First thing I want to say is thank you to everyone for your comments on my post yesterday. The outpouring of support made me feel much better. Now, on to an update.
I finally found somewhere who stocked Plan B yesterday via a link from Manxome (thank you so much for the link; I had all but given up on Plan B at that point). I called the clinic and explained the situation to them. They were helpful and kind and went out of their way to try and alleviate the need for me to drive to them. When I explained how far away I was they tried to route me to alternate clinics that may have a doctor on hand that day. The hope was that they could patch me through to a sister clinic where the doctor would just call in a prescription for me to my local pharmacy thus alleviating the need to drive the hour and a half to them.
Unfortunately, despite their best efforts, we were unable to locate a sister clinic with an on site doctor yesterday. With this in mind I called Dubhe at work and told him the deal. He left work early because, as he said, “This was something that involved both of us and I’m not going to have you be the only one who has to be inconvenienced by this”. Well, clearly *I* was forced to take the brunt of the inconvenience due largely to biology and my desire to take this into my own hands. However, the gesture was appreciated and so after he got home we both drove the hour and a half to get the EC (He’ll be working late today to make up for the time off yesterday).
The clinic was suitably far away although it was in a town that I’m slightly familiar with. We made good time and I was pleased that the trip there took and hour and ten minutes instead of the hour and a half I had anticipated.
I drove and did a lot of thinking and talking while driving. With the light at the end of the tunnel in sight I was able to think and, well, breathe again two things that I welcomed with open arms. Since this entire ordeal began I have been unable to either think or talk so it was nice to find that I was calming down enough to do both.
In either case the clinic was kind and helpful and after filling out a paper which asked me a few medical questions I was given the medication and I left. It cost me $20 + gas which is a far cry better than a $100.00 co-pay at an emergency room that may or may not give me the medication I needed. I took the first pill in the car and quickly ate a banana to go with it. It was then that I began to really stop and think about this entire experience and you know what? The things that popped into my head confused me and, quite frankly, surprised me.
Now, on Friday night when the condom broke Dubhe was a nervous wreck. He apologized profusely over and over again and I explained to him that I did not hold him responsible. We had practiced safe sex and it was just one of those things that sometimes happen. Saturday morning upon waking I called the pharmacy and thus began the long and horrible weekend.
I found that my confidence and good mood of Saturday morning was being quickly replaced by a feeling of badness and it wasn’t until I was driving home yesterday from the clinic that I recognized it for what it was. Something strange happened when I was being interrogated by these nurses and ER’s and so forth, I became ashamed of myself and feared that I had done something wrong.
This came as a surprise to me. Me? Ashamed? What the fuck was I ashamed over? This made no sense to me at all so I began to look at the events from the weekend. A pattern emerged that troubled me greatly; a pattern of trying to claim all the blame of what had been an accident. I looked closer at what I was feeling and as I did I found that there were some odd as fuck fears down there.
For whatever reason the more clear it became that getting Plan B was not going to be easy the more I began trying to take on blame that was not mine to take. This ‘blame grabbing’ resulted in feelings of fear, resentment and insecurity. I had spent the weekend thinking to myself, “Geesh, I should have read more about condom use. Maybe if I had done something more I could have prevented this” and that compounded with a desire to not let on to Dubhe just how badly I was being affected by this. Thoughts kept swirling through my mind and the more these thoughts swirled the more I remembered the questions I got from the hospitals and health care providers. The more I thought of those questions the more I tried to grab the blame and foist it onto my own shoulders.
I suddenly found myself spinning my wheels. I wanted to absolve Dubhe of any and all culpability. The more hurdles that appeared before me the more I wished to isolate him from all of it. The more uncomfortable it became the more worried I became that I would be punished or reprimanded. I found myself apologizing for shit that I became angry at myself for apologizing for. I remembered that on Sunday as I was biting my lower lip and twitching and fretting Dubhe said, “Are you ok?” and I responded by apologizing for being such a horny person.
He was puzzled by my reaction and shook his head in confusion before telling me that I’m not a terrible person and that this was an accident. Even as I apologized for some supposed wrong I had foisted onto myself I was angry at myself for saying something so ridiculous to begin with. As I spoke the words or thought the thoughts my warrior screamed, “What the hell are you doing? This isn’t your fault! Why are you so worried about making sure that you don’t inconvenience him? BB, wake up!!!!”
