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Category Archives: What Not To Say

The Shaming of Pregnant Women

A week or so ago, an acquaintance of mine posted on Facebook a picture she took of a pregnant woman smoking a cigarette. She was wearing a grey tank top that barely covered her expanding stomach, and in the background a guy was walking toward her. (Assuming her significant other.) She did not ask permission to take said picture, I can only assume she also did not tell the woman that she would be posting her picture on social media. (This acquaintance has since also posted a picture of people’s addresses who bought her items on eBay. Ugh.)

Anyways, a conversation ensued, an angry rant on our Twitter feed, and lot of our followers chimed in. We submitted a panel proposal to the Sex Ed Conference this year about training people how to maintain a level head in heated arguments. In the following conversation, I (Lynne) utilized everything I would teach in that panel. With no further ado, here is the conversation/debate that ensued after this acquaintance posted that picture:
*Only the first names of the participants have been used. The Sasha person is the acquaintance who posted the picture.

  • Elizabeth What? That dude looks like he is about to kick some butt. Which Shaw’s?

    May 11 at 7:29pm 

  • Judith Nothing like low birth weight and adolescent respiratory issues, not to mention proven learning disabilities, it’s 9 months of your life makes me so sad 

    May 11 at 7:34pm

  • Sasha They were both swearing at me…I continued to state that I cared for only her children. A dude rolled up and offered me a loss prevention job at JCPenney Hahahaga

    May 11 at 7:39pm 

  • Judith Classy

    May 11 at 7:40pm

  • Elizabeth Oh no, I kind of thought that dude was looking your way. Be careful, Sasha! Why is this chick on her phone too? She is busy!

    May 11 at 7:43pm

  • Sasha She was calling the cops she said

    May 11 at 7:49pm 

  • Elizabeth Why was she calling the cops?

    May 11 at 7:50pm 

  • Sasha Because I was taking pictures of her smoking while pregnant.

    May 11 at 7:51pm 

  • Rob Series Of Unfortunate Events.

    May 11 at 8:04pm 

  • Travis You are hilarious.

    May 11 at 8:56pm 

  • Sasha Travis hilarious???

    May 11 at 8:58pm 

  • Travis Yeah. I think you are funny.

    May 11 at 9:01pm 

  • Lynne Yea….I’m not cool with criminalizing a woman while she’s pregnant. She knows the health risks associated. She’ll also be the one to pay the associated medical bills.

    May 11 at 9:02pm

  • Sasha I guarantee you Maine Care with cover it…and guess who pays for Maine Care…

    May 11 at 9:11pm 

  • Lynne I don’t care if MaineCare, Obamacare, or anything else pays for it. I don’t care if she’s shooting up heroine in the bathroom. No one has the right to police or demonize what this woman is doing to her body. It may come out stillborn, it may be a tragedy. It may be the only cigarette(s) she’s had during her pregnancy. You don’t know, it doesn’t matter, you will never see her again.

    May 11 at 9:15pm

  • Sasha I was standing up for the only person that matters. The child within. Somebody had to.

    May 11 at 9:16pm

  • Fritz They say a picture is worth a thousand words. This picture is Way beyond that!

    May 11 at 9:17pm 

  • Sasha Here is another one!

    ::At this point, she posts another picture of a pregnant woman smoking a cigarette and speaking to a man::

    May 11 at 9:19pm · Like

  • Lynne Schmidt “I was standing up for the only person that matters. The child within”

    That is an incredibly ignorant and dangerous thing to say.

    May 11 at 9:21pm 

  • Lynne May I use this picture/scenario on Abortion Chat?

    May 11 at 9:23pm

  • Heather So then when do we hold people responsible for what they do? Never? We should just let whatever happens, happens. Let the pregnant woman smoke. Let the man who wants to rob the old lady rob the old lady. Hell, I feel like driving drunk. Hope the cops don’t feel like they need to pull me over!

    May 11 at 9:24pm 

  • Jeremy How did this situation play out? Did they just start yelling at you out of the blue?>

    May 11 at 9:24pm

  • Sasha This has nothing to do with abortion. This woman has other children that she smoked while pregnant with and brags about how she will have more and continue to smoke.

    May 11 at 9:25pm · Like

  • Sasha Oh Heather I love you.

    May 11 at 9:25pm 

  • Lynne Heather, yes she should be allowed to smoke. At this point, you, nor anyone else but the woman and potential mate know if the fetus is even viable. Criminalizing and demonizing women is where unhealthy laws are put in place. If laws start being passed saying “If a pregnant woman tests positive for nicotine…” women will stop seeking prenatal care. Premature babies will be done, suffer horrendously, and die. Women, like this one who is smoking while pregnant, may need support while trying to quit. May need support in general, which may be why she is smoking.

