ASK Musings

No matter where you go, there you are.

Monthly Archive: May 2011



May 2011



When Should We Trust Her To Make That Call?

Written by , Posted in Feminism

There have been a lot of discussions lately about reproductive rights. Some were hoping that the Republicans would hold out on agreeing to a new budget until there was no more federal funding for Planned Parenthood. Some seem to not understand rape, and so were looking to rewrite laws to define rape as only being forcible (so if you were roofied, too bad!), withholding access to abortion if one couldn’t prove that one had been raped by that definition. The choice people talk about often is abortion, with other services provided by places like Planned Parenthood often getting little to no coverage.

But this article is about a different kind of reproductive choice. It’s about the choice to not have children at all. To essentially guarantee that outcome by choosing sterilization. And it’s about how hard that elective surgery can be to obtain. How doctors are reluctant, especially with women who don’t yet have children, who aren’t married, or who are younger, to perform or even refer people for surgery.

I have no desire to have kids. I do not want to be pregnant. I do not want to reproduce. I do not want children. It’s something I’ve been clear on for many, many years, yet it’s something that some people can’t seem to accept. I remember during the time when I was looking at options for health coverage, my mother kept trying to steer me to ones that had maternity coverage, ‘just in case.’ My, but that is an awkward discussion, explaining that I’m not having children. Seriously not having children.

But back to the article, and the issues in it. There seems to be an expectation that all women not only should want children but will want children, if given enough time. That there’s a one-size-fits-all concept of family, and that concept must involve children, and that no matter what, eventually all people will want them. To the point that some doctors apparently are either so scared that younger women will change their minds and blame them, or just don’t trust the women to know themselves.

However, I have to admit that on first read, I did think about how I would react to a 22-year-old who asked for sterilization. I’d probably be concerned because I know opinions can change. But I don’t necessarily think that is the motivation behind the people who refuse 22-year-olds – or 40-year-olds – this procedure. I think there is a bit of judgment, a bit of paternalism, some fear, and a lot of not understanding how someone could choose a life path that doesn’t match what everyone seems to think we all should follow. We seem fine with 22-year-olds who want to get large artificial bits of man-made material put into their chests. It’s not considered odd for 25-year-olds to have their noses reconstructed, or to have fat sucked out of their stomachs and thighs. Those are pretty serious surgeries, but I don’t see doctors turning women away.

It’s interesting, because part of me understands concern about the decisions people could make, and the regrets they could have about those decisions. But we seem to allow decisions of the same import as long as they fit with what we think is the ‘right’ way to live. Trying to make yourself conventionally pretty by reconstructing your face or body? Have at it! Bucking the expectation that all women will or should want kids? No way. Not until you’re older, by which point society is CERTAIN you will change your mind.

I know there are some other options, but those options seem somewhat silly when one is certain about their choice to not have children. Why should someone take the pill every day, or the patch once a week, or have something artificial inserted into their body because someone else is uncomfortable with the decision the woman has made?

I realize this isn’t the most pressing issue of the day. But it’s interesting to me, from a philosophical perspective, and it was nice to see it discussed somewhere other than in my mind.



May 2011



A Milestone

Written by , Posted in Adventures

(I know there’s a lot going on internationally these days, and at some point I’ll comment on that. My mind is still trying to process it all, so instead I thought I’d post on something a little lighter in the meantime.)

I’ve had a goal for awhile now. Over the past two years I’ve run seven half marathons. My first time was 2:09, and subsequent races have been between 2:05 and (during the summer in NYC) 2:26. I’ve gotten my training times down to sub-9 miles only to come down with a cold and have a setback. But I had hopes for this next race.

This past weekend we went up to Vancouver for the half marathon. My times leading up to this race led me to believe I could do it; I ran 12-mile training runs on pace to finish a half at 1:58 or 1:59. I was feeling really, really good. 

But as the race approached my knees started to hurt. As in, they hurt even when I was just sitting or walking. I even managed to give myself a blister walking around town the day before the race. I wasn’t trying to psych myself out, but I realized that it was possible it wasn’t going to happen this time, and I shouldn’t push myself to the point of injury just to break this one barrier.

On Sunday morning, after an evening of very yummy carbohydrates and a good night of sleep, I got up, got ready and headed down to the start line. It was sunny and crisp and completely clear. I started at a good pace and just felt good. The course was well supported, with water and gatorade every kilometer or so. There were people cheering us on all along the city street part of the race, and the “go Ashley!” cheers I got (thanks to the race organizers putting names on our bibs) really helped motivate me and keep me going. I probably also got a boost from listening to the “Sex and Other Human Activities” podcast, which is hilarious and not at all appropriate for those with innocent sensibilities. It’s hard to focus on being tired when you’re laughing. It may use up a little more energy, but it certainly kept me going mentally, especially as I was heading up the steep hill at mile 8 in Stanley Park.

With about three miles to go on the course I realized I could really do it this time. I would have to really slow down to almost a walk to not do it. At mile 12 I switched from podcasts to music, and with a little help from Outkast’s Hey Ya and Beyonce’s Crazy, I did it. 1:55:20 after starting the race, I crossed the finish line. That moment was – well, a it was honestly a little overwhelming. I have been working hard and training in horrible weather. I’ve gotten up at 4:45 to run, and I’ve run between evening appointments. There’s something pretty amazing about the feeling I got when I realized that I actually could do something like that if I put my mind and energy to it. And today, when I started my five-mile run as I continue training for my next half marathon at the end of June even though all I wanted to do was lay on my couch and watch something on Netflix, I reminded myself that I’ve done it once and I can do it again.

To cap it all off, last night, I was treated to a surprise deep tissue massage at a wonderful spa, followed by a yummy homemade dinner, all courtesy of my favorite video game programmer. I’m a very, very lucky lady these days, and whenever work gets overwhelming, or I feel stressed, I try to remind myself of that.