Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Pregnancy and Depression

A sad raincloud. Image source.

I recently announced the birth of my son, Square Root! Here's something I wrote when I was 25 weeks pregnant.

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I guess I want to throw a disclaimer on this... I think my experience being pregnant was harder than average. Everyone is different! So if you are thinking about getting pregnant, don't let me discourage you; it probably won't be as bad as what I'm describing here.

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Being pregnant is THE WORST. I love my baby, but this is just THE WORST.

The first trimester was a parade of throwing up. Waking up in the night to throw up. Throwing up before breakfast. Throwing up if I haven't eaten protein recently. Throwing up after eating, sometimes. Gagging when I smell other people's food. Gagging when I walk past someone smoking a cigarette on the street. And the doctor said morning sickness should stop sometime around week 14, and yes indeed, around week 14 it got much better. Now I only throw up in the morning before breakfast, instead of like, all the time.

In the evenings I have heartburn. The WORST heartburn. So I've been taking 2 Tums before bed- only 2, because I need to ration them. Too hard to buy Tums in China, but I managed to get a mostly-full bottle from an American friend.

I also have been drinking a lot of almond milk, to help with the heartburn. But I kind of stopped because I'm just so tired of drinking almond milk.

The worst part is that every single damn day I have to somehow eat a whole bunch of protein every meal. This baby demands protein all the time. And at the same time, there are so many foods that I just CAN'T STAND the smell of. Can't stand to even think about food sometimes, because it makes me sick. But the baby demands protein. And every single day I have to solve this problem, try to figure out what I can eat.

For the whole first trimester I avoided tuna. Because, I read somewhere that fish is good for the baby's brain, but I read somewhere else that fish has mercury which is bad for the baby. So I avoided it, just to be safe. But then I broke. Because tuna is one of the only sources of protein I actually like. I tried so hard to not eat tuna, but I ... just ... can't ... live. Baby demands protein and I can't force myself to eat ham sandwiches anymore, I just can't.

So now I'm eating a tuna sandwich almost every day. It makes a massive difference for my mental health- now lunch is solved, and the daily struggle to figure out what kind of protein my body can eat is that much easier. I don't know if it's okay for the baby... at first I was carefully reading labels to figure out exactly which species of tuna it was, whether it's the kind with more or less mercury, but ... I gave up. I just can't.

Breakfast is a bagel, two hardboiled eggs, and milk. Except now instead of 2 eggs, I switched to 1 egg plus part of a protein bar. I just can't stand hardboiled eggs anymore. But they're so cheap, and the protein bars are expensive, imported from somewhere. But I just can't.

It's just so hard to eat every day, and it's just so hard to get off the couch and do the things I'm supposed to do. And ... and so I noticed that sometimes I start to have depression symptoms.

I've had depression before, and I learned how to pay attention to my emotions and identify what my emotional needs are and communicate about them. So I know that for me, when there are things I'm supposed to do (like get out of bed in the morning, or wash the dishes, or shower, or whatever) and instead of doing them I just want to sit around for a period of time of indeterminate length- that's a depression symptom. It's not "I will take a break for 10 minutes and then I will do the thing"; it's "every time I feel like I should get up and do stuff, I just have this giant mental block and I just can't, and that can drag on and on for who knows how long, and I'm stuck." Which is not healthy because then nothing ever gets done, and then I just feel worse.

So... I wouldn't say I "have" depression, but I am at risk for it. Sometimes I tell Hendrix "I feel like I'm getting depression." So I think it's so important for me to recognize the symptoms and tell Hendrix what I need him to do to help me so it doesn't continue to the point where I actually "have" depression.

Like sometimes I say "could you tell me to go get a shower?" and then he's like "honey, if you go and shower, then you can have ice cream after." Which is so nice and gives me the motivation to actually go do it.

Or I tell him I need him to stand there and say nice things while I wash the dishes. Or I need him to come rub my back when I'm trying to sleep. Or I need him to help me make a decision about what to have for dinner. Or I just want him to listen while I complain.

And he always does these things, to support me. Well, except that he has to work 8 hours a day (and I do too) so he's not *always* available. (And to be honest, I'm really struggling with how much I should ask him for help and how much I should just try to deal with it myself. How do I know if I'm asking for "too much"?)

