Mind your language
Posted by Tracy

We had an small gathering at my house, what is called in British English a” knit and nat”, in reference to the knitting and the nattering for which it is a pretext.

Four women over a certain age, all with grown-up children.  As the knitting progressed, the stories came: the children who had had ski-ing accidents, the child who is reluctant to move out of home, the lad who is married but can’t seem to get his wife pregnant and then the children who were not born, the miscarriage that – to the mother’s distress -  was referred to in the medical notes as “an abortion”.

The woman kept saying “but I did not have an abortion, it was a miscarriage”.  The doctor told her the words meant the same, but we all know they are very different in laypeople’s minds.  This woman clearly found it horrible to be associated with abortion.  These are judgements that come from deep within and some call it prejudice – or could it be that this woman has hit the nail on the head and, realising that abortion is abusive and offensive, did not want to be associated with it?

It is interesting that women who oppose abortion or regret it deeply often choose that stark term; those who support it or simply don’t want to look at it use the less brutal “termination”.  Maybe some of the issues of pregnancy loss  would begin to be better known if medical staff went even further in the starkness of their language.  Is that even possible?  Can you imagine a situation in which a doctor asks a woman: “Do you want me to kill the child that is within you?”   Would a fearful mother then find the courage and clarity to discuss a little her fear and what exactly it is that is frightening her?

A woman who is pregnant is not ill, she is with child.  If abortion were called the killing of her child, and if motherhood were held in high esteem and supported, how many women would then accept to walk through the dark, dreary, despairing walls of an abortion clinic?

 


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