Tuesday, July 21, 2015

A Different Type of Loss

**DISCLAIMER

This is a different type of loss post. It is a post about the Planned Parenthood videos currently being released. I also write about my own post-abortive experience. 

Please guard your heart when deciding whether to read this or not.


This past week has no doubt been an emotional week for many American women. Statistically speaking, {supposedly} one in three of us have ended an "unwanted" pregnancy via abortion.

This means that last Tuesday many of us woke up not to images of a beleaguered, controversial corporation caught in a scandal, but to a reminder of what our very personal, past choices really encompassed.  

It wasn’t made any better when social media was, again, plastered with a callous PP worker bargaining for human organs today.

I terminated my second pregnancy, in the second trimester, in 1994. I was moderately pro-choice. I never thought I would have an abortion, but I didn't believe I should be making the choice for anyone else. When I got pregnant a second time at 19 -- already a single mother-- I did what I believed was right for my family. I believed that it was the only decision I could make. There were medical complications with the pregnancy which made it easier to choose abortion. 

At least I believed it would be easier at the time. 

There were things I saw and heard while in the clinic which still wake me up in a cold sweat. What happened after my surgery made my experience more traumatic than most {if there is such a thing as more traumatic than ending the life of your unborn child}. I found it necessary to return to my physician for further care, because the "procedure" was incomplete and "fetal tissue" had been left behind. I was fortunate to have realized this early because retained "tissue" can cause serious infection which in turn can leave you infertile or even cause death.  

Unfortunately, I was only made aware of the retained "tissue" because it was visible on a sanitary napkin following my abortion -- along with surgical gauze which had been left behind in my cervix.

The current events have been a reminder of an experience which was particularly painful. I've watched a number of anti-Planned Parenthood videos throughout the years but none brought such a feeling of revulsion as the ones which are currently circulating. As Dr. Nucatola described manipulating the unborn child for maximum ease in obtaining intact organs I was reminded of the lack of concern for my health, as evidenced by the retained tissue and gauze which I found in the days following my abortion. I was reminded of my own unborn child's humanity, as she spoke so casually of crushing legs and other fully-formed body parts. I was shown the unfeeling nature of an organization which promotes destruction and financial gain under the guise of empowering women during Dr. Gatta’s conversation about the costs of tissue procurement, in which she made the statement, “I want a Lamborghini”.

This past week has brought out a variety of emotion, but primarily I feel sadness and anger.

Sadness because until this week I was never fully comfortable openly mourning the loss of that one, sweet baby.

Who was I to mourn the loss of a child I chose to throw away? It's not about a baby, after all. It's about choice.



As a 19 year old girl I was mistaken in believing their narrative -- the narrative in which my child's life was an impediment to my own growth, nothing more than a choice. I was mistaken to believe their view, that my unborn baby would be a burden.

This mistake turned out to be deadly for my child, as it has been for millions of children conceived in the U.S. for the last 40 years. 

And angry--

For too many years, women have believed the lie which Planned Parenthood has told us. They have believed the lie which states that our reproductive health depends solely on them, as if a woman can't find and fund alternatives to PP’s monstrous and murderous infrastructure. 

Women have believed the lie which states PP is our only ally  in the fight for women's rights --and that those rights are reliant on the destruction of our unborn children. 

Women have believed PP when they told us that they wanted us to have better lives. 

Women have believed PP when they told us our unborn children were not human

This week was difficult. I am a mother. 

I will now always wonder- was my child's body manipulated for organ harvesting? 

Was my child's termination prolonged so that an intact liver, an intact pair of lungs, or an intact heart was made available for research purposes? 

Was there a possibility that my child felt extended and unnecessary pain during the procedure because someone was attempting to procure intact tissue?

As stated in the long version of the video-- transcripts available here-- not all babies' lives are ended before the "extraction" procedure begins.

The potential pain which my unborn child suffered is something which I have struggled with for over 20 years. I know this is a primary concern for many {most} post-abortive women. There are many women whose hearts are heavy with new-found grief tonight. 

I am sending this message out today not as a pro-life activist, but as a former Planned Parenthood patient. 

Planned Parenthood owes me more than a canned response about legality and tone.

My abortion hurt me. 

My abortion ended the life of my unborn child.

For once, Planned Parenthood needs to address the thousands of women who have been hurt by their abortions. Planned Parenthood needs to address the women who felt taken advantage of today. They need to address the women who may have consented to tissue donation, not realizing that PP wasn’t talking about “a clump of cells” but intact lungs, muscle, and brains, being removed from babies which may have been delivered using less than compassionate methods.

Planned Parenthood owes every woman who has had a procedure in their clinics more than a canned response. 

Preferably before the next set of videos shows up. 

I didn’t consent to tissue donation, because I wanted to help fund their executive’s luxury auto.  

I consented because I was trying to make some sense out of what I instinctively understood was a senseless decision on my part.

Over the past two decades, I’ve grappled with, and admitted to the dishonesty and selfishness inherent in my choice- it’s time that Planned Parenthood does the same.








Friday, July 17, 2015

If I Could Change Anything I would....




This post is for a writing challenge on the phrase "If I could change anything I would." Every Tuesday there's a new challenge. You can join HERE. 




I want to write a beautiful post about how accepting things the way they are, leads to peace.

I want to be big enough to say:


If I could change anything, I would change nothing. 


However, all I feel after writing this sentence is electricity in my skin. Everything in me pushes against acceptance. When I close my eyes, I am standing at a precipice and acceptance feels like I am making a decision to throw her off of the edge. Acceptance feels like every nerve in my body is focused on “no”. 

I could also claim that if I could change anything, I would change everything. 

But that would mean my sweet M may not be here, and as I look down at her sweaty curls and her grubby fingertips, I can't imagine a single second of my life without her. 

Four and a half years is a long time to push the "what if things were different" out of your head. 


This beautiful post could be about fluctuation and entire seasons of change. It could be about imagining a world where both of my girls are sitting together with their foreheads touching, whispering in the dark. It could be about a world where possibility is immeasurable, and innocence is intact.

But it's not. Because when the subject of change comes up, my mind always races to her. Would I change the circumstances of her birth and death? That question is too laden with sub-context for me to answer. 

Four and a half years is a long time to ruminate on changing a single event in your life.
At one time, I expressed my post-loss existence as having one foot in heaven, and one foot on earth. If I lean too far towards either place I will eventually lose my balance and end up crumpled on the ground, being nowhere at all. 

Imagining change is too difficult in this context. The ramifications of either choice would be too life-altering.

I guess, ultimately, this means I would change nothing. 

But there is no peace in this. There is only a raw aching feeling in my chest at having failed my girl.




{I feel I must reference back to this, an all-encompassing post on acceptance, after writing today’s post. If I would have chosen anything other than my loss for this prompt, it would have been disingenuous. However, I am most definitely in the camp of acceptance.... almost all of the time.}



 
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