Friday, June 24, 2022

My Abortion Saved Me and My Girls

I woke up the morning after what I'd thought was a really productive conversation with X. He acknowledged the mistakes he'd made, vowed to do better, and we were going to try and put our family back together again. 

I went to the place where'd I'd hid the grocery money. X had already emptied my bank account, so I'd resorted to hiding cash around the house to cover child care, groceries, and other expenses. This time, I'd put it in a shoe. 

But there was no money in there. After our so-called productive conversation, X had found it, and spent it on drugs and/or alcohol - don't know, and at that moment, I no longer cared. 

After years, two daughters and one miscarriage, a wedding, several moves in a total of 4 states, I'd simply fallen out of love with X. I'd even warned him a few weeks prior that I thought this could happen. My love had been the only thing holding us together. And now it was gone. 

I don't remember the exact timeline here, but it wasn't long after that when I discovered I was pregnant. 

My girls were about 2 1/2 and 5 1/2 at the time. I already knew I was going to leave X, and I couldn't imagine trying to explain divorce and adoption at the same time. 

I had no idea how I was going to manage. I was living across the country from my family at the time, working in the field I loved, but with a boss who threw a chair at an employee and would yell at us during staff meetings. 

Now, I'm fully aware that I played a role in this, that I had responsibilities. The responsible thing to do was not bring another human into the chaos that was our lives at that moment. 

Thankfully, at the time, we lived about a block away from a Planned Parenthood. The idea was that I'd go home after, but my nightmare boss made me come into work...and then later questioned my loyalty, which is when I decided to leave that job, too. 

The procedure was simple enough that I could work afterwards. There was very little pain. Frankly, a lot less painful than childbirth! And a lot less expensive than raising kids. 

My daughters are now 21 and 24. They're both working in fields they love, which happen to be with children. 

They're both on birth control, even though only 1 has a serous relationship right now. 

I'm incredibly proud of them. I'm also proud of me. I raised them. I got myself a job in a department with really good people, who supported me and cheered me on when I went back to school. I work for a boss who recognizes that people come first, and gave me promotions every time he could. 

I own my own townhouse now. I'm raising two kitties now (both rescues). 

Not once have I ever regretted my decision to have an abortion. And no, I don't even regret the intercourse that led to it, because at the time, I was committed to my marriage. Which he broke. I just finally put myself and my girls back together. 

No one deserves my story, which is why I haven't shared it before. I'm sharing it now because this country still allows free speech. I've got to exercise any and all rights I have left! 


 

Sunday, January 9, 2022

Maybe We Should Embrace the Trauma

 I'm going to spoil the ending of the limited series, Dopesick, so fair warning. I'm only semi-serious, of course, since the "end" is still playing out in court but I'm talking about the actual series here, which I didn't know how they'd end. Turns out they found the perfect ending, and I can't stop thinking about it. 

They offered the possibility that maybe we should stop trying to stop feeling pain. 

I offer it here not just as an answer to the opioid epidemic, but also in response to the pandemic, the political divides, the many divides that we're finding as a way to separate ourselves: working mom vs stay at home mom, mom versus childfree, married versus single - which are all relatively harmless, especially when compared to some of the horrific dividers that have gotten people killed: racism, misogyny, and the prejudices that have started wars. 

I saw a headline of an opinion piece that school shutdowns are "only hurting children," which of course, is problematic since shutdowns might also be saving lives. But it's the prime example of what is happening: it's someone else crying for us to pay attention to their pain, their plight. 

We're all in pain, we're all suffering in one way or another. Because we're in a pandemic!

But even if we weren't, each of us has suffered some sort of trauma, some sort of longing, some desire to connect with others. What I find sad is that in this moment, when we're all suffering, instead of coming together, there are so many that are trying to find someone to blame. We're all to blame, no one is to blame...did I mention we're in a pandemic? 

Particularly us Americans, we mistake our right to "pursue happiness" as some sort of promise that no one should ever cause us unhappiness. And that if they do, someone will pay. 

I work in the legal profession: I understand and appreciate on a daily level our constitutional rights that include our day in court...WHEN someone has committed a crime. Causing us unhappiness is not, in fact, a crime. 

And I confess, I do it, too. I place blame on anti-vaxxers for prolonging the pandemic. But even if I do, and even though I have wondered if there's a way for them to "stand trial," I know that's futile. So I vent with my friends and then I go about my day. 

We're allowed to feel our pain, our anger, and our sadness when we feel loss. But we should also recognize that pain is part of life. 

We have to stop denying that. We have to stop fighting it. We have to recognize our trauma, our pain, so that we can properly heal. 

We don't heal by yelling in people's face to take off or put on a mask. We don't heal by hiring bot farms to attack someone on social media. We don't heal when we numb the pain with drugs, alcohol, or even retail therapy.

We can only start to heal when we face our pain, our trauma. When we reach out to friends or mental health professionals that we need help. And it does help to get outside of ourselves and help someone else, if we can.