Anyway I want to blog about this because somewhere around 14-23% of people experience depression symptoms during pregnancy, but usually no one talks about it. (And I'm at a higher risk because I've had depression in the past.) I guess people don't talk about it because it's expected that you should be happy about having a baby and how empowering it is to bring new life into the world or whatever ... and ... yeah while that's all true, it doesn't prevent the depression symptoms. I love my baby even though they're not even born yet. I've wanted a baby for a long time. The depression stuff isn't related to that. 

(The whole thing just makes me even more pro-choice, but that's a topic for another post.)

So... yeah that's the situation now. I sometimes recognize that I have depression symptoms, and that means I need to take action right away to keep it from getting worse, so I communicate with my husband about what I need him to do to help me. And he's great, he's such a sweetheart and he does whatever I ask him to. So hopefully this is good enough.

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Blogaround

1. Trained a neural net on my cat and regret everything (posted April 17) "This is one of the most horrible things I have ever seen, and I saw CATS (2019) in the theater."

2. “Pro-Life” Lt. Gov: “There are more important things than living” (posted April 22) Like I said, shame on all these assholes who want us to sacrifice our grandparents to save "the economy." Shame.

3. Well the blogaround for this week is pretty sparse. I hope all of you readers are doing okay, wherever you are in the world, whatever day of quarantine you're on. <3 <3 <3

Saturday, April 18, 2020

He Just Loves Me (a post about Sex, Pregnancy, and My "Wifely Duty")

A cat has its front paws up on the toilet seat and is looking into the toilet. Image text: "Morning sickness." Image source.
I recently announced the birth of my son, Square Root. Here's something I wrote when I was 13 weeks pregnant. 

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So I'm 13 weeks pregnant, and my husband and I haven't had sex AT ALL the first trimester. Well, let me edit that- we had sex which ended up conceiving a baby, at the "2 weeks pregnant" mark, because actually they count the weeks of pregnancy from your last period. (This seems super weird, but it actually makes sense because you don't actually know when conception happened- sperm can live for up to 5 days after sex. Counting it from the date of one's last period makes it more standardized. It's confusing at first, but as long as everyone understands that this is how it works, and we're all on the same page, it's okay.)

We had sex which ended up conceiving our baby, and then the next 2 weeks we were too busy to have sex, and then I missed my period and did a pregnancy test and it was positive (this was at the "4 weeks pregnant" point in time) and then soon after that I started feeling sick all the time and throwing up every morning and it was horrible. So now it's week 13 and we haven't had sex for over 2 months.

And ... it's strange for me. Because I grew up with conservative Christian ideology that said wives have a "duty" to have sex with their husbands regularly. I was taught that men "need" sex. They NEED it, and if they don't get enough then they are going to be so unhappy and lose their confidence and maybe go cheat on me. I was taught that sex might feel good for women sometimes, but it's not a *need*. Or, usually, women don't really like sex, they just do it for the romance or emotional connection with their husband (like maybe that's the only time he'll pay attention to her- which is a funny joke the whole church congregation laughs at, haha men amirite, rather than a disturbing sign of a deeply unhealthy marriage). But the important thing is, wives NEED TO have sex with their husbands. Even if they don't want to, or if they're too busy or tired, even if it hurts, they still have to. Men NEED it.

I heard all this and internalized it back when I didn't even know what sex was. When I thought it was this amazing emotional experience, the most romantic and intimate you can ever be with another person, a beautiful gift from God, a sacred bond that makes two people become "one flesh." When all I knew of sex was this grand abstract ideal, and I knew nothing about the practicalities, what it would actually feel like to have something touch my vulva, or to have something poking inside my vagina, there was no way for me to understand why on earth a woman might sometimes not want to have sex with her husband. I heard all this teaching about "you have to have sex with your husband even when you don't want to" and it was no problem at all for me to completely accept and internalize it. I thought, "I want to have sex SOOOO MUCH, of course I'll be having sex with my husband every day, it will be AMAZING and MIND-BLOWING."

