Monday, September 22, 2014

Today Is The Day

Three years ago today was  a dark, cold, rainy day. We arrived at Brigham & Women's Hospital at 7:30 am, where I would wait a few hours for my cervix to ripen, with the help of medication, in the form of a lozenge under my tongue. I had the ultrasound at 11 weeks, but the abortion was two weeks later, just into the second term.

My husband could not be with me, but the abortion itself was over quickly.

I had thought about Sylvia, or Nina. Her middle name was Rose. I couldn't give her a first name without meeting her. But what would this world have been like for her, if I did get to bring her home --

I had wished, that maybe the nurses at BWH could connect me with others who had also terminated a pregnancy due to a devastating and potentially fatal diagnosis like the one I received. But today I feel at peace with my decision, though the feeling of loss is one I know I will never fully shake. It lives in the moments where I am alone, sometimes when I walk around this lake where I walk, and in other moments, when I'm not with my wonderful little boys.

When the feeling of loss takes over, my body is back in those few days, the days before my abortion, when I moaned with my tears and grief took over any conversation I tried to have. Although I had known something was wrong, the people close to me knew I was pregnant, and I wanted them to know before it was over that it was going to be over.

Because I didn't want to talk about it after it was over.

I started talking about it after about a year, because while I felt alone in my grief, I knew I was not alone. Many women share my story. Many mothers share my story. Talking about it has helped me heal, and I hope that in some way, my talking about it could help another woman.

But still, we don't talk about these things.

I think I once thought I was grateful to be able to make the choice I had to make, and that I was here in Massachusetts where I had access to safe and compassionate treatment. But I no longer feel grateful. Because that choice was not a gift. It was my right. The gift was knowing something was living in my body that couldn't actually live a life -- and the ability to have diagnostic testing which helped me confirm what I already knew and make an informed decision about my body.

Now, I feel angry. Not angry that this happened "to me." I feel angry about the way women's lives are regarded in our world. Angry that a woman in another state, needing or wanting an abortion for a reason similar to mine, or very different than mine, may not have access to safe and immediate care. I'm angry at the men who would like women to be subjected to an ultrasound and to hear a doctor tell her about it. Angry that a woman would be forced to hear the heartbeat of a fetus they couldn't deliver into a life.

I'm angry at these men and I am equally angry at the women who stand with them, and behind them.

Today isn't just any other day for me, and I may moan with my tears. It will also be a day in which I spend time with my husband and my sons. I will do some work. I might walk. I will not feel sorry for myself. I won't stop to say, my goodness, I was so lucky for that choice. I will say I'm so grateful for the family I have.

And I will continue to be angry -- angry that we can't trust women to make decisions about their lives, their families, and their bodies. Because if we could, we'd all be so much better off.

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