A is for … abortion

I know. I’m writing about a taboo subject, and it’s bound to polarise opinions. When have you known me to shy away from a contentious issue? Let me be clear that this isn’t an invitation to tell me how wrong you think I am. It’s an invitation to read my perspective. You may agree, you may not.

In case you’re new here, let me be upfront; I’m decidedly pro-choice. Which means exactly what the words say, pro choice. I’m all for a woman’s right to choose the path that’s right for her, with regard to her body, in her life, in that moment. If she chooses to see a pregnancy through to birth, then I support her right to do that safely. Equally, if a woman chooses to terminate a pregnancy, I trust that she is clever enough and knows herself well enough to know this is the right decision for her, and I support her so she can take safe, healthful measures. A woman’s reasons for making the decision she makes, are none of my business.

I’ve had three D&Cs in my life. Two to terminate pregnancies, and the third because perimenopause is the special surprise gift that nobody warns you about (wait till we get to P in this blogging challenge!). The first two abortions were roughly fifteen years apart (you can read about the first one here), but time didn’t dull the effect.

When I had my first D&C, I was 28, my father had recently died, and that was my first pregnancy. The loss and guilt has never left me. I don’t regret the decision I made. Not even a little. It was the right decision for me, at that time. But people are complex and contain emotions in contradictory multitudes. I live with the absolute certainty that it was the right decision, and also the swirling of self doubt and deep, devastating loss.

Nearly fifteen years and two gorgeous kids after that termination, I had my second D&C. It was the same year my aunt died of cancer, and one of my brothers had enormous, aggressive medical issues of his own.

As medical procedures go, a D&C is fairly short and straight forward. As medical procedures go, it can be a harrowing ordeal that leaves you feeling hollow, lost, guilty (for all kinds of reasons), and can trigger depression.

When I was in my twenties, counselling after a D&C was assumed by the clinic. In my forties, counselling was assumed by me.

It’s different for everyone, of course. Not everybody feels torn asunder by the decision, but it’s still a loss. It’s a loss that’s rarely recognised. A loss that is more likely to be met with recriminations, judgement, and forcefully voiced opinions, than with sympathy and gentleness. It’s a loss that many women never talk of, that they tuck into the darkest corners of their hearts, that they try not to think about every again. It’s a loss that’s compounded by never being shared, by associations with social shame and inadequacy, that’s tied inexorably to judgements of women as mothers.

So this is my call for gentleness, my reminder that the termination of a pregnancy is a loss. Whatever your position on abortions, ask yourself if you’re coming from a position of kindness before you decide whether or not to tell someone what you think. Women are subject to enough judgement without adding to that.


37 Comments on “A is for … abortion”

  1. You know why I love you Asha and why I love this post. You know. Just, thank you. For always being exactly you. Honest, raw, sensitive and open. Never change, my friend.

  2. This post is profound! I didn’t think about it from an emotional prospect of the woman very much before. I am absolutely pro-choice and now I realize that this controversial topic of pro choice and anti choice makes the person who is concerned and in that situation must be going through a lot already… The judgment and taboo just make their situation worse.
    Best Wishes!

    • I’m so pleased you see what I was saying! That’s exactly it. Why burden someone who’s already so weighted by emotions even further? Thanks for reading and connecting.

  3. Loved the honesty in this post Asha. I read about your previous post on your losses, and found that most powerful and profound.

    With due respect to the grief you shared, I cannot help but marvel at the expression of emotions you were going through.

  4. So very true and honest, Asha. Abortion is a decision which has so much guilt attached to it. Like you l am pro choice. And Perimenopause, tell me about it. I am struggling with it and recently felt bold enough to write a post on it.

    • Oh my goodness, Rachna! Perimenopause was sent by the devil himself. I have so much to say about it. I promise to get around to a post soon.

  5. This is an honest and bold opening to your door of emotions. When I went through my divorce, again such a taboo topic in our society, I carried the burden of being judged. Till I learnt to drop all the baggage and felt liberated. Thats when I decided to blog on it, be open about what I felt. Any form of loss takes a lot out of us. I can feel your pain. Good to visit here. Be you.

    • Thank you! That’s such an important and insightful point about dropping the baggage. So true. We carry around other people’s expectations in addition to our own, and it all weights us down. Thank you for stopping by!

  6. Refreshing to read such an honest post! For the record, we hold the same views about abortion. I’ve never actually needed one, so can only imagine what an agonizing decision and aftermath that must be.

    • Thank you for your kind words! It always makes me immeasurably happy when I see women supporting other women. The sisterhood needs us!

  7. Wow, no kidding re kicking off with a controversial issue, and no comment from me in that issue seems appropriate. Good luck with the challenge.

  8. Two days before I had a heated conversation about the same with a group of friends of mine. We were discussing whether it’s right for a rape survivor to choose abortion if that’s what she wants. And yes, I know that people have different perspectives, but couldn’t digest the firmness with which some said that, Nomatter what, one can’t do an abortion, even when the woman have to go through terrible mental issues or acceptances or anything. Can’t understand why people have to go so judgmental. Divorce, abortion all these are taboos. One doesn’t have the freedom to chose without been judged.

    • Thanks so much for reading and commenting! You make an excellent point about not having the freedom to choose without being judged.

  9. It is such a brave post! I don’t much about D&C but abortions I feel is one’s choice and one should not be treated with guilt or cuss behavior! Anyway, the person is dying of guilt because of the act!
    It was quite insightful!


    • Thank you for reading and commenting! It is indeed a contentious issue, and one that tends to polarise views. There’s so much to unpack here, no?

  10. I’m blown away by this post. As a pro-choice woman myself, I have always maintained that this is a subject that needs to be talked about more, to let women know they can reach out if they wish to, to help them cope, to give them a safe environment and access to the procedure. A woman knows what’s best for her, and no one else should be the judge of that or make these decisions for her.
    Thank you for sharing this.

  11. I am also pro-choice, have had one D&C too, my first pregnancy. Now I have a daughter.
    I guess the taboo around it needs to go.

  12. I enjoyed reading this very much. I went through a D& C 6 months ago, I wrote about it on my blog, it is such a touchy subject that as women we should’t be ashamed to talk about.

  13. I really enjoyed your post! I am also pro choice. Pro choice in the fact that everyone has the right to chose, but personally I would never be able to understand being about to have an abortion. But even though I have those feelings, I still understand that if a women wants to have an abortion then thats her choice. Just not a choice I would make.

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