Well, fast-forward a few years, and Hendrix and I actually have sex, it's completely different than I expected, I realize that nope I never had a desire for that, also it's a whole lot of work and it's painful, and I conclude that I'm asexual.

And so... before I got pregnant, I was having sex with him, often enough. For a lot of reasons, some of them good and healthy (like learning about my body) and some of them problematic (like my "wifely duty"). It's hard to really untangle what I want and why. And it's hard to communicate with my husband, who has no background in purity culture and this "wives are REQUIRED to have sex because men NEED it" ideology. I know he likes having sex, but does he realize that I'm hearing that as "I need to do this for him even if I'm in pain"?

So... then I got pregnant. And I've been throwing up every morning, and feeling nauseous all day, and I don't want to touch anybody or have anybody touch me. For the past 7 weeks. And we haven't had sex for 9 weeks.

And my husband has been great. He brings me a cup of water when I wake up in the middle of the night to throw up. And he rubs my back, unless I tell him to stop because I feel so sick and can't stand any more sensory stimulation. And he tells me it's okay to throw up, and he tells me I am doing such a good job making our baby, and he loves me.

And I'm over here thinking about how I'm literally unable to do my "wifely duty" (ie, have sex with my husband), and how that was always the ONE THING that was supposedly the most important thing in marriage, the most important part of being a wife, and I can't.

In all that teaching about my "wifely duty", I don't remember any caveats or exceptions. They certainly never said anything along the lines of "if you have some medical problem and your doctor says you can't have sex, then indeed that would be a case when you should NOT have sex with your husband." Sometimes they said "you might need to get creative," which I now assume means "if you can't have penis-in-vagina sex, at least give him a handjob or something." (LOLOLOLOL back then I knew so little about sex that I DEFINITELY did NOT know there are a bunch of different ways to do it.)

Imagine my surprise, a few years ago, when I found out that after having a baby, you should not have (vaginal) sex for 6 weeks or so, or until your doctor says it's okay. That reality is completely incompatible with all this teaching I've internalized about "men need it." (Well I guess that's when you're supposed to "get creative"...)

I'm starting to think a more healthy view might be "your husband is an adult and he's responsible for HIMSELF- you're not responsible for his sexual needs. Also, he should act like a ****ing human being and have some EMPATHY if you're sick or in pain."

I always expected my hypothetical godly husband would say "yeah I know you're sick but I have *needs* so you're going to have to find a workaround."

So now I'm here, with Hendrix my non-Christian husband. And I'm literally growing his child inside me, and I just keep thinking about how I'm not doing good enough for him. Because of this sex stuff, this bullshit ideology about how "men need it." My husband doesn't even believe in that! He hasn't complained once. There have been a few times he told me he wants to have sex, and I said "no, I feel sick" and he said "yeah I know" and that was the end of the conversation. He's not trying to pressure me, he's not telling me his sexual "needs" are my responsibility, he's not even mentioning it at all. A few times I brought it up- "are you unhappy we haven't had sex in 2 months? don't you have 'needs'?"- and he says I am doing the most important thing, I am making our baby, of course it's not a problem that we haven't had sex. (I also told him he can masturbate by himself, you know, because of his "needs." But, umm, actually my husband doesn't believe that anybody needs anybody else's permission to masturbate.)

(You know what he's actually complaining about? How I keep leaving my stuff all over the table so there's no space for him. Yeah, maybe I should focus on the things he's actually communicating to me about, instead of what Christians always said "men" need.)

In church they said that sex is the most intimate you can be with another person. It's the highest expression of love. But that's not true for me. It's been 2 months with no sex and my husband is taking care of me and not saying one word about "my wifely duty" and ... that's the highest expression of love. That he would be so sweet and affectionate every day, when I haven't even stimulated his penis recently... the church basically taught me men aren't capable of love like that. I thought marriage was about me trading sex to get romance and affection from him.

It's like ... he really just loves me. And sees me as a whole human being (not some kind of sex-vending-machine), suffering through this really difficult health situation, for the sake of our little family. And he recognizes that both of us have to adapt to that and do what we can to make it bearable.

I never ever expected a man could do that, could love like this without getting sex in return. It's like he really cares about me. And he cares about me because he loves me, not because of sex. Honestly, I'm shocked.

