I am not ashamed

20190518_183614_0000.pngThe topic of abortion and women’s reproductive systems has been a headline topic quite recently.  Lots of politics surround this topic lately and I tend to steer clear of politics.  I don’t know much about politics, laws, government and that sort of thing, so I don’t normally feel “qualified” enough to discuss.  Not to mention that I almost never have a cut and dry opinion about topics and the fear of not having enough knowledge keeps me quiet.

However this topic is not at all political to me.  The topic of abortion runs deep in my soul and writing about it has just been eating away at me.  It is personal and I am not ashamed.

This topic is a sensitive one.  It gets people riled up and is highly controversial.  It is not a topic that many women want to discuss and men get “iffy” about whether or not they should discuss it.  But, since I am comfortable talking about myself and things that I have experienced, I am going to touch briefly on my experience with abortion.

Let’s get right to the point here.  I have had an abortion and I AM NOT ASHAMED!  Does this mean that I am proud of my decision? Not necessarily- it just means that I am not ashamed and that I am confident enough with myself to not hide behind it or to lie about my experience.

Please make sure that while you are reading this, you are truly reading the words and not just reading INTO them.  I do not feel that every woman that has had an abortion should share their story or feel like they must divulge the information at all.  This is a personal matter and not one that someone must feel obligated to share.

And please remember as you read, that I can only share about my experience, not anyone else’s.  I have come to terms with decisions that I made.  I am at a point in my life where the more open and honest that I am, the freer I feel.  I also understand that many people reading this right now, that know me personally and haven’t read some of my other blog posts, may not have realized that I have had an abortion before.  Some of these people are my family— my cousins, aunts, uncles, brothers in law, sisters in law, extended family of my husband.  Some of these people may be friends of my children, parents of friends of my children, friends of mine, coworkers, acquaintances, etc.  There are people that may read this that may change their opinion of me, be angry, and judge.  And that is their right.   And I will respect it fully.

With a situation so sensitive, it only seems right that people have such strong opinions about it. It makes sense.  The belief that it is murder, the belief that it is wrong, the belief that it is a woman’s right, the belief that it is the governments choice. These are all very real beliefs and opinions that are bound to cause some drama.

I am not looking to cause drama, but am aware writing about it may do so.  As a 19 year old, I found myself in a position where I felt confused and scared.  Not confused about how I got pregnant, not confused about who the father was, but just confused.  Scared about what to do next and scared about what may come in the future.  Getting pregnant is the easy part.  And to many, the moment of conception means that your future is already determined- you will be a mother.

I didn’t feel that way.  I had a choice.  I did not make the choice lightly, and I struggled for a little bit.  Especially when I went to the doctor the first time thinking that the procedure would be done and they told me that I was too early and I would need to come back.  I then, had to make a choice again.  To come back and go through with the procedure a week later.  I remember that at this point in my life, I honestly never wanted to have kids. I was on birth control, although I had clearly missed some pills her and ther, and had only recently lost my virginity. I made the choice to return and then experience what comes after.  Many people reading this (if they have continued to read this far) are probably expecting me to now right about the guilt and shame that I felt after.  I can’t give that answer though.  I don’t remember exactly what I felt right after.  I know it was Valentine’s Day, a Thursday or Friday, and I was tired.  I bled and cramped like they said I would after and then went back to UCONN the Monday following. I didn’t talk about it with anyone and just continued to live my life.

It wasn’t until my mother called me at work one day after an ex of my “boyfriend” at the time had called her and told her what I had done that I thought about it again.  And in the moment of talking to my mother, I am pretty sure what I felt was shame.  Shame for making a decision that seemed to disappoint so many people, shame for being secretive, shame for doing something so controversial.  My mom wasn’t happy- and I think it is because it is not necessarily a decision that she would have liked me to make.  And yet, I know my mother believes in the right to choose.

