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Sarah Palin, Mother, Grandmother…Vice President?

September 2, 2008

Wow, there are so many things to discuss with regard to Senator McCain’s choice for vice president, where to begin?

Let’s start with her gender, more specifically that she is a mother with five kids. We will get back to the grandmother part later. Sarah Palin has five kids. If that doesn’t make her qualified to be a vice president then nothing will. Being a mother is the hardest job you will ever love. And you wont even love it all the time. There are no vacations and the worry never ends. If Sarah Palin was able to juggle carpools, soccer games, ballet recitels, parent/teacher conferences, doctor’s appointments, eating a real meal with all the kids sitting down at the table at one time, bedtime stories, mounds and mounds of laundry, picky eaters, slow eaters, sibling rivalry, sibling fighting, and the list just goes on and on, if she can do all those things she is certainly qualified to be vice president. Negotiating away a child’s woobie or Nuk gives her qualifications for president as far as I am concerned. Besides what does the vice president have to do now the internet has been created?

Even if she has help, which I am sure she does since she has a perfectly good husband, it is still remarkable that all the kids seem to have turned out pretty good. I know what you are thinking and we will get there.

She has a child with Down’s Syndrome: The media has made a big deal out of this, at least they did before the news of her daughter’s pregnancy. The conservatives have made an issue of the fact that she didn’t abort this child which she knew had Down’s. As if this makes her special. Not aborting her disabled child does not make her a saint it makes her a parent. Most women do not abort a child when they find out it is disabled. Most women do not abort a child they know is likely to die shortly after birth. Any woman who gets pregnant in her forties knows that she has a greater risk of having a child with disabilities.

I had a daughter who at eight months gestation was diagnosed with Spina Bifida and Anencephaly. I did not have the test that would have told me this information early in the pregnancy, the same test that indicates Down’s. I did not have the tests because I knew I would not abort the baby if it was afflicted so I couldn’t see where knowing would make a difference. I also thought that since I was in my twenties that I something like that would not happen to me. When I found out that my daughter would die at birth or shortly after I was heartbroken and I wanted to have the baby as soon as possible. I had gone into premature labor and when it kept starting they did more diligent testing and found out what the problem was. I was given drugs to induce contractions but ironically they didn’t start up for more than a week and in fact we had to go to more extreme measures to bring on labor.

While my husband and I waited for labor we made funeral arrangments and canceled the baby shower. In that time while I waited I realized that I had precious little time with my daughter while she was alive. That she could only remain alive while she was inside me. I talked to her all the time. We picked out her name, Abby Annette. She died the day before her birth. I knew she had died because she was no longer kicking. I wouldn’t have given up a moment of my time with her. I was lucky to have the time I had with her. I don’t know why Sarah Palin didn’t abort her child but I imagine that she didn’t because she was his mother and she loved her baby unconditionally.

Sarah Palin is going to be a grandmother soon: The religious people have made Bristol a poster child for the Pro-Life movement. She didn’t have an abortion. Yay, good for her. Let’s face it there is no way this child could get an abortion with her mother being even remotely considered for the Republican ticket. It would have gotten out. Bristol isn’t the first seventeen year old to get pregnant. Our inner city schools are filled with teenage mothers. Bristol probably has a better chance at achieving all or most of her goals than most of these inner city kids. Her parents have money and she will have help in raising this baby. If her mother is the vice president then she will have time on her hands to help raise the baby. I am grateful I didn’t get pregnant at seventeen. I did take responsibility for my own reproductive health and got myself on birth control and I thankful I was able to without my parents permission. They wouldn’t have opposed it but I wouldn’t have likely gotten it if I had to tell my parents. Bristol may very well have practiced some kind of birth control, even the best are only 97% effective. I see her with her brother on stage behind her mother and I am sure she will make a fine mother. It won’t be easy but it never is. At least at seventeen she has the energy and the stamina to take care of a baby and more importantly a toddler. Obama’s mother was only a year older than Bristol and look how he turned out. It isn’t the worst thing that could ever happen. And the upside is that when she is 37 she will be young enough to still do all the things she wanted to at seventeen. She can make up for the lost time then.

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