    May 11 at 9:26pm

  • Jeremy I wonder if these people will have a change of heart as a result of your conversations with them.

    May 11 at 9:27pm

  • Lynne *be born, not done. Spelling error

    May 11 at 9:27pm 

  • Sasha Well Jeremy I opened my big mouth and asked her if she was aware of what smoking while pregnant will do to a child…and the fireworks exploded from there.

    May 11 at 9:28pm

  • Sasha Lynne heather was being sarcastic.

    May 11 at 9:28pm 

  • Lynne I highly doubt Heather was being sarcastic in regards to the situation.

    May 11 at 9:29pm 

  • Jeremy Sounds like she had an attitude, I can see why that’d make you angry.

    May 11 at 9:30pm

  • Lynne I’d have an attitude if strangers were taking pictures of me, too.

    May 11 at 9:30pm

  • Heather I mean, I’m a social worker by day so I agree with you that she probably needs some support, yes. But I don’t think Sasha is arguing that a law needs to be passed that prohibits pregnant women from smoking, but I also think it’s somewhat condescending to not hold people at all responsible for what they do. Sure, she may be suffering for a whole host of reasons, and yes, I think it’s on some level important to discern what these reasons are and educate her about her choices, but I also think it’s worthwhile to point out to people the potential consequences of their actions instead of just saying, “You know, it’s okay, you’re stressed have that cig.” No. It is actually more compassionate to hold people accountable.

    May 11 at 9:31pm 

  • Lynne Yes, however, there are surgeon general warnings on every pack of cigarettes. She is probably well aware of the risks, and for some reason, whatever that reason may be, is still choosing to smoke. It is her right to bodily autonomy. Some people decide to have healthy pregnancies. She, oblivious, is not. As a result, she will have to live with the consequences.

    May 11 at 9:33pm 

  • Sasha Jeremy I wasn’t angry. I felt bad. She acted nuts because her defense went up. I wanted to believe she actually felt bad about what she was doing but when she inhales a huge drag and exhales like a dragon well…she seemed proud.

    May 11 at 9:33pm

  • Heather And you do not think as fellow human beings we owe it to each other to point out consequences to others? Isn’t this an act of love? I see it as an act of love.

    May 11 at 9:34pm

  • Sasha Not just her Lynne, the poor defenseless baby that never asked to be stuck in such a gutter of a womb.

    May 11 at 9:35pm

  • Jeremy It’s too bad her child will have to live with the consequences too, should it be born.

    May 11 at 9:36pm 

  • Lynne Poor, defenseless baby. Do you know the gender? Do you know him/her personally? How are its rights more important than the mothers? Or are you one of those people who think women’s soul purpose in life is to be an incubator?

    May 11 at 9:36pm

  • Heather It seems like you have given up on her, Lynne, while Sasha has not.

    May 11 at 9:37pm

  • Lynne I have not, actually. I work with Abortion Chat and the reproductive justice community to avoid women like this being harassed by people like Sasha.

    May 11 at 9:38pm 

  • Jeremy Which is better: holding someone accountable by giving our adverse opinions, or biting our tongue when our opinion will not be heard?

    May 11 at 9:38pm 

  • Sasha Well Lynne, the baby inside of her has rights, not more rights than the mother like you said (seems like you enjoy putting words in my mouth)…if i saw a woman blowing cigarette smoke in her baby’s face i would speak up to her too. i will not turn my head way from child abuse I didn’t physically harm her, i didn’t call her names, i only chose to take her photo when she started acting absolutely disgusting and throwing her cigarette at my car.

    May 11 at 9:44pm 

  • Heather That is a very good question, but I would always say an “adverse opinion” can sometimes, years later, be remembered as someone’s attempt to care. Instead of remaining quiet and so complacent. And, Lynne, I don’t think we are talking about reproductive justice here. This isn’t an anti-abortion conversation. This is about the fact that this woman was smoking, and whether you like it or not, that has direct consequences to the child inside of her. You can still be a feminist and a liberal and also feel the need to express this and draw attention to it.