This is something that I feel is important to note because many people feel that just because you believe in the right to choose, that this means that you would automatically have an abortion.  And I KNOW that this is not true for everyone.  I know that I believe in the right to choose and I have made the choice to terminate a pregnancy.  I know that I believe int he right to choose, but I have no idea what choice I would want my own daughters to make if they felt they were at a crossroads.  I do not know if choosing to have an abortion would be something I encourage, but I can tell you that I pray that I would have the ability to support them in whatever decision they made.  I cannot tell you what my advice would be to my son if he and a female found themselves in a situation that they were unsure about about other than that I hope he is just willing to support whatever decision that young woman chooses for herself.  I feel that conversations would need to be had, but the ultimately the decision would be on the person with a missed period,  peeing in cup, or on a stick.  I know that I chose to have an abortion, but I also chose to have 3 amazing children. I know people are pissed by my words.  I understand the anger that people feel surrounding this.  I truly do.  I am very close to people that I have shaken their finger at me and spoken their beliefs and scolded me for the choice I made.  I also know that some of these very same people came to a point in their lives where they felt that needed to make a choice and they chose the same path I did that Valentine’s Day.  And maybe they wish that the choice wasn’t an option because they feel shame and guilt and I understand that also.  And I also know some of these same people that would never even consider it an option regardless of having the right to choose or not.

Ultimately- this topic makes us go around and around.  It is wrong. It is right.  It is murder. It isn’t murder. You are selfish. You are not selfish.  You don’t care about human life.  You care enough to think it through. You are a slut. You know how this happens, be mature enough to live with the consequences. Don’t sleep around. My body, my choice. Pro-life. Pro-choice. F*** your abortion ban. People who abort are criminals.  It should be a choice if you are raped. It doesn’t matter how you became pregnant, a baby is a life. The battle words are endless.

I don’t think for one minute that these conversations should fade. I DO think that we need to respect one another. We don’t need to understand where someone else is coming from, but we need to understand that people are allowed to think differently than us.  I think the issue is far greater than females versus male, religion versus non religion, entitled white rich humans versus everyone else.

I do believe that we must understand that just because someone believes in a woman’s right to choose does not mean that they will automatically choose themselves to get an abortion with their next pregnancy.  I do believe that this topic is so extremely sensitive that the shame surrounding it causes many mental health issues among women.  I do believe that some people use abortions as a form of birth control, I mean, many people would feel that that is exactly what I did and maybe they are right. I do believe that this subject will be one that causes us to fight one another for a very long while if not forever. I do believe that abortion bans will NOT stop abortions, they will only make them more secretive and very dangerous.  I do believe that abortion bans will decrease the amount of abortions being done that are public knowledge.  I do know that just because abortions are legal in many places that not all ob/gyn providers will perform them and not all ob/gyn nurses and anesthesiologists will scrub in for them.

Again, I don’t write a single one of these words to downplay anyone’s opinion surrounding this issue.  I write them for the complete opposite reason actually.  I write them for those people that have such strong opinions regardless of what side they are on.  I write these words as a safe place for people on both sides. I write them for people to feel comfortable sharing their opinions. I write them for those that are so full of judgement, because I know there are many.  I write them for the scared who feel they have no choice.  I write them to be read, to be thought about, to be responded to.

This issue is sensitive. This issue is personal. This issue was mine once and will continue to be mine while I raise young women and a young man and they go one to grow their families if they so choose.  This issue is scary.  This issue is deep.

But I write about  it because it needs to be addressed- over and over and over again.  It isn’t just going to go away.  Rules are changing, laws are being made, rights are being taken away. People are angry. People are scared. This is huge. And while I will never have to make the choice for myself again, I am so very grateful that when I found myself scared and confused, that I had the ability to make the choice. The choice I made didn’t necessarily take away the fear or the confusion, but it gave me options that I am confident would have been different had I not had the ability to choose. And yes- I chose to have an abortion and I am not ashamed.

MRC

Dear Michelle,

20190320_122634.jpg**Let’s take a peek into a letter that I wish I could have received from future self when I was 19/20, pregnant and scared as all hell!**

Dear Michelle,

Oh dear, I hope that you are doing okay as you read this letter. At 19/20, pregnant, and scared… there are not many words that I know that can ease any worries, however, being your future self at 36– let me talk to you for a minute.

