I grew up everywhere. That is a literal statement. Be definition I was homeless. My father was 14 when I was born, my mother 16, and together they couldn’t (and wouldn’t) take care of a baby.I was given to my maternal grandparents who raised me as their own. However, they were “mountain folk” who never even had a bank account, and every day was a new adventure in “Where will we be living when I wake up tomorrow?” They would often pick me up from school only to tell me we were never returning to the place I had called home until that moment. It was a transient lifestyle, one might say. I count that I went to 26 different schools between Kindergarten and 12th grade.
Despite living like a nomad, I loved school and excelled wherever I went. I also found a home in music, and played in the orchestra or sang in the choir of any school I attended. The latter earned me a 1st place award in the Illinois High School Association Choir Competitions.
Thanks to our lifestyle, and a little thing called Marijuana, I didn’t graduate high school with the rest of my 1996 class. Instead, I acted out and skipped class until I realized it was too late.
I was a musician for the first part of my adulthood. At 18, I joined a band as a singer, learned to play guitar, and went on to tour and make records for most of my 20’s. I played in a few high profile bands (“Veruca Salt”, Courtney Love’s “Bastard”, and my own band “Rockit Girl.”) I always assumed that I would stay a career musician. Then, I realized that I wanted to get my degree and do more with my life. Music wasn’t consistently paying the bills, even when I thought I was seeing some success. In 2003 I got my GED and started figuring out how to get myself back into school.
In the fall of 2004 I enrolled in the local community college. Around the same time, I started dating John, who I met through the music scene. We fell in love while touring Canada, and were engaged within 9 months. 6 months after that, a surprise pregnancy turned our plans for a September 2006 wedding into a January 2006 “shotgun” wedding, and there my life took a dramatic turn.
In February 2006, I retired my band and decided to take a break until after the baby was born. That break turned into a retirement, as I’ve never had the energy to go back to my pre-baby rocker-chick lifestyle.
In March of 2006 I got a day job, the same job I still have now, and took a break from school.
Jonas was born August 1, 2006 via cesarean section, and he (and the surgery) changed my life forever.
I have dreamed of becoming an attorney for many years. Thanks to my terrible birth experience, I am passionate about women’s issues, especially those that affect reproductive rights, childbirth rights, and children’s health. I would like to begin my law career working as a state’s attorney, then move on to advocate for women and help lobby to change laws to protect women and children.
During the pregnancy and birth of my second son (Jules – May 16, 2008), I saw just how hard a woman has to work to simply give birth naturally. Because my first son was born by, in my opinion, an unnecessary cesarean section, I sought to give birth to my second son naturally. The medical industry frowns upon natural childbirth because they are taught to see pathology where none exists, and they believe that childbirth in and of itself is a dangerous medical event. I did my research, and found that natural childbirth is far less dangerous than birth smothered by unnecessary medical interventions. In the end, in the middle of laboring my child, I had to wage a legal battle with the medical staff who wanted to perform yet another unnecessary cesarean on me because they simply didn’t want to wait around for me to have my baby. I fought off doctors who insisted that I sign papers consenting to treatments I did not want or need, and in the end I gave birth naturally to a beautiful 10 pound baby boy. No scalpel required.
After sharing my story with the birthing community, I received so many responses from women who were unable to advocate for themselves the way I did. I hope to put an end to situations where a woman would be forced to consent to unnecessary surgery and medical procedures that are forced on them by a largely misinformed medical community. The United States is far behind other developed countries in its view toward childbirth, and our maternal and fetal death rates are the second worst because of that. It is unfortunate that a woman has to know her legal rights before stepping foot in a maternity ward, but if that is what it takes, I hope I can work to keep all women and children safe.
So here are the stories, anecdotes, trials and tribulations of a rocker chick turned concerned mother, and all that may imply…… Enjoy!