I read an article about Merle Hoffman, the activist who, at age 25 and two years before Roe v. Wade, opened a Long Island City abortion clinic that is still in operation. She urges us to stop treating abortion like a dirty secret. “I think it’s important to own it,” she said, “one out of three woman before the age of 45!”
I was 21, I was just back from my junior year in Dublin, I discovered I was pregnant by my Irish boyfriend, I cried in the shower, my mom Shelley heard me, she asked what was wrong, I told her, we went to see my ten-year-old sister perform in a play, I had a cigarette that night because there was no question I knew what my choice would be (although I did briefly imagine that what if), I told my boyfriend and then my dad and both were completely supportive of my decision, I went to a doctor to confirm the pregnancy test, the nurse treated me like I was a happy new mom-to-be, I ignored that noise, Shelley brought me to a Planned Parenthood, a volunteer ushered us in past we the pushy protestors permanently stationed out front, we waited, we paged through magazines, we tried to read, I studied the young women around me and wondered what their stories were, my name was called, I was scared, a nurse held my hand, it sounded and felt like a very strong vacuum, we went home, I told my little sister I was sick, I rested, I talked to my boyfriend, I felt completely better in a day or two, I went to visit one of my best friends in NYC, I went back to college, I never once, not once, not for even a second, not ever regretted my decision, though a year later I did think to myself, shit, I could have a kid now, like, huh, okay. And that’s it.
That’s what an abortion is (not always, of course, but more often than not — yes). It’s not agonizing, it’s not shameful, it’s not particularly interesting. The decision to have an abortion is, for many women of my generation and those before mine, among the greatest (and often easiest) they will ever make. It’s something that I’m actually proud of — and I know many of you feel the same. It’s time we started treating it that way.
I’m reblogging this and I hope NoraLeah doesn’t mind, ‘cause to me what she’s saying is so often something normal everyday women in North America are afraid to say at the risk of offending their religious or conservative friends, etc.
It seems to me that being authentic is being brave enough or just candid enough to be honest about what you are experiencing or who you are, whether it is popular are not. A person gives a gift to other people when they say, ‘This is what happened to me or this is how I truly feel, no matter what the popular belief is about what I should feel.’ Whenever you are honest, you are speaking for a thousand silent people who don’t have the voice to say what they really feel or are really experiencing. So, if you ever talk about [the thing you went through], you will touch a million hearts. Because you are speaking for more than just yourself. You are never alone in what you are feeling. I love you.
She posted this last week but I just read it — and it’s amazing because that was exactly the reason I wanted to share my abortion story — magnified in today’s political climate because we NEED to share these stories in order to re-frame the debate. And let me tell you — the reaction I got has validated my choice to hit “publish” times a hundred. I was afraid but I needn’t have been. People have reached out to me to tell me they are facing an abortion and it brought tears to my eyes knowing I can help.
You are never alone. Please feel free to message or email me: firstname.lastname@example.org.
I enjoyed reading all of this. The depression story and the abortion story. I love reading something where while you’re reading it’s like an invisible rope inside you is tying itself into a knot and you just feel immediately connected and moved that a part of you either changes or makes peace with a personal battle. I loved this like that.