Things are about to get super real and you need to hear some things that you are not going to like. You and your baby’s father are over. You are done, no longer together.  This will feel like the end of world, but believe me when I tell you it is not. It is the best thing ever. Him walking away will save your life. SAVE YOUR LIFE!!  I can tell you a million times over that this will leave you broken, but you will NOT stay that way. There will be a piece of you that he takes with him forever, but you will not need it because in the end you will receive something even better.  So allow yourself to break down and collapse, it is not the end girl- you are truly at the very beginning. In fact, let’s talk about what is about to happen.

This pregnancy is going to suck. You will be tested in ways far beyond what you have seen and you will surpass each and every test. But listen to me girl- You are a f****** warrior! This pregnancy and experience could seriously break you down to nothing- however, you will not let it. You will cry, scream, yell, hide your feelings, feel as lonely as ever but will come out of this stronger than ever. You will lose friends and will piss people off because of some of the decision you will make, but trust me- it won’t matter.  First- you will experience some things throughout your this pregnancy that will cause some danger to both yourself and your baby. Stay calm, there are some people who are going to want to see you at worst and are going to try to make that happen.. and you WILL let it happen and will hate yourself for it, but again- keep moving forward. I still cannot tell you what made you decide to keep this pregnancy as opposed to terminate as you had done before but I think you made the perfect choice and on June 27th, 2003 you are going to give birth NATURALLY and CALMLY to one of the best individuals ever and it will be THE MOST POWERFUL moment of your life. And I mean that with all of my soul. I mean- trust me- it has been over 15 years and that precious child is a damn rock star human being!!!!

One of the other things that I want to talk to you about is your self-doubt and your  lack of confidence. I know that people think that you are the most confident and outgoing person of life. I also know that these thoughts about you is so freaking far from the truth. I know that you currently sit in your room alone scared to death of the life you are going to bring into this world. I know that while you are sitting there you have cried buckets of tears because you are nowhere near where you thought you would be. You never made it to NYU-nope. You never moved to New York and chopped your hair off-nope. You aren’t on your way to become a criminal psychologist- nope. You dropped out of college- yup. You passed on an opportunity to move to Chicago and start over and have no idea why- yup. You feel like your parents are so disappointed in you- yup, they probably are. You feel like you are alone and I stress that because this is going to follow you, but you will embrace the “alone” differently as you age.

I will tell you that over the next 16 years or so those same feelings and thoughts will continue to be ever.  You are going to still feel that self-doubt and have that lack of confidence. What I am going to say is that you are going to come so far.  But let me tell you about some of your feelings.  By the time you turn 36 you still won’t be where you thought you should be… your entire life will have changed. You will decide not to reenlist in the military. You will get married at 24, have 2 more super amazing kids before turning 30, live on your own, live with your husband’s parents, and then purchase your own home at 28.  These are all big events and you survive them all. Not all of them are easy but they have all been worth it.  You will haven’t made it to NYU, but your oldest daughter hopes to go to a school connected with NYU for dance. You did chop off your hair after you turned 36 because by then you were finally brave enough and confident enough to not give a shit about what anyone else thought.  You go back to college a couple of times and are currently active in school hoping to receive your Bachelor’s in Criminal Psychology by the time you reach 38.  You still never went to Chicago and that desire and want is since faded.

So, no I cannot tell you what life would have been like if those things worked out different, but I can tell you how life has been.

It has been a roller coaster. You are on a “never-ending” journey of self-love and you are really working your ass off.  You struggle with being a mom, and know there is a shit ton of room from improvement- but have finally understood that parenting is a challenge. And while it was originally never in the cards for you, it is probably one of the reasons why you are not homeless and addicted to drugs.  You are thankful for each one of your kids and the special gifts you bring to your family. Your husband and you have ALWAYS had to work double hard to maintain your relationship- but neither one of you has yet to give up.

