I often find myself having to start out my posts with an explanation or disclaimer. Today’s disclaimer award goes to the disabled and seriously ill. My comments below in no way reflect a disregard for the disabled–in fact it is the exact opposite.
I do, however, have a serious mother fucking problem with pregnancy and birth being considered a disability and/or an illness.
I just came out of an info session on benefits enrollment for my company. Ugh. I am lucky to work for a company that is taking parenting seriously and working to make the environment a family friendly one (me=squeaky wheel), but I cringe when we get our reps in and they discuss pregnancy as an illness and a disability. In fact I am shocked that Americans still classify this in such a way given the progress we have made over this century regarding understanding the contributions of women. I was never more superhuman and able than when my body created another healthy person and delivered her into the world.
America, why do we consider pregnancy, the making of a complete new human life, a disability? Simultaneously an athlete who makes loads of money, uses performance enhancers and gets to dedicate everyday of his life to practice for the purpose of beating some stupid record or team is a superhero genius. One contribution is more miraculous and beneficial to society, and if you cannot guess which one, you are sorely fucking misguided. My vagina and organs have done way more in one ten month period than many people do in their whole lives (see Lindsey Lohan, former BP President Tony Hayward).
The Wiki entry on Disability is quite interesting:
“Impairment in bodily structure or function is defined as involving an anomaly, defect, loss or other significant deviation from certain generally accepted population standards, which may fluctuate over time. Activity is defined as the execution of a task or action. The ICF lists 9 broad domains of functioning which can be affected:
- Learning and applying knowledge
- General tasks and demands
- Domestic life
- Interpersonal interactions and relationships
- Major life areas
- Community, social and civic life”
Anyone who has had a baby knows that in all of the above categories, with the exception of mobility in the third trimester, women’s abilities in these activities become significantly enhanced, not impaired.
Now I will be the first to say that transitioning into a parent does render one slightly disabled as you adjust to your new body and lifestyle, but by no means is this a permanent disruption to a person’s ability to function at full capacity in society.
Now, the history of pregnancy being considered a disability is actually a remnant of a positive occurrence–getting disability coverage for new mothers was in fact a feminist benchmark. That was decades ago, however. It is time to start differentiating between miracles and wonders and debilitating impairments.
While I am working on getting a new category for pregnancy payouts established in our society, I will hitherto refer to short-term disability checks as any of the following more snazzy titles: “A Paycheck Because My Vagina is Too Tired to Work.” That’s seems accurate. We could also consider “Bonus for being able to Procreate like a Gremlin who got Wet after Midnight.” “Trouble with Tribbles” is shorter. Hmm. I must go now and write to my Senator about these suggestions. I highly recommend you do the same.
P.S. I actually don’t hate Lindsey Lohan–she just for some reason is always top of mind when I think of a wasted life. I blame Extra.
P.S.S. I do hate Tony Hayward.