Just another weekend as a reproductive cow
On the impossible task of trying to keep our shit together
At first, I thought that I had already mourned.
I thought that I had already mourned the morning that I rolled over and saw that POLITICO had published the leaked draft decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, and rage coursed through my body and made it impossible to do anything besides channel it into angry prose—some of which shockingly were even coherent enough to come together for this article.
I thought I was done—why would I let them take away our joy even more than they had already? But apparently, we always have to be one-two punched, because there reaches a point when a leaked draft becomes a law law, and we have to experience our rage all over again, only this time, it is real, because this time, we are being told to delete our period tracker apps in case it is sharing data about our menstrual cycles with the government, that those of us who write about these kinds of things might be accused of the cardinal sin of helping women get accurate medical information to take control of our futures, and all of us were punched in the gut with exactly what it means to be seen as nothing more than a reproducing cow.
I am tired of having a perfectly lovely day and then learning that some of my rights are being stripped away, and then being expected to carry on working, washing the dishes, doing the laundry, or otherwise keeping my shit together. I have learned that keeping one’s shit together is an art, in this day in age, and tried many different tactics. Denial is one—because we should we let anyone take away any joy we have left? We have sunny days in London right now, and it is just enough vitamin D to create a manic sort of joy that makes you temporarily forget about all of the people that have ever tried to control your uterus.
Then, righteous rage. What about all of the people who can’t forget about the people trying to control our uteri? I tried to think about what I could do to support them, without feeling helpless—and help other people not feel utterly helpless as well. I shared infographics on how to delete evidence of your menstrual cycle from your iPhone, and wise words advising my fellow reproductive cattle to only purchase pregnancy tests with cash. Just an ordinary Friday afternoon!
A sort of bargaining takes over at some point. Some states have it better than others. Some people have it better than others—and for some reason, the people who are least likely to be seen as reproductive cows like to remind us that those of us who are from states without trigger laws will still be able to get abortions. Because, you know. We just don’t give a fuck about anyone else.
Depression, sure—because we exist in a world where people think that if something doesn’t affect them it doesn’t matter, but realize that none of this matters when the people making the calls have decided our fates for us. We reflexively say “our bodies, our choice,” and make sweeping statements about how abortion can save someone’s, and ectopic pregnancies can burst in our Fallopian tubes, but it is about so much more than that. It is about our ability to dream and participate in the world, access to what should be an ordinary medical procedure that can not only save our lives, but our agency over what we do with our lives. Many other writers have pointed out that access to abortion helps us pursue education, higher paying jobs, control over our lives that helps us be the best parents that we can be, when, and if, we do decide to make that choice. Criminalizing our bodies strips that all away, and makes it that much harder to make our dreams come true.
It is truly a gift to be a reproductive vessel—but if we have no control over when we reproduce, that gift quickly becomes a curse. We are told to pull ourselves up by our bootstraps and have sex like men, and then we are forced into caretaking roles on the other, as if any progress that we have made or dreams of being in the world beyond being mothers and wives is a joke where we are the punchline.
But acceptance? I don’t think we are going to accept this—not now, not ever, and as we send incoherent voice notes to our friends, draft protest signs, cry and write semi-coherent words and then publish them on the Internet (a place notorious for being angry when reproductive cows have opinions), we are also coming together, strategizing, and figuring out how we support each other—for the big fights, and the smaller ones, like just trying to keep your shit together when it feels like it is being blown up and scattered all over the place.