My actual real-life husband is so much better than that idealized godly Christian man I always imagined that "God planned" for me to marry. That godly husband who would expect me to satisfy his sexual needs at all times, wouldn't accept any excuses if I couldn't do it, and might even go cheat on me if I wasn't good enough at "my wifely duty." I thought men are all like that; that's what I expected was "normal" in a marriage. But instead, Hendrix loves me in ways I never even imagined a man could love. And that's mind-blowing and intimate.

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Related:
Conservative Christians Teach That Wives Are REQUIRED To Have Sex Even When They Don't Want To. Here Are The Receipts.
My Husband Is Not The Entire Focus Of My Sex Life

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Blogaround

1. Not every pandemic is the Black Death (posted April 2) "Even if you were pretty sure you had it nailed on miasma theory causing plague though, that doesn’t necessarily explain where said miasma came from."

2. #ShareMyCheck This is a great idea!

3. This Missionary Adventure Board Game Has Dinosaurs (posted April 13) "This isn’t a game about being a missionary; it’s a glorified safari hyped up on an extra dose of self centered whiteness."

4. Franklin Graham: When I Said Anti-Gay, I Meant Clean Living (posted April 15) "Guys. Guys. The ministry is named “Samaritan’s Purse.” Stop and think about that for a moment." WELL THAT IS AN EXCELLENT POINT.

Monday, April 13, 2020

The Babylon Bee Completely Misunderstands Boundaries. I Am Shocked. (note: not actually shocked)

A big trash bag and a dumpster. Image source.
The Babylon Bee is trash. I'm very happy to take every opportunity to remind people of this. I blogged about this in 2016, and the Babylon Bee is so extremely trash that I have refused to waste any of my time saying anything else about it. It's trash.

It's a Christian "humor" site where the "humor" is all based on "isn't it terrible that other people don't believe in Christianity the correct way like we do", gross misrepresentation of political stances they disagree with, and a bizarrely obsessive hatred for trans people.

Trash.

Anyway, even though I have a policy of not engaging with Babylon Bee articles, I came across this one that so spectacularly misunderstands the concept of boundaries that I simply must blog about it. I'll copy the whole thing here so you don't have to give them clicks if you don't want. Link is here though: God Decides To Cut All Toxic People Out Of His Life; 7.5 Billion Dead (posted 2018)

And here's the text:
WORLD—In a fresh start for the year, the Almighty recently decided to cut all the negative, toxic people out of his life, several seraphim confirmed Wednesday, resulting in every single person on the planet perishing at once.

As part of His resolution, the Lord decided to take action to separate Himself from all 7.5 billion humans who, being sinful by nature, regularly choose to rebel against Him—and would no doubt continue to do so for the rest of their lives. He also ceased upholding the universe by the power of His will, and every molecule in the time-space continuum immediately ceased to exist, casting everything into a terrifying void of nothingness.

“After browsing a Huffington Post blog on relationship advice, God decided it was finally time to take a stand for His personal boundaries and no longer allow negative influences into his thought life,” one angel said in a press conference, to nobody in particular. “It’s not you, it’s Him. He just really needed to spend a little more time on self-care, not giving any toxic people the time of day anymore.”
Here are the 3 points I would like to make about how completely wrong this whole thing is:

1. Cutting people out of your life doesn't hurt them.

So the premise of this article is that if God "cut all toxic people out of his life" then we would all die. In other words, cutting people out of your life directly harms them. This is wrong.

"Cutting people out of your life" can be as simple as unfriending someone on social media if seeing their posts is bad for your mental health. A few years ago I unfriended a bunch of people because they were loosely connected to a situation that had caused a lot of trauma for me, and whenever I saw their names on my feed, it reminded me of that.

At first I felt like it would be wrong for me to unfriend them, because they had never done anything bad or "toxic" to me, so they didn't "deserve" to be "punished" by being unfriended. But no, that's not the right way to look at this. We weren't close; we were just sort of acquaintances, and so I don't "owe" them anything. Me unfriending them isn't a "punishment" or judgment on them. It's just my own personal choice to do what's best for my mental health, and has absolutely nothing to do with whether I think they are bad people who deserve to be punished.