You are resilient, loving, empathetic, kind, sensitive, and a bad ass all rolled into one.  You can’t stand people just as strongly as you love them.  And this is all because of the person you are right now as you read this letter.

DO NOT GIVE UP! KEEP MOVING FORWARD! KEEP DOING THE HARD THINGS! Write as much as you possibly can. Talk to anyone that you can. Continue to build relationships with people. Do not be afraid to trust. Be honest and open and raw and real- even when it makes you or other people uncomfortable.

You got this Michelle!!!  Keep hanging in there… maybe one day when you are in your 50’s you can write a letter to your 36-year-old self…. I can only imagine what that letter will say….

In all things find beauty,

MRC

 

I love my kids, and yet….

God knows that I love my kids. I really do, I mean it.  And yet, which in reality is just my fancy way of writing BUT, yet sometimes I don’t like my kids or even want to be around them.  I know right now all of those perfect parents are out there thinking to themselves, “how on earth can she say those things, what kind of mother is she?”  I know people think that because people have said it to me.

Well, I feel that I am a normal mother. A real mother. A mother that isn’t afraid to speak the truth.  Maybe not a “typical” mother, but normal according to my definition of the word.  And that is all I care about.

I can honestly say that I am not one of those mothers that always misses my kids when they are away.  Sometimes, I am just so grateful that I have time to myself and don’t have to entertain anyone or fetch anyone some juice, snacks, lend a listening ear, etc.  Yup- sometimes I plain just don’t want them around.  And because of this “alone” time, I am also extremely grateful that my kids all have activities, friends, and family members that keep them busy and want to actually spend time with them.  I am one lucky lady.

Now my kids are amazing kids.  Pretty well behaved for the most part and extremely intelligent and self sufficient.  But nope, I still don’t always like them.  I have even caught myself resenting them at moments.  Yup– I am not afraid to admit that anymore. I also think that in the moments when I have felt that resentment, that it is probably best that I a, away from them for a moment. Don’t think that I wrote that I regret having my children.  I am so glad that I have each and every one of them.  They have each taught  me many different things about my life and brought a special something to our family dynamic.  With that being said, yes- I have thought about how different things may have turned out had I not had kids.

Please remember, that right out of high school, I had no intention of becoming a mom.  I never wanted kids and always wanted work to be my first priority.  Then reality set in.  I wanted to have sex, I made the not so smart decision of not being “on point” with my birth control, and then came child #1.  Fast forward a few years and I got married and then we decided to try to have a child and here comes child #2, Child #3 was not a surprise by any means (I’m not an idiot, I know how babies are made), but we weren’t exactly planning that child.

3 children was definitely the limit for me.  I know darn well that I would not be capable of handling anything more than what I have.. .even sometimes the 3 of them pose a challenge for me.  Maybe that is why I am not the super loving mom that society tells me I must be.  I am not the cuddling type.  I don’t eat after my children.  I certainly won’t kiss them on the mouth.  Yet – I do love my children and I try to show them in the best ways that I am able to.  I tell them that I love them at least once a day.  I make sure they have a place to live, food on the table, and even some extras at times.  I listen to them when they are telling me long, drawn out stories about things I have no interest in hearing about.  I help them wipe their butts when they need me to.  I stay up until the wee hours of the morning helping them straighten their hair for pictures and dance competitions.  I drive them to all of their activities and spend the majority of my money on things for them. I clean up after them.  I am the Secretary for their school’s PTO, help out at dance recitals, and let them pick out food while I am grocery shopping.  I wipe away tears when they are hurt (normally because I am the one that has upset them). Stand up for them when necessary.  I correct them when they do the wrong thing and I hold them responsible for anything they do- good or bad.  I will sit in silence with them when they have had a rough day and just need quiet time.  My ways of showing my kids love may not be conventional- but they are real.

So when you hear me saying I want time away or I need alone time, please just respect it.  It may not be your style.  You may not even approve.  And you are entitled to that.  Just know, I love my kids, and yet…