Sunday, August 31, 2008

Regardless of WHOSE baby it is,

why on earth would the mother of a 4-month old child with Down's Syndrome, who will need her care and attention for the rest of his life, opt for a job with the kinds of travel pressures and stress that campaigning for the presidency will involve? I continue to be boggled.

22 comments:

Joel said...

Would you say the same if she were a man? Trig and his siblings do have a father, who seems quite willing and able to parent.

Joel Monka said...

Could it be that her husband is liberated enough to take an active role in childcare? I don't believe I've ever heard a male politican asked how he could bear to be away from his children.

goodwolve said...

I pointed this out to my husband the other night when he reminded me that they have nanny's. A concept that I never understood. Then again I was one of those that thinks the personal decision to have children at any cost seems selfish. (My husband pointed out that it was a personal choice.) I believe this is a woman that I don't quite "get".

Bill Baar said...

Would you have asked that question if Palin's husband ran instead?

A special needs family member disquailies a candidate?

Dan said...

Speaking of judgement, let's, for the moment, assume it's her baby, and she was pregnant.

Also assume that she wasn't over 40 (let's say she was 30), and that prenatal testing hadn't already turned up chromosmal irregularities. Let's throw out a couple kids, too.

So, if a 30-year old woman carrying her 2nd child calls her doctor because her water broke -- what is the proper course of action:

a) Go to a (close-by, world-class) hospital.
b) Finish an important speech, then go to the (close-by, world-class) hospital.
c) Finish an important speech, go to the airport, get on a plane, fly 8 hours, then go to a (close-by, world-class) hospital.
d) Finish an important speech, go to the airport, get on a plane, fly 8 hours, then get in a car and drive 45 minutes to a (small, minimally-equipped) hospital.

Remember, assume it's a normal pregnancy.

Now, add in the age of the mother (44), the fact that this is her 5th child, the abnormal amnio, and the high-profile job of the mother. Did you make the same choice?

Of course you did -- any sensible person would pick option (a). The health of both them mother and child are at risk.

She chose (d), of course, citing the advice of her physician and her husband's great desire for the child to be born in Alaska.

For Ms. Palin's physician to recommend this course of action constitutes lunacy, if not malpractice.

Ms. Palin's choice, taking at her word the circumstances of the birth, displays poor judgement that is actually worse than simply hiding a shamefully pregnant daughter. She will, apparently, do whatever she wants to, despite all circumstances. Remind you of anyone?

ms. kitty said...

It's a good point to raise---about fathers being perfectly capable of providing excellent care for a special needs child. I don't dispute that and wish I'd thought to consider it earlier. Thanks for the reminder.

That said, the biological demands of pregnancy, premature delivery, and all that birth entails are not easy to set aside at the end of four months.

To take a job that requires endless time on the road and all that campaigning for the highest office in the land----that just seems odd.

Chalicechick said...

Vice presidents travel some for work, but not so much more than the average executive.

She will travel lots during the campaign, but the election is only 2 months away.

Joel said...

I could tell you had comment moderation on; a whole raft of us weighed in with the same answer. I raised a daughter alone for some ten years; I can do anything a mother can do except breastfeed and sing lullabies on-key. The "first dude" of Alaska seems a pretty competent chap. I'm sure he'll do fine.

She will, apparently, do whatever she wants to, despite all circumstances. Remind you of anyone?

My word! You mean she's a closet liberal? :)

Seriously, if she were only interested in her own selfish needs, her Downs Syndrome baby would have joined the 90 percent of such babies that are aborted. That she didn't is indicative of her willingness to walk the talk. I notice again you refer to the daughter's putative pregnancy as "shameful," but I'm sure Governor Palin wouldn't be ashamed of her daughter in any such circumstances. Concerned and probably not very happy about it, yes. But ashamed? I doubt it. I'm not ashamed of my barely-20-year-old daughter, either. I wish for her sake she'd made her decisions better, but the only shameful thing she could have done, as far as I'm concerned, would have been to kill the baby. Would you be ashamed of an out-of-wedlock grandchild?

As for the timing, yes, it's awkward, but the Palins are hardly the first family to function around a political campaign. How many chances like this are they likely to get?

ms. kitty said...

I'm back to biology again. I don't think very many of you, goodwolve excepted, have actually been pregnant, had a baby, and then tried to go back to work fulltime within a few days. It ain't easy, folks, even if you have a mate who is willing to do a lot of the heavy lifting. And women tend not to do it that way, unless they are forced by circumstances to do so.

There's the bonding thing, for example. It's excruciating to leave your baby in someone else's care, regardless of who that person is or how good s/he is.

Gov. Palin had plenty on her plate with being a good governor (and I understand from an Alaskan friend that she has done pretty well at that). Why on earth would she take on this role? It makes me wonder about her priorities.

Guess I'm oldfashioned enough to think that we all--women and men---need to take very seriously what we ask our families to endure so that we can be big shots.

Little Warrior's Mom said...

I would be interested in hearing her talk about her youngest. I am not saying that she needs to, or "owes" it to voters ... I'm simply interested in how it has affected her family.

Someone close to me had a child born with Trisomy 21/Down's and it was a dramatic thing. Both she and her husband altered their work schedules, threw themselves into educating themselves on the subject, changed their eating habits (there is evidence that diet can mitigate some of the Down's symptoms), began doing physical and play therapy with him, etc.

So I'm curious what the effect of his handicap has had on her family.

ms. kitty said...

I am curious too, LWM. This is not an ordinary baby (as if any baby is really "ordinary").