Probably they never even noticed. Even if they did notice, it probably didn't matter that much to them. We weren't ever actually friends. But it mattered A LOT to me that I didn't have to deal with the stress of unexpectedly reading things that reminded me of a really bad situation I had been in.

But if it's someone you actually have a close relationship with, that's a different situation. A much trickier situation, so I'm not going to try to give some grand generalizations about what you "should" do. But here's an example: Maybe you have a toxic relationship with your parents because they always criticize you, always want you to be the "ideal child" they wanted, and can't accept you for who you actually are. They're not respecting you, not treating you right, and it causes you to have anxiety and depression. So you decide you need to set boundaries and limit how much time you spend with them.

They're going to be upset by that. But their hurt comes from their own unfair expectations and pressure they put on you. It's not correct to say *you* are hurting them. Yes, their emotions of hurt are real, but it's not your problem. And maybe they do need time to grieve for their expectations, before they're able to accept you- but again, not your problem. They can do that on their own time.

The idea that God "cutting toxic people out of his [sic] life" would cause the "toxic people" to die is just ABSURD. They wouldn't die; they would just no longer have the opportunity to harass, abuse, and control God. Which they never should have been doing in the first place.

2. People making their own choices in their own personal lives doesn't hurt God.

That Babylon Bee article describes people thusly: "all 7.5 billion humans who, being sinful by nature, regularly choose to rebel against Him—and would no doubt continue to do so for the rest of their lives." Apparently our "sin" makes us "toxic" and we are all constantly hurting God.

I really literally used to believe this. I considered it to be one of the core pieces of "the gospel"- whenever I drew my little bridge diagrams and did evangelism, that's how I defined sin- "God is supposed to be in charge of our lives, but we are selfish and want to be in charge of our own lives."

I really used to believe I was hurting God whenever I happened to have a stray selfish thought or "lusted after" a boy. (Plot twist: I'm asexual, turns out that wasn't actually lust.) Really. I thought I was hurting God whenever I wasn't a perfect mindless robot completely submitted to the Holy Spirit.

(If you want to read more of my thoughts on this, I recommend these posts: Used By God and Is There Choice in the Kingdom of God?)

No. You are in charge of your own life. Here are some examples of so-called "sins" that are your own personal choice and don't hurt anyone (including God): Not believing in God. Following other religions besides Christianity. Being queer. Having consensual sex. Putting your own needs first.

And here are some things that actually do hurt God, because Jesus said "whatever you did for the least of these, you did for me": Separating refugee children from their parents. Not welcoming immigrants into your country. Teaching women they have to "submit" to abusive husbands. Forcing queer kids into conversion therapy. Writing "humor" articles that cruelly mock trans people.

The important thing is, though, these aren't sins that "7.5 billion humans" are participating in. These are the sins of those in power, exploiting "the least of these." But this Babylon Bee article talks as if all people are equally "toxic" towards God- and yes, that's exactly what I used to believe. But it's just not true.

3. "Toxic" does NOT mean "people going about their business and living their lives in a way you don't like."

"Toxic" means people who are trying to control and manipulate you, who don't respect your right to make your own decisions, who think you owe them your time and money and emotions. And because they treat you so badly, it affects your mental health; you're unhappy, stressed, depressed, etc. So you decide to protect yourself by setting boundaries and limiting the amount they can influence you.

"Toxic" does NOT mean "people don't let me control their lives. So I'll 'set boundaries' by killing them." Like, what on earth? Apparently we're supposed to believe it's "toxic" that people sometimes do things that God disagrees with. This is so completely backwards.

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The whole idea of that Babylon Bee article is "isn't it silly how people talk about 'cutting toxic people out of their life'? What a bunch of nonsense. Lol I'm glad God doesn't do that to us!"

In reality, mental health is important. Boundaries are important. It's good to recognize when people aren't treating you right, so you can set boundaries and stop them from controlling your life. You belong to yourself.

In particular, it's important to recognize if your God or your religious leaders think you can't make your own decisions and you need them to tell you what to do so you don't "sin." Yeah, go ahead and cut them out of your life.

