I Must Confess: I’m Worried

I really wanted to confess about my bad hair, per the I Must Confess prompt. It is certainly more light-hearted and fun than what I’m about to confess: I’m worried about our world. I’m worried about our future, my son’s future, my (God-willing) grandchildren’s future and so on and so forth.

It worries me that there are people who would think to blow up the finish line of a marathon, let alone actually do it.

It worries me that the media think it’s ok to show some of the images I’ve seen in the last week. Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.

It worries me that some news outlets would prefer to the be FIRST to report something, rather than FACTUAL in their reporting.

It worries me that pictures and names of suspects are released because this incites all kinds of behaviour – FB hate pages and look-alikes or people with the same name being targeted for starters. Then there’s the potential that they actually have it wrong and the suspect isn’t even guilty (but too late, because the whole world hates them on FB).

It worries me that people are terrorized into second-guess basic freedoms such as being able to walk down the street – or run a marathon.

It worries me that people think gay marriage is something to protest when there are clearly so many things ACTUALLY wrong with the world.

It worries me that there’s a country with their finger on a button, threatening to launch nuclear missile attacks.

I know worrying doesn’t change or fix anything. I know there are lots of people paid heaps of money to worry about these kinds of things. But I can’t help it. Why is there so much hate in the world?

What do you worry about? Do you have something to confess today?
Linking up with Kirsty at My Home Truths for I Must Confess

Smoking While Pregnant

This week’s celebrity outrage is over Chrissy Swan admitting to smoking while pregnant. If you are on twitter, there’s all kinds of opinions out there. Here are some examples.

Some people are outraged that she did it, some are outraged that people are crucifying her for it (or are “judging” her for it), and others seem to fall somewhere in between, perhaps pitying her. Ordinarily I’m an advocate for women (and people in general) doing what they want with their own bodies. If you want to drink heaps, smoke pot, do drugs, eat junk food 7 days a week, not brush your teeth, not wear your seatbelt, insert any other irresponsible activity here, then by all means go for it. But when you are pregnant and you do these things, you risk causing significant harm, possibly death, to your unborn child. The warnings can not be any clearer, nor simpler.

To the people who say a pregnant woman’s body is her’s and her’s only, I say this. It is her body, but she is sharing it with a baby, she is growing another human being, she is creating the miracle of life. That is not a right. It is a privilege and an honour.

To the people who say smoking is an addiction, I say this. If smoking is ok, then what else is ok? Alcoholism? Heroin? Cocoaine? All addictions that carry severe warnings and risks for anybody, let alone women who are pregnant!

To the people who feel sorry for Chrissy right now, I say this. What about the babies – born and unborn – who are subjected to parents who give them the worst possible start in life? Would you walk in the middle of the road and risk getting hit by a car? Would you let your toddler in the pool unsupervised? Then why do anything while pregnant that carries a higher risk of stillbirth, SIDS, premature birth, heart defects and more.

Is it really none of our business? If we know a pregnant woman who is abusing her body and her unborn child, then who’s business is it? Who is going to stand up for the child when they certainly have no voice of their own? It doesn’t mean I think I’m perfect. It certainly doesn’t mean I haven’t made some mistakes. My son fell off the bed when he was an infant. Twice. He fell out of the car when he was a toddler. I am not a perfect mother. There is no such thing. But for the love of healthy babies, if you KNOW something is “wrong” – she admitted that much – please seek help from a GP or other health practitioner.

If you really think smoking while pregnant is not a big deal, please read this. I don’t say all this to judge Chrissy. I don’t say it all because I think I am better than her, or because I think it is easy to stop smoking. I say it because people need to be educated about issues such as this, and I say it because people need to be held accountable for their actions. They also should know there are plenty of places to go to get help. All you have to do is go to the movies to see the Quit For You, Quit for Two campaign.

