Stupid is Catching

I’ve gone back and forth about whether I want to blog about the Superbowl ad. It’s been talked about so much. It seems like it has been done to death.

And yet, it scares the heck out of me when I see ads like this. I find myself wanting to say something. I’m no different than Pam Tebow, but I made a different choice.

Over 2 years ago, I used to read a blog. One day the blogger posted that “reproductive rights make her sick”. It was during the 2008 election, and lots of you will remember that “the first thing I would do comment”.

Anyway, that was fine. There was the usual lively debate, and no one wanted to see anyone elses’s side and that was the usual awfulness. And I waded in and commented that things aren’t always black and white and sometimes there are no good choices. And I got this back:

I’ve read of many mothers that were told their baby would be fatal to them, who decided to trust in God’s providence and ended up having a healthy pregnancy and birth–both mother and child alive. I always think about that…how often is it *really* fatal?

I stopped reading the blog. I’ve never read it again. This was not a safe place for me to be, so I absented myself. I cut myself off, and prayed/hoped that this was an isolated mindset.

The problem with writing about the Superbowl ad is that I can’t be neutral –  this is not idle discussion for me. When someone who knows nothing about me and nothing about what happened, tells me to trust in God’s providence,  insisting that untreated pre-eclampsia might not be fatal, that affects me. It says something about who I am, and the choices I make. When they use their lack of knowledge to try and change laws, they put my life at risk. I can’t be silent. I won’t stay still.

Focus on the Family, having spent roughly 2.5 million dollars on this ad, say that they are “trying to celebrate life  and family”.  I think most people will be up refilling the sour cream for the nachos when it airs. I think lots of people will roll their eyes. Some will shout amen.

And a very small group of us, a desperately small group – will sit with empty arms, and we will think of signing consents, we will think of monitors beeping, crash c-sections, ultrasounds describing situations to terrible to picture. We will remember that room, those choices. We will be in that place, and we will remember: the words, the nod. We will bite our lip and we will wonder.

Let me tell you the truth about being a dead baby mum, one who had to chose which life to save. It does not matter that pre-eclampsia is relentless. It doesn’t matter that my blood pressure was 220/110, it doesn’t matter that my kidneys were not functioning, it doesn’t matter that my platelets were dropping like a rock. It doesn’t matter that the chief neonatologist came to my hospital room, my chart in his hand and told us that we were making the right call. It doesn’t matter that they told my husband and mother that I was going to die. I will never quite believe I made the best choice I could.

I’d like to believe that the commenter above was just stupid. I’d like to call her some kind of crazy, and tell her to sell crazy some place else.  I’d like to think that rational people don’t think this way. Except Focus on the Family is selling crazy on national TV. They are selling stupid, and if you believe that doctors tell women to end pregnancies for no reason, you’re buying crazy.

You know what will happen on Sunday? More people will see Pam Tebow stand up and proclaim that she! was! faithful! and her baby! didn’t! die!

She was faithful. More than that, – far more than that – in a way that she will never – never ever -know, she was lucky. She beat the odds. That’s a good thing, a great thing and a blessed thing. It’s not the thing you fight abortion on.  And until all women beat the odds, there is no more placental abruption, there is no more anencephaly, there is no more pre-eclampsia, there is no more infection, I’m not sure it’s something we should celebrate. Why are we celebrating luck when there is still work to do? We aren’t done yet. Not everyone gets to celebrate life and family.

The people watching and shouting amen will believe, just a bit more, in an unreasonable definition of faith over fact and science.  They will call luck, religion. They won’t demand an end to perinatal death. They will look at me, and question if I *really* would have died.

That’s selling crazy. And I’m worried that it is catching.

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83 Responses to Stupid is Catching

  1. Carbon says:

    Occasionally I’m filled with flashes of outright terror that you are right Mrs. Spit, that it is catching. I hope we are both very wrong.

    I used to get my birth control from Planned Parenthood. I crossed a picket line to do it once. While I’m not typically a prayerful person, I truly hope any prayers they directed at me or my (at the time) nonexistent offspring were redirected to someone somewhere that actually needed them.

    I wish Focus on the Family would focus on funding to remedy the real and present perils families face… like diseases and complications of pregnancy, like orphans that are already here and suffering, like genetic disorders and tragic childhood illnesses. Funding toward remedies for these issues would do more good for families in this world than mountains of faith.

  2. Beth says:

    After I wrote my blog entry agreeing with you… my brother also agreed. He was blunt. Wow…

    “She was faithful and her baby didn’t die. What about the women who were faithful and died themselves along with their babies? Well…they don’t make a super bowl commercial…because they are dead.”