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Related:
I speak evangelical. The Babylon Bee is NOT all fun and games. 
Used By God
Christianity and "Selfishness": Here are the Receipts 

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Thank you to everyone who participated in the 2019 Reader Survey last May! One of the highest-voted topics was "responses to abusive theology" so I wrote this post for y'all~

Sunday, April 5, 2020

Breastfeeding: Take and Eat; This is My Body

Artwork showing a woman breastfeeding a baby. Image source.
I find myself following Jesus' example as I breastfeed my child. Feeding this baby from my own body; in a sense, saying to him, "Take and eat; this is my body."

For the first few months of his life, he's totally dependent on my breast milk for all of his nutrition. And the results are astonishing- this baby grows so fast! He's growing and thriving and wiggling around everywhere, getting stronger and stronger, and it's all because I am feeding him from my own body.

He needs me.

And I need him too. If I don't feed him or pump for 4 or 5 hours, then my breasts get all hard and painful, and all I can think is I need to get home and feed my baby. I want to feed him so bad. He needs me and I need him.

Breast milk is the only thing that "wants" to be eaten. For other foods, we're taking something whose original purpose was to be a useful part of a plant or animal, and repurposing it as food for ourselves. (Even for something like a fruit that "wants" animals to eat it and spread its seeds, the fruit doesn't "care" about being healthy and nutritious for the animal that eats it.) And so, the normal foods we eat can be difficult to digest, and there is waste. Not so with breast milk- it is optimized for one purpose only: to be the best and most nutritious food for a growing baby. It's extremely easy for babies to digest it and then poop. It's almost impossible for breastfed babies to be constipated. And their poop is very different from formula-fed babies' poop.

Breastfeeding literally says "take and eat, this is my body" in a way that nothing else can.

And during pregnancy I could say "This is my body, broken for you." I certainly felt broken. Nausea, throwing up, heartburn, exhaustion, weird pains as the baby grows bigger and bigger and pushes up all my organs. Pregnancy is about giving up my body for another person. Like what Jesus said, except he was talking about violence and death. In my case, though, it's about creating new life.

How about the "this is my blood, shed for you" part? Well. WELL. Did you know that right after you give birth, you have THE BIGGEST PERIOD OF YOUR LIFE? It's called lochia and can last for several weeks. For the first few days at least, there's so much blood, it's soaking through giant pads. I needed to do that as part of giving life to my baby.

And now I feed him from my own body, like Jesus did.

It's beautiful and it's a special bond between me and my child, but it can also be mundane and annoying. When baby goes through a growth spurt and wants to eat CONSTANTLY. When it's the middle of the night and I just wish he would GO TO SLEEP. When he's crying in his car seat and I'm trying to figure out if I can lean over far enough that he can reach my boob.

Day in and day out, feeding my child from my body.

It's interesting to me that, from a cis man's perspective, language about eating another person's body and shedding blood is about violence and murder and death. Not the case for me. I have a uterus; I use my body to create a new life. I bled for him. I nurse him from my own breasts.

Feeding my baby, every day. In doing this, I proclaim the Lord's life and resurrection until She comes again.

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[Please note that this is a symbol and a metaphor. This is not some kind of command, like "if you have a uterus then you HAVE TO get pregnant and have a baby and breastfeed." That would be quite ridiculous, to take what I've written here and misinterpret it to say I'm trying to tell everyone what to do. That would be as ridiculous as reading a beautiful bit of poetry that says "you knit me together in my mother's womb" and claiming it means no one is allowed to ever have an abortion. Or something silly like that.]

Friday, April 3, 2020

Blogaround

1. I Refuse to Participate in Worship that Leads to Devastation (posted March 25) "In Isaiah, worship that endangers others is described as an abomination, a weariness to God, “solemn assemblies with iniquity.” Those who continue to worship in a way that brings harm to those who need protection – they have blood on their hands (Isa 1:15). God hides God’s eyes from them. God ignores their prayers."

2. Wow, this tweet is exactly 100% what I used to believe prayer was:


3. Asia may have been right about coronavirus and face masks, and the rest of the world is coming around (posted April 1) Well HOW ABOUT THAT.

