I just read Mel's news. She has been approached to write blogposts for the Obama campaign. "How thrilling for her," I thought, excited shivers going down my spine. Then I read the name of the blog: Parents for Obama. And I felt a kick in the teeth.
You see, it's not just that there is a group for parents supporting a candidate or political party. After all, I've seen the Dogs Against Romney campaign on Facebook, and I'm sure there are Teachers for Obama and similar groups (okay, I've just checked the website and see there are groups for women, LGBT, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, People of Faith, etc etc). I'm sure Romney has a similar number of groups - though perhaps not one representing the LGBT community? So lots of sub-groups, each with their own issues. I understand that. It's what we see here too.
This post though is about how I felt. And no, of course I'm not a voter. Not in the US (thank goodness!). But I am a voter here. And elections often make me feel this way. Elections kick me in the teeth. Campaigns seem to go out of their way to ensure the complete alienation of the childless. And yet, I read statistics
that say by about age 40, 20% of women do not have children. Let me
write that out. Twenty percent! That's a huge proportion of voters.
Are they all going to feel alienated like I do? I feel as if my vote doesn't count. Yet I care about the future of our country, about the future for my nieces and great-nephew. I care about their education and health and future opportunities. And personally (though yes, unfortunately I know democracy doesn't work this way), I think I know a lot more about education and health and future opportunities for their children than many parents. But that's the thing. I'm reminded once again I'm not a parent, and that I don't seem to have a right to an opinion. What I think doesn't matter. And that's what hurts. I know I could go and start a Childless for ... group. But could I do that, and then comment on the same issues that the Parents for ... group could comment on? Maybe. Maybe not. But I guess the point is that I don't want to be seen as a sub-sub-set. I may be marginalised, but I don't want to feel marginalised. Hence, a strong reaction.
I'm surprised that something as simple as the name of a group supporting a candidate (in a completely different country) can throw me into a spin, when I've been feeling so great lately. Perhaps it was where I read this. Though I've always seen Mel's blog as a mommy blog more even than an infertility blog (but that's okay cos it's her blog!) so it shouldn't really have surprised me. Even as I write this, I know that I've been feeling fragile for a number of reasons - not enough sleep (Olympic-mania), a major meeting coming up, a migraine yesterday I'm still recovering from, hormones, etc. I was also worn down this morning reading Loribeth's post about Maeve Binchy and the links to various articles. And so this was just the straw that broke my back.
But only today. It broke my back today. It won't last. Even sitting here feeling a bit wobbly, I can look into myself and know that I still feel okay about my no kidding situation. What I don't feel okay about is the way my situation is viewed / ignored by others. There is a difference. A big difference. And that difference means that I can shrug this off and smile. I hope you can too.