  3. A says:

    Dear Mrs and Mr Spit,
    De-lurking after YEARS because I’m so incensed at the vitriol and sheer ignorance of Brianne and anon y mous. I cannot bear people who twist logic to suit their own twisted views. Women die every day from pregnancy related problems. How does that help anyone? It certainly doesn’t protect the ‘family unit.’
    Ignore them. Their karma will bite them on the ass. Horrible hateful people.

  4. Jess says:

    Right on, Mr. Spit. That verse is extrememely apt.

  5. V says:

    I just don’t understand why people don’t seem to get that the choice to end your pregnancy is your own. If you don’t believe in abortion don’t have one. It is not your right to make that decision for someone else. As for the ad, well they have the money so I guess they can run whatever they want. I would hope that CBS would be so open minded as to let the opposite side air their viewpoint as well. Although I’m not sure they would. Even my mother, the most religious person I know told me a long time ago, that decision is between you and God and no one else. Even religious folks should understand that much.

  6. Emmy says:

    Really well said. I’ve been trying to explain my position to my family, and I think I might just direct them here. What really scares me the most is that people think that they will be able to ‘beat the odds’ just like she did, and their surviving family members will be the ones who suffer.

    I hope that the next widower due to abruption, pre-e, or HELLP who thought ‘faith’ would save his family sues Mrs. Tebow and Focus on the Family for being misleading. I hope that stories of those who ignored Dr. advice did not survive make mainstream news so people can see the other side of this.

    If you are antiabortion, great don’t get one, but don’t tell me what to do to potentially save my life.

  7. kari says:

    Thank you for posting this. The voices of women with your experience need to be heard, because you are advocating for education and choice, rather than ignorance and dangerous dogma (like Brianne and anon y mous seem to embrace). My heart goes out to you for the tragedy you experienced, but I am grateful that you were able to choose wisely and be here on earth with your family today.

  8. Mary says:

    I can’t believe someone can’t even get on the air and say “Thanks, Mom” for choosing to have me. What is so terrible about saying that? No one is even mentioning abortion is bad, but just stating thank you for choosing life.

  9. ooky says:

    Very well said, to both Mr. and Mrs. Spit.

    I will never understand why the right-to-life people don’t believe a woman who has been alive for decades, with a life of their own, has less of a right to live than an embryo or fetus who hasn’t even been born.

  10. Nyssa says:

    I love this post. My mother had to make that that same decision, but she only had an infection. If she hadn’t made that hard decision none of my 6 siblings or I would be around.

  11. Shannon says:

    Mrs. Spit, I cannot imagine your pain. It saddens me that this ad causes you even more pain. This story was, perhaps, not the best story to tell in a pro-life ad. I am waiting to see the actual ad. However the overwhelming majority of abortions are not done to save the life of the mother. I wish the ad targeted this truth. I don’t even consider Mrs. Spit’s situation and the loss of her son as being on the same planet as the majority of abortions that take place in the US. I do think it is ok to spread the message that there is another choice besides abortion. I am very pro-life, but would never support a law that did not allow for saving the life of a mother. I think there are many pro-lifers who would agree with me on that. I agree that is situations like Mrs. Spit the decision must come from the family and the doctors. I saw a statistic that said only 3% of abortions are done to save the mother. What about the other 97%? These other 97% of abortions represent millions of babies who have been killed mostly for convenience. There lives are worthy of discussion and a commercial.

  12. Caba says:

    First of all, your post was beautiful. Thank you for that.

    Brianne, and anonymous, who didn’t even have the guts to leave their real name. Please go away. How about you just live your life according to your screwy rules, and let us do the same? I have gotten to the point where I hate pro-lifers. Although they rarely are. They are usually anti-abortion. They could care less about the life of the mother … and those same people tend to be pro-death penalty and pro-war. But they call themselves pro-life? Ridiculous.

    I think if a 15 year old girl gets pregnant and wants to have an abortion, it is no business of yours, or anyone elses. I believe it is between her and her God (if she so believes) and no one else.

    I love that Brianne is a conservative republican. So you want to force everyone to have babies, but then no welfare, no financial help, no anything after the baby enters the world. You really should call yourselves pro-fetus. Because you dont care about life.

    I’m sorry people come here and spew their venom and their hate and their anger. It’s sad really. I’m pro-choice all the way. I am SO SO SO sick of these religious right wing fanatics trying to force everyone to live by their rules. Mind your own business.