    May 11 at 9:47pm 

  • Lynne The fetus inside her has no rights. It can’t vote, it can’t feed itself, it can’t even breathe. Feel free to remove it from the hosts body and care for it the way you see fit.
    I didn’t put any words in your mouth, actually. I was asking a question. Until a fetus is born, it has no rights. It is not recognized by the government as a person. It holds no social security number.
    It is one thing for this woman to put whatever she wants into her body. It is another to have a child, outside of her body, ingest arsenic.
    I grew up in a household of cigarette smoke. It was awful, and I wish it on no one. However, I refuse to shame a pregnant woman based on her decisions for her health, and her body.

    May 11 at 9:48pm 

  • Lynne Actually, policing a woman’s body for any reason is a reproductive justice issue. FYI.

    May 11 at 9:50pm 

  • Heather By not holding her accountable for her actions you have given up on her. You are essentially arguing that Sasha should have just been like, “Oh well, she can do whatever she wants.” And that is condescending and actually not very just, speaking of justice.

    May 11 at 9:51pm 

  • Heather This is also a spiritual question, and I would guess you and I don’t see eye to eye on that either, so peace out.

    May 11 at 9:52pm 

  • Lynne Going up to a stranger, taking their picture without permission, and harassing them with their own opinions is generally considered wrong (or whichever order these events happened in). Just throwing it out there.

    May 11 at 9:53pm 

  • Jeremy What if an adverse opinion remains seen as one? Sasha, do you feel like there was any other way for you to voice your opinion and this woman hear it?

    May 11 at 9:53pm 

  • Heather Her boyfriend is kind of hot, though, Sash.

    May 11 at 9:54pm 

  • Heather yum yum

    May 11 at 9:55pm 

  • Sasha So the government is not the end all be all to this world. Our lives on this earth are more spiritual and important than the government could hope to be. this is about common sense and right and wrong. but if you want to play that laws and government bullshit well check this angle, why have people been charged for a double murder when they kill a pregnant mother. no rights lynn? hmmmmm?

    May 11 at 9:55pm 

  • Jeremy Laws usually follow some sort of ethical philosophy, perhaps a fetus should have some degree of rights, but where does the mother end and the fetus begin? How could we respect the rights of one without compromising the rights of the other?

    May 11 at 9:57pm

  • Lynne 1) You spelled my name wrong and 2) It depends on which state people are in, and how far along the pregnancy was. Also, how would you like it if when you decide to reproduce, you’re told you shouldn’t or you’ll be a crappy mother because of all of your tattoos?

    May 11 at 9:59pm 

  • Lynne Bodily autonomy is everything.

    May 11 at 10:00pm 

  • Heather What does that even mean

    May 11 at 10:01pm 

  • Sasha my tattoos aren’t going to medically hurt the child within….and id never get tattooed while pregnant.

    May 11 at 10:01pm 

  • Heather I do think the star tattoo on her leg, the big one, indicates that she will be a pretty bad mother.

    May 11 at 10:02pm 

  • Lynne No. I’m saying you don’t know her situation. You don’t know if she’s trying to quit smoking. If that’s the first day she’s smoked during the entire pregnancy. What the circumstances surrounding the situation are. No one has any right to harass this woman.

    May 11 at 10:04pm 

  • Jeremy I wonder if babies can get tattooes

    May 11 at 10:04pm

  • Heather If she has the right to smoke, Sasha has the right to harass her. If we should all just sit back and let whatever happens, happens, then Sasha can do whatever she wants, as can the woman in the photo.

    May 11 at 10:05pm 

  • Sasha i had a conversation with her actually. so i do know. she said she had smoked through all of her pregnancies. she would keep having kids and smoke while pregnant with them too.

    May 11 at 10:05pm

  • Lynne People pierce baby’s ears. No one is in an uproar about that. It’s considered “cute”

    May 11 at 10:05pm

  • Lynne It’s her body, it’s her potential child, it’s her right to smoke. She also could have been lying to piss you off.

    May 11 at 10:05pm

  • Sasha i think its disgusting to pierce a babies ears, to circumcise a baby, to dress them up like little sparkly dolls

    May 11 at 10:07pm 

  • Heather This is such dangerous logic, Lynne. Honestly. I find it very dangerous. You are saying a woman, just because she has a body and republicans are scary with their anti-abortion shit, can do whatever she wants. This is so dangerous to me! It is truly scary to not be invested in the child’s life AS WELL AS the mother’s. That seems so disconnected to me, emotionally, spiritually, intellectually. Honestly. Are you for real?

    May 11 at 10:08pm

  • Sasha well she hacked 4 times as she pulled the pack of cigarettes out of her bra…i bet that was her first cigarette ever LYNN. Maybe she was just trying it out…maybe her other children all under the age of 5 peer pressured her into it.

