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my view from the prison of a SICLE (Self-Imposed Child Loss Experience) due to debilitating maternal disease
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:: Thursday, February 05, 2004 ::

Well, I haven't been able to comment on it until now, but a little time has passed since "Black Friday", and I want to talk about what happened.

I got a phone call on the 7th anniversary of my SICLE. The woman on the other end is working on a massive truth campaign relating to abortion. I am working on a similar effort and so we are in contact. She's a nice gal, and I so appreciate what she is doing for women, children and families, but... she's clueless on some fronts.

You know how... verbal, literal and adamant I am about certain things. Touchy you might even call it. This poor gal made the mistake of referring to women with SICLEs as "those women". I am not mature enough yet to let that sort of thing go all the time.

"I am one of 'those women'," I reminded her. It is possible to hear someone blush over the phone. Embarrassed, she apologized and said, "I'm not used to talking to women who have had abortions."

"First of all, I didn't 'have' an abortion. I lost a child in one," I said. (It was the sanguine death anniversary of my child; gimmie a break.) Of course, she didn't understand. "You see," I continued, "I've 'had' a hamburger, I've 'had' an appendectomy, but I lost a child in an abortion." Annoyed, she reminded me that common terminology is "had an abortion". I explained that I don't like the term, because it sterilizes abortion, cleaning it up into a neat little package of surgical procedure and the abortion industry doesn't need our help in that area. I explained that a woman loses much more than she gains by aborting her child and the focus should be on loss: the child's loss and the mother's loss.

PEOPLE NEVER UNDERSTAND ME when I get on my soap box re: the language of "had an abortion". They think I'm just trying to be difficult. There are just some things I refuse to accept - like the neatness, the tidyness of "I had an abortion." I'm a stickler when it comes to this. Which embodies the true situation more? "I had an abortion," or "I lost a child in an abortion,"? Accuracy doesn't cost much; It's only three more words to say it right.

I also informed my new friend that she had plenty experience talking to "those women". "You talk to them all the time," I insisted. "You just don't know it." She acknowledged that it was probably true and told me of a woman she met at a store who just blurted out that she'd had an abortion. "There are healing programs that help you go through the grieving process," she consoled the lady. So tidy, so easy, so trite. Sigh. Could I excuse her? No, I could not. It was "Black Friday".

"Let me ask you something," I said. "Have you ever lost a child?" Of course she hadn't. She even told me, "I can't even talk about this subject, because I don't even want to imagine it." I pressed her. "You don't want to imagine it?" She answered, "No, because it's just too painful to think about." I asked her how she might heal from such a loss if she couldn't even think about it. She admitted that such a loss might be the one thing in life that would devastate her, that she might not be able to heal from. And I said, "But yet you tell a woman in a department store that she can just join a "healing" program." Defensively she replied, "I didn't say it was easy; it's a process." I wanted to know when the process ended. Because you see, to me, the concept of "process" infers stages of beginning, middle and end. Healing, to me, infers reaching a point where one is "all better". "It's a process," one who never lost a child reiterated.

She then launched into an anecdote about some neighbors who lost two children in a car wreck umpteen years ago and how the mother of those children still lives and laughs. "But I'd be willing to bet there are some times when she still cries about it," she perceptively guessed. "Then she hasn't truly 'healed' from the loss of her two children," I shot back. "Well," she explained, "She's not a Christian."

Oh boy. I wanted to know how loving Jesus makes one love one's children any less than someone who doesn't love Jesus. I demanded to know why she expected Jesus to heal the pain of abortion 100% of the time when He doesn't always grant healing to every other pain on this earth. Poor woman. She just wasn't prepared. "Well, we've got to give 'them' hope," she said. While it was a good comeback, it still left me unsatisfied. We should call it what it is: "help" or "comfort" but not "healing".

Stumpy went through physical therapy, but he never got his arm back, and I'll never get my child back. He's without an arm, I'm without a child. We press on, but there never comes a day when it doesn't just suck.

As some of you know, my ex-step mom lost her only child on Thanksgiving night recently. He was 37 and she lost him legitimately. In other words, no one denied he was a person and she had nothing to do with it. No one has suggested to her that she "heal" from his death. No one would dare. It would be like a slap in the face. How the heck do you do that? When do you ever wake up and not love and miss your kid anymore? She attends groups, but no one calls them "healing" groups. It would totally trivialize and invalidate the whole concept of mother-child love and the profound grief that a mother feels when a child dies.

My God, my God! Is that what it is? That must be it! This woman on the phone with me must be one of the elitists! We, "those women", do not merit the kind of legitimate, validating compassion that my ex-step mom receives because others do not believe, can not conceive, can not fathom that a mother could have an evolved mother-child bond and abort. It's just as my mother-in-law said when she knocked me over with her reason for not stepping in:

"I didn't think you could actually do it."

I was underestimated. Or OVERestimated it seems. She knew I loved my child and had tried desperately to have him/her, but I simply did not know how to cope with my physical illness and, for a short time, I lost some very important cognitive ability. I killed my child to end months of what seemed at the time like unbearable physical suffering and disability. My mother-in-law didn't know. She didn't know that I was one of "those women".

"Those women" exist on a lower level than women who haven't SICLEs. It doesn't matter what our circumstances were; we are just teat-dragging vestiges, a few genes away from understanding the tremendous bonds of legitimate mother-child love, the kind of love you don't heal from when broken by death.

One well-respected forerunner in the "healing" movement, a person who developed an entire "healing" program once told me that she knew instinictively that if she ever lost one of her own children she would never heal from it.


How could she make such a hypocritical statement? Could it be that she applies different standards to women with SICLEs? It's easy for dopes to heal from guilt and their sack-sorry idea of "love", but legitimate moms don't heal and it's preposterous, unthinkable to suggest that they ever could. What? The condescension is undeniable.

It riles me up when SICLEless women start dabbling in the "healing" processes of women who have lived through killing their own children. It would be like a twenty-four-year-old businessman going to counsel Vietnam Vets, telling them how they can go through a weekend retreat and "heal" from the hell of war. Sheesh, it makes me livid!!!

Anyway, the gal on the phone said the subject was too heavy to discuss anymore and graciously admitted that she didn't feel confident about anything she was saying to me. I appreciated that. I hope she thinks about our conversation the next time she has the urge to pass out a Hallmark card to a stranger in a department store. Instead, our conversation will just probably confirm everything she has suspected all along about "those women".

:: ashli 11:40 AM # ::

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