The first woman to tell me she had an abortion was when I was fifteen. Her Mother made her get it. I told her ‘Maybe she didn’t want you to have that responsibility yet”.
That seemed to open up the door to hearing about others having abortions. Then women began to tell me about their abortions. I am 59 now, childless and scarred by all the turmoil around abortion. I became promiscuous after a sexualized childhood. I prided myself on knowing how not to get pregnant, but still have relations with men.
Abortion never happened to me, but I have felt the horror of sexual feelings without the blessing of getting pregnant. I think of the women who I have heard tell me about their abortions. They seem almost proud in some way – they have proof that they can conceive a child and can choose, sometimes, to have another one. One woman called her second child a “replacement” child for the one she aborted.
I tell women about Rachel’s Vineyard. I am not allowed to attend it by my pro life coordinator because I have not physically had an abortion. But my spirit it shattered all the same. Just listening to all the stories – too many to count now at age 59, of friends, family and acquaintances who have confided to me about their abortion. I am a diaphragm baby. My father told me at age 28 that I am a mistake. I told him I figured that out a long time ago. But the meaning of his thinking that way hurt me deeply. In the fifties in the Navy there was alcoholism, smoking and the new contraceptive devices like the diaphragm making for loaded sexual climate, with the free sex of the seventies following.
I was sexualized young – at age seven I had oral sex with my brother in front of my other brother and one other encounter with my brother later made me believe I was pregnant from ages nine until I got my period at age twelve.
Sexualization is just as devastating in a child as having an abortion in an adult.
I wish there were a real place to heal from sexual trauma even when it doesn’t involve abortion.