Thursday, April 2, 2020

List of People Who Are Not Allowed to Call Themselves "Pro-Life"

Lord Farquaad says, "Some of you may die, but that is a sacrifice I'm willing to make." Image source.
Last week Libby Anne wrote a post about anti-abortion conservatives who have suddenly decided this whole "social distancing" thing is a huge pain and is incredibly bad for the economy, therefore we should all go back to work and let old people die. This has inspired me to create a list of people who need to be publicly shamed for making such an argument.

As far as I know, this is only a small minority of conservatives... but they are loud and are being given a platform to share their heartless, anti-life, illogical views. (First of all, the idea that if we all go back to work like normal, then the economy will be just fine- that's nonsense. Second, we know that after we get through this pandemic, the economy will recover. Might take a while, but it will recover. People who die of COVID-19 will not recover.)

Anyone who makes this argument should be ashamed of themselves. We will not forget. We will not forget these assholes who want to sacrifice our grandparents to save "the economy." They should be ashamed of themselves, and in the future any time they try to give any kind of advice, we should remind them of what they said in the middle of this global crisis.

In particular, if any of them ever claims to be "pro-life", we will not let that go unchallenged. We will remember.

("But wait," you may say, "maybe some people on this list didn't really understand how big the threat is, and how many hundreds of thousands of Americans could realistically die." All right, the statements I've quoted below were made in March 2020, or after. There has been over 1 month of data from places like China and Italy. If these writers didn't do their homework before broadcasting their half-baked opinions out into the world, they should be shamed for that too. Spreading misinformation about a deadly pandemic, just to get clicks.)

So I'm compiling a list here of the public figures that have made the "we should let our grandmas die to save the economy" argument. We can use this post as a reference in the future. And if you see any public figures/ politicians/ writers with large platforms who should be added to the list, leave a comment and I'll add them.

(Note: I'm not checking if these people do in fact identify as "pro-life"- perhaps some people on this list identify as pro-choice. But that's not really the point- the point is it's reprehensible to argue that we should just let people die because it's too much trouble to do all this social distancing stuff. That's bad enough on it's own, but it's extra-bad when they also claim they are "pro-life." And also, most people making this argument are politically conservative, which correlates with identifying as "pro-life.")

Here they are. Shame them. Don't let them forget this.

Donald Trump (US President):
When asked if he would make the decision to loosen social-distancing recommendations even if it went against the advice of federal public health officials, Trump said: “If it was up to the doctors they might say shut down the entire world.”
Dan Patrick (Texas Lt. Gov.)
No one reached out to me and said, "As a senior citizen, are you willing to take a chance on your survival in exchange for keeping the America that all America loves for your children and grandchildren?" And if that's the exchange, I'm all in. I just think there are lots of grandparents out there in this country like me — I have six grandchildren — that's what we all care about and what we love more than anything are those children. And I want to live smart and see through this, but I don't want the whole country to be sacrificed. 
Stephen Moore (economist who advises the president):
Moore added: “I’m not in any way disparaging the public health people. They are vital to this process. But you can’t have a policy that says we’re going to save every human life at any cost, no matter how many trillions of dollars you’re talking about.”
Larry Kudlow (National Economic Council Director)
“The president is right. The cure can’t be worse than the disease,” Kudlow said on Fox News on Monday. “And we’re going to have to make some difficult trade-offs.”
Tomi Lahren ("Fox Nation" host)
At some point we have to weigh the consequences of coronavirus itself against the millions of lives these measures are destroying. I fear when the emotional, mental and financial toll of this sets in we are going to have a crisis on our hands far more crippling than the virus.
R. R. Reno (writer at "First Things")
This statement reflects a disastrous sentimentalism. Everything for the sake of physical life? What about justice, beauty, and honor? There are many things more precious than life. And yet we have been whipped into such a frenzy in New York that most family members will forgo visiting sick parents. Clergy won’t visit the sick or console those who mourn. The Eucharist itself is now subordinated to the false god of “saving lives.”
Jonathan Ashbach (writer at "The Federalist")
First, consider the massive sacrifice of life Americans are making in their social distancing campaign. True, nearly all are not literally dying, but they are giving up a good deal of what makes life worth living — work, classes, travel, hugs, time with friends, conferences, quiet nights out, and so forth. Probably almost everyone would be willing to live a somewhat shorter normal life rather than a somewhat longer life under current conditions. The abandonment of normalcy, therefore, is in many ways equivalent to shortening the lives of the entire nation.

