Thursday, September 11, 2008

Long-time Listener, First-time Caller

On Saturday I called the Randy Tobler Show to voice an opinion. Dr. Randy Tobler is an ob/gyn doctor in Missouri who hosts a talk radio show on 97.1FM-TALK. He discusses current issues/politics/etc for the first half and then medical issues for the next half. I respect his opinion, his wisdom and his logic.

I had been plagued by an issue last week which I found so offensive, so ludicrous, so banal I needed some insight from such a thinker. What issue you may ask?

On Wednesday while listening to Bill O'Reilly (ok, it sounds like all I do is listen to talk radio but I do only when driving, so it only adds up to about 20 minute/week) a called commented about Gov. Palin's pregnancy at 44. This caller (who sounded to be about 60-70 years of age) was appalled that Gov. Palin would exhibit such selfish and irresponsible behavior by having a baby at 44 years of age! I couldn't believe this thinking. I had to almost slap myself, "Did she really say women in their 40s who have babies are irresponsible and selfish? That's me! Well, I know I can be selfish and a tad irresponsible at times but not when it comes to having children." I was baffled, confused, angered. I had to do something so I jotted a note to Mr. O'Reilly stating my aghast over this woman's judgmentalism and applauding him for calling her a loon!

Then a couple days later I read an article which restated this opinion and then some. The writer is of the opinion that Bristol is being forced to carry her baby to term. There's some more manure in the article but what was more appalling were the comments:
Said baby brother has Downs because of her mother's irresponsible choice to have a baby at age 44, which is past that age when the risk for giving birth to a Downs baby goes way up. Of course, Governor Palin is being made into some kind of a heroine by the religious right for doing this. Highly irresponsible is more like it. Just as the pregnancy of her daughter is being used as a political football, so to is the pregnancy and birth of Governor Palin's new born baby. What both pregnancies highlight is the need for the Palin family to take a deep breath, take a step into the 21st century and get themselves real sex educations. No woman is going to an imaginary place called hell for controlling her fertility. This is just embarrassing and pathetic to witness a modern American family with the beliefs of Medieval peasants.

This shows a person who puts herself first to the point where she's unwilling even to bypass a moment in the spotlight in order to ensure that her baby receives a timely delivery. And someone who wants things her way so much that she's willing to endanger her baby just so she can give birth in the place she prefers, even when that place is thousands of miles away. And someone who is unwilling to accept the limits of nature and insists on getting everything she wants just because, for some idiosyncratic reasons, she wants it - with four children already, the 43-year-old Palin decided to have yet another baby, and apparently took all the hormones and pills necessary to make it happen - and had a Down's syndrome baby who will suffer for a lifetime for her vanity.

Having a baby in your 40s is such a bad choice that women who choose to do so should suffer social disapproval - just like people who smoke or engage in other destructive behaviors.

I'm not talking about legal persecution, like forced abortions or loss of maternity rights - I'm talking about social and conversational disrespect.
I was flabberghasted. You all know I was pregnant at 44, by God's grace. I am so glad. Our family is so blessed. Liam has made us more complete. When the opportunity to ask Dr. Tobler opened up - I dialed. And waited. And waited. And waited. And got disconnected. And waited. And waited. And an hour after calling I was on. But I've never been on the radio so I was swetting nervous. And what I said wasn't completely all I wanted to say. So here is what I wanted to say:
As a mother of 4 who had her 4th at 44 I am offended, and appalled  that there are many of the opinion that those women who choose to have children in their 40s are irresponsible, or those who decide to have more than two children are selfish. Children are a blessing and God has blessed us and to deny us blessings is really stupid. Dr. Tobler how would you respond to these opinions and comments?
I did get most of this out. And Dr. Tobler and Crane Durham (who was co-hosting this morning) gave great answers. Dr. Tobler iterated that it is a sacred right  families have to determine their own size and timing of their own growth. He agreed its was appalling that anyone would attack such a right. Mr Durham told me to stop reading the liberal  twaddle out there. 

I am fired up. Fired up to voice my opinion. Fired up to stop being a doormat with my opinion and value tolerance over oppression. Yeah, I feel like my lifestyle, my values are oppressed by today's media and I tired of apologizing for it. So no more of that. 


Viola said...

You are a life-giving, nurturing woman whose life truly shines with the goodness of Christ. Don’t let the death people get to you.

I have a younger sister who was born when my mother was forty. She has been a blessing to those around her including her two daughters.
We live in a sick society.

Beth said...

I applaud you, applaud you, applaud you!!! I'm so glad you stuck with it and made that call!

"Having a baby in your 40s is such a bad choice that women who choose to do so should suffer social disapproval - just like people who smoke or engage in other destructive behaviors." Wow! That woman makes me so livid I would really like to give her a sound punch in the nose . . . but instead, I'm choosing to pray, pray, pray for her. (My guess is she might prefer the punch in the nose!)

I had our two year old, Nicholas, at 42. He is the happiest, most loving adorable little bundle of sweetness you'll ever meet. And since he is talking in complete and complex sentences, (at exactly 24 months of age) he might even be the brightest of all our offspring.

Though he wasn't "planned" by us, he was certainly planned by God and has been such a huge, huge blessing and gift in all of our lives. He brings such delight to our entire family as well as everyone else he comes in contact with.

I just have the audacity to believe he is quite glad I allowed him to continue to grow in my 42 year old womb and allowed him the great privilege of knowing the joy of filling his lungs with air and breathing. He loves life and he loves his now 44 year old mama. He has his whole life ahead of him . . . and I believe the promise of God that He has a plan and a future for him!

Suzanne said...

Way to go Barbie, Glad to know what the subject was since I couldn't ever connect to the 'stream' on the computer. I agree whole heartedly to what Viola and Beth said and will only add one more praise. We have good friends of 40 some years who are going to a birthday celebration of a brother who turns 60 next month. He is a special needs person with Downs symdrome. Forty five years ago when I was teaching we left out the 'special needs'..guess we were not politically correct -). Also 45 years ago these children were not expected to live past their teens. Well 'D' has 3 older brothers with wives, lots of cousins and lots of neices and nephews as well as some greats. His parents lived to see him grow well into his 40's. His abilities might be that of a 6-8 year old. He lives in a group home, swims in the 'special olympics',works under supervision every day, loves baseball and his family. He traveled to Alaska last summer with a 'special needs group', paying for the trip himself.
What a blessing he has been to family and those who have known him through the years. When our name is mentioned to him he says "oh clam chowder...I didn't like that." We are remembered though! He and his life have been a gift. Yes there have been difficulties through the years but we haven't been promised that all would be easy.

Julo said...

You know, these same folks also don't think you should have children TOO YOUNG either. I think the basic idea behind it all is that they hate children.

Of all the people I know who have kids, I'm the youngest with the oldest since I had my first at 21. You know the same lady who wrote that article would probably be aghast that I "threw away my youth and potential" to have a baby.

You can't win.

Suzanne said...

On the other hand having children at a young age...allows you to enjoy grandchildren at a relatively young age also.

Viola said...

I hope you come back and read this. I have just been over at the National Network of College Women's blog they have an article on Sarah Palin. They are linked to an article by Mary Hunt, one of the radical Catholic Feminist. I left a message there. I hope other Presbyterian women will read both the NNPCW blog posting and Mary Hunts article and respond. That organization is meant for all PCUSA college women. They should make it diverse. The NNPCW blog is at If you go there you will see the link to Mary Hunt but it is at