We know that women have abortions for many reasons. And we know some women feel a myriad of emotions about having abortions. Sometimes, they don’t; but I’m going to talk about complexity today. Sometimes the “abortion feelings” are wrapped so tightly, are so entwined with the “everything that’s going on in my life” feelings, that they aren’t separate at all. Yet, they kind of are. It’s like the ying and yang. It’s usually the “everything that’s going on in my life” that turns a woman toward abortion. Life/Abortion. One not quite existing without the other. If things were different…different decisions might be made. (Always the conundrum of life, really.)
I’m not telling you anything new; but sometimes, abortioneers like to make the abortion decision - and the feelings about the decision – nicely wrapped into a fine package of “I’m going to be okay. Everything’s fine. I am woman. Hear me roar.” But it isn’t always so simple. It’s not always wrapped up so nice and sweet, delivered into the palms of clinic workers with a smile on the face and a “here you go. You don’t have to worry about me! I’m your text book feminist having an abortion.” Sometimes, the decision is dead easy…but attached to a heavy heart. Sometimes, it’s sad. Sometimes, it’s terrifying and feels wrong. Wrong, because your life wasn’t supposed to be like this. You weren’t supposed to be one of those girls. You didn’t grow up saying, “One, day, I want to have an abortion.” But life can take twisty turns down dusty roads. Shit happens. He happened. It happened: whatever “it” is. The “it” is not the same for everyone. And trust me, we get it.
Sometimes, just sometimes, the experience – or multitude of experiences – that brought her to stand in front of us, asking for an abortion, can’t even be dealt with at the time. Just getting the abortion completed (money in hand, ride at her side, pads in the car, kids taken care of) might be all that can be handled with right then and there. Don’t fuck with her about her relationship or question if she’s sure she doesn’t want to try a new birth control method (because, this one failed. Right?). If she sighs deep, looks like she hasn’t slept, seems distant: just fucking hold her hand. Show her kindness. Let her breathe. Let her deal with the other shit when she can.
We (women/people) can’t always handle life all at once. We can’t always be expected to be strong. We can’t always be expected to carry the heavy, heavy weight bearing on us. So we take out strips of our life from our pockets and face what we can. Piece by piece if we have to. Year by year, if needed. Maybe he hurt you in ways you never told anyone. And though I don’t think women have to heal from an abortion, it might sometimes seem like it, because we may have to heal from all the hurt that surrounded “it” happening to us. And it’s not that it’s confusing: we shouldn’t have to separate, really, the possible pain/sadness/hurt/regret (that things weren’t different) about the abortion from what our life was like at the time of the abortion. To let go, to grieve what you’ve lost in your life – that “what could’ve been” – is okay. It’s equally okay to have mixed feelings about an abortion during a mixed up part of life and still feel solid and certain that abortion is the best decision, while feeling so…unraveled.
We’re women. We’re complicated. And we don’t fit in neat little boxes, wrapped up nicely, with smiles on our faces. All of the time.