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This is a diary, in which, I will explain how I see a fetus as a parasite. I'm also bored and felt like typing :)

There will probably be photos, GIFS, and links.

Warning: gross image.

Please, remember, this is an opinion piece.

Photobucket

This is Giardia lamblia. It is an intestinal parasite that is very common and is a pain in the ass to rid of.

I know, I know, it doesn't look like a precious little baby. I know. It looks scary, and gross, and looks like it will bite your head off. But we're not talking about looks. Who knows, maybe aliens think we're ugly as fuck but this parasite would be labeled Miss Universe in their culture? Who knows! Anyway, I am sorry for plastering this as the very first thing in my diary. Consider this just like those exploited photos of miscarried late term fetuses that Anti- Choicers parade around.

Anyways, back to the whole fetus= parasite thing. That is how I see them. I don't see them as cute and cuddly. I see them as terrifying and scary. I see pregnancy the same way.

Here are some examples on how pregnancy is a parasitic relationship:

The Z/E/F sucks the nutrients from the mother.
The "relationship" only benefits the fetus.
The mother's organs and body parts become damaged.
The fetus controls the mother.
The fetus doesn't give anything "back".

Some people would argue that this is a form of Mutualism, which is a relationship where both the host and the parasite benefit, but how does this benefit the mother? Where is that "benefit"?

Here are some commonly talked about downsides of pregnancy though:

Nausea.
Constipation.
Sore boobs.
Vomit all day long, not just in the morning.
You can't eat your favorite foods because you'll throw up.
Indigestion and heartburn.
Braxton Hicks.
Depression.
Anxiety.
Constant crying.
Fatigue.
You look and feel like a fat cow(trust me, I know this from experience).
You feel bloated.
You’re carrying around some extra weight.
Insomnia.
You have to piss like Seabiscuit every 20 minutes.

Now, onto some that are not mentioned much:
Hyperemesis gravidarum

Temporary and permanent injury to back

Severe scarring requiring later surgery (especially after additional pregnancies)

Dropped (prolapsed) uterus (especially after additional pregnancies, and other pelvic floor weaknesses -- 11% of women, including cystocele, rectocele, and enterocele)

Pre-eclampsia (edema and hypertension, the most common complication of pregnancy, associated with eclampsia, and affecting 7 - 10% of pregnancies)
Eclampsia (convulsions, coma during pregnancy or labor, high risk of death)

Gestational diabetes

Placenta previa

Anemia (which can be life-threatening)

Thrombocytopenic purpura

Severe cramping

Embolism (blood clots)

Medical disability requiring full bed rest (frequently ordered during part of many pregnancies varying from days to months for health of either mother or baby)

Diastasis recti, also torn abdominal muscles

Mitral valve stenosis (most common cardiac complication)

Serious infection and disease (e.g. increased risk of tuberculosis)

Hormonal imbalance

Ectopic pregnancy (risk of death)

Broken bones (ribcage, "tail bone")

Hemorrhage and numerous other complications of delivery

Refractory gastroesophageal reflux disease

Aggravation of pre-pregnancy diseases and conditions (e.g. epilepsy is present in .5% of pregnant women, and the pregnancy alters drug metabolism and treatment prospects all the while it increases the number and frequency of seizures)

Severe post-partum depression and psychosis

Research now indicates a possible link between ovarian cancer and female fertility treatments, including "egg harvesting" from infertile women and donors
research also now indicates correlations between lower breast cancer survival rates and proximity in time to onset of cancer of last pregnancy

Research also indicates a correlation between having six or more pregnancies and a risk of coronary and cardiovascular disease
The effects of pregnancy.

Aren't all those absolutely LOVELY!? But hey, the fetus does "benefit" the mother! By making her feel like she's dying! Yes! That's the spirit!

I have no issue with people wanting babies, but in my opinion, I can't do it again.

One more thing I would like to point out. The zygote actually overpowers the woman's immune system in the same way a parasite does. Isn't that interesting!?
Here are some scientific findings:

Further investigation revealed that placental NKB contained the molecule phosphocholine, which is used by the parasitic nematode worm to avoid attack by the immune system of the host in which it lives.
Placenta 'fools body's defences'.
During implantation, fetally derived cells (trophoblast) invade the maternal endometrium and remodel the endometrial spiral arteries into low-resistance vessels that are unable to constrict. This invasion has three consequences. First, the fetus gains direct access to its mother's arterial blood. Therefore, a mother cannot reduce the nutrient content of blood reaching the placenta without reducing the nutrient supply to her own tissues. Second, the volume of blood reaching the placenta becomes largely independent of control by the local maternal vasculature. Third, the placenta is able to release hormones and other substances directly into the maternal circulation. Placental hormones, including human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) and human placental lactogen (hPL), are predicted to manipulate maternal physiology for fetal benefit.
Genetic conflicts in human pregnancy.
The host-parasite relationship during pregnancy is a fascinating interaction and research in this area will improve understanding of disease pathogenesis and the various consequences of the host immune response, being host-protective, parasite protective and contributing to disease pathology. Pregnancy poses an interesting problem for the immune system of the dam as she is essentially carrying a semi-allogeneic tissue graft (the foetus) without immunological rejection taking place.
The host-parasite relationship in pregnant cattle infected with Neospora caninum.
Another role for foetal transferrin receptors on trophoblasts could be to bind maternal transferrin at the materno-foetal interface, thus frustrating maternal immunosurveillance. This is similar to a mechahism used by schistosomes in the host-parasite relation where host proteins are bound by the parasite to escape immunological recognition.
Trophoblast transferrin and transferrin receptors in the host--parasite relationship of human pregnancy.

