Jane's Blog

Conservatism is Stagnation and Regression

Jane Brogan

Jane Brogan
suburban Philly, Pennsylvania,
December 31
I am a wife, mother of 3, RN, and all for truth, not sound bites. I have Lupus, and several other autoimmune diseases and a stroke survivor. I am a very cheerful, optimistic and happy person, and always try to look for the best in the world! Also, I am an unapologetic liberal. Progressive ideas are what made this country and what continue to move it forward, without progress, we wither on the vine!


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FEBRUARY 10, 2012 1:10PM


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I am a living, breathing human being and the Catholic Church chose theoretical children over my life. When doctrine is placed before the needs of the flock, there is a fundamental flaw. And the Church seriously wonders why so many women get angered by their attitude. I was raised Catholic, attended Catholic schools and colleges. I was married in the Church and my children have received all of their sacraments. My faith was a very important part of my life. But there came a time when I felt used and betrayed by those making the rules-so concerned where they with the arbitrary edicts and proclamations all somehow having to do with the female reproductive tract. There was to be no controlling fertility, except in natural ways-all sex acts have to be open to the creation of children. (You only have to bring up sex, and the men in the fancy dresses get all crazy.) I am confused by that one, because how about those couples who marry well past child-bearing years, or older couples who have no possibility of having a child?

I had always wanted a large family, but my body did not want to cooperate. Some background-in my first pregnancy, I developed preeclampsia or pregnancy-induced hypertension. Preeclampsia occurs usually after the 20th week of pregnancy and can cause maternal and fetal death. The cure is delivery of the baby. I put on 80 pounds of water weight, my feet grew three sizes, and I resembled a beach ball. At 34 weeks, my blood pressure was 240/150 so I was induced and my son was born-thankfully healthy. I had gone through labor for 24 hours and ultimately needed a C-section-but the labor helped his lungs. The next day, I lost 70 pounds of water weight and my feet returned to their normal size. Luckily, I was only 23 years old at the time, so my health recovered fairly quickly. Three months later, I became pregnant again and once more developed preeclampsia. This time I went into early labor and also developed kidney failure. My second son was born at 34 weeks, with some breathing difficulties, but otherwise healthy. I once again took off the massive water weight pretty quickly, and my blood pressure returned to normal. The arrogance of youth made me feel invincible and I became pregnant five years later. I had switched obstetricians, as the one who delivered my sons had moved out of the area. This group of doctors was affiliated with a Catholic hospital. No problem there, I thought. I was somewhat healthy until about the fifth month and once again, I developed preeclampsia. I was being followed by a team of perinatologists from the teaching hospital in the city. I had a very unusual case, and was written as a case study in a text book. To develop preeclampsia each pregnancy was unusual, but it also meant that I was at risk if I became pregnant again. I spent three weeks in the hospital before my daughter was born, and also went into kidney failure. As any future pregnancies would put my life in danger I inquired about a tubal ligation. It cannot even be discussed while in this hospital, said my obstetrician. It is a Catholic Hospital and they do not allow any discussion of birth control, sterilization, or abortion. I said I was going to be having a C-section-all the necessary body parts would be accessible, and the procedure was to ensure my safety. He said he was sorry, but that was the Hospital’s policy- being a Catholic hospital and being pro-life. I laughed at the irony. My daughter was born at 36 weeks and healthy and I thank God for knowledgeable doctors and my childrens’ health. I was extremely lucky.  Preeclempsia is the state before eclempsia-that is seizures, coma and possible cardiac arrest brought on by extreme hypertension and protein in the urine(an early sign of kidney failure).  Eclempsia is responsible for approximately 20% of all deaths that occur in pregnant women.  So both mother and child are at very high risk.  I had been in a much more dangerous situation than I had ever realized.

Out of the hospital and in the obstetrician’s office, my obstetrician was quite emphatic that any future pregnancies would most likely leave my husband a widower and my children without a mother-this was discussed while my husband was in the office with me. It was when I went to nursing school that I realized how precarious my situation had truly been. Over time, my dismay grew to anger. My life really meant nothing to the Church. They pay lip service to saying they will allow abortions in cases to save the mother’s life, but I really doubt it. I have lived a situation where my life depended on not becoming pregnant again, and they wouldn’t even allow a discussion of a tubal liagation to occur. Some people would say, get the tubal ligation as an outpatient. My obstetrician explained that it is painful and difficult, especially post-partum. They have to fill your already tender uterus full of air, and then do the procedure. This on someone who has had major abdominal surgery(my 3rd C-section).

