The last two weeks have been stressful and eye opening.
I have learned many things… I’ve learned to allow myself to be vulnerable. I’ve learned about the ugliness that organized religion perpetuates, and about how even family can turn their back on you when all you wanted was love and acceptance. That despite their own beliefs, they could not see me as an individual with my own experiences and my own history that led me to be who I am today, and still love and support me for it.
At the same time however, I’ve also learned that I am not alone. That there are many women out there, a lot of whom I’m fortunate to call a friend, who support me and other women like us, who believe that we have a right to our own bodies. Women who know that to have autonomy of your own body should be a fundamental human right. I’ve learned about the kindness and camaraderie from women who know what it means to believe in the greater good.
So what started this, you wonder?
A few days after the overturning of Roe v. Wade, my sister Aileen texted our sister chat and tells me the story about how when my mom found out she was pregnant with me. My mom’s told me this before. Back then my mom was a 45 year old married woman with a full time job and 3 young children at home, so upon learning of her pregnancy, her doctor said that abortion was an option for her.
My mom, being a devout Catholic, told the doctor she could never abort her baby. That was that.
I did not ask for this topic of discussion, mind you. I would’ve gladly spent the rest of my life avoiding this subject with my sisters but it was brought up to me in a way that I could not avoid responding, as if I should’ve been clutching my pearls knowing that I came so close to death because of The Evil Abortion-Loving OBGYN.
But, Praise the Lord, my mother had the Holy Spirit in her to deny him.
“Cool,” I said. “It’s great she had a choice.” My remark was meant to be a bit mocking. I think it went over Aileen’s head. I could have gone back to selectively reading their text chatter… but I thought back to my therapy sessions, how my therapist and I were working on me building more confidence and speaking up for myself.
At that moment, I chose growth over stagnation. So I said, “However, I would not have held it against her if she decided to get an abortion. I wouldn’t hold it over any woman.”
Can of worms–open.
What I received back was shock, stun. They asked me why. I said I just personally prefer having the ability to decide for myself whether or not I would want to have a baby. I think every woman should have that choice.
And then they started to go into specifics. What about a heartbeat? What about this or that? While I’m not saying that a woman should abort her baby at 36 weeks on a whim, I just left it open. Whatever the woman decides is right for her.
And then Aileen asked me the dreaded question. “What if you accidentally got pregnant but didn’t want it? You would get an abortion?”
Another moment where I had to choose between growth and stagnation. “I did get pregnant,” I said, “I was 23 years old, still in college. And yes, I did plan on getting an abortion but then I ended up miscarrying before I could get one. It was painful. Christina (one of my best friends) was there and she took care of me.” I’ve kept this tidbit of info to myself for almost 19 years now, only allowing a select few to know this, those I trusted.
When you’re carrying shame, you keep it to yourself and you hide it. You let it eat at you from inside. And if you share it, you only share it with those you really trust. The ones who will not judge you, who will love you unconditionally regardless of differences. But after much therapy and many years of experience, I’m learning to transform that shame back to what it originally was… just a powerless event in my life. An event that has shaped me into who I am, but does not rule over me. An event that taught me to show compassion and love for those who were in a similar situation.
Again, their response was shock, stun. Elaine started spewing off some bullshit about how God made my choice for me so it wasn’t my choice to make. That I should see it in THAT perspective. I just rolled my eyes. It reminded me of the smug, self righteous women who go to abortion clinics for a procedure, justifying themselves that it was “God’s will” and that their pregnancy was different.
Elaine even went as far to say that if I was saved, when I go to heaven I can see my baby. Oh, you mean that mass of cells and blood that was expunged from my uterus? Does Heaven have a direct connection with the Denton sewer system because last I remember, that’s where “my baby” went after it left my body.
I didn’t say that of course, but I was thinking it.
“Ok, well either way, sometimes you can do everything you’re supposed to to prevent pregnancy and it still doesn’t work. If i was again in a position where I couldn’t raise a child, and I had the choice to have a safe abortion,” I said, “I would do it.”
It was the nail in the coffin. Elaine asked, “Not even adoption as a choice?”
Maybe I was harsh. Maybe I didn’t sugar coat it to ease their frail minds, but I’m not trying to turn it into something it’s not. I don’t believe in fairytales or magic. I don’t believe in The Power of Prayer and how it’ll beam my miscarried baby into a special place in the sky with all the chosen people who decided to accept his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ into their hearts.
I believe in the world we live in now, the one that is filled with people who are struggling with real problems. I also believe in making this world better, not by telling them to promise their soul to a sky god, but by believing in them and giving them hope and letting them know that together, we can make this world a Paradise.