I didn’t say anything like it again but I thought it anyway. These thoughts, whatever they were, were not my own. I knew that there was some mechanism that was causing this terrible fear and worry and I knew that these ideas were not in keeping with what I believed but I didn’t have the presence of mind to think about it. All I knew was that I wanted to shelter him from the inconvenience of what I was going through.
Finally, on my way back from the clinic with the pill working its way through my system Dubhe looked at me and said, “So, do you feel better? Do you want to talk about it now? What was going on with all the self-blaming BB?”
And for the first time since all this began I breathed and thought and suddenly everything made sense. My reaction to this situation was not an overblown, hysterical reaction which was entirely out of left field. Rather, it was the very logical reaction to a society which has made an art out of foisting all responsibility onto women. From the responsibility of reproduction and birth control and subsequent raising of children to the responsibility to not ‘get raped’ and so on.
Indeed, my reaction was not unforeseeable; rather it was perfectly in keeping with what society has taught us from birth.
If you inconvenience a man you must be held accountable. Everything and anything that happens in a relationship must be the fault of the woman somehow. The admonitions to myself of, “I never should have gone off the pill” were yet more ways of taking responsibility for something that wasn’t my fault. But what was driving this frenzied state? I asked myself and Dubhe this very important question as we were driving back home.
And then it hit me. The driving force behind all of this nonsense was fear. On some level I believed that if I made this more uncomfortable for him than was absolutely necessary then he would pull away from me. He would withhold intimacy. On some level I was scared that if I didn’t take ALL the blame for something that was an honest to goodness accident, that he would be afraid of me. Or that the blame would come back to me eventually. If I stepped up to the plate and apologized before I could be implicated then perhaps I would never be implicated to begin with.
Suffice it to say I was sickened that such fears were still able to be aroused in my feminist brain. What the fuck does it say about me? I’m still pondering the ramifications of knowing that these types of fears are still apparently in my mind.
However, what I’m not questioning is that this society does indeed want to put women’s feet to the fire for shit like this. Thirty-four years of living in this society has trained me very well and all of the feminist beliefs and theories and talking have still not completely erased the imprint that the patriarchal teachings had on my psyche. Even when a man involved in such a thing didn’t place the blame on me and didn’t want me to steal blame from the situation I still responded with the ‘acceptable’ response.
And that, my friends, is one of the biggest reasons that this bullshit patriarchal agenda has become such a huge fucking monster. So many of us respond exactly as we have been trained when our feet are to the fire. Despite my wishes to NOT have these thoughts. Despite my disgust that they were even IN my head, I could not stop them. The fear was real. This agenda had been imprinted so completely into my head that when trouble occurred I defaulted back to it like a trained dog. I obediently (I daresay reflexively) fell back onto blaming myself for the actions of a man.
Now, neither Dubhe nor I intended this accident. We did everything by the book and followed all the rules of condom usage he was no more at fault than I was. But when push came to shove, even without prompting (goodness knows that he didn’t do anything to prompt these thoughts in my head) I still fell back onto them.
On Friday night and Saturday morning I was fine and dandy. After speaking with the hospitals I began to feel like shit until even *I* doubted myself. It seemed that many people believed that I was a rotten excuse for a human being and their doubt in me surfaced in me doubting myself. Even though I knew better.
After this revelation (which left me rather speechless for a few moments while Dubhe watched worriedly) I started getting angry. And that, my friends, is where I am right now. I’m angry. I’m angry as hell at this society that insists that it’s their job to know what the fuck is happening inside my vagina.
I’m pissed because ANY pregnancy for me will be risky. After my surgery I was told that with my fucked up cervix if I ever DO become pregnant again that I will likely have to spend it on my back in bed. That surgery in December removed a large portion of my cervix, therefore they would have to suture my cervix shut in order for me to carry a pregnancy to term. Not only that, but I was warned that I would most likely be prescribed bed rest for my entire third trimester and be considered a high risk.
I was also warned that my cervix (or lack thereof) will make fitting for a diaphragm or cervical cap risky in more ways than one. I also refuse to get a tubal libation or a hysterectomy and Dubhe is not eligible to have a vasectomy paid for for another year. To top it off hormonal birth control fucks me up beyond belief and almost inevitably, after a few months of the pill or the shot, I wind up bleeding constantly.
Who are these bastards to deny me EC based upon whether or not I was raped? Based upon whether or not I was a godless whore who was unmarried? Who the hell are they to try and make me feel like shit for not living up to whatever standards they have? If they have ‘criteria’ then why the fuck weren’t they basing their ‘criteria’ upon actual medical facts about me rather than some moral smokescreen that allows them to play god?