  13. Yes. Calling good luck religion, that’s exactly it.

    Some people go as far as to call both good and bad luck religion. When I posted about reproductive choices during the election, one of my commenters said that she would accept whatever G-d decided for her. If that meant that carrying a pregnancy would kill her, so be it, that was G-d’s plan. I have much more respect for that stance, even if I can’t even fathom believing something like that, than I do for the hypocrites who only praise G-d when things go their way.

    I will hold my tongue on the rest of it, except to say that wishing that a DBM remain childless is about the least Christian thing I’ve ever heard.

  14. Amanda says:

    I must admit I am a conservative. I have a few liberal views, but all in all I’m a conservative. Oh yeah, I’m Southern Baptist, too.

    WELL PUT MR. & MRS. SPIT! Very well put!

    What some people can’t seem to understand is that you’re talking about cases where continuing the pregnancy will be fatal for one or more parties involved. I guess they feel you should continue the pregnancy until you’re dead. Or continue it even though as soon as your child makes it into the world it will begin suffering for the minutes it may live. I guess these people have never been in a situation where a choice is necessary.

    Matthew 7:1 Judge not, that you be not judged.

  15. Chickenpig says:

    “How often is it really fatal?” Seriously? Every time it is fatal! For a woman who dies her chances of dying are 100%. Every pregnancy is it’s own statistical category. We should all have the right to look at our own pregnancy, our family, our situation and weigh the risks ourselves regardless of how someone else’s pregnancy ended. Without being judged.

  16. Donna says:

    Breanne, I really hope you never have to go through what I, and Mrs. Spit, and many other women have gone through. I hope you’re never lying there in a hospital, with your BP through the roof, on a mag drip that won’t even let you move, with your urine dark brown because of broken blood cells, surviving only because you’re receiving blood transfusions, and are told that your wanted, loved, named child isn’t going to make it, and that if they don’t induce labor, right then, you won’t survive either. I had been married 8 years at the time, and we both desperately wanted a child.

    I was LUCKY-my platelets stabilized once they’d induced labor enough that I was able to have an emergency C-section. Some women aren’t. And for those women, not only is an abortion the only option, but the dreaded “partial birth” abortion is the only option. I came dangerously close to this.

    If I could have died and saved my son’s life, don’t you think I would have done it? Believe me, I would. But it was just plain too early-he didn’t have the lung development needed even for the highest level NICU to work. I wanted to die with him. Even now, 8 years later, with a wonderful, healthy 5 yr old girl, I still miss my son, and wonder what he would have been like.

    I’m a good Christian. I marched in pro-life rallies in college. I volunteered at Crisis pregnancy centers. I attend church regularly. I take communion. My daughter attends a parochial school. I can’t imagine someone wanting to have an abortion.

    And it all didn’t matter. The odds of hitting the form of PE/HELLP that I did, my age, the severity, the speed of onset and the weeks of gestation was much lower than the biggest Jackpot at a Tunica casino. And I was just plain really, really unlucky.

  17. Quote from Brianne- “But I hope you never get the option to be pregnant.”
    Nice Christian attitude there, your true colors are showing.
    I pity you and your lack of compassion, what a burden to have to be judge, jury, and saint.

  18. Alexicographer says:

    Thanks for writing about this; it’s a beautiful post. I’m sorry you have the knowledge needed to write it.

  19. Trinity says:

    This knots my stomach. 🙁 I think you articulated this beautifully, and solid props to you for putting this perspective out here. These kinds of decisions are of the most intimate variety, and NO ONE should have to justify their ultimate decision to the rest of the world. I am genuinely sorry for your loss.

    The cruelty and shallow nature of some commenters just guts me.

  20. Barb says:

    amazing. thank you.

  21. PFM says:

    Thank you for posting your thoughts and being brave enough to do so. Reading the nasty comments makes me sick. No one understands what it’s like to walk in someone else’s shoes- the end.

  22. Michelle says:

    WOW! This is such a great post! You put everything in my head into words beautifully! Unless people are in the situation they can and never will understand. We should be happy for her that she was lucky but as you said that is it…luck! How about talking about the people that decided to put it in “God’s hands” and it did not work out and one or both mother and child died. They won’t put a commercial out about that and that happens far more then the other way around. Well said! Very well said!!! Thank you!

  23. jen says:

    A couple of people have mentioned this but only in passing – what about the health of the fetus? She was supposedly told to abort because they thought the fetus was damaged by medications and her health was at risk. She was so, so lucky that Tim was not damaged. But – you can’t replace missing chromosomes. I’m sure everyone knows that the right-wing conservative christians that are “pro-life” don’t give a damn about children after they are born. They don’t want social medicine that would have paid for my son’s dozen or so surgeries to keep him alive, had he been born alive. They don’t want to pay for someone to take care of a paralyzed, deaf and blind, and severely retarded child while I work. They don’t want to pay for the morphine that would be pumped into my son because his brain was squeezed into his spinal chord and he would have been in CONSTANT AGONY.

