Two weeks ago I traveled to San Francisco to participate in the Walk for Life West Coast. Being part of the Silent No More Awareness Campaign meant I’d be making lots of new friends and together we’d be sharing our stories with 50,000 people. Hopefully I’d sell enough copies of LOVE WILL to cover expenses, and perhaps, just perhaps – I’d find some gluten-free sourdough bread.
A few weeks before the event, news began coming out about the Woman’s March being held the same day along the same route in San Francisco. When I first learned about the timing of both marches, I was excited because anywhere there are women is a great place to share the message of Silent No More.
The morning of the marches I joined several of my fellow Silent No More peeps to have breakfast and plan our day. We decided that after the Walk for Life, we’d catch an Uber ride to the starting point of the Women’s March and stand together on the side holding our “I regret my abortion” and “I regret lost fatherhood” signs. In case you’re wondering why we would insert ourselves into a setting where it was made very clear that we weren’t welcome.
Many times – I’ve held my “I regret my abortion” sign in a public place while receiving a few thumbs up and a whole lot of another finger in the air. It’s worth the harassment because nearly always – there will be an email, phone call or some other form of contact that occurs later.
Someone considering abortion who has questions, someone who wants to know how to help a friend who just had one and seems dead inside, or a mentally ill woman who needs to be
sheltered from a government agency because she doesn’t want to get an abortion.
That last one sounds like a great plot for a book. One that is ALL fiction of course.
The March For Life
After serving in the Abortion Healing Ministry for 18 years, words cannot describe how it felt to join fifty thousand people behind this banner. We walked through several blocks of people taunting us, making angry gestures, and playing very loud altered scripture. Right next to me was a man who must have been in his early eighties using a walker to make the 1 1/2 mile journey. He said he does it every year.
After a short rest, we split into two groups and headed back to the city center. The streets were extremely crowded so the Uber driver had to let us out a few blocks from our intended location. It was difficult to stay together as we wove through the crowds. I had my rolling suitcase with a few remaining books inside, because of this I was the first one to get separated from the group.
I tried to get away from the most crowded part, but then became disoriented and traveled several blocks in the wrong direction. My phone battery died, it was now dark and raining heavily, and I was breaking the promise I’d made to my husband to never be alone.
I found refuge in a restaurant, charged my phone and was able to get a rough idea of the direction I needed to go to reunite with my group. Several times I ended up back in the march which seemed to be going in a circle around the center of the city rather than on the staked out route.
I couldn’t help but notice the contrast between the two groups. Earlier I had been surrounded by the same number of people – but the air was full of love of life and compassion for those who had not chosen it.
Now I felt overwhelmed, grateful that I didn’t have my sign with me, and frightened of the mob mentality that seemed fueled by anger. There was this sense in the air that at any moment – chaos and violence were going to erupt.
Ironically I spent more time in this event than I did in the one I’d come for. The two groups were never able to connect, my group got scattered and only two ended up standing with their signs. My concern for safety was not unfounded as told by Irene.
We were accidentally trapped in the middle of the protest … at one point we had to try and hide the “I Regret My Abortion” signs because we feared for our safety. Two women were physical with us, we were cussed at and told nasty things (ex. Thank you for aborting your child). We smiled gently and just said “I Love You, so please Love Me Back”. So many were consumed with hate and had zero tolerance for us.
I attended two very different marches in one day. My original intent was to post as the day unfolded, but to be honest with you, it’s best that I took this time to retreat, do some processing, and work things out in my impossible to shut off mind.
It’s my opinion that what we saw at the women’s march was a blatant demonstration of disenfranchised grief and repressed anger.
When a person experiences a secret sorrow that cannot be shared or confronted, this is called “disenfranchised.” The term disenfranchised means to be denied the freedom or license to do something. In this case, it means being denied permission to openly display one’s grief. - From the book Forbidden Grief: the unspoken pain of abortion.
I believe it’s impossible to separate the well being of a female from that of her offspring. If one chooses – or is forced – to end the life of their offspring – a part of her is either damaged or has to be turned off in order to survive. Often times this changes how we view motherhood and our own femininity, how we bond with future children, and how we view men.
The first stage of the grieving process is denial.
We can spend months, years, or a whole lifetime unable to face our grief . The short term solution is to bury the emotions and convince ourselves that they don’t exist.
“Buried emotions are like rejected people; they make us pay a high price for having rejected them.” – Rev. John Powell
The price I paid was 17 years of nightmares, flashbacks, eating issues, anxiety attacks, inability to bond with my children, inability to trust my future husband or my parenting decisions. I knew I had problems but everything I heard about abortion was that it was empowering, so I couldn’t make the connection. I’m not the only one.
When a a more socially acceptable loss is experienced, and one is able to grieve, it can become like a small leak that turns into an eventual breaking of a dam as the repressed emotions are released.
The second stage of the grieving process is anger.
In the case of the woman who got kicked off her plane following a political dispute shown in this video, she even states that they have just been to her mother-in-law's funeral. The man she was seated next to, did not join with her in disparaging the results of the election. I think she projected her feelings toward T – or all men in general, onto him. (Disclaimer. This is simply my opinion. I am in no way claiming she had an abortion, I’m just stating she was displaying what appears to be the release of repressed grief)
I believe a large group of women are suffering from disenfranchised post abortion grief and are releasing repressed anger. T is a likely trigger as his public persona represents many of the reasons women find themselves in the perceived trap of an unplanned pregnancy.
How do you feel about how abortion impacts grief? Do you feel that women (and men) are triggered by their abortion? I welcome civil replies even if they are in disagreement with my opinion.