A few days ago I was scrolling through my Instagram feed and came across this image on the comedian Amy Schumer’s page:
I didn’t hesitate to save the image and share it on my own page with the following comment:
I am one of the one in four.
Shortly thereafter I got a text from my daughter:
You had an abortion?
Even now, writing about it, I feel the heat of shame and something else…embarrassment? rising from my belly and into my tightening chest.
I feel like the kid who got caught with their hand in the cookie jar, or who was trying out a new cuss word and didn’t realize their mom was right behind them.
Look, I share personal shit on my blog – it’s just what I do.
I don’t do it for shock value or any reason other than I know whatever stupid, crazy, scary, emboldening, brave, funny, misguided or inspired thing I have done, wanted to do, or dream about doing someone else has done or thought about doing too.
And the longer I live the more I believe in the power of the universal experience.
Good or bad it is helpful to know I am not alone. I’ve done that too.
So when my daughter sent me that text I was a little surprised because I had her read my poem, Pussy Has 9 Lives before I posted it and I (mistakenly) thought she understood the reference I made to lying on the table and a cold speculum.
I don’t know why she would have understood, really, having never experienced the same thing herself or us having discussed it.
I felt horrible.
I immediately took down the post because I felt guilty and ashamed.
Later, I thought about my friend, Jennifer, who is HIV+ and has shared her entire journey – from pre-diagnosis pictures in the ER to outspoken advocate and educator on a world-wide stage – and how she shares her story without shame.
As she should!
If she is fearless, then why am I afraid of talking about the story of my unplanned pregnancy at the age of 23?
And why am I ashamed that I did something that is – as of this moment – legal and that millions of women have done?
Why do I feel I need to apologize or feel shame for doing something that I don’t regret?
Because this is the truth: I have never once regretted having an abortion.
I have believed in a woman’s right to a safe abortion since I was a young girl looking through my mom’s copy of Our Bodies, Ourselves and saw a photo of a woman laying on the carpeted floor of a dingy motel room dead from an illegal abortion.
I still believe in a woman’s right to choose.
And I am adding my voice to those of other women – both loud and silent – who have also had abortions.
I am one of the 1 in 4.
PS: I just read about the organization Shout Your Abortion in the August issue of
O Magazine. Check it out!