I was seventeen when I had my first abortion. I was a perfect candidate: too young, hadn't finished high school yet, no money, no skills, father of the baby didn't want to marry me, and adoption was too painful to think about.
Later in Nursing School, when I saw pictures of foetal development, I was shocked. That blob of tissue had feet, hands and a heartbeat.
I had become very interested in women's health care and reproductive rights, fighting for women's right to abortion, but what I was saying conflicted with what I was feeling.
If abortion is so right, why am I feeling guilty and seeking help from psychiatrists and feminist therapists?
If abortion is so right, why am I so hostile towards the father of the baby... an anger that turned into a hatred for all men?
If abortion is so right, why am I feeling exploited and so abused?
If abortion is so right, why am I needing increased amounts of alcohol and drugs to numb the pain?
If abortion is so right, why am I feeling so guilty around infertile couples who agonise over the wait for a baby by adoption?
If abortion is so right, why am I so depressed that I think of suicide as a way out?
If abortion isn't killing, then why, when I found a counsellor who allowed me to grieve therapeutically, did I symbolically need to take the torn, broken pieces of my baby's body from the garbage can in New York, sew him back together, name him and hold and rock and cry for what I did to him?
If abortion isn't the death of a baby, why am I grieving?
In Weba (Women Exploited by Abortion) I finally found women who didn't tell me I had "made the best decision at the time." They understood my struggle with denial and allowed me to express my feelings by saying, "I can't believe I killed my babies."
For women who say that they don't regret killing their babies, I say, "Wait." It took me five years to break through the stage of denial.
If there is grief, there was death.
If there was death, there was life.