    May 11 at 10:08pm 

  • Heather The hands-off mentality is like in direct response to the terror of the anti-abortion assholes. There is definitely a middle ground. You don’t have to go in the exact opposite direction; it is just as dangerous.

    May 11 at 10:10pm

  • Lynne Funny you mention “terror of the anti-abortion assholes.” They also take pictures of pregnant women, post them online, and shame them.

    May 11 at 10:10pm

  • Sasha exactly. i believe a woman has a right to choose, and every situation is different. I don’t even have shit to say to someone who has multiple abortions. Id rather someone terminate a pregnancy than smoke all the way through it.

    May 11 at 10:12pm

  • Heather Yes, but this is a different conversation. You have to attune yourself to the conversation. I know Sasha is for women’s rights, so it isn’t really correct to lump this conversation with those conversations. And it doesn’t have to be an either/or. It’s not like if you point out that this woman is hurting her child by smoking, you’re SUDDENLY one of those terrible anti-abortion assholes. You can say this, bring this up, and not instantly be on a SIDE. I know contemporary politics would have us think (the PC culture) that instantly you are either FOR or AGAINST but it isn’t that simple. And if you begin to ascribe to that mentality and you fight for your opinion as if you know and nobody else does, then you’re occupying the same role as the anti-abortion assholes.

    May 11 at 10:13pm 

  • Lynne I don’t agree with the way Sasha handled the situation. I am not for pregnant women smoking, or drinking, or doing drugs. Do I hope that when the baby comes out it’s healthy? Yes. But I also know that if I were pregnant, and wanted a drink, a smoke, a whatever else, I’d do it. It’s my body. And honestly? I’d have called the cops on someone harassing me in a parking lot.

    May 11 at 10:15pm 

  • Sasha Well any man that considers getting you pregnant will have to read this first. a lot of people don’t agree with the way i role and thats fine. i know what is right and what is wrong and if i see it I’m going to say something. I didn’t harass her, belittle her, or call her names. I asked her a question.

    May 11 at 10:18pm

  • Lynne And took her picture without permission. And posted on social media for the world to see.

    May 11 at 10:19pm

  • Lynne You’re welcome to your beliefs. It’s not cool to exploit people, and I, like you, will speak up against it.

    May 11 at 10:20pm

  • Lynne Also, any man who gets me pregnant needs to understand I’ll have an abortion. (So I guess I’d probably continue drinking during the pregnancy, anyway.)

    May 11 at 10:21pm

  • Heather Wouldn’t want to be your bay-bay.

    May 11 at 10:22pm

  • Patrick The baby was asking for her to smoke if you ask me, its naked for christ fucking sake.

    May 11 at 10:22pm 

  • Lynne Patrick, I just laughed so fucking hard.

    May 11 at 10:23pm 

  • Sasha the thing is Lynne you went off on a tangent that was completely off topic and dragged abortion into so your credibility in this forum is shot.

    May 11 at 10:23pm

  • Lynne Actually, I didn’t, I asked if I could post it on Abortion Chat, which is a reproductive justice venue to discuss all faucets of abortion (pregnancy is considered it that, sorry to inform you). And I didn’t go on a tangent. I stuck to the fact that what you did was way out of line, and in some states illegal.

    May 11 at 10:25pm

  • Sasha as long as thats what you believe

    May 11 at 10:26pm

  • Patrick I bet they’re juggalos. Either way these two (assuming he’s the baby daddy) shouldn’t have been allowed to reproduce.

    May 11 at 10:26pm 

  • Patrick https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JWliAVpjArA

    Ice Cube – Crack Baby

Ice Cube – Crack Baby (By Mr.PsychoOo 9mm) http://icecubehiphoprapwestside4life…. See More

May 11 at 10:27pm

  • Sasha are you a grown nic baby born in Maine……

    May 11 at 10:29pm 

  • Heather It is also fascinating to me that what Lynne is expressing is a real consequence (speaking of consequences) of a capitalist mentality where the individual is the most important — and the locus of ultimate power and focus. It’s all about the individual, the individual’s body, the individual’s existence, the individual’s choices. There really is nothing outside of the individual. The baby is there, sure, but it falls to the wayside in the context of what the individual needs/wants/desires/feels. It’s actually very American. Very capitalist.

    May 11 at 10:29pm

  • Lynne She could still decide to have an abortion. Legally depending on where she’s at. She could still miscarry or have a stillborn, which is why, until it’s born, I don’t consider it much.

