On the plus side, I got…

On the plus side, I got to teach Octavia Butler's "Bloodchild" today (her male pregnancy with aliens story). We talked about the Victorian idea of male / female separate spheres, and whether, given a heterosexual couple, they'd rather divide up the labor or learn how to do everything; the men in the class were pro-dividing up the labor, though not necessarily in traditional gender roles; at least some of the women felt strongly about learning how to do everything, because what if one of you left or died?

We also talked at some length about the horrors of pregnancy (in Chad today, 1 in a 100 women die in pregnancy, and even in the U.S., maternal mortality is on the rise). We discussed how fetuses will leach calcium out of the mother's bones if they're not getting enough in other ways. I told them, at graphic length, about my two c-sections, how they strapped me down in a t-shape and sliced me open and pulled the organs out of my body so they could reach the baby (which made me vomit) and then put them back in again. Also about episotomies and some of the other grosser aspects of vaginal childbirth.

By the end of that, some of the women were enthusiastic about the idea of having men take over pregnancy in the shining technological future. But others expressed doubt that the men they knew could handle it. A fine Women and Literature class, despite my woozy head. I love Butler.

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