I’ve ended two pregnancies because of Cystic Fibrosis. We are still trying to welcome a child into our lives, through IVF. Over the last few years, I have written a lot. Now I feel I want to reach out more with my personal writing, maybe through a book, a blog or a web site.
Should I use my own name or a pseudonym? I don’t want to hide, but I don’t want the subject to be the decision we made, but the grief that we had to face because of it. That’s how I want to reach out to people.
Could you share some of your experiences with this web site? Do you hear from people who do not agree? Do they e-mail a lot? How do you moderate that or deal with that?
Yes, we have heard many times from people who don’t “agree” with ending a pregnancy following a medical diagnosis. Several have emailed us over the years to express varying levels of disagreement. We’ll answer them politely if they’re being reasonable, but if they come across with a lot of rage, we either ignore them or award them their very own snarky Q&A post.
Here’s what we’ve learned about sharing your story and dealing with those who disagree:
1. If you’re going to talk about it publicly or publish your writing beyond your support group, you’ll need thick skin. Even if you “hide” behind a pseudonym, people who disagree are still going to voice their opinions about what you’ve said. Learn not to take it personally. It’s not really about you but about their need to feel morally superior. Don’t fall into the trap of defending yourself to them.
2. You’re highly unlikely to change the minds of hardcore anti-abortion zealots. They are best ignored. We don’t consider them our website’s “audience” and we don’t bother tiptoeing around their sensibilities. We’re here to support people who’ve had medically indicated abortions, not to placate or convince those who think we shouldn’t have.
3. When talking about your decision, stick with your own situation and your own reasons. Never put down people who’ve made a different choice, for example, to carry a medically diagnosed pregnancy to full term. Or to end a pregnancy for reasons that weren’t medical. If we want our choices respected, we should respect the choices others make as well. Reproductive freedom is a two-way street.
4. As the saying goes, “Speak your truth, even if your voice shakes.”