There you have it, folks. A fetus is a damn parasite and it invades the mother's body like one too.

I am the kind of woman who prefers science, studies, and medical facts over throwing pregnancy on the "magical miracle" band wagon. It is not magical, it's called genetics and biology. God has nothing to do with it either. And it is not a damn miracle! If it happens every damn day, how is that even close to a miracle!? A miracle would be a man conceiving and gestating a fetus full term.

One more thing, porking your fuck buddy/ girlfriend/ fiancee/ wife, and getting her knocked up doesn't constitute as a miracle. It may feel magical, but it really isn't. It's just biology!

YEA!

Originally posted to Sasharusha on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 03:15 AM PDT.

Also republished by Pink Clubhouse.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I don't harbor ill will to fetuses if they are (25+ / 0-)

    parasites and even understand that a tapeworm is just doing what a tapeworm's gotta do.

    The parasites I hold my umbrage for are those who sit in legislatures and pursue this insane war on women

  •  That baby picture is great. Great diary. (8+ / 0-)

    I'd rather have a buntle afrota-me than a frottle a bunta-me.

    by David54 on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 04:20:59 AM PDT

  •  I admit to having the same phobic thoughts (21+ / 0-)

    which is why I never became a mother.

    But you'll get some blowback with this diary for sure!

    My mother had 5 kids, though I don't think she took much pleasure in motherhood - that's just what women did back then (50s & 60s). She's a nurse.

    When I was about 10, I found her copy of "Childbirth Without Fear" (pub. circa 1946). The doctor-author assumed that all young women had heard horror stories about birth. He (HE) provided info to reassure them it wasn't all that bad - complete with graphic descriptions & shocking photos. The text made it clear that the mother should be knocked unconscious to get through the experience, with the doctor controlling the whole process.

    I decided right then I would NEVER let that happen to me. Never changed my mind.

    I'm also squeamish about things like breastfeeding, diaper-changing and infant-squalling.

    Whenever I meet a pregnant woman or new mother, I have no envy - all I can think was: I'm glad it's not me.  No maternal instinct here....

    It's something I have to mostly keep to myself - it's socially unacceptable.

  •  I'm sorry you had such a bad experience. (19+ / 0-)

    A problem with the parasite definition is that the fetus is itself a product of the female body; that is, the blastocyst is not an organism fully composed outside the body that then invades.  It is produced and supported hormonally by the body, and the body has the (involuntary) capacity of rejecting it, through failure of implantation and miscarriage.  

    Of the "commonly discussed downsides" you list, I had only edema, otherwise it was like I wasn't pregnant until the last trimester.  Plus there's that added psychological benefit of actually wanting a live baby to come out at the end of the whole process.

    I really don't get what benefit it is to anyone to define a blastocyst, embryo, or fetus as a parasite.  It's not a correct biological definition, and on an emotional or ideological level, it doesn't do much for a pro-choice position--it's not going to bring people over to the pro-choice side, and in fact serves the anti-choice side in demonizing our position.

    •  Of course, you want it to come out. (5+ / 0-)

      The alternative is deadly.

      Reproduction is a hazardous enterprise.  In many organisms it involves the demise of the parent.  In many organisms, the process is structured to continue despite the parent's demise (think dandelions).

      BUT, consider the alternative -- the certain death of the sperm!  Certain death is always a higher priority in American culture than potential death, or the torture that leads up to it.
      So, when the alternative to pregnancy is spermicide, the latter is obviously more important.  Besides, given all the impediments, including the hostile environment of the vagina, any sperm that reaches the goal deserves, at least, a chance at life eternal, even if it first has to transit through limbo.

      People to Wall Street: "LET OUR MONEY GO"

      by hannah on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 05:02:03 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  My only response to this is, besides WTF? is (9+ / 0-)

        that I'm glad I don't have the outlook on life that you do.  

        I am a feminist.  I am pro-choice.  And I refuse to see the reproductive process as an inherently patriarchal imposition on my body.  Frankly, in the whole debate about choice, sperm is never discussed, neither its preciousness nor its status as "live".  Spermicides and vasectomies do exist, even though the onus of reproductive control is generally placed on women.  Your reading, which I see as attempting to extend a certain anti-choice logic, baffles me.  I mean, have you ever seen any try to argue that position, that every sperm must be saved?

        •  Indeed, it is possible to "refuse to see" (6+ / 0-)

          and it is possible to "never discuss."

          But why do that?

          When one combines anti-contraception, anti-abortion, anti-masturbation, homophobia and anti-feminism what's the objective, but the need to preserve women as vessels for men's precious fluids?

          People to Wall Street: "LET OUR MONEY GO"

          by hannah on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 05:41:22 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  The Catholic Church. (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          second gen, Marie, Neon Mama, sockpuppet

          For about 1800 years now.

          Kos should start a PvP server for this game.

          by JesseCW on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 07:43:02 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Nitpick your timeline? First the microscope had (0+ / 0-)

            to meet Antony van Leeuwenhoek.

            In 1677 van Leeuwenhoek examined fresh semen, in which he observed living spermatozoa.  

            Bible writers etc. thought planting babies was like crops -- just need to plunk your all important seed into fertile soil.

