[VERSIÓN EN ESPAÑOL MAS ABAJO]
Have you been through an abortion? Through more than one? Was it done legally/illegally? What are your memories and feelings of such an experience?
Fifteen years ago I decided to have an abortion. While I never questioned my decision nor regretted it, it was one of the saddest days of my life. I realized then that there were many things in my life that I needed to change. I realized at 25, that I was not at the place in my life where I wanted to be in nor was I the person that I wanted to be. Heartbreaks and breakups followed, as well as therapy and dealing with various personal issues and traumas. Then I came to Brazil to do an artist residency and started doing therapy with a local therapist and we began working on a creative block together. We started talking about my creative process as a birthing process and we ended up talking about my abortion experience. I remembered that every year, around the same month when I had my abortion, I would get depressed. At first I didn't understand why but after several years I came to understand that my body did not forget what it had gone through: an entire day of bleeding uncontrollably, literally bleeding my insides out...and then it was 'done'. Everything had gone 'well'. I was very lucky to have had it in a country where abortions are legal and did not have to expose myself to dangerous or clandestine procedures. It was 'over', but I never really took the time to process that loss and sadness, I never buried anything, I never gave it a proper closure. I just wanted to forget everything, to go to sleep and not wake up again, as if forgetting about it I could pretend that nothing ever happened. I lived with this sadness by myself, not telling anyone about it. It was my secret. Once in a while I would mention it to a friend, but without going into too much detail. Then one day in São Paulo, my therapist told me how in the branch of Bioenergetic therapy she works with (Pathwork), every soul, no matter if it had been born or not, came to this world with a mission, and because of this we must honor the lives of unborn babies, and give them a place in our lives and family history. One way to do this is by writing a letter to the unborn baby, to explain to this soul why I had made that decision and why I did not go ahead with the pregnancy and give birth.
It was terrifying to be confronted with the idea of having to come to terms with that baby I decided not to have, but initial shock aside, I decided to do it and see what would come out of it. I found that honoring that experience and the soul that came to teach me about loss and who made me want to change my life around was not only beautiful but also liberating.
Sometimes we leave many loose ends behind without working them out, without accepting and understanding what happened to us and we just move one without giving them a second thought.
I invite all women who have experienced an abortion -whether induced or spontaneous- to share their stories in the form of a letter to their unborn child in order to come to terms with the often neglected feelings of loss that we go through in such an event and to begin a process of healing. For whatever circumstances we may have chosen to end our pregnancies, and even though we may or not regret our decisions, going through an abortion is an intense physical and emotional process which we override too often, sometimes risking our own lives and our own integrity, depending on the country we are in and whether it is legal or not. I invite each one of you to take a few minutes to think about your experience without shame nor guilt, but rather with acknowledgement and love for that being you chose not to bring to this world and for yourself. You may choose to share your story however you wish, under your own concepts and definitions of 'life' and 'soul', if any.
Your story will be shared anonymously with the rest of us women who have gone through this experience and will be part of my project How to heal your abortion. My wish is to create a space where we can share our experiences, because this is not something we must keep quiet about, because women must be the ones who deal with unwanted pregnancies and because there has been enough oppression on us women as it is in our patriarchal societies to continue oppressing ourselves as well.
This is a suggestion as to how you may heal your abortion:
How to heal the wound of an abortion
Give a name to the soul of your unborn baby.
(If you never knew the sex you can give it a unisex name)
Write a letter to your baby and explain why you could not have it.
Thank your unborn child for everything she/he taught you.
Take one of these seeds and plant it on the ground, next to a plant or tree,
so that your pain transforms into life.
Or put it on an altar in your house to honor that soul
and give it a place in your life.
Send the letter written to your baby,
to share your story with other women.
I will mail one