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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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:: Friday, July 08, 2005 ::

Another response about the issue of comparing grief perspectives:

"Isn't it ironic that women like you are held up as an excuse for keeping abortion readily available -- everybody wants abortion to be there just in case some ailing woman "needs" it. But then when the ailing woman, in her darkest moment, succumbs to what she's been taught -- that this is there for her to help her -- she's treated like a pariah.

Ashli, you have every right to feel the same pain as baby Henry's mom. Your baby was taken from you by a horrible illness, to the point where you were HALLUCINATING!"

The people around you, who were supposed to show you another way, who were supposed to be the voice of reason and intellect while you were out of your mind, failed you. You know darned well that people's decision-making skills go to Hell in a handbasket when they're stressed. That's how abortionists stay in business in the first place! They capitalize on that! And you were way beyond stress into the realm of trauma. Serious debilitating trauma. Your body was
self-destructing all around you. Something primitive kicked in and you didn't know how to fight it. You'd been taught that it was WRONG to fight it, FUTILE to fight it.

Here in Korea, we get AFN, the American Forces Network, and they do a lot of features about how POWs endured torture and deprivation. It was because they'd been given the tools they needed! The Code of Conduct gave them something to cling to, gave them structure, gave meaning to their suffering. That was how they were able to endure. Because they knew they COULD endure. They'd been told that it could be done, and they were told how. They had a full toolbox.

But where was your toolbox? What were you supplied with before the HG to give you the tools you needed to get through it with your baby and your psyche intact? You were never given the tools in the first place. You were surrounded by the message that sick women need abortion, that it's heartless to come between an ailing woman and her abortion, that abortion is necessary for women's health and well being.

Just living in the US is enough to brainwash you into believing at some level that it must really BE necessary and okay. You were given rubber crutches and expected to walk on them. You were given a Fisher-Price tool kit and told to repair the Space Shuttle so it wouldn't burn up on reentry. Pick your metaphor. You were in way over your head, and that was not your fault. You had no way of forseeing it.

Now, you make it your business to hand other women toolboxes and fill those toolboxes with everything they'll need to get through. And that, my dear, is where your character shows through.

My mom beats the shit out of herself for not giving my brother an orange when he asked for it, because it was only fifteen minutes to suppertime. She told him to go play. He played with a rope in a tree and accidentally got strangled. She does the woulda coulda shoulda with herself. I did the woulda coulda shoulda with myself because I was in the yard with him when it happened. I woulda shoulda coulda gone in and told a grownup what was happening. But, human frailty being what it is, as a 2 1/2 year old child I didn't have the tools to recognize the peril and know what steps to take. Human frailty, Ashli. Mom woulda shoulda coulda given my brother the orange and he'd have been in the kitchen spoiling his supper instead of outside in the yard dying. I woulda shoulda coulda gone for a grown-up. And to me, expecting yourself to have been rational enough to have avoided the abortion table, given your circumstances, is about as reasonable as asking the two-year-old me to have recognized that Brother was in danger and run for Mom.

Oh, such a simple thing in retrospect! But damned near impossible when the thing is going down. There's a high cost of human frailty sometimes. I failed my brother. He's dead. I was an ordinary human two-year-old when he needed somebody who had more knowledge and experience than I had. Just like you were an ordinary Mom, and your baby needed somebody with way more knowledge and experience than you had. We fell short, we were just ordinary human beings with ordinary life experiences up to that point, and the death of a loved one was the result.

It hurts me to see you hold yourself to an inhuman standard. Later, when you had the tools, the knowledge and experience, you saw another baby through to birth. If you'd have had the tools, you'd have seen the first baby through, too. But you'd only learned what you needed to know to get though that pregnancy from having had the horrible, soul-crushing, devastating experience of the first pregnancy. It was no shortcoming in Ashli, other than Ashli being human. And sometimes being human sucks. You'll get no argument about that from me and my mom."

My response:

"Thanks so much for this. 99% of me accepts it. But there's still that damnable 1% that can't entirely swallow it, 1% that feels more culpable than that, and that 1% is somehow gargantuan.

Even so... your words bring me comfort. You make me feel like a better person than I actually am, and I am ever grateful. Ever, ever grateful."

:: ashli 1:40 PM # ::

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