Even though we do not typically respond within the comments section of this blog, Bon, Lu and I do read comments to see what readers have questions about and what kind of stories would be meaningful to our readers. I want to thank those of you who have written in with your own abortion stories. Nothing better illustrates the richness and complexity of a pregnancy decision than hearing from women who've been there. The women's positive abortion stories help us as counselors identify the qualities that help encourage resilience and healthy coping before and after an abortion.
We often share your stories with our own patients. Hearing that someone else has walked that path with strength and grace--and that they're not afraid to tell their story--our patients describe as the most precious gift they can receive from the women in their community. The abortion stories women provide that describe isolation, suffering or painful rumination--those teach us something too. We should be listening to these women to understand the qualities that contribute to their suffering so that no woman has to describe her pregnancy or abortion experience in this way.
So how can you help the women you love to have positive memories of their abortions? I would love to hear from readers about the factors that made a difference in their abortions being positive or negative memories. Some suggestions I've gotten from women include:
Listen closely and let me express all the feelings I'm having, even the ambivalent ones.
Don't tell me what to do, unless I ask you for that feedback.
Tell me your own abortion story.
Don't assume that be cause I am pro-choice, this experience will be clearcut or simple for me.
Don't assume that describing myself as "against abortion" means I don't want to have one.
Help me with practical things--childcare, a ride to the clinic, make my favorite dinner for when I get back home, clean the house, cover my shift at work on the day of my appointment.
When you make promises to help with this stuff--FOLLOW THROUGH!
Don't promise to "help me with the baby" unless you can identify specific things you are willing to help with. If I choose this path, once again, FOLLOW THROUGH!
Remind me what a good job I'm doing taking care of my family already.
Help me find accurate information about abortion care.
If I ask you to respect my privacy and not tell other people about my pregnancy, please do so.
Love me no matter what.
What are the factors that made your own abortions positive experiences? Were there things that impacted your experience negatively? What else would you add to this list?