Writing at the intersection of motherhood, feminism and my Latinidad

25 November 2008

Is Linda Sanchez a bad role model?

This week's giveaway: The American Journey of Barack Obama
(There are new rules & an extended deadline)
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Latino Politics Blog reports that Linda Sanchez, Congresswoman from California, is pregnant. AND SINGLE!

Linda Sanchez is not married but is engaged and planned this pregnancy. Not the ideal way to go about things, especially in a community with a teen pregnancy rate that is twice the national average and a rising out of wedlock birthrate. Sure, at 39, Rep. Sanchez’s biological clock is ticking, and her window of opportunity shrinking. But come on, in a community lacking role models on the national scene, I wouldn’t have suggested that she announce this pregnancy prior to at least having a civil wedding ceremony. There are wedding chapels all over Southern California, and we are in close proximity to Las Vegas…. why not get married now if you plan to do it anyway?

Other options would have been to have some of her eggs frozen for insemination and implantation at a later time. Not as exciting as conventional baby making, but it could have bought her some time to plan a wedding and pursue her legislative agenda once Obama takes office in January and the next session of congress kicks off.


WOW..."have some of her eggs frozen for insemination and implantation at a later time." Because we all know that it's just that easy, right chicas? Perhaps because our Latina wombs are so damn fertile we get knocked up so easy that even thawed eggs have no choice but to implant and develop into a bebe. Sheesh!

So here's my feminista take on this. IT'S HER FUCKING CHOICE!

Here's a woman who is an elected official, 39-years-old, and making her own money. I'm not one to tsk-tsk single mamahood, even for us Latinas. If we're old enough to get knocked up, we're old enough to make that choice. Yes, I don't like to see teens have babies, but I also don't like to see people marry just to make things "look right." Marriage is overrated in terms of providing cover for unplanned pregnancies. Marriage should always be about love and making a statement about that love, NOT about making children legitimate.

Linda can be a great role model by embracing motherhood, bringing the lil bebe to Congress, taking a fabulous maternity leave, and helping POTUSe Obama to pass legislation that allows every Latina, heck every WOMAN in this country has access to safe & affordable child care, health care, and every bebe gets access to health care.

I doubt that Linda's pregnancy will create a spike in teen-aged Latinas "choosing" single mamahood. Latina Lista has a nice list that one could say is the beginning to really addressing the problem with single teenage Latina mamahood:

1. TEACH realistic sex education in the schools. Recognize the fact that teens are having sex and have safe sex materials available for their use.

2. PROMOTE a "Better Future" program to parents starting in elementary school. Underscore the benefits of education and family communication. Instruct parents on what is proper television programming for children to watch and age-appropriate clothing. Create more opportunities for parents to share time with children, especially in middle school and high school.

3.INSPIRE students to see beyond today with innovative programming, field trips, guest speakers, projects, etc.

4. TAKE ADVANTAGE of the work being done by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy and implement their research and ideas for teens.


*I'm also still due to review her and Loretta's memoir as sisters in Congress.

4 comments:

Linda could very well do the things that you listed... but do you think she actually will? What does she have going in her legislative agenda that is supportive of single mothers?

Of course, getting pregnant is her choice and so would be any other options... I never said that it wasn't. I was questioning the strategic wisdom of deciding to become a single mother in Congress. And I do think that you have to consider the high out of wedlock birthrate in the Latino community. It isn't as if this problem arose yesterday.

Good points and great post. Would be great to add "make sure every woman gets paid maternity leave and has a flexible work environment so she could actually be a mom to the kid" to her list of to-dos.

I don't think we should judge Linda on what she won't or might not do. If you (Adriana) have an issue with Linda, fine, but I don't think picking on her pregnancy is the way to make your point.

The fact is that teenage pregnancy is an issue and it's root problem is a lack of sex ed, empowerment of young girls in many senses, as well as a broken health care system that puts up barriers to young people receiving care. It's not the Linda Sanchezs or Jaime Lynn Spears in the world.

Salma is another unwed mama, engaged at the time of pregnancy and now is a single mama. She's always been an activist and has taken her role as mama into her activism. Maybe Linda will follow. Maybe not.

Bottom line is that it's each woman's choice on when to be a mama.

Amy -- Agreed!!

I think this bit is just another lame attempt at trying to control women and what they do with their bodies. Not only are they trying to cement the idea of a "traditional" family here through the "institution" of marriage, which has traditional been in place to put women in a subordinate role to men, but if you read between the lines, they basically calling her a whore who's about to go through a shotgun wedding.

If they really want to stop teen Latina pregnancy then they need to teach good comprehensive sex education in the school and have birth control available for them.

This transparent attempt at name calling is utter filth, and I'm sick of people trying to regulate what women do with their bodies.