Archives for posts with tag: pro-choice

This blog is called, “Sexual Healing” for a reason-by talking about my sexuality I am taking out my pain and bringing instead some healing.  Writing about what I have been through also helps give me some clarity and insight.  A few weeks ago, I got to witness some sexual healing that happened during my book club that was really wonderful and special.

Seven months ago, I created a feminist book club and advertised it on meetup.com.  I wondered if anybody would attend and there were a few meetings with very low attendance.  But now after several months with a steady attendance, I am sure that my book club is a success.  We get along really well and we stay and talk so long that we had to move our location to one that stays open later!  That certainly gives me a good feeling.

Like I’ve said, we’ve been having really great meetings for several months now, but at the March meeting I think I helped to create safe space.  “Safe space” is a term often used in feminist circles meaning that a group of people respect each other’s experiences, opinions, and confidentiality.  The members recognize their own privilege and are willing to step back to allow the more disenfranchised members to talk.  They try not to use oppressive language and hopefully all of these things help bring a feeling of inclusivity and freedom of expression.  It’s a tall order and unfortunately, it doesn’t always work.  I started a book club and I wanted us to go deeper into the feminist material and be more intellectual than the other book club that I belong to.  Secretly, I also wanted us to become a freeing feminist community, but I also knew that that may not happen.  To my wonderful surprise, I think we may be on our way.

The funny thing is, is that we never discussed our group as being a “safe space”-we were just going to discuss books, but a feeling of safety seems to have evolved out of the space naturally.  I credit this to the wonderful women in my group.  We all seem to internally monitor how much space we are taking up and we purposely try to draw the ones that are more reticent to speak their truth.  I am proud to say that I also credit myself for speaking my truth.  The topic turned to reproductive rights and I wanted to talk about my abortion, but I was a little afraid-not because I was afraid that they wouldn’t approve, but because it would make me vulnerable.  I am so glad I did, though!  Fortunately, I am stable enough to be able to talk about my experiences without getting extremely emotional or triggered and I was able to clearly share what was on my mind.  My vulnerability was rewarded when the newest member, who was sitting right next to me, then opened up about her abortions.  Then another started talking about being a young mother and her reasons.  We then proceeded to talk for at least another hour about reproductive rights, our hard choices, relationships and life lessons.  Being abandoned by men was a common theme, but there were also stories of men who stepped up and were supportive of their wives’ decisions.  We talked about tough times, but we laughed too.  We had started out that evening as a book club that dared to call itself feminist and I believe our feminism helped us heal.  I went home that night with a feeling of wholeness and healing such as I had not experienced in a long time.  Just thinking about it makes my heart feel full.  Blessed be.

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Yesterday I completed training to be part of the Feminist Women’s Health Center’s Action Alert Team.  This means that if the center needs someone to help at the last minute with lobbying or rallying or anything else to help promote reproductive justice, then I’ll be there if I can.  It doesn’t pay in anything, except in satisfaction that I am doing all I can to help the cause.  It was a small, intimate gathering that left me feeling empowered and excited.  On my way home, I reflected on the fact that although I hate the fact that I had to have an abortion almost two years ago, prompting a return of my depression and the losing of a really good job, I would not be the motivated, empowered person I am today without it.  I also reflected on the fact that one of the reasons why the experience of obtaining an abortion so empowered me was because I realized my privilege.  Because I had a good job with fabulous insurance, I did not need to prove that the abortion was necessary for my health, which was great, because I’m not sure the insurance company would have accepted my explanation.  My insurance also paid for almost all of the procedure-I only had to pay fifty dollars.  Also, the Feminist Women’s Health Center, where I decided to have my abortion was relatively close by, being approximately thirty minutes away.  Plus, my parents were supportive and my mother drove me to the center.  When I had my abortion I thought about all these things and I was so grateful that I was able to have it and be supported that I resolved that I would do all I could to make what I had available to all womyn.  I wonder if the awareness of one’s privilege motivates other advocates and feminists. The training really helped me be even more aware of the fact that white, middle-class or rich womyn have always been able to have safe abortions and that that right needs to be extended to all.  I am so grateful to have the power of bodily autonomy-it’s a gratitude that no man can understand and that I could not have even understood myself until I was pregnant.  I want the world to know that I do not take my privilege lightly and that I am fiercely determined to fight for reproductive freedom and justice.

A person on tumblr said the other day that womyn should not get abortions, because it could mess with their mental health, since an abortion to the body is the same thing as a miscarriage.  Another person then responded that they had never known any womyn that regretted having an abortion or having mental health problems because of it.  I would like to address both comments here.

It is true that to the body, an abortion that is carried out by a doctor is the same thing as a miscarriage.  Because the elevated hormones are still present in the body for a while after the abortion, some people even think that a womyn who has had an abortion may still go through postpartum depression.  I am one of those people.  I am very sensitive to hormonal changes and when I got my abortion, my life spiraled out of control-hormones plus a huge amount of stress at work and in my relationships plus not being on the right medication and I was definitely due to another breakdown.  So to the person who does not know any womyn who have had mental health issues due to an abortion-here am I.

To the pro-lifer, though, I must say that despite my hormones and hospitalizations and stress, I never once regretted my decision to have an abortion.  Despite all that happened, I still credit it with saving my life.  You see, as one of my old doctors liked to say, I have “severe” mental illness and I am convinced that I would have gone through a postpartum depression much more severe than the one I experienced.  There have been a few times when I have felt flashes of guilt, because I am adopted.  Surely someone that is adopted is supposed to give their own child up for adoption if they follow in their birth mother’s footsteps by getting pregnant, right?  Wrong.  Every person has the right to make their own decisions about their own body, regardless of what anyone else decides to do with theirs.  It doesn’t matter what anyone else says or feels or believes about abortion-the choice is yours and yours alone, because your body is yours and yours alone.

So yes, I had mental illness issues partly due to my abortion a year and a half ago, but no, I never regretted it and never will.  In fact, the ability to have an abortion has made me even more firm in my beliefs about female autonomy.  About two months ago, I took a lobbying for reproductive justice workshop and I plan to start lobbying with the Women’s Feminist Health Center in Atlanta soon.  Having an abortion did not make me regretful, but it did add a fierceness for reproductive justice that is unparalleled.  I feel blessed that I was able to have my abortion and I want all womyn to have the unfettered ability to make their own choices.