            De fund + de bunk = de EXIT--->>>>>

            by Neon Mama on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 01:13:41 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Quibble about semantics much? (0+ / 0-)

              The Catholic Church, for 1800 years, has taught that "wasting" any semen (failing to deposit it in a vagina) is at best "Onanism" - a sin.

              Kos should start a PvP server for this game.

              by JesseCW on Mon Apr 16, 2012 at 04:15:40 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  From a genetic standpoint, though, it *partly* is (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Marie, mamamedusa

          One thing the diarist forgot to mention is that genes regulating placental development are antagonistic: genes that tend to make the placenta bigger are derived from the father, while genes that tend to make the placenta smaller are derived from the mother (see Genome by Matt Ridley for more details).

          This is not to say that there is some sort of biological "superiority" for men, rather that sexual reproduction often involves a clash between competing interests of the two genders.

          We don't want our country back, we want our country FORWARD. --Eclectablog

          by Samer on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 08:48:02 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  So neither is cancer a aprasite. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        second gen, sockpuppet

        Many parasites commandeer cellular functions. So, seemingly, does the sperm. Why must a parasite be "an organism fully composed outside the body that then invades"?

        That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

        by enhydra lutris on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 07:20:03 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Right, cancer is not a parasite. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Avila

          So why do you bring it up?  

          What cellular functions does the sperm "commandeer"?  It is my understanding that it is the ovum that determines which sperm will penetrate the zona pellucida.  And if you call the spermatozoa a parasite, is the ovum its host?  And in what other cases does the parasite' occupation of a host result in the creation of a new organism?  That's a pretty radical interpretation of what constitutes a parasite.  

          For me an organism fully composed outside the (host) body is of a different species, and that, according to the well-referenced Wikipedia page, is required for the definition of a parasite.  

          •  anybody can edit wikipedia (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            enhydra lutris, Marie, sockpuppet

            there is no requirement that something be externally derived to be a parasite; it's the behavior that's definitional.

            Never forget that the Republican War on Women originated with religion; the GOP is but theocracy's handmaiden.

            by Cedwyn on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 08:07:00 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Cancer is not a parasite? (0+ / 0-)

            If I wanted government in my uterus, I'd fuck a senator

            by second gen on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 08:21:40 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  I'm saying that 50% of the zygote is foreign (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Marie, mamamedusa

            matter, the sperm, an invader. If you insist on an external impetus, the sperm is such an impetus.
            With many microparsites, the bulk of the parasite load comes primarily from insidethe host and is produced by the host, though the initial impetus is external, so if you wish to hold onto an assertion that there must be an external impetus, the sperm is such.

            More importantly, I see no reason to accept the Wikipedia definition. Cancer is definitely a parasite. There are other examples of endogenic parasites, medical literature is full of references, for example, to "parasitic twins". Such twins, from your perspective, come not from outside and are not a separate species and cannot be parasites, but medical literature disagrees.

            That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

            by enhydra lutris on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 08:50:26 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  It's Sort of Like (10+ / 0-)

      Referring to blastocysts, embryos and fetuses as a "piece of meat" when trying to make a "pro choice" argument.  I have seen no evidence that it does anything than make the person using those terms look about as callous, coldblooded and selfish as possible.  One of the very complaints that the anti-choice folks make about our side.  Except that it also looks like this to people like me, who are pro choice - but really don't like folks who feel they need to reach to the well in demonizing pregnancy and fetuses trying to make their pro-choice arguments.   It's the bases form of "Othering".

      If you don't stand for something, you will go for anything. Visit Maat's Feather

      by shanikka on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 05:35:14 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  If a pregnancy is undesired... (8+ / 0-)

        it is an apt comparison.  I don't really give a shit if it makes me look callous to anti-choicers.  These are people who would let a woman die to protect a lump of cells.  Whatever negative thoughts they have of me I'll wear as a badge of honor.

        •  And You Didn't Read Carefully (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Pozzo, Avila

          Unless you are lumping pro-choice people like ME into the category of "people who would let a woman die to protect a lump of cells?"

          If you cannot see the distinction between the two types of people who recoil at the dehumanizing language being chosen to discuss what to MOST PEOPLE is human life (whether or not they support abortion rights, which most do) then you are Exhibit A in why despite 40 years we are losing the legal battle to keep abortion legal.

          But at least you'll have your honor when we don't have that anymore.

          If you don't stand for something, you will go for anything. Visit Maat's Feather

          by shanikka on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 06:39:02 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  With all due respect, shanikka... (6+ / 0-)

            and I mean that, as I have followed you for some time and have always had the greatest respect for you, but with all due respect, the moment that we concede that a fetus MUST be afforded some higher status, the argument has already been lost.

            This is why the "partial birth abortion" ban passed, and this is why states have been able to pass legislation that endangers women's lives and essentially ends their freedom.  The other side has made this a debate about competing interests between to equivalent humans, one struggling for life and the other trying to maintain a lifestyle.  If we cede that argument, we lose.

            And, just in case it was unclear, my above comment was directed at anti-choicers who put the interests of fetuses equal to or above that of women.

            •  This is Not About (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Avila, valion, chipmo

              Higher status for the fetus.  This is about us facing the very hard question that most people are confronted with thinking about abortion rights -- whether it terminates human life -- and actually respecting that the question is legitimate and should be answered with the reverence that most think about this problem with.  Not dismissal through pretending that we're talking about the disposal of a chicken breast or a piece of steak.