Of course, there is more to it than losing some quality of life. The current response is quickly driving the United States into a recession, which will result in a great deal of misery for tens of millions of people. Again, balancing lives against money sounds harsh, but everyone does so — and must do so — whether he is conscious of the fact or not. Not to mention, a recession also means higher poverty rates, which lead to higher mortality rates.

More is at stake than lives and money: namely freedom. Even for those of us who are by no means libertarian, the increasingly draconian measures put in place across the nation, especially in California, to isolate people and prevent them from moving at will are raising serious questions about whether Americans are in a dress rehearsal for tyranny.
Matthew Dowd (ABC News political analyst)
I believe President Trump is right about at least one thing today. We must find a balance between protecting citizens health and protecting our economy. Decimating our economy in pursuit of fighting the virus doesn’t do our citizens any good in the short or long term.
Glenn Beck (radio host)
"Even if we all get sick, I’d rather die than kill the country," he added. "Because it’s not the economy that’s dying, it’s the country.”
Dennis Prager (radio host)
If Andrew Cuomo were, or the Andrew Cuomo attitude prevailed, we wouldn't have fought the Nazis. We wouldn't have fought the Japanese fascists. We wouldn't have had -- that attitude that the only value is saving a life, that attitude leads to appeasement. It must. It leads to cowardice, it has to. No one can die? Then it's not a war.
Heather Mac Donald (writer at "The New Criterion")
There have been 5,123 deaths worldwide so far—also a fraction of traffic deaths worldwide. And unlike coronavirus, driving kills indiscriminately, mowing down the young and the old, the sick and the healthy. The coronavirus, by comparison, is targeted in its lethality, overwhelmingly striking the elderly or the already severely sick. As of Monday, approximately 89 percent of Italy’s coronavirus deaths had been over the age of seventy, according to The Wall Street Journal. Sad to say, those victims were already nearing the end of their lifespans. They might have soon died from another illness.
Joy Pullmann (writer at "The Federalist")
My point here is not that I like people dying. It’s that very often our society chooses to allow deaths because the alternative is worse. I’m suggesting the severe social and economic tradeoffs of unlimited quarantine are an important consideration that is not being taken seriously enough.
Jesse Kelly (writer at "The Federalist")
You do not destroy your economy for any reason. For ANY reason. Not for a virus. Not for a plague. Not if someone drops a freaking nuclear bomb on 10 of your cities.

Your economy is your lifeblood. Look around you. That’s all cause of your economy.

The show must go on.
Jesse Kelly again:
If given the choice between dying and plunging the country I love into a Great Depression, I’d happily die.
Matthew Schmitz (writer at "First Things")
Unless religious leaders reopen the churches, they will appear to value earthly above eternal life. Like grocery stores, churches can be kept open in a manner consistent with public health.
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Shame.

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All my posts about COVID-19:
I'm in Shanghai, and I'm concerned about the coronavirus (January 23)
An update on the situation in Shanghai (January 28)
About Compassion and Reading the News (January 29)
Welcome Baby Square Root! (February 3)
Remember the old days when we used to go outside? (February 4)
So we're (sort of) back to work here in Shanghai (February 12)
Blogaround (February 13)
Blogaround (February 20)
Shanghai is a good place for immigrants. (And I have feelings about it.) (February 24)
Blogaround (February 27)
Well *now* I'm glad I stayed in China (March 8)
The Weirdest Deja Vu (March 15)
Blogaround (March 19)
I'm an American in China. I CANNOT BELIEVE Some of You Are Still Going Out. (March 22)
Blogaround (March 25)
China Bans Foreigners (Like Me) From Entering the Country (March 29)
List of People Who Are Not Allowed to Call Themselves "Pro-Life" (April 2)
Blogaround (April 3)
... all right now I have way too many posts to keep updating this list. You can find them all on the COVID-19 tag.

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