Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Book Review: Say What You Will by Cammie McGovern: Chapters 29-30

ACCURACY AND/OR PORTRAYAL ISSUES:

Chapter 30:

Amy experiences pretty intense complications with the pregnancy which leave her hospitalized and at risk of delivering the baby prematurely.

The author paints a pretty grim picture of people with CP getting pregnant.  That if we do, we'll make babies as disabled as we are, and that getting pregnant is extremely high risk for us.  People with CP can get pregnant and have babies.  Most babies with CP actually have able-bodied parents, not parents who also have CP.

ABLEISM:

Chapter 30:

Matthew's perspective tells us this is a "cruel irony: delivering the baby to save Amy's life could leave the baby as disabled as the mother whose life was being saved.  Whose life was worth more?  Which risk was worth taking?"

Let's talk about the fact that Matthew is legitimately musing about how tragic it is that Amy might have a baby with CP.  That this causes him to ask, "Whose life is worth more?"  To me, that implies that he finds very little value in both lives.  Of course he likes Amy as a friend, but if this were an able-bodied mother with pregnancy induced high blood pressure, this decision would not be steeped in a sense of doom or pity because hospital staff would do what they could to save both lives, because that's the answer, Matthew.  Both lives are worth saving.

Later, he continues his tactics of old, snooping in Amy's emails via her Pathway, while she is asleep.  He reads an entire file of unsent emails to him and then goes home to write her back, telling her that sometimes she hides behind her disability, too.

First of all, Amy's Pathway is a communication device, not just something you can randomly take and use under the guise of "checking your emails" while Amy's asleep.  Secondly, seriously, where do you get off reading her private messages?  There's a reason she never sent them to you in the first place!

Eventually, Amy has sought out potential adoptive parents to take her baby once its born but as she is hospitalized, she sends Matthew out to update them on the baby's probable early birth and complications.  Matthew does this for Amy because he recognizes how difficult it would be for her to ask them: "If my baby turns out like me, would you still want her?"

Thankfully, the parents do still want her, but again, we have all the able-bodied people in Amy's life swooping in and being very capable and intelligent, where Amy's not even able to make a phone call about her baby's future?

Also, while I respect a mother's right to choose adoption for her baby, I can't help but feel that a lot of internalized ableism is leading to Amy's own decision.  She doesn't want to "burden" her own family (or any family) it seems, with a medically fragile baby who could end up disabled.

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