Friday, September 5, 2008

Austin-American Statesman opinion piece: Is Palin Really Thinking of Her Children?

A local contributor to the Austin-American Statesman newspaper by the name of Sara Stevenson self identifies as a feminist. Then, she accuses Sarah Palin of appalling lack of judgment and recklessness for not going to the hospital right away after her water broke in her pregnancy with Trig and for returning to work three days after giving birth. She also directly accuses Palin of not thinking about her children by running for VP. Article here.

What do any of these things have to do with Sarah Palin's ability to lead? Why are they Stevenson's business at all? And how can Sara Stevenson possibly call herself a feminist after writing a column like this one? To contact the newspaper: Managing Editor
Debbie Hiott: (512) 445-3851.

(Note: For an arguably worse editorial in the Berkeley Daily Planet by another self-described feminist, click here.)
As a feminist who kept her name and has never been afraid or embarrassed of the label, I want to know if this is the best time for Sarah Palin to take on this huge responsibility. Yes, of course I'm for women working and having choices and opportunities, but if I'm a feminist, I'm first a kinderist (I just made that up). When we have children, we have to make decisions that are best for them, not just us.

If you look at the circumstances around Palin's fifth child's birth, you will find an appalling lack of judgment, indeed recklessness. She attends a governors' conference in Dallas when she is eight months pregnant. Her water breaks, and yet she still gets on a commercial plane and flies all the way to Alaska, with a stop in Seattle (10 - 11 hours). Women know that when your water breaks, it's time to get to the hospital because of the risk of infection. Also, mothers who have had several children, as has Palin, often have very quick labors. How wise was it to put her and her Down syndrome newborn at risk? Then she goes back to work after three days, and we're supposed to admire this?

Most women in all occupations, including ones of great power and influence, routinely take maternity leave, a minimum of six weeks. It's considered to be best for the mother and the baby. This is an incredibly important time for mothers and their babies to bond. What does it say about a woman who goes back to work on day three? Is this okay because she brings her baby with her? You cannot care for an infant at the same time you run the state of Alaska. You are either paying attention to the baby or to the state. Multi-tasking is not an asset here. We're not talking about texting while putting on mascara. Children with special needs, such as Down syndrome, need special attention.

And now her oldest daughter, Bristol, is an unmarried pregnant teen. Doesn't this teenage girl have needs? How well will they be met when her mother is touring the country campaigning for office? And once her baby is born, there will be two babies to care for in the family. Sometimes you need to put your family first. This is not just a women's issue. People criticized John Edwards for continuing to campaign when his wife had terminal cancer. Maybe now is not the best time for her to run for Vice President. Sometimes both mothers and fathers need to stop and think of the children.


Linda said...

Have these people not got a CLUE?

Sarah Palin gave birth before her due date - about a month before. It's fair to say that she wasn't completely ready to go on maternity leave. She probably had loose ends to tie up.

Linda said...

Had some more thoughts about this:

Anonymous said...

You know, the water breaking stuff has already been mostly debunked (risk of infection is 24 hours, she spoke with her doctor, she was maybe only leaking), but really. My sister in law just had a baby and they sleep alot. And what I haven't seen a lot of people mention is that when you are the boss, you can take your kids to work and let them sleep while you're working or cut out when you need to.

It's far easier to work with a young child then it would be for someone who has to work at, say, McDonalds. So, STFU anti women jerks.