A few months ago, I chatted with a newly pregnant friend over ice cream. Eventually, after we exhausted the areas of the politics of maternity leave and the excitement of decorating her baby’s room, our conversation turned to reproductive choice. Specifically, we talked about her decision to terminate her pregnancy if she and her husband learned that the fetus had developed a major chromosomal abnormality that would drastically decrease its chances for a viable, healthy life. Although both she and the baby were currently healthy, and tests proved that the likelihood of such abnormalities was negligible, she and her husband chose to keep the option of abortion on the table, in case they truly needed it later in the pregnancy. “I want to be a mother,” she told me, “but I want my child to have the best possible chance at life.”
I am relieved that, for my friend’s sake, this is probably not a choice on which she will need to act. In all likelihood, her baby will be healthy and safe. But in case a difficult decision needs to be made, it is critical that such options exist for parents to consider. I thought about our conversation when I saw Martha Shane and Lana Wilson’s new documentary, “After Tiller,” an official selection of the 2013 Sundance Film Festival. Like my friend, the majority of the women featured in are women who want to be mothers. They want to have healthy, happy children, and they want to provide their children with the best lives possible. Yet, when faced with the reality that their babies will not have the lives for which they planned, the mothers choose the option that they believe will demonstrate the greatest display of love and dignity. “After Tiller” shares these stories through the perspectives of the mothers seeking third-trimester abortions and the doctors providing them. Keep reading »
Pregnancy is one of life’s beautiful passages. It’s also when a pregnant woman can never do anything right, according to some people. The latest mom-to-be to get raked over the coals is Lea-Ann Ellison, 35, of California who was photographed lifting heavy weights as part of her Crossfit training … while eight-and-a-half months pregnant.
In a picture posted on Crossfit’s Facebook page, a workout gear-clad Ellison is squatting to lit a Hulk Hogan-sized bodybuilding weight as her pregnant belly hangs below her. She wrote on the caption:
“8 months pregnant with baby number 3 and CrossFit has been my sanity. I have been CrossFitting for 2 1/2 years and…strongly believe that pregnancy is not an illness, but a time to relish in your body’s capabilities to kick ass.”
The Internet reacted badly, to put it mildly. “Sickening,” “crap” and “stupid” are just a few words that Ellison has been called. She’s been told she is putting her unborn child at risk and that she may know a lot about exercise but nothing about being a good parent. Keep reading »
Another code may have been cracked in how autism occurs in children: children that were born from labor induction or speeding up the birth with drugs were more likely to develop an autism spectrum disorder, according to a new study. The study conducted by Simon Gregory from Duke Medicine in Durham, North Carolina, found the education records of about 678,000 babies, where a note would indicate whether the children had been diagnosed with autism; they then looked into their mothers’ inducement of labor during childbirth. Women who had labor-inducing drugs were 23 percent more likely to have kids who were later diagnosed with autism. Correlation not being causation, though, the study does not prove that speeding up the labor process causes autism. Because there was no direct link found, medical procedures for inducing labor will not change. Additionally, other factors may contribute to autism in children, including a woman’s use of folic acid and epilepsy drugs during her pregnancy. For now, autism still remains a mystery. [Reuters; TIME] [Image of a pregnant woman via Shutterstock]
A new study suggests that girls suffering from anorexia display similar personality traits to those with autism, such as lack of empathy, high focus on detail, and rigid behavior. In some instances, girls with anorexia scored five times higher in autistic qualities than non-anorexic girls on the Autism Spectrum Quotient. Keep reading »