So the Catholic Church wants to be exempt from providing birth control pills, sterilization, and abortion? The problem is, it is part of health care. As I stated, I was denied care, my life placed in danger because of their rules. How many other women have gone through similar situations? It is insane to tell a living, breathing human being that they cannot get a needed medical procedure because it might prevent a theoretical child from being conceived. That is a ridiculous argument, and the Church knows it. They will hide behind the cloak of freedom of religion, but it is really what it has always been about-controlling women. There is such a lack of trust of women by the men running the Church. Is it because we have a uterus? We were born that way. Is it jealousy? Uterine envy? A way to get into women’s bodies without touching them? If the Church is so pro-life, why were they not concerned about saving my life-a living, breathing woman? My worth to them was clearly spelled out, and I was found sorely lacking in my ability to further propagate. My disillusionment with religion, not God, was complete.


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There are times when rules need to be broken and "Common Sense" needs to rule. Excellent post.
rated with love
RomanticPoetess, Thank you for your kind words!
My theory- There is something in the founding of the church that would blow their house to smithereens and it concerns women. I wish we could see all of the stuff they deleted when they compiled the official Bible.

I have lots of theories, but it seems to me that men in general, and of course there are exceptions, are afraid of women. We went from Goddess worship and matriarchies to God and patriarchs. It's all sad.
So many thoughts float for me as I read your words. For now, know I am thinking of you.

I don't remember any longer ... how old I was ... or why ... I read The Cardinal. I did read it ... all of it ... and then ... I let myself forget. I didn't know how to be disillusioned with the Church which had given me ... hope. I think the book is set in Boston and so, of course, struck home, but toward the end ... and I begin to lose it here ... there is a decision to be made ... a Church ... decision ... that he must make ... about his pregnant sister ... whose life ... may most certainly ... be lost ...

I don't remember if the sisters had us read this book or if my mother, the nurse, brought it home. It made me begin to know ... when one ... may not ... can not ... agree ... when one, alone, must know ... what ... is wrong. Perhaps it was then ... all that time ago ... when first I felt ... the Church ... fall away ... from me.

Years later, when married, I read a book by ... David Yallop ... In God's Name ... I may remember this badly or imperfectly ... but ... I remember a passage about a meeting in Rome when Paul VI, I think, was pope. The meeting, I think, had to do with what the Church, Rome, would decide on birth control. The group decided that it should be allowed ... if I read ... and if I remember correctly ... but someone ... the Curia? fog here ... stepped in, said no ... and all of us ... know the rest. Paul VI, who, I think from what I remember of my impression when I read, was willing to give approval ... and was talked down. Perhaps I should question Yallop ... but ... for me ... too much ... fell into place.

Sometimes someone else's words make us stop ... and think. Yours here ... have done that ... for me.
When it came to the question of birth control, I took responsibility. My wife developed complications from taking the pill for over twenty years and although we discussed having a child together, two weeks later I came to my decision to have a vasectomy. For the life of me, I can't figure out why all of the recent discussion is about women and access. Where in the hell are the men who need to stand up and take responsibility with prophylactics and/or vasectomy????

just my two cents,
Jmac-that is exactly what we decided for our family. It was just an added step that could have been avoided, and vasectomies aren't always foolproof. Thanks for your comment!
The author says, "They pay lip service to saying they will allow abortions in cases to save the mother’s life...." I don't think that's true. I have about the same Catholic background as the author. I have the advantage of being a male so I don't have the direct threat of a life-endangering pregnancy. But, I recall the stories of when faced with either abortion or death, all the woman can do is prepare to die. It may take both the mother and the child but nothing EVER justifies abortion for the Catholic hierarchy.

It's absurd. But, if you're an old, celibate male laying down a hard law on women probably has a sense of joy attached.
Steve-thaey have proven time and time again, that they pur their doctrine above all else! The absurdity is sad and scary! Thanks for your comments!