The Eclectic Cleric said...

I have a theory that this whole Sarah Palin nomination is just a cynical tactic to take a bit of the spring out of the traditional post-convention Democratic bounce, and that sometime next week there will be a graceful, Harriet Miers-style withdrawal and one of the brain-dead white male candidates will be back on the ticket after all. Wrote about it yesterday over HERE.

ms. kitty said...

It COULD happen, I agree, Tim. I read your thoughts about it and wondered.

Joel said...

Guess I'm oldfashioned enough to think that we all--women and men---need to take very seriously what we ask our families to endure so that we can be big shots.

Big shots? That's a little insulting, ISTM. Would you describe Obama's campaign as an attempt to be a big shot? She's a career woman whose career has taken a serious turn just when her baby was born. She's committed herself to public service, just as many others with families have done. I don't envy her the tasks ahead of her, but I'll bet she handles them well.

Also, besides her husband, little Trig has four older siblings. I can tell you from experience (as a father of eight) that raising ANY individual child in a large family is easier than in a small one. My hyperactive four-year-old would have us in the psych ward within minutes if he didn't have older siblings to ride herd on him.

I have a theory that this whole Sarah Palin nomination is just a cynical tactic to take a bit of the spring out of the traditional post-convention Democratic bounce, and that sometime next week there will be a graceful, Harriet Miers-style withdrawal and one of the brain-dead white male candidates will be back on the ticket after all.

I don't think so, EC. Sarah Palin is exactly what the ticket needed: young and energetic, not part of the good old boy network, and solidly conservative. I'm not a huge McCain fan, even though I'll be voting for him, but I'd much sooner see the roles reversed and her for president. Maybe in four years.

LWM, I'd like to hear her on the subject, too. I'm afraid, though, that anything she says will be treated as fair game, so maybe best if she keeps some privacy as long as she can.

Christina Martin said...

Personally, I wouldn't want to "need" a nanny; but a lot of women have benefited from having one, enabling them to still get a full night's sleep and go to work the next day. That aside, though, the fact that her pregnancy and birth didn't interfere with the performance of her duties as governor say something about her ability to do the job. Having other kids old enough to help considerably makes a huge difference, too. I could speak volumes about how my older kids have helped with my younger ones, when I'm merely exhausted with thyroid issues, not a job outside the home.

As for women being able to get back to work right away... well, the proof is in the pudding, as they say. At any rate, how many mothers have to get right back to caring for their families and doing housework right after giving birth? I'd say that has the potential for being a lot more physically demanding than a political career. Of course, not having a political career, I'm guessing here; but let's not underestimate the abilities that are merely expected as a given when raising a family. Those same abilities can make for a very responsible public figure.

By the way, differences in political perspective aside, I am very, very impressed with the number of commenters here who have really exemplified an attitude of equal rights concerning mothers and fathers and careers.

ms. kitty said...

Thanks, Christina and Joel, for your insights and reminders. Good points, all.

Christina Martin said...

This just in, for those who may not have seen it yet: evidently the Palins are going public with their daughter's news that they had hoped not to drag into the media... Bristol Palin is *currently* five months pregnant, making it impossible for her to have mothered Trig. See http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/palin-confirms-daughters-pregnancy-915378.html for more info.

Masasa said...

I have two kids with special needs. I discussed this on an online discussion board with other parents of kids who have special needs. There was a healthy range of opinions among those parents who are sort of in the midst of the same things as Palin, in terms of parenting and parenting a kid with special needs.

I still stick by what I said there:

I am not a fan of Palin politically, and there continue to be open questions about her ethics within political office, which in terms of the presidential race, are the only things I really need to consider.

Her personal and family life is interesting, but it is just that...*personal.* I do not believe I should be making any judgements about the best interests of her family for her. And as someone mentioned, do fathers receive the same scrutiny?

I think she is not prepared to be VP on so many other, more concerning levels.

Anonymous said...

So the daughters preggers now, huh? Gosh, how did I get this cynical: Want to bet she doesn't carry to term?

They can use another fake pregnancy to cover for the first one - it's not like the press is going to get access to the medical records.

Chalicechick said...

(((This just in, for those who may not have seen it yet: evidently the Palins are going public with their daughter's news that they had hoped not to drag into the media)))

Well, I can hope for a house in the Hamptons, but I still ain't getting one.

I have no objection to Palin running for office and am appalled to see how some people are talking about her, but to hope that the media isn't going to make a fuss about this is ridiculous and if she had such a problem with the national media making an issue of her daughter, the only way to prevent that from happening would be for her not to have run.

CC

Joel said...

I have no objection to Palin running for office and am appalled to see how some people are talking about her, but to hope that the media isn't going to make a fuss about this is ridiculous and if she had such a problem with the national media making an issue of her daughter, the only way to prevent that from happening would be for her not to have run.

Ironically, the same people who will be eviscerating the Palin family for Bristol's unwed motherhood will probably be the same ones who disdain traditional sexual morality and would find nothing disgraceful about her pregnancy if it had been anyone else.

Chalicechick said...

If it helps, Joel, I don't think any of my liberal buddies would be particularly excited about a 17-year-old getting pregnant in any other circumstance either.

At the same time "disgrace" isn't really point. A teenage pregnancy pretty much sucks for all concerned.

What you wrote earlier "I'm not ashamed of my barely-20-year-old daughter, either. I wish for her sake she'd made her decisions better," is probably how mot liberals would approach the issue with their own children.

CC