I don’t have any other way of thinking about my two abortions than as terrrible mistakes – mistakes for which I suffer daily, like it or not. The suffering is not as raw, dramatic and intense as it once was – the rivers of blood that I used to see – but it still pervades my consciousness as a sense that I have died, that I have killed myself. Of course I make myself rally, address myself to the present as best I can, particularly as I now am caring for a young, adopted boy, who faces his own unconscious loss and grief of his natural mother. We are in a boat together in choppy seas and I do my best to make it stable and seaworthy.
What you have to understand is that I never wanted any of this. And I speak about it because it may be a template for other stories, of the past and of the future. I really wanted to keep the child. But I was very frightened, because I had been abandoned by all around and because bringing a child into this world seemed such a huge responsibility – not for my sake but for the child’s. I tried, in my naive way, to create the conditions I thought the child needed – principally a father and support for me – but they were not forthcoming. I think at that moment it was as though the life within me did become “just tissue”; that is to say, because it was not conscious, I had to absorb the suffering of having it destroyed, since no-one welcomed it, and me as the mother.
Many influences and events had gone into creating such thinking, of course, such terror of the enormity of imposing a life of suffering on a child. I can only tell you that as a decision it was absolutely immense, and it destroyed me. I had an immense need to have my fear reassured, to meet with support and love at that time. Not appearing, something within me believed I had to become a cold soldier, killing all my dreams and hopes for the sake of some general good.
To some degree or another, many abortions are like this. As I try repeatedly to explain, they are so often (I believe) not really about selfish, immoral women but really about vulnerable women who have never learnt how to validate themselves in the face of pressure and hostility. Not knowing how to do this, they crumble… taking their own child with them.
Anyone with an ounce of compassion has to see and understand this, I think. It is not about wickedness – though perhaps that exists on the part of those eagerly accepting the blood money to perform their horror – but really about tremendous vulnerability that is exploited in some way. Women are culpable of… what? I don’t know, really. Lack of self-love, in the end. Abortion is no solution of course, making the self-loathing deep and quasi-inextricable.
Support women in their pregnancy, really support them with love and practical help, and abortion will of course become rare. If that is what we want.