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I don’t think issues like this should be brushed under the rug. I don’t think it should be excused for any reason. As women and as mums, we don’t have to crucify Chrissy Swan or the other 14.5%* of women who smoke while pregnant in Australia. Most of them will be disappointed in themselves enough, without having to worry about what we all think about them.But we also shouldn’t enable them and make excuses for them. Let’s educate them and get them help! For their sake and their child’s.

* Quitnow.gov.au source

About The “Arm Everyone” Mentality

In the wake of the tragic shooting in Connecticut and the senseless loss of 27 lives, I’m sure I’m one of hundreds, if not thousands, of people who will be blogging about shootings, guns, gun control, Americans, mental health and/or tragedy today, but I’m going to do it anyway. I have a lot to say on the issue. Who doesn’t?

I lived in the US for 11 years, and admit that at no time in that 11 years, did I fear for my safety, or think I was going to be shot dead. But I did work with 1200 children and their families, and I occasionally would think, “If one of these parents got angry enough, could they walk in here and kill us all?” Because in America, you never know who has a gun. I’m not sure American authorities know who has guns.

In Australia, we walk around in fair confidence that no one will stand up in a movie theater, school, shopping centre, restaurant and open fire on everyone. We have that fair confidence because the last time something like that happened, in Port Arthur in 1996, our government took action and established the 1996 National Agreement on Firearms. You can read about it more at the wikipedia article here. It clearly worked, as that is the last time an assault like that happened in our country.

These kinds of laws could very well save thousands of lives in the US. However the US has a little thing called a Constitution, in which the 2nd amendment (1791ish) states that all citizens have “the right to bear arms.” Keeping in mind the Constitution was written in the 1700s by men who thought it was OK to keep slaves and that women were second class citizens. It was also written in the civil war era. Many Americans take their right to bear arms very seriously and in fact think that everyone should own a firearm. That way people will be deterred from attacking others – for fear of retaliation. I’m not kidding, this is the mentality of (too) many Americans. I’ve read arguments this morning from “guns don’t kill people, people kill people” to “teachers should be armed, then this won’t happen.” Again, the theory being if a crazed gunman knows the teachers all have guns, he won’t go in and try to shoot anyone.

And that’s the first problem right there – assuming these crazy nut-jobs who do these things have any kind of rational or common sense thought. They don’t. No rational person walks into a school and shoots 20 innocent children.

The second problem is assuming that because a teacher is armed, casualties in these situations will be much fewer. Because the ultimate goal shouldn’t be less casualties, it should be less none of these situations in the first place! And also because they are teachers, not snipers. Do you think an armed man can walk into a classroom and out of the corner of his eye, the teacher spots him, draws his gun and shoots him dead before he can do anything? Are you living in La-La Land? Watched too many movies? Maybe we should just put Arnold Schwarzenegger lookalikes in all classrooms as protection?

The third, and biggest problem is thinking the mentality of “if we are all armed, no one will try anything for fear of retaliation” is ok. It is not ok. I should be free to go wherever I want without worrying about having to carry a gun so no one attacks me. If I wanted to live like that I’d move to Afghanistan/Serbia/Syria/{insert preferred war-torn-country-here}. This is not the culture I want to live in and it’s not the culture I want my child to live in.

In China, 22 children were stabbed by a mentally-ill intruder. None of them have died, though 1 plus the teacher are in critical condition. China has strict gun laws. And as a friend of mine said, “Thank God, or we’d have woken up in Australia to the news of 2 mass shootings.”

I think there is a place for guns. Hunting, target shooting, farming, law enforcement, military. I’m not even opposed to legal, responsible ownership of guns (but I don’t encourage it or like it). I AM opposed to how easy it is for people to get guns (in the US) and I AM opposed to the mentality that if more people were armed there’d be less violence. That is 1+1=3 maths. The shooter in the Aurora movie theater back in July had so much gun paraphernalia it is scary. Much of which he ordered ONLINE. Make it harder to get weapons, and less of these shootings would happen. Make it harder to get weapons, and maybe 20 children would be in school right now, getting excited about the upcoming Christmas holidays.

My thoughts and prayers are for peace, healing and comfort for all the families who have lost loved ones today.