I was given a sharp reality check this weekend that showed me several truths that I had neglected to foresee. The first was that this society has trained me very well to compensate and indeed, overcompensate when a man has to be inconvenienced. And the second is that we have a long, long, long way to go on many fronts.
When I walked into that clinic yesterday I was a nervous wreck. I kept half-expecting the kind woman behind the counter to begin lecturing me about what a whore I was. Of course, that didn’t happen, but it serves as a stark reminder to just what this society tells women when they’re in trouble.
You know what else is odd? The fact that I felt compelled to write in this post about my attempts at preventing pregnancy. Why I felt compelled to tell everyone that I’m a high risk candidate for pregnancy and to explain precisely why I cannot use many methods of birth control. It’s odd that I should even feel the need to qualify myself (defend myself?) by explaining my own unique circumstances.
No doubt that this experience has raised many questions that I need to look at, think about and ponder on. There are many reactions that I had that I need to look at in an attempt to understand where they came from and what I can do to get rid of them.
I’m crossing my fingers and hoping that the EC wasn’t too late at the same time that I’m cursing an institution that feels that it has a right to force pregnancy upon ANY woman, regardless of her circumstances. I’m thinking very seriously about what my own reactions to this situation can tell me about inner mindsets that I still have. Overall I have been challenged and while it has shown me a few things that worry me (Why am I so afraid of alienating Dubhe? Why am I so fearful of being alone, to the point that I revert to this fear when placed in a situation out of my control?) I think that this experience can also serve as a stunning reminder of exactly where we are in terms of women’s reproductive rights. As well as shining a harsh light onto training that I have absorbed so deeply despite my best efforts to erase it.
My reactions and thoughts throughout this experience have lifted a curtain into my own fears. The knowledge that I went out of my way to take on blame and save a man from inconvenience (even though he didn’t wish to be saved) tells me some things about myself that disturb me. The fact that this sort of treatment is still given to women who find themselves in this position is a stunning reminder of just how dangerously close we are to losing any say so we have in how our bodies are used.
Even though Plan B has been authorized for over the counter sales we still see the soldiers of the patriarchy trying to keep a foothold on that control as long as they possibly can. Would anyone question the food you ate before you bought an over the counter antacid? Would anyone force you to meet their ‘criteria’ before you asked for that bottle of Tums?
EC has been approved for sale over the counter and women are still jumping through hoops to get it, the tenacity with which these control freaks are still attempting to maintain their toehold on what happens in my uterus is disgusting. The ingrained response that I found myself having in this situation boggles my mind and lifts the veil on just how much fucking work we have to do before we’re all safe. When we look at these events against a backdrop of rape and brutality that women suffer with everyday it adds an even deeper level to the events I experienced over the weekend.
It appears that men as a collective will not be happy until each and every living being is beneath their boot of control. Combined with the articles here and here (two tiny little posts that I’ve been thinking about in a sea of violent news) we start seeing a bigger picture. When I take a look at my experiences this weekend with a system which seeks only to place as much control on me as it can and combine it with a generalized system that does the same the picture comes clearly into focus.
There is so much work to be done and so many fronts on this war. We look at the news about war, global warming, feminism, racism, and we see a common thread. That thread is that the collective that calls itself ‘mankind’ (and I will take them literally to the word on this one. They want ‘mankind’ they got it…I’m speaking exclusively to the collective of men with my usage of this word) is unhappy unless they are in control of everything. Control, violence and fear are the patterns that they have stuck to for so many thousands of years. Too few of them step forward to mark themselves as ‘different’. Too many of them wish to sit on the fence, being sympathetic to the issues that the collective mankind have caused and yet refusing to stand up and fight against the systems which allow them such power.
The threads of destruction, violence and domination over all life follow mankind through all of his bloody history and every day countless people are touched by it. Some more subtly, like my quest for EC this weekend, and some more violently like the wife of the dentist who was charged with murdering his wife. Some of mankinds victims are subtly affected while others are more outwardly affected but all of them are victims of the seemingly collective desire for control, power, and destruction that appears to run through the collective beating heart of mankind.
As for me. Well, I have some thinking to do. This experience has brought many of my own ideas and inner fears to light from my reactions to my thought processes to the reactions of the institutions around me. Lots of food for thought and, over the course of the next few weeks, I hope to post on some of the things I have learned and what they’ve taught me.