              I believe our side is more terrified of that than we like to admit, so we come up with cute phrases like "piece of meat" and "parasite" to dehumanize pregnancies.  Yet that is precisely the same type of thinking that mass murderers engage in.  We may all tell ourselves that the end justifies the means, but it doesn't.  Especially when we're losing with those arguments.  End of story.  

              If you don't stand for something, you will go for anything. Visit Maat's Feather

              by shanikka on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 10:29:01 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  A womans womb is her sovereign (6+ / 0-)

            territory, and she's got the right to abort anything trying to live in it if she chooses.

            That's my view, but it's certainly not the view of most.

            Most people don't think a freaky little tadpole with no brain is a Human Life.  That's why most people don't oppose first trimester abortion.

            Argue that it is, in fact, a human life and you argue that killing it is an act of homocide.

            Kos should start a PvP server for this game.

            by JesseCW on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 07:45:55 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  You Didn't See Me (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Avila, SneakySnu, sockpuppet, chipmo

              Say anything about a woman's right to have an abortion, did you? So why would you respond to me with that argument.  I was raising a different issue.

              I don't agree with you that acknowledging that abortion terminates human life is saying that abortion is murder.  I do think, however, that this is the deepest fear of those who want to dehumanize fetuses; having to confront for themselves what it truly means to choose to end a human life.  

              And I say this as someone who is a believer in the necessity of the right to access legal abortion.  Always believed it, always will be.  I'm also not terrified to admit what it is, though - I had to answer that question for myself in my own heart when I had my own abortions decades ago now.  And then trust that God (in who I personally believe, as do most) would understand why, and forgive me.  For those women that don't believe in God that I know, it's been a similar process; just a different starting and ending point - themselves.

              As I said above, the right is using our own failure to think about this in the terms of the majority against us.  And winning.  Do we want to keep saying the same old same old unpersuasive stuff, just louder? Or do we want to try something different and maybe finally end this back and forth in terms of the law once and for all? I know what side I come down on.

              If you don't stand for something, you will go for anything. Visit Maat's Feather

              by shanikka on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 10:35:09 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I didn't say murder. (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                sockpuppet, Pandoras Box

                You're aware that murder and homicide are not synonyms.

                Please don't insult me again by implying that I don't.

                A undifferentiated lump of cells is not a human life.  

                The Right is using a lack of basic science education (which they perpetuate) and primitive superstition against us.  

                Agreeing that human life begins at conception is no way to defeat them.

                In fact, it's led to 30 years of gains on their part.  "Safe, legal, and rare" is a mantra that has helped them make abortion virtually unavailable to poor women in rural counties.

                Kos should start a PvP server for this game.

                by JesseCW on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 10:43:57 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  I Am (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Avila, chipmo

                  But most folks don't think "homicide", either.  They think murder.  Not an unreasonable distinction in this context, IMO.  

                  Undifferentiated cell stage for fetal development ends fairly early in the process, btw.  We'd actually be rolling the calendar back on the right if we were to use that as the lynchpin for determining human life vs. not.  After all, all major organs of the human body are created by week 10.

                  As far as the rest, suffice it to say that I think you're wrong.  The left has never acknowledged that abortion terminates human life.  Quite the opposite - the movement has gone out of its way NOT to have to have that discussion.  Instead they've tried the poster child case approach to justifying abortion (rape and incest victims) then the my body my choice case, then back to the poster child case (but then adding the quality of life of "defective" children argument), then back to the "my body my choice" case but now with a twist of "it's just a piece of meat" and "it's a parasite" and "pregnancy is dangerous" thrown in for good measure.

                  So how can you argue that an approach has led to failure when it hasn't even been tried?

                  If you don't stand for something, you will go for anything. Visit Maat's Feather

                  by shanikka on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 10:51:11 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

              •  it says a lot about you that you think you (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                flowerfarmer

                need forgiveness for your abortions.  I wonder how much that guilt drives your discussion about this issue.

                So - what if we say it terminates a human life.  How do we win with THAT?

                In fact, how do we win at all?  There is no discussion of abortion issues happening at the citizen's level before laws are passed.  These legislators don't give a flying fuck what people thing - they are just passing laws without our input.

                •  What, Exactly (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  chipmo

                  Does it "say about me?" Spell it out.  I'm genuinely curious to hear what you think you know.

                  I've proposed ways to win that would in fact move the majority of women closer together in a way that the pro-choice movement has utterly failed to do because it's leaders (and many folks on the hard left) are busy running away from the hard stuff that needs to be talked about and pretending that there is something wrong with the thinking/intellect of anyone who doesn't agree with that.  

                  If you don't stand for something, you will go for anything. Visit Maat's Feather

                  by shanikka on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 01:19:49 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I don't "think I know" anything.. (0+ / 0-)

                    I can read what you wrote.

                    It says that you think abortion is basically immoral... that you believe it to be an act that requires forgiveness

                    and it makes it interesting that you still, from that perspective, argue for pro-choice.

                    I think it says that you struggle with this issue internally more than some.

                    Why are you so sure that we are all running away from "the hard stuff?"

                    •  I Didn't Say (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      chipmo

                      Abortion was immoral.  Nor did I say anything about "struggle".  I don't - I'm completely at peace with my decisions of the past.

                      That's what you conclude based upon what I wrote.  Based upon your own way of seeing things.

                      So........why don't you now take yourself out of your world view (that of someone who cannot imagine someone asking God for forgiveness after an abortion unless that woman feels abortion is immoral) and see if you can put on someone else's - while still leaving that woman pro-choice.