    May 11 at 10:31pm

  • Patrick No Heather, its #feminism

    May 11 at 10:31pm

  • Tasha Lynne you are absolutely wrong. Babies practice breathing while inside the womb. They eat. They pee…they just aren’t born yet. So YES at this late in her pregnancy…this baby HAS rights!!!!

    May 11 at 10:31pm

  • Lynne Tasha, next you’ll tell me that they feel pleasure and masturbate in the womb, too, no? They do not eat. They ingest what the pregnant person does. They cannot breathe their own air, they do not take care of themselves.

    May 11 at 10:33pm

  • Jeremy Isn’t it individualism to side with the fetus against the mother?

    May 11 at 10:33pm

  • Heather Yeah, but it is actually more feminist (in my opinion) to be attuned. To be attuned to the fact that there is a beating heart inside of your body. I love how that is somehow so uncool: to think about the beating heart. It’s like, how unfeminist of you to think about the beating heart! Like if you think about the beating heart, you are simultaneously NOT thinking about you. If I want a drink, I’ll have one, Lynne says. As if the idea of personal autonomy and choice is somehow inherently in contradiction with the beating heart.

    May 11 at 10:34pm 

  • Sasha a day old baby sure isn’t masturbating, eating on its own, or taking care of itself…and lets remember, i wasn’t against the mother, i asked her a simple question and it turned ugly.

    May 11 at 10:35pm

  • Sasha what if the fetus is female?

    May 11 at 10:35pm

  • Patrick Lynne actually babies do masturbate in the womb, its been proven through ultrasounds.

    May 11 at 10:36pm

  • Sasha http://www.facebook.com/l.php…

    GOP Congressman Wants to Ban Abortion to Save Masturbating Fetuses

    news.yahoo.com

In a preview of the many pronouncements to come on the floor of Congress as the … See More

May 11 at 10:37pm 

  • Jeremy So maybe we should start an anti-smoking pro-choice support group for this woman?

    May 11 at 10:37pm

  • Patrick We should just give her child free birth control and an obamaphone

    May 11 at 10:39pm

  • Sasha she doesn’t want to abort her child. she wants to smoke while carrying it. and she wants to have more children and smoke while carrying them.

    May 11 at 10:40pm

  • Lynne My brain just exploded. Damn you Patrick and Jeremy.

    May 11 at 10:41pm

  • Sasha I’m going to put Lynne in my womb and chain smoke all day!

    May 11 at 10:41pm

  • Patrick I bet she bought the cigs with her welfare money Lynne

    May 11 at 10:41pm 

  • Lynne She might have. I’ve known friends to trade food stamps for alcohol. Sasha, just do it while you’re snowboarding. That way it’s like a joyride.

    May 11 at 10:43pm

  • Tasha You obviously have NOT had a child or gone to the obgyn for prenatal appts. They practice and CAN breathe. They move their mouths, they suck their thumbs, they are alive inside of a person. A person who is supposed to do what’s in the best interest of that child. I won’t lie…I’m ashamed to say I smoked a few weeks out of my pregnancy. But, I quit bc my baby inside me WAS ALIVE! SHE HAD A HEART…A HEARTBEAT…SHE HAD ORGANS, AND BODY FEATURES SUCH AS EYES, EARS, NOSE, MOUTH!!! You just seem like a very ignorant person who should just shut the fuck up!

    May 11 at 10:45pm

  • Sasha ill never do it again. i used to smoke and i quit. i quit cold turkey one day because it was poisoning my body. you know those rooms in the airport where people sit and smoke. those little rooms should be everywhere. and people should have to sit together and inhale everyone else’s second hand smoke while they are smoking. its absolutely disgusting to have to walk down congress st and tell my niece to hold her breath every 10 feet because people are human fucking chimneys.

    May 11 at 10:47pm

  • Jeremy Did someone take a picture of you and post it on social media when you did it? <——— Did you look like this? 

    May 11 at 10:48pm 

  • Lynne You’re right, Tasha, I haven’t had a child because I had an abortion, because I knew myself well enough to know that I’m selfish, and angry, and would make an awful parent right now. I also drank, smoked, had x-rays and an MRI while pregnant. The fact that you’re ignorant enough to start being aggressive shows that you don’t know how to have conversations civilly. Congratulations. You win.

