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Dear Jayne...

My decisions shouldn't carry your stigma.

Reading the six-words (and for many I say that lightly) left in the "Addressing America" challenge I found myself disturbed by what felt like a total lack of seriousness by so many. I am spoiled by the Six-Word community that I choose to call home and because of that I felt my blood pressure steadily increase as I went through the topics. I know I could have closed my browser but because I am a bit more of a statement maker (surprise!!) I decided that I would instead leave my six-word stance on abortion.

"My decisions shouldn't carry your stigma."

Might I go to hell for the decisions I made as a 19 year old? With a shrug and true humbleness I say, "It's possible." but my heart says otherwise. I promise you that the 41 year old woman I am today still thinks about that time as one of the defining moments of my life. I was an active Pro-Choice member (In fact had just been to a rally in Washington) certainly did not use abortion as everyday birth control, or even take the decision lightly.

I could go into detail and tell you that the day I found out I was pregnant I was elated and it was also the day I came home to my boyfriends key on the counter, a dear Jayne note, and the decision he was going to reunite with his wife he had been separated from. I could tell you that our relationship was complicated at best and that I have lost many moments of my life playing the "What If" game from the viewpoint of having had played by someone else's rules. I could also share that on my way into the clinic I was assaulted by a screaming woman shoving pamphlets of dead babies in my face telling me I was a murderer and that though I phoofed it off I have thought about her countless times in the years
passed but I won't because those things are inconsequential to the procedure I had done and the stigma it often carries.

For me today the abortion itself is a blur but the hurt that went along with it is not. I remember the cold loneliness and the emptiness that followed all too well and often thought that void was one that could never be filled. I moved on in my life, married and had another child, have known great love and am as fulfilled as much as a woman can be. Yet just a month ago, I found a small box that somehow had survived all these years by the luck of being forgotten at my Grandfather's and inside was an ultrasound picture...

My children both know of the decisions I made as a young woman and respect that I loved the father with all of my heart but are old enough to understand that sometimes love just isn't enough. I am lucky enough to have a relationship with God and I have asked for forgiveness, my relationship with him was never rekindled but I have prayed for forgiveness from him as well. Most importantly, I have asked for, and granted, forgiveness to myself.

As for the naysayers I leave them only with the following André Gide quote:
“It is better to be hated for what you are than to be loved for what you are not.”

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