                      When the majority of women can do that for each other, we will be a huge step forward in terms of actually having our majority mean something in terms of this particular cultural battle.

                      If you don't stand for something, you will go for anything. Visit Maat's Feather

                      by shanikka on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 02:07:30 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  why would you ask forgiveness (0+ / 0-)

                        if you didn't feel it was immoral?

                        I really cannot understand that

                        help me understand

                        •  Part of the Reason (2+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          Pandoras Box, chipmo

                          That I believe that the movement is a failure is that too few are really interested in doing the hard work of talking to and LISTENING TO lots of women not like themselves on this issue.  So, respectfully, I'm going to just say that go out into the communities not like your own and talk to a few hundred women, including a whole bunch of Black women over the age of 30 or so.  Make sure that they are not the type of women that spend their time debating these issues on the Internet or some political forum.

                          You'll get it.  I'm sure of that.  If you listen, rather than talk, especially.

                          If you don't stand for something, you will go for anything. Visit Maat's Feather

                          by shanikka on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 04:49:07 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

        •  The attitude of the woman is the key (4+ / 0-)

          It also marks the difference between making love and rape.

          I never considered my daughter to be a parasite within me because I chose to create her intentionally and I wanted her.

      •  Understand your objection, (3+ / 0-)

        but ya gotta admit that it's honest. Now, I love children. They're so refreshingly open and amazing critters. I just didn't like HAVING children. One of those morning, noon, evening, middle of the night sickness sufferers so bad I lost 30 pounds before gaining an ounce with either of mine, born just 14 months apart. Then pain, blood, constant exhaustion - for years! - and... shitty diapers.

        Figured out right away that this could go on until it literally killed me, which wouldn't be very long. So I got it fixed at the ripe old age of 23. Decided that I like children best already housebroken, so adopted three siblings later and raised way more than my share (including first grandson).

        There's a lot to be said about the value of children themselves, and raising children if you've a knack. There's not much positive (IMO) about being pregnant and having babies. That's why it so often happens to people who are amateurs - nature's way of ensuring species survival now that there's birth control and women can choose. Given human population levels, we're in no danger of extinction just because women have choices.

    •  i don't think it's "demonizing" (21+ / 0-)

      i think it is "de-romantizing" - and that is GOOD

      i am sick of the fetus worship from the anti-choicers. if you want a baby, fine. and if you don't, also fine.  but there is REAL biology involved

    •  I think of it as a parasite when forced (9+ / 0-)

      birthers insist that it be carried to term regardless of what the host wants to do with her body.

  •  I really hope you don't get major blowback (14+ / 0-)

    for this diary- I take it for what it is, an opinion piece. I follow your logic and it is one of many ways to view the experience.  If women are honest with themselves, they will probably find themselves on the continuum between your view and the magical one.

    My experience was getting pregnant within a month of thinking about it (three times), having easy pregnancies with a little morning sickness, fast easy deliveries and three perfect boys.  I have often thought I should be a baby machine, it was all so easy.  Happily, I don't have a lick of vanity.  But even so, I gained 26 lbs. each time and lost it all shortly after I stopped nursing.

    The after experience is another story.  I hate toddlers (here comes my own blowback!).  This is undoubtedly do to the fact that had one, two, and four year olds at the same time.  For years I said that all children between 18 mos. and five years should be in boarding schools.  Then I learned that that would create a generation of borderlines.

    Anyway, pregnancy, childbirth, and motherhood have as many meanings as there are mothers. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, research, and opinion.

    Cats are better than therapy, and I'm a therapist.

    by Smoh on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 05:11:38 AM PDT

  •  I was lucky with my twins (19+ / 0-)

    pretty easy pregnancy. I didn't even throw up once.  Did end up with a C-section because, as it turned out, they had their arms around each other!

    but I like this diary.  I like the medical terminology, I like the no-nonsense, non-romance with the fetus, unlike the crap we have to listen to from the anti-choice crowd.

    I have had both an abortion, and twins.  I regret neither choice, and appreciate the scientific nature of your diary.  

    Women need CHOICE, and they should make that choice with their eyes wide open.

  •  It is 100% accurate to call the fetus a parasite. (15+ / 0-)

    Every semester when I teach a segment on different forms of symbiosis, I ask my students the same question about the fetus.  Is it mutualism, commensalism , or parasitism? About 80% end up in the parasite camp - maybe 20% argue for  mutualism.   As a biologist I don't see it as an insult to call the fetus a parasiste - many organisms go through different phases during their life cycles.  

    •  Seriously? (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ubertar, historys mysteries, Avila

      Doesn't there need to be a difference of species between the organism that invades the host in order to call the organism a parasite?  

      •  Not necessarily. (6+ / 0-)

        A fetus does have different genetic makeup than the mother, so technically, even though its the same species, it's still a foreign body.

        •  That doesn't make sense. (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Pozzo, Avila, chipmo

          Particularly when half of the genetic material comes from the "host" and the host's body contains specific organs to support the growth of the fetus.  And the relationship of the fetus to the mother is mediated by the placenta, with the system of connections it has to the uterus (growth of new blood vessels, etc.).

          And regarding health risks and benefits, there are studies showing that pregnancy may help reduce incidence of ovarian cancer and that breastfeeding may help reduce possibility of breast cancer.  

