I got an email the other day from someone who I'm half-way certain was trying to be helpful. Evidently she somehow stumbled onto my hyperemesis website and read the account of what happened 7 years ago. Here are some soundbites from her email:
"I do not understand the condition that you had, but... I also don't know if I could have aborted."
"I think in your situation I would have demanded another doctor...or doctors before taking the step that you did."
"...you do not need to worry what others say. You have to live with yourself. God forgives you if you ask for His forgiveness and you are only responsible to HIM."
"...[children] are blessings."
I could be wrong, but I think that deep down inside most people who have not aborted look at women who have aborted with a mixture of pity and disdain. This includes even the ones, and maybe PARTICULARLY the ones, who make it their business to work with women who have lost children in abortion.
I've received tons of email in the past seven years and with the above type the general rule is to let me know that they would never do such a thing, to educate me on the subject of the value of a child and lastly to deign to tell me that God will forgive and heal me.
It's extremely condescending.
But I am not allowed to protest because the understanding is I'm a big baby-killing schmuck and I'm God-awfully lucky to have any amount of pity generously bestowed upon me.
In the year that it happened, I found myself in a group of women dealing with early miscarriages. I ended up there, because I was trying to find a place where I fit and I just did not fit anywhere, least of all the "post-abortion" groups.
The moms who miscarried heard my story and they all outwardly sympathized and assured me that I would find compassion there. Then I started getting the typical comments. "I would have done ANYTHING to have my baby." I might comment back, "That's very easy to say when you have normal pregnancies." Then 8 grieving moms would jump:
"We didn't kill our kids like you did."
"You don't belong here; We are grieving moms who didn't want our kids to die like you did. Our pain is real."
Blah, blah, blah.
(BTW, I later lost a child in a miscarriage. Though it was terribly sad it was NOTHING compared to abortion. Absolutely nothing. I remember thinking, "Good grief. THIS is what all the fuss was about on that board?")
Later I met a "passionate pro-lifer" who condemned not only the practice of abortion but also the "selfish" women who aborted. Assuming that I was not one of "those people" her venom dripped. She recounted that as a teen she became pregnant but refused to abort, therefore "God blessed me with a miscarriage." I.e., "Because I made a good choice God killed my baby for me." How touching and unselfish. On and on she droned. Lots of mention of God and what a Christian she was.
Finally, at the end of her spiel, I remarked that she was certainly quite "passionate" about the children (forget the women for whom she didn't give a rat's butt), and I asked her if she would be able to help with a certain anti-abortion truth campaign. She said she really believed in this particular effort. I gave her opportunities to help in big or small ways and her repeated response was, "I'll think about it." I asked several times and always she would think about it. The project came and went, and she, a very "passionate", very long-winded "pro-lifer" didn't lift one finger to help. She, like many, are very interested in opposing abortion in condemning tirades, but that is the extent of it. "I hate what they're doing to ya, kids, but you're on your own." How inspirational.
Although I'm skeptical of the "post-abortion healing" movement (and have never made a secret of that skepticism) exposure to too many "compassionate pro-lifers" really makes me better understand the need for efforts like Rachel's Vineyard. I've never been, but these "healing" retreats are probably one of the only places where moms with SICLEs are not used as doormats or as step-ladders for others who want to feel just a little bit taller themselves.
Outside of the "healing" culture there seems to be a sort of consensus that anyone who kills their child in an abortion is not only a tad on the malevolent side but invariably pretty stupid. Of this mentality, some of the worst offenders in my life have been self-professed Christians (including one who directs a crisis pregnancy center). A couple of minutes of commentary from them and I can fully understand why so many people are disgusted by the "Christian right".
I, however, am conscious enough to know that the problem is not with Christ but with people.
I lump these goofballs in with the people who support abortion for "womens' sake" but who verbally and emotionally assault women who are concerned enough to stand up and tell the world that they've been devastated by the SICLE.
I am learning to accept that the goofball mentality exists and am secure in the resolution that it is not valid. However, it still frustrates me, because it is oppressive and prevents much progress.