Around six years ago, a friend of mine already had a couple of kids (one of whom has William's syndrome) when she and her husband were surprised by an unplanned pregnancy. They decided to abort, and the opportunity for unplanned joy was replaced with a deep and lasting sadness. We met on an online message board in an AOL Women's Forum entitled "Abortion" for women who have aborted.
This board was rife with the usual disturbing sentiment found on boards of that nature, and any deviation from it meant insta-flame. Of course I deviated. When people told me "It was the best thing at the time," I argued. "NO IT WASN'T!" I'd say. "I could have done better!" Although that kind of thing was not welcome there, your mailbox would really fill up with the vilest vitriol imaginable if you talked about your baby. "I miss my baby," I would say. "I can't believe I had my child torn apart in a D&E! I just found out what a D&E is, and it's the worst thing imaginable and it happened to my baby! I just want to crawl under a rock and cry and cry forever." Boom, the mailbox would fill up with, "You're sick, you pathetic lunatic. Get some professional help and stop tormenting and judging everyone else on this board who has dealt with their abortion in a healthy manner." In the midst of the hate mail one sender wrote to commiserate: "I know how you feel." Paydirt.
What followed were years of emails based on the central theme that we slaughtered our kids (yeah, I said "slaughtered") and were so filled to the brim with grief and loss that we didn't have the energy to pretend that what occurred was only a neat little "termination". We couldn't even muster the usual "It really was the best we could do at the time." We were and are realists for whom such notions aren't good enough because of the nagging little fact that they are hollow and untrue. (Of course this isn't all we talk about. Our lush landscape of grief is dotted with exploding mines of imprecation for crap-selling shysters on eBay.) This girl is a rare bird, and while I am dreadfully sorry that she lost her child in an abortion, I thank God that I feel less alone at the bottom of this black and endless pit.
Now that I have introduced her, here's an excerpt from a recent email:
"I have abandoned everything. I just sort of shut off everything except breathing. I quit my hospital job of 10 years and let my education go to shit. I've been pretty much living this way for 3 years. No matter how much agony and suffering and pain, God is just not going to allow me to go back and redo. It just doesn't seem right. Finding out how proactive you've been just makes me feel like extra crap. Whilst you've been writing books and campaigning, I've been submissively tending to basic chores of life maintenance and letting everything else rot."
"If you feel like you should be doing something then do something. If you feel like "doing something" would kill you and ruin your family then just keep breathing. I don't feel special. I LOATHE the pro-life movement [half as much as I loathe the "pro-choice" movement]. I hate being active in it. I hate having this fight, because the more I learn about what is going on with abortion and laws the more it freaks me out. It's bad, bad, bad and changing anything is hard, hard, hard. That testifying stuff at the capitol messed me up for a couple of weeks too. My son suffered for that. It was awful. There he was at the capitol being forced to act like a 4-year-old 30-year-old, and when he got tired of sitting in the same room with the same toys and he started yelling, I left the trial, went outside and spanked him, and then went into the bathroom and fell apart realizing that here I was making my child pay for what I did to his sibling. It was an awful moment, and I vowed I would never put him in that particular situation again. Five seconds later I had to walk into a televised room full of people and spill my guts to abortion supporters who, like the old me, just didn't give one crap about me or any of my children - living or dead. I have to put up with a lot of pro-life BS too. Insensitive comments from people who have and have not aborted children. Being "proactive" isn't glamorous, and it may not even be all that healthy for me or my family. There are certain things that are very crucial to me, things I need to get done before I leave this earth. If I wasn't "proactive" I don't know what would become of me. I would just sit here wringing my hands with nothing to do about it, and eventually I'd start eyeballing my wrists. I think ultimately I do it to stay alive. Not everyone needs that.
Go back and read my post about being a slave. That's how I feel. I don't feel that I'm doing anything of my free will. I'd rather not be compelled to do it. I wish I had made a better choice, so I could be my old happy self and just "fight" for YOUR right to abort YOUR baby while I didn't know squat about it, didn't really care about you or your kid, secretly thought you were horrible and going to hell and continued to focus on important things like where my family is going to spend our happy annual vacation with no regrets keeping me up at night. Ahhhh, I miss that bastard life."
Though our circumstances differ, our feelings about our SICLEs are similar enough that we posses a certain synchronicity which enables us to understand one another without the usual lengthy explanations. We have long held the sad but true motto: "It's nice to have a friend in hell."