          You and I could probably go back and forth on this for awhile.  I think part of my problem with this diary is that you insist both that it is your opinion and that it is scientific fact.  The facts chosen and the way those facts are arranged are up for debate.

          •  Please (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            mamamedusa

            refer back to the very beginning where it says:

            Please, remember, this is an opinion piece.
            There's a reason I stated that.

            Also, I did back it up with scientific research. Just sayin'.

            I'm not telling anyone they are wrong or right. This is something I posted as to how I feel about pregnancy, fetuses, babies and parenting. Whether you take it personal or not, is all up to you. :)

            •  I get it, since it's your opinion, (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Pozzo, Avila, chipmo

              I should either agree with you or just shut up.  

              I'm not taking it personally.  I'm saying it's a bad argument to use politically, since you were the one who brought up anti-choicers and their use of fetal imagery.  

              •  You don't (0+ / 0-)

                Have to shut up! I don't want you to shut up, dear! Opinions are welcome here, don't think that just because I stated my stance, that you're not allowed to post yours. Not at all!

                "BAD! You can't challenge me!!!!Just shut up because  I know everything!" is not my mindset. :)

              •  P.S. (0+ / 0-)

                I am not using this politically. Again, this is my opinion piece. I don't know where you got politics from any of that.

                •  But you posted it on a political web site (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Pozzo, Avila, historys mysteries

                  You made this political reference: "Consider this just like those exploited photos of miscarried late term fetuses that Anti- Choicers parade around."  And you use a highly-charged term, backed up with some scientific evidence, that has been used before by some pro-choice advocates in order to counter the anti-choice "the blastocyst is a baby" argument.  

                  Yeah, it's your opinion piece, but it's got politics written all over it!

                  •  The reason (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    IndyReader, Pandoras Box

                    why I posted here is because I like the people here. No whiny, obnoxious teens, I can talk about whatever I want without having some deranged tween flailing text speak at me, and I am able to express my views here. Just because this is a political site doesn't mean every blog post on this site is politically motivated.

                    Regarding the Anti- Choice reference: why can't I state that without someone feeling like it's political? It's not. If you choose to view it as such, go ahead. But nowhere was this meant to be political! Haha!

          •  Complications of pregnancy kill women. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Neon Mama, Pandoras Box

            Lots of women. Here in the U.S. (best health care system in teh world!!1!), complications of pregnancy are among the top ten causes of death for women aged 15-44. It varies between 6th and 7th most common by age bracket, with women in peak childbearing years experiencing the greatest likelihood of death.

            Most common causes of maternal mortality: hemorrhage, complications of eclampsia/HELLP syndrome, and peripartum cardiomyopathy. This shit can kill ya. I landed in the neurosurgical intensive care with a brain hemorrhage associated with HELLP syndrome myself. Multi-system organ failure sucks shit.

            It's one of life's great unsolvable mysteries that childbearing is simultaneously natural/healthy and potentially devastating. I've started telling students it's kinda like running marathons or skydiving: peak life experiences if you're into that kind of thing, but not something you'd want to do involuntarily or without preparation.

    •  Mutualism (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      SneakySnu, chipmo
      Mutualism is the way two organisms of different species biologically interact in a relationship in which each individual derives a fitness benefit (i.e., increased or improved reproductive output). Similar interactions within a species are known as co-operation.
      http://en.wikipedia.org/..._(biology)
      Mutualism is a positive reciprocal relationship between two species. Through this relationship both species enhance their survival, growth or fitness.
      http://www2.mcdaniel.edu/...

      So why do so many of your students not see this as an example of mutualism (since we are ignoring the "different species" part of the definition of mutualism and parasite)? After all, the survival of the human species depends on this interaction and on the survival of the fetus.

      You can't scare me, I'm sticking to the Union - Woody Guthrie

      by sewaneepat on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 09:32:51 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  it's an interesting perspective (5+ / 0-)

    I wonder how many actual parasites use the same signaling system as a fetus to avoid the immune system

  •  Love my kids and we "planned" them but (12+ / 0-)

    I also love this diary, quirky with a lot of truths.

    I dreamed I saw Joe Hill last night, alive as you and me.

    by plankbob on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 06:20:58 AM PDT

  •  You use words like gastroesophageal (0+ / 0-)

    But you can't say breasts?

    Here are some commonly talked about downsides of pregnancy though:

    Nausea.
    Constipation.
    Sore boobs.

    When I'm stupid and incompetent financially, I get calls from collection agencies and higher interest rates. When the 1% are stupid and incompetent financially they get billions from the government.

    by tarminian on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 06:24:02 AM PDT

  •  I applaud you for this (6+ / 0-)

    diary.  If a woman is willing to take the risks you outline in order to become a mother, then she should have that choice.  If she doesn't, then she should have a right to decline that choice.  I can't imagine anyone trying to dictate those consequences to another person.  I think you explained yourself very clearly.

    •  Agreed. Furthermore, if a woman volunteers to (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      SneakySnu, myrealname, Pandoras Box

      participate in producing the generations that will take care of us when we're old, she should have the full support of her society. She should be well nourished, have access to safe housing, receive timely evidence-based health support, and be able to receive the kind of birthing support she prefers in an environment in which she feels safe.

      She should also have access to a community approach to child-rearing which will protect her and her offspring from the inordinate stressors of raising small children alone.

