Elizabeth Wurtzel is a graduate of Yale Law School, journalist and author of the best-selling Prozac Nation. In a recent column in The Atlantic Wurtzel shares the joys of a successful modern woman who is free to choose career over children and enjoy the pleasure of multiple male sexual partners. I originally came upon this piece on Rod Dreher’s excellent blog over at American Conservative. Rod and others rightly point to the narcissistic spirit of her little personal manifesto.
But is there is something darker lurking beneath her casual and seemingly self-centered musings? :
I went to a party in Williamsburg, where I definitely do not live, and was 50 percent older than anyone else. When I told a gentleman that I am 45, he was shocked. He wondered what I know that Ponce de Leon did not. Mainly it is a refusal to be a grown-up…I have never been married, which has spared me the unhappiness of that, and the misery of a divorce. Or two. Or three. I don’t have kids…Evasion and avoidance are hallmarks of youth…I have been very promiscuous, sometimes with men I get to know better and sometimes with men I never see again, but the pleasure is mine. I did too many drugs until enough was enough, but I would not have missed it for all the drugs I haven’t done since…
Much of my professional life as a Licensed Social Worker has involved an immersion in the area of post abortion studies and practice. But the finest education on this subject won’t be found in any psychology graduate program. It is best accomplished by entering the lives of those who have experienced the procedure. Serving as a co founder and therapist with Rachel’s Vineyard Ministries I have listened to countless life stories of those who have been intimately connected to an abortion decision and procedure.
So when I read Wurtzel’s column, I quickly thought…there’s a good chance she’s had an abortion…probably more than one.
What are some of the clues in her story? A refusal to be a grown-up; a fear of commitment and children; promiscuity; drug abuse to name of few.
Some read Wurtzel and think…narcissist. Those of us in abortion recovery programs think…abortion and likely other abuse and losses in her life. This is a woman in need of a healing of that complicated grief and loss usually deeply repressed after the procedure.
As it turns out there appears to be at least one abortion in Wurtzel’s past. She publicly shares about it in her book More, Now, and Again: A Memoir of Addiction Wurtzel writes of her difficult experience of abortion, and reflects after the procedure of the challenges of being an independent highly accomplished career woman and yet also struggling with emotional vulnerability and dependence. She concludes in that section on her abortion:
That’s why I do drugs: they fill the lacuna between who I am and who I want to be; what I think and what I feel. (Page 298 A Memoir of Addiction)
That division in her identity, in her thoughts and feeling reflects a deeper wound that lies in her heart and soul… the Forbidden Grief of abortion. But for a woman who has embraced modern feminism, and one of its core tenets abortion rights, it is very difficult to find friends or colleagues to sympathize with this very intimate experience of loss and help you sort through the feelings and symptoms that are common after the procedure.
So it’s not surprising to read in Wurtzel’s memoir of drug abuse and failed relationships after her abortion and the transition over time to a childless, promiscuous lifestyle in her Atlantic piece. Sadly, this is often a predictable progression reflecting some common themes of women and men struggling to come to terms with abortion loss.
Her article suggests on the surface that she has made peace with her life and proclaims liberation from typical female convention. An added bonus…as a result of her choices she continues to reflect the beauty and vibrancy of youth!
But those of us in post abortion ministry neither celebrate nor condemn Wurtzel’s life. We would invite her to visit the Silent No More Awareness Campaign and listen to the stories of other women and men who lost children to abortion. As she hears their stories she will likely begin to connect some of her actions, behaviors, addictions and relationships to her own abortion loss. Most importantly, she can listen to their messages of hope and healing.
Perhaps Elizabeth Wurtzel may then discover that quiet voice in her own heart that yearns for the peace that only God can provide.