    So, if you religious nutjobs want to call me evil for sparing my son constant agony and making a horrible, heartwrenching decision to do it, then I will never hear what you have to say.

    Oh, and I’d just like to say to anon y mous and Brianne – people like you are the reason I had to have my son’s heart injected in secret instead of an early induction, which would have been less painful for everyone. I loved my son, and I miss him every day. But I know he is in a better place, away from his poor crippled body that would have been a prison.

    As far as free speech goes – they have a right to air a pro-life ad, and we have the right to point out how innacurate and uneducated it is.

  24. Jenni says:

    Thanks for sharing this. I’m in your corner. Wrote a little bit myself about the ad and disparities in funding/awareness. I wish you, your corner, our corner of the universe did not have to bite our lips and wonder. The people eating nachos… if only they knew…. but of course I can’t wish that anyone.

  25. battynurse says:

    Wow. I missed the ad (didn’t bother watching the super-bowl) and hadn’t seen any of the stuff about this. This is very well said and it’s really sad that people are so closed and unwilling to see any other side but what they think is accurate.

  26. Alannah says:

    Came across this post while blog-surfing through a friend’s blogroll. Would you mind if I added you to mine?
    Also, wow – you have a great deal of strength and courage, to share such a heartbreaking, personal time in your life. Thank you so much for putting yourself out here, and thank you for not letting the stupid get you down.

  27. jaded says:

    thanks for posting this…i was pregnant with a very beloved but fatal baby. I was Christian at the time, yet liberal. I beleived God already made his decision and it was that my little girl Emi, was not meant to stay. To say or imply that she was not loved or that her life was not precious to me because I ended the pregnancy is the most ridculous lie that anyone could muster. I did right by her, from the joyful begining to the bitter end. My husband and I are fully at peace with our decision, that subsequently spared her a very short (minutes at the most) and painful life.

  28. afteriris says:

    Right on, Mrs Spit. This is a brilliant post.

    Some of these comments are making me shudder with rage. Really, people? REALLY????

  29. Beth says:

    Thank you so much. I am sobbing right now as I read this — I lost my baby two weeks ago today, at 22 weeks, with no chance to save both of us, only a chance to save me. I will have that guilt for the rest of my life.

  30. H says:

    I did not see the Superbowl commercial…and I am glad. I have been struggling lately with my decision two-and-a-half years ago to let the doctors induce me with my daughter. I went into preterm labor, was given drugs to stop contractions, and was rushed in to surgery for an emergency cerclage. When they went to perform the cerclage, they discovered my water had already broken and I had developed a dangerous infection. When they brought me back and told my husband, he didn’t hesitate to make a decision: Induce. When our daughter was born, she was tiny and frail and lived for only twenty minutes in our arms.

    Since then I’ve recently heard the story of a couple who was told to abort to save the mother’s life, and they chose not to. Their micropreemie daughter is alive and well to this day. They credit their faith in God. And I have been reading the Bible lately and stumbling across passage after passage with, “Go, for your faith has made you well.” Where does that leave me? It has led me to question everything. Did I not trust enough? Did I not pray enough? Did I not have faith enough? When the doctor told my husband about the infection, she said it could cost me my uterus and possibly my life if we did not induce. And when my daughter was born, the doctor told us that had we not chosen to induce, my daughter was so sick she would certainly have died inside of me, and I might have died as well. Yet, with these two pieces of information, I still doubt. It is clear in the stories that these other women tell that doctors can be wrong. Were mine wrong?

    I am a follower of Christ and a pro-life advocate, yet it would never have occurred to me to question a decision where the mother’s life was at stake: Save the mother. Absolutely. No question. Yet, here I am having made that decision, and I am falling deeper and deeper into despair. Should I have died for her? What if she and I had both died? Would that have been a better outcome?

    Thank you for your post. It came at a really important time for me. I needed to hear another person’s voice telling a similar story. Not for affirmation, but to know that there is someone else out there whose heart is broken for the loss of their child and for the choice they had to make.

  31. Susy says:

    I didn’t even know about the ad, b/c the superbowl still sits in my dvr. So thank you for posting this. You totally rock! I will say that I’m pro-life and Catholic, but know it’s not black and white. Pro-life means the same for mother’s too. I can imagine your decision was a hard one and can’t even believe that anonymous would say this is coming from your guilt of your decision. >:[ It’s what ignorant people say and think and believe. This is a great post.

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