  •  I was sick as a dog with both my kids (13+ / 0-)

    but worse with my daughter.  I threw up everywhere all day for  6-7 months--I would have to plan things around the hour or two I wouldn't be puking.  But if I was out too long I would have to throw up in parking lots, at curbs, inside my car--no time to get to a bathroom.  The vomiting made me incontinent.  I still gained weight because I would try to find things that could curb the nausea, so I would eat and still throw it up, then eat more.  The inside of my mouth constantly tasted tinny no matter what I ate or gargled with--and the mouthwash made me throw up.  After the six month I had such bad heartburn that I had to sleep at an angle--she was pushing my stomach upwards and I had horrible acid reflux that, you guessed it, made me vomit.  I remember almost hoping I would miscarry just to be done with the sickness.

         My reward for all that wretchedness was a beautiful healthy girl who will be 13 in June.  My son is 20.  My stomach is still dicey from all the punishment it took during those pregnancies.  

    •  Yep. (4+ / 0-)

      I threw up everything I ate, and about every two hours if I didn't eat. It was easier to throw up something rather than nothing.

      My pelvis separated and never went back. I am very very careful about doing things like sliding into a booth at a restaurant or across a car seat. It can tweak the joint and roll my eyes back in my head with the pain.

      When you come to find how essential the comfort of a well-kept home is to the bodily strength and good conditions, to a sound mind and spirit, and useful days, you will reverence the good housekeeper as I do above artist or poet, beauty or genius.

      by Alexandra Lynch on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 08:20:36 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I laugh at the "eat saltines in the morning" (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Alexandra Lynch, mamamedusa

        advice that I got from doctors and well meaning people.  Saltines?!  They ended up in the toilet about 10 minutes after I ate them.  Nothing helped, nothing worked.  

             I remember puking in the parking lot of a K Mart one morning, and then looking up to see a group of employees inside watching me.  

        •  I will say I'm now very good at getting out of the (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          chicago minx, mamamedusa

          way of the inevitable when it starts. Much less fuss, much less traumatic.

          At least, besides a healthy son, it was good for something.

          When you come to find how essential the comfort of a well-kept home is to the bodily strength and good conditions, to a sound mind and spirit, and useful days, you will reverence the good housekeeper as I do above artist or poet, beauty or genius.

          by Alexandra Lynch on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 08:31:25 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  I learned to go for the regular saltines instead (0+ / 0-)

          of the whole-grain ones.

          It was easier to throw up the plain ones. Bran grit: yuck. I kept the saltines in my locker at work so I could maintain a routine of alternating between providing patient care and throwing up saltines.

  •  True. Just science. Thanks for this. nt (5+ / 0-)
  •  Women control birth, get over it men! (7+ / 0-)

    The bottom line on all this is.....women control birth and I can choose to give birth or not and men hate that. We have the ultimate control and everyone just needs to get over this point.

    What is inside MY body is no one else's business. The STATE has NO standing to tell me I can't empty MY uterus when I want to.

    If there is a God, he/she will judge me.

  •  It sounds harsh, but it is accurate. (7+ / 0-)

    The fetus IS a parasite, and continues to be, in my opinion, until it can live outside the womb on its own.  This does not mean it's unwanted or should not be there; however, it does mean that until viability, the fetus survives only with the agreement of the host (mother).  

    "I like paying taxes. With them I buy civilization." - United States Supreme Court Associate Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes (Republican) -8.12, -5.18

    by ncarolinagirl on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 06:44:29 AM PDT

  •  You've put voice to my thoughts (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sasharusa, Cedwyn, Marie, mamamedusa

    I have long viewed the embryo/fetus as a parasite, although I think part of this is because I have zero desire for pregnancy/children.  Happily, I have never been pregnant (my husband & I are very careful about using birth control), but if by accident it happened, my views wouldn't change and I'd be thankful to live in a state where I could exercise my right to reclaim my body as my own.

  •  This kind of language and thinking (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SneakySnu, Avila

    does more to hurt the cause of reproductive choice than help it. It doesn't help at all, and it just makes us look bad.

    "Soylent Green is a corporation!"--Mitt Romney. Eat the rich.

    by ubertar on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 07:28:22 AM PDT

    •  Hmm. (5+ / 0-)

      See, this is why overly sentimental people annoy me because they can't understand that we are talking about BIOLOGY. Biology doesn't fucking care about sensitivities. People put a negative notion on the word parasite, okay. But the fact that pregnancy is a parasitic relationship is just that. It's science, not emotion.

    •  I don't read this as a pro-choice argument (7+ / 0-)

      i.e. I don't think this is language you would use in a debate about abortion/reproductive rights with the pro-birth crowd. I read this as the diarist's opinion on pregnancy, along with some science info thrown in.  Frankly, were I to get pregnant I would feel as though a parasite had invaded my body, but that is not the argument I would bring up in a pro-choice debate since that would just be my personal feelings. Instead I'd bring up information about women's health, when the fetus is viable outside the womb, the defects that can occur that require medical intervention, etc.

      •  Few people have access to accurate info (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Avilyn, Pandoras Box, sasharusa

        about early pregnancy, though. It's amazing how effective the forced-birth propaganda has been at creating a particular visual narrative about pregnancy.

        I make a point of teaching my students two critically important pieces of information that tend to influence their perspectives on abortion. First, I make sure they know when in pregnancy most abortions take place. They need to know when, in precise weeks post-fertilization, most women in the US who have abortions have them.

        Then I make sure they encounter the best quality images I can find of embryos at that stage of development. I have found that students (college students! 20-22-year-olds!) have no idea how little an early embryo looks like a "person". They've only ever encountered the propaganda images used in anti-choice literature.

