Fertility Boon

An experiment that produced human eggs from stem cells could one day be a boon for women who hope to give birth to their own baby someday…  Read more

Pediatricians Urge Routine HPV Shots for Boys

Boys ages 11 and 12 should routinely be immunized against human papillomavirus, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. And boys and men…  Read more

 

“A healthy democracy requires a decent society; it requires that we are honorable, generous, tolerant and respectful.” –Charles W. Pickering

The Virginia Senate has changed the ultrasound abortion bill to require external instead of transvaginal ultrasounds. That still doesn’t solve THIS problem.

“We are Progressives because we do not FEAR what MIGHT happen; we BELIEVE in what COULD happen” –@NakedAxiom

PAR – Daily News Round Up – Friday 2/24/2012

Daily News Round Up – Thursday 2/23/2012

Choose your favorite GOP looney and join me in a game of GOP Insanity Bingo!

 

“Equality is the soul of liberty; there is, in fact, no liberty without it.” –Frances Wright

 

 

News Round Up

Welcome to PAR, the Progressive American Report (BETA)!

Below, you’ll find a plethora of information that you can use to expand your personal knowledge and spread important messages to the general public.

Feel free to share anything you find on this site.  Come back every day to stay updated on what’s happening in today’s political scene.

“Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclination, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.” –John Adams

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