bumpwatch terror alert: week 22

oh hey, i’m too lazy to change out of pajamas, even for photos i plan to post on the internet.

we’ve hit kind of a boring point in the pregnancy. a lot of the pain issues i was dealing with last week have resolved (temporarily, at least) & nothing too exciting or horrible has cropped up to replace them. i did have a few days of blind panic over the whole baby health insurance situation, but then i called kansas healthwave again & spoke to a different customer service representative who was very helpful & informative. we still may not qualify for insurance for me, which would mean waiting until after the baby is born & then applying for baby-only insurance. but i discovered that the baby will be automatically covered by jared’s insurance policy at no extra charge for its first 31 days of life, which buys us a little time. his insurance covers catastrophic care in the event that the baby ends up in the NICU for some reason (which hopefully will NOT HAPPEN). so i feel better about that.

i’m also thinking about applying for WIC. i considered it when i first got pregnant & dismissed it for some reason. now i remember why. i don’t know if WIC is managed the same way in every state, but in kansas, WIC recipients are issued a check with a list of approved grocery stores & items that they can buy (ie, gallon of whole milk, 16 ounces of rice cereal, one dozen large eggs, you get the picture). the rule is that they have to buy the cheapest version of whatever is on the shelf. & then they have to ring up their WIC foods separately from the rest of their groceries & give the clerk the check. the clerk then processes it using some special methodology.

obviously i’ve never been on WIC, but i have been on food stamps in massachusetts & that was just a debit card kind of deal. the food stamps card worked kind of like a store loyalty card in that you ring up all your grocery store items in one transaction & then swipe your food stamps card. it is applied to any eligible items & you pay the difference with cash or debit card or whatever. this seems like a WAY better system. faster & easier for everyone. the local grocery stores already have little signs on all the items that are eligible for WIC payments; why can’t they just code everything so it can be paid using a WIC swipe card?

this is also my chance to tell one of my favorite stories about misplaced outrage: a few years ago, this woman i’m acquainted with was getting all hot under the collar over the oppressive way that various state assistance benefits are managed. she used WIC as one example. she shared the sad & truly outrageous tale of a low-income woman who became pregnant & applied for WIC. she was approved but then, a month or two later, cut off with absolutely no notice! all for the crime of having had an abortion! isn’t it such a miscarriage of justice that this woman would be PUNISHED for exercising her perfectly legal right to have an abortion?! she really needed that food assistance for pregnant women, infants, & children! never mind that once she had the abortion, she was no longer a pregnant woman, nor did she have any infants or children, rendering her completely ineligible for the program. what is the world coming to when ladies can’t get pregnant lady benefits anymore just because they have abortions? that would be like my doctor refusing to provide prenatal care to me anymore just because i’m not pregnant anymore! truly despicable!


anyway, yeah. WIC benefits would really help us out on our grocery bill, but it seems like applicants have to jump through an awful lot of hoops, & we may make just a hair too much money to qualify anyway. like literally $10 a month too much. i am still waiting for jared to rustle up his proof of income paperwork, & i’m not sure how they’ll count that anyway, because he is only paid twice a year & it’s a variable amount depending on how his fellowship is being managed that school year. we shall see. plus, if we did get approved, i’d have to be careful not to go having any rogue abortions & getting kicked off the rolls. that would really put a crimp in my style.

jared is preparing to jet off to the east coast in a week or two to knuckle down on his dissertation research. he has a list of literally like eight archives he wants to hit. so i’ll be flying solo for pretty much two months straight. i’ve done it before & it always sucks, but i’m worried it’s going to suck worse than usual because a) i’ll be in my third trimester, & b) it seems like a lot of people we know have kind of bailed on maintaining tight friendships with us since the whole baby thing started happening. i know i haven’t been the best friend either. it sometimes takes me a while to return phone calls because i am so busy eating & sleeping all the time. but i get the impression that a lot of people have kind of given up on the possibility of us ever being fun again since we are soon to be parents. i’m okay with that–i don’t want to bend over backwards to try NOT to talk about the pregnancy or the baby just so i can keep hanging out with a bunch of people who really don’t share my interests anymore. but i won’t pretend it doesn’t get lonely sometimes. i know we will probably make parent friends eventually, but in the meantime…i guess i’ll be going to bingo alone a lot this fall. look at the tragic, heavily-tattooed, heavily-pregnant lady playing bingo all alone & getting nacho cheese all over her cards. quite the cautionary tale.

