Sunday, March 22, 2009

Did pregnancy make me a socialist?

Preface: there are several posts in my drafts folder discussing my thoughts and feelings during pregnancy. Since I made a decision not to discuss my last pregnancy on my blog, I will be posting them now, when having a little one prevents me from writing much and on a regular basis. So some of the things are a bit outdated (in regards to my personal life), but I hope you will find them interesting nonetheless.

Women are often accused of not being objective because they tend to follow their heart and intuition over cool headed logic. There probably is some truth to that. The older I get, the more I lose sight of the big picture and concentrate on personal details of the situation. Whenever I hear about a child abduction, my heart skips a bit, because that child is someone's baby, terribly missed and desperately wanted back. Then I think about the abductor and it occurs to me that he too is somebody else's son. This might not be a good example, but what I am trying to say is that personal experiences such as having kids definitely softened my heart and swayed my views.

One of those personal experience was hyperemesis gravidarium (check out this site more info, if you wish), in layman's terms, severe morning sickness during my last pregnancy. Those who don't know what it entails should consider themselves lucky because it is much worse than it sounds, and not only for the one experiencing it, but also for those around her. My case was not particularly life threatening and probably fell in the mild category, but many women have it much worse and it is considered life threatening. Without going into lots of distasteful details, my mild case required taking medication for several months to suppress nausea, involved stretches of time when I could not stomach anything even while being medicated, and at one time living on half a toast and a bite of apple for four days and at another time celebrating eating five Cheerios, the first meal in three days. Drinking presented even a bigger problem, resulting in two visits to the ER for hydration.

But in many ways, besides medical, my case was truly a lucky one:
1. I had a doctor who understood the condition.
2. I had a manager who was understanding.
3. I had an employer who provides decent medical insurance and good prescription coverage.
4. My company also gives a generous amount of sick days.
5. I had an understanding husband and family nearby to help out.
6. The pregnancy and the baby were wanted and expected.

It makes me shudder to think that even one of those things would not be available to me during this very hard time. Yet the reality is that for many American women that would be the case. An appalling number of our compatriots has no medical insurance. Many times these people are blamed for their situation and called irresponsible, but I had crunched the numbers (I won't bore you with those, unless you ask me to) and wish that were the case.

And even when you do obtain insurance, the battle is not over. Not all procedures are covered by all insurance companies. In my case, the medication prescribed to me for nausea, Zofran, is often not covered or covered only partially. How much does it cost? $1,000 for 15-20 day supply, generic. (Somehow, it is only half of that in Canada. Interesting, isn't it?) I needed three refills. If my insurance didn't cover this medication, I would have to pay $4,000 our of pocket for the luxury of being able to function. Luxury that - with all my being responsible and insured - would be hard to afford.

Where am I going? I have given this topic a lot of thought, even before I got married and thought of having kids. Now my personal experience more or less cemented my belief that medical coverage should be universal. It is appalling that the country as rich as ours does not provide this to all its citizens. That people who are on the low are being kicked by their health insurance carriers, and that hardly promotes recovery. I would support any viable plan to bring decent coverage to every American. The problem is, though, I have yet to see that viable plan.

Would this belief earn me the lable of "socialist"? Does it make me one? Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn...

(originally from 11/2/08)


  1. I have lots to say on the topic but frankly, I got tired of your responses that tell me that I "didn't get the point" of your post.
    So that's all I have to say about this post.

  2. Subwife, didn't you know that you shouldn't get pregnant if you can't afford these things? [heavy sarcasm here]

    And I don't think it is illogical to take into consideration the different viewpoints and people's emotional states - isn't part of reason taking into account all aspects of a situation? Since when does logic mean discounting the human factor?

  3. You know how the government is always promoting family first and making all the businesses be family friendly regarding their employees?
    Well, sucks for you if you're a federal employee. Wife didn't get paid maternity leave and being a federal employee, wasn't entitled to disability. Having NY cost us at least 8K. How you like them apples.

  4. Dina,

    Very good point re: logic. Also, only rich should be allowed to procreate. With all the things that could go wrong in pregnancy and life in general - it is just irresponsible to not have a backup for every possible situation before having kids.


    The whole topic of maternity leaves in US deserves a separate post or two.

    As far as my experience goes, paid maternity leave in US is rather the exception than the rule. I haven't worked for anyone who paid for that. And as an auditor, only one of my many clients paid for 6 weeks off. So you are in a good, albeit somewhat miserable and underfunded company.

    And those disability payments - yes, it is better to have them than not, but again, $180/wk? Who can survive on that?

  5. Underfunded? I said federal job, Veterans Affairs.
    $180/week is still something. You can't survive on that but over a course of 2+ months, $180/week, adds up to $1440+ while 0/week adds up to 0. :-P

  6. I meant you are in a good company with 99% of Americans who don't get paid maternity leave :P

  7. This subject drives me crazy! I'm in total agreement with you.


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