        Here's my favorite source of visual information for this:

        Human Embryo Atlas

        and here's my favorite specific image:

        Magic Space Baby

    •  So... (0+ / 0-)

      if a woman considers blastocyst/embryo/fetus to be a parasite on her body, it's okay for a pack of dirty old men to force her to carry it to term?

  •  brilliant.... fabulous.... excellent post (6+ / 0-)

    "It is horrifying that we have to fight our own government to save the environment." *Ansel Adams* ."Even if you are on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there."*Will Rogers*

    by Statusquomustgo on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 07:34:26 AM PDT

  •  It's not a parasite (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SneakySnu, sewaneepat

    A parasite belongs to another species. A parasite usually reproduces either in or outside of the host's body. A fetus has never done this.

  •  A baby? How did THAT happen?? (5+ / 0-)

    The CDC reports that children are the world's #1 sexually transmitted disease.

    My pappy always told me, "Son, trying to talk sense to a Republican is like trying to teach a pig to sing. It wastes your time and annoys the pig".

    by Fordmandalay on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 07:47:56 AM PDT

  •  I tend to agree with the diarist's take.. (12+ / 0-)

    ..despite having chosen to have two children, with absolutely no regrets, pregnancy is no walk in the park.

    When we fall into sentimentalism, all pregnancies are happy, glowy skipping through fields of flowers with a rosy cheeked bundle at the end to bring home to your warm, secure loving household. There is something to be said for telling it like it is - usually uncomfortable, often painful, sometimes dangerous. And the before and after isn't always so pretty. That is the whole point of choice. Knowing what you are getting yourself into, as much as you can know without having been through it, is this what you want? Or not?

    As much as I can see where being clinical and biological about pregnancy makes some people recoil, I think a certain amount of baldfaced honesty is necessary to have a real discussion. I don't think it has to be shocking, necessarily, but clinically honest is good.

    I remember when I was pregnant, some woman said to me "Doesn't being pregnant totally change how you feel about abortion?" - expecting, apparently, a dewy eyed "babies are a miracle" response. My response was "Not at all, except to make me more convinced that this is something only people who really want it should go through."

    For the record, I do feel like babies are a miracle, but I appreciate the biology that gets them here is real and not for the unwilling.

    "Never separate the life you live from the words you speak." - Paul Wellstone

    by isabel on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 07:55:05 AM PDT

  •  Thanks for having the guts. (8+ / 0-)

    I've said this a few times, and I am usually met with hateful comments.

    The truth is, without its host, a fetus will not live.

    If I wanted government in my uterus, I'd fuck a senator

    by second gen on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 08:12:31 AM PDT

  •  Not just biology but philosophy as well. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BlueJessamine, joe wobblie

    At least that was the class I was in when I worked through my thoughts of a fetus as parasite.  

  •  Nature seems to have made allowance for (0+ / 0-)

    opinions like this and the individual decisions made therefrom. They are self-terminating.

  •  the mother DOES benefit from her parasite (0+ / 0-)

    Evolutionarily speaking, the baby a woman carries contains half of her genes and therefore will transmit her genetic material into the next generation, which technically is what it's all about. In fact, from a "selfish gene" perspective, our own genes are the true evil parasites - manipulating us into having sex because it feels good, and then flooding womens' bodies with prolactin to keep them from freaking out and getting rid of the thing growing inside them, then imprinting them to the child when it is born to make them take care of it (this must explain why parents blithely show off pictures of their ugly babies). Obviously, our genes don't trust our minds to do the right thing...

    •  What!? (0+ / 0-)
      In fact, from a "selfish gene" perspective, our own genes are the true evil parasites  - manipulating us into having sex because it feels good,
      Sex is a part of human nature, Quill. There no "evil" genes that made us this way. Sex has always been around, and not just for procreation.
  •  Real "miracle" is that any of us still (3+ / 0-)

    put ourselves thru childbearing on purpose.

    De fund + de bunk = de EXIT--->>>>>

    by Neon Mama on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 08:07:37 PM PDT

  •  Congratulations! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ekyprogressive

    You made Newsbusters today!

    Tim Graham has knighted you as an official member of the liberal mainstream media, public enemy number something-or-other.

    Oh, you're just an anonymous blogger with an opinion who wrote a tongue-in-cheek piece comparing fetuses to parasites? No worries, I've got your back.

  •  It's Your Body And Your Life.... (3+ / 0-)

    Everybody know how to prevent a pregnancy.  Your choice.  No condemnation one way or the other.

    None of my business or anybody's else for that matter.  

  •  The thought of pregnancy disgusted me, (0+ / 0-)

    I don't like babies, young kids, teenagers or young adults. It was far better that I didn't get involved with any of the little parasites. The minute they can speak, it's "Gimme money!" :-PPP Pooties rule, babies drool. Srsly.

    SANFORD, FL: New millennium and all... Didn't you know? Jim Crow Must Go!

    by OleHippieChick on Sat Apr 21, 2012 at 05:03:43 AM PDT

  •  an applicable Bible verse (0+ / 0-)

    2Ti 3:1  But know this, that in the last days grievous times will be upon us.
    2Ti 3:2  For men will be lovers of themselves, money-lovers, braggarts, arrogant, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,
    2Ti 3:3  without natural feeling, unyielding, slanderers, without self-control, savage, haters of good,
    2Ti 3:4  betrayers, reckless, arrogant, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God.

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