Thursday, February 7, 2008

'The right choice' leads to a 'fountain of pain'

A woman who describes herself as "a feminist, a leftist, a liberally-educated eternal student" has started a blog to talk about her abortion experience.

It's not pretty.

The man who got her "knocked up," she writes, subsequently "in an abusive, manic swing, convinced me that not only did I dread raising a kid with him, but that I also feared being involved with his gene pool."

Her first blog entry pinpoints the conflict between the "feminist" in her who is afraid of discussing her loss, and the "fountain of pain ... that seems to gush interminably."

It reads like pure agony:

There’s a lined and as-yet empty journal that has been on my bed for a few days, while entries compose, edit, and erase themselves in my mind. They are things I want to remember and forget, tell everyone and keep private, things I want to at once embrace and hide from.

I lost a baby, a baby that never got a name. Lost it on purpose, days after the thirty-fifth anniversary of Roe v. Wade. It was my first, one accident dropped into years of carefulness. I had wanted it in an abstract way for several years, but it came at a time that wasn’t right, and it didn’t have the father I would want to raise a child with. The feminist in me shrinks away from talking about the pain of that loss. Even though my heart believes I sent it back so it could return at a better time, there’s fountain of pain and a kind of aloneness I had never experienced that seems to gush interminably.

The interminable is relative, of course. Time has passed. I cry less. My body that for five weeks swelled in anticipation fits into my clothes again. I’m no longer avoiding the hugs of friends to protect my sore breasts.

I dream about the baby, the one with no name. In the dreams, I am overwhelmed with trying to find someone to help me care for it, of hearing it call the babysitter “mama” because its mother can never be there. When this happens, I feel like I made the right choice for myself and the children that will come. But I still grieve.
In her second and latest post, she describes what happened when she went to Planned Parenthood. From the sound of it, little love awaited her:
The protocol used by Planned Parenthood in my region is this: you go to their office (after a phone counseling session), they do a pregnancy test and ultrasound to determine the length of the pregnancy, then they give you a pill, Mifiprex, which you take there, and then send you home with instructions, the second round of pills (misoprostol), antibiotics, anti-nausea meds, and an RX for Vicodin. The first pill stops the fetus from continuing to grow, and the second round, taken 24-48 hours later, starts cramping and empties the uterus.

I asked if I’d feel sick before taking the second round. It’s unlikely, they said. I woke up vomiting, and I vomited all day until I wished I were dead, especially knowing that I had to take pills that *do* cause nausea and vomiting. Severe cramping, bleeding, and more vomiting ensued within 30 minutes of taking the misoprostol. That was when I wished I could change my mind and have a surgical procedure instead. The unbearable pain continued for several hours, but eventually I was able to rest. I’ve since read in some forums that it goes on for hours and hours for some women. I can’t even imagine.
Sadly, it didn't end there.
A week later, I was experiencing significant pain and a fever, so I went back to PP. There, they diagnosed a uterine infection and gave me more antibiotics. Statistically, not many women get uterine infections after medical abortions; I’m the person for whom medical things seem to always go wrong, so I guess I should have known it would happen to me. Now I worry that the infection may have done enough damage to make conception difficult in the future. It’s really terrifying. And there’s nothing I can do about it. So, I’m taking care of myself, trying to get better, crying when I feel like it.
However much she may say she made the "right choice" for herself, I can't help thinking that women, let alone their unborn children, really do deserve better than abortion.

In Evangelium Vitae (Gospel of Life, Pope John Paul II writes to women who have had an abortion, "[D]o not give in to discouragement and do not lose hope":
I would now like to say a special word to women who have had an abortion. The Church is aware of the many factors which may have influenced your decision, and she does not doubt that in many cases it was a painful and even shattering decision. The wound in your heart may not yet have healed. Certainly what happened was and remains terribly wrong. But do not give in to discouragement and do not lose hope. Try rather to understand what happened and face it honestly. If you have not already done so, give yourselves over with humility and trust to repentance. The Father of mercies is ready to give you his forgiveness and his peace in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. To the same Father and his mercy you can with sure hope entrust your child. With the friendly and expert help and advice of other people, and as a result of your own painful experience, you can be among the most eloquent defenders of everyone's right to life. Through your commitment to life, whether by accepting the birth of other children or by welcoming and caring for those most in need of someone to be close to them, you will become promoters of a new way of looking at human life.
RELATED: Lumina offers a list of resources for post-abortion healing.

NOTE TO READERS: I am sharing the preceding out of a desire that readers pray for the woman in question, who is telling her story on her own public blog. If you are moved to comment on her blog, I beg you, please do not write anything that might in any way be construed as critical or harassing. If anyone makes such a comment on her blog, I will ban that reader from commenting here. Thank you for your cooperation.