Published by Ciara

Ciara Xyerra wrote zines for the better part of two decades. She has a brilliant & adorable preschooler named Ramona & sews as much as she possibly can. She lives in Lawrence, Kansas with her boyfriend. She enjoys catching up on "The New Yorker", meatball subs, keeping it cranky, intersectional post-third wave feminism, dinosaurs, & monsters. If you have nothing nice to say, she recommends that you come sit here by her, so you can say not-nice things together.

3 thoughts on “bumpwatch terror alert: week 22

  1. i believe you referenced something that i wrote several years ago. the woman in question applied for cash assistance, not WIC. she was given cash assistance when she was pregnant, but when she chose to abort, she was cut off from her princely sum of $205 per month. i was outraged that a woman in desperate financial circumstances was deemed worthy of cash assistance when she was pregnant, but once she was no longer incubating a fetus she was just thrown to the wolves. it’s really nothing to “LOL” about.

    1. i was pretty damn certain that the incident i was referring to involved WIC & not cash assistance. i know i read about it on a blog that i don’t follow anymore, & if i could remember what it was, i would link you to it. that said…

      i just looked up the cash assistance program for pennsylvania. that’s where you worked, right? it looks like the only cash assistance programs there have really specific eligibility requirements, with special programs for qualifying refugees & blind people, but the main program is TANF. the only people eligible for TANF are pregnant women, dependent children, & the live-in caretakers of dependent children. so…pretty much the exact same requirements as WIC. & so, if a pregnant lady with no other dependent children is approved for TANF & proceeds to have an abortion, then yeah…she’s no longer eligible for the program. regardless of how much an extra $205 a month would help her out. it’s not about being “worthy” of cash assistance because she is “incubating a fetus”. it’s about being eligible for the purposes & intentions of the program. does it suck that poor people have such a difficult time getting the public assistance that could really help them out? of course! am i supportive of increasing the eligibility requirements & raising the income restrictions on public assistance programs? definitely. there are a lot of borderline cases that fall through the cracks, making just barely too much to qualify for help but not enough to really get by independently. but when there is a program that requires someone to specifically be pregnant or be caring for a dependent child in order to access the program, & someone decides to have an abortion…i think it is perfectly reasonable to point out that they don’t qualify for the program anymore! i am always 100% supportive of anyone making whatever choice they feel is best when it comes to reproduction, but COME ON, MAN. it is either naive or disingenuous, to, like, a staggering degree, to be outraged that someone wouldn’t get any kind of pregnant lady benefits (WIC, TANF, free breast pumps, whatever) once they are not pregnant anymore. it sucks because i don’t doubt for a second that this lady could have used that $205, pregnant or not, but if you’re going to start letting non-pregnant ladies get pregnant lady benefits, where do you draw the line?

    2. you know, i found myself getting surprisingly heated up over this comment & i couldn’t figure out why. but i have a theory.

      i am a person who has received some form of public assistance for over ten years. that’s basically what social security disability is, right? & before i became eligible for the disabled child program, i received way less in benefits so i was also getting medicaid & food stamps. & over the years, i have heard every form of, “what? you get money for that? well, sometimes my back is sore & sometimes i feel really anxious about going to work, but the government isn’t handing ME any money!” i always tell people that if they truly think they are disabled, they are free to apply–it doesn’t cost anything. but the program isn’t just for any random person off the street who thinks it would be cool or helpful to get a monthly check. i mean, come on, who WOULDN’T find it useful to get a monthly check? but the program is for people who have disabilities that prevent them from working. it could undoubtedly be managed better. there are a lot of weird rules. for example, with the disabled child program, i’m not allowed to get married. if i get married, my benefits revert back to the levels they were at when i was on medicaid & food stamps. that kind of sucks. it would be nice to be able to get married if i wanted. but it would be pretty silly of me to run off & get married & then be all morally outraged that my benefits were cut.

      but i guess my point is that these programs work, however imperfectly, because they have rules & requirements. while i think there is a lot of room for improvement, at the end of the day, i feel that programs that serve disabled people should serve disabled people. programs that serve children should serve children. programs that serve refugees should serve refugees. programs that serve pregnant women should serve pregnant women. it’s that simple.

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