    May 11 at 10:50pm

  • Patrick Lynne you’d suffocate on that joyride, heard that shits tight

    May 11 at 10:55pm 

  • Tasha Oh that makes me want to tell you to SHUT THE FUCK UP even more!!! I always said I didn’t want children. I was selfish too…I wanted to do what I wanted to do, when I wanted to do it. With a child you CAN’T… and I accept that! So while you WERE ABLE to get pregnant some women are out there wanting so badly to have a child and can’t. To me you having that abortion makes you no better than this hot mess!!! No I would not be so aggressive had you not been so ignorant to this post. This is SASHA’S fb…she can post whatever the fuck she wants. If you DON’T like it then fuckin there’s a delete or hide stories from this person option. But you chose to be ignorant and you’re right and everybody else is wrong! Go fuckin kick rocks you selfish bitch! Some woman could have made a great life for that baby you murdered!!!!!

    May 11 at 11:02pm

  • Sara sasha exploiting as in benefiting from lynne? exploit comes from outcome of an action, having advantage, achievement. her achievement here is her voice she can not have that? ego of preg lady is at stake you suggest? true turnaround/healing for anyone causing suffering to themselves and thereby those around them is usually a good slap in the ego the way true self likes it. in this parking lot sasha is participating in her life and those around her. no different than you are here so kudos all. it is an endangered art in a mechanically law abiding sleepwalking world.

    May 11 at 11:03pm 

  • Lynne Dearest Tasha, For your information, I was going to kill myself. If you’d like to read more about that story, it’s here: http://abortionchat.org/why-chat/. It’s why I’m in Maine now, and why I’m a mental health professional. Because you know nothing about my circumstances, or who I was at that time, or the fact that the guy who got me pregnant had left me for my sister, and they are now engaged, or any other portions of that time, the fun thing is, I don’t care what you think. I didn’t murder my “baby”. I kept myself alive.

May 11 at 11:06pm

  • Patrick I feel like “kill myself” and “I’m a mental health professional” shouldn’t be in the same sentence. One of my closest friends was able to commit suicide in a facility due to inadequate mental health “professionals”

    May 11 at 11:09pm

  • Sara if mental health is not holistic it is insanity

    May 11 at 11:10pm 

  • Lynne Truly, I am sorry for your loss, Patrick.

    May 11 at 11:10pm

  • Heather I’m a social worker, and have suffered with different stuff, too. It can actually be really good to carry that understanding of suffering into your work; it can make you much more compassionate and understanding of others. But that is a whole different conversation!

    May 11 at 11:13pm 

  • Tasha Just so YOU know NOT that it’s ANY of your business. I was assaulted in the military in 2007. I suffer from PTSD, anxiety, depression, and fibromyalgia! The whole time I was pregnant I was not able to take any medications for those conditions!! So please feel free to throw yourself a pity party. My opinion of you has not changed! What you went through doesn’t compare to what I endured and still endure! But let me tell you despite all those things…I’m a damn good mom!!! #SorryNotSorry

    May 11 at 11:21pm

  • Sasha ignorant…you keep using this word…i do not think it means what you think it means…

    May 11 at 11:24pm

  • Tasha Did I use it incorrectly?

    May 11 at 11:26pm 

  • Patrick I think she’s talking to Lynne

    May 11 at 11:28pm 

  • Tasha Ohhhh I figured it was me bc I used it a lot!

    May 11 at 11:30pm · Like

  • Tasha  And Patrick I’m sorry for your loss  I was not liking that part of your comment

    May 11 at 11:32pm 

  • Tasha No Jeremy I quit long before I looked like that! And nobody took my picture. I hid it bc I was ashamed, but it was the vice I had at that moment to help with not being able to medically treat my “disabilities.” I’m not proud, but I won’t do it again if I have another child. I lucked out with my child…she was born healthy and is healthy and thriving!

    I believe after I left the conversation that they continued for awhile about things of non-importance. What are your thoughts on this dialog? Was my acquaintance right in taking a picture and posting it on social media without permission? Who had strong points of view? Why?

8 Things Not to Say to Someone After Abortion by Kassi Underwood

After I had an abortion, nobody knew what to say to me. Not even Larry, my therapist. Poor Larry. Looking back, I would not have known what to say to me, either. One in three women will have an abortion in her lifetime. Men, too, deserve to be heard. Yet we are not taught how to talk to people who have experienced abortion.

The first thing to know is that everyone experiences abortion differently. Many of my friends never looked back. Having an abortion just wasn’t a big deal for them. But I had a lot of feelings. Relief. Regret. Confusion. Doubt. Apathy. Curiosity. Confidence. Overconfidence. Contentment.

It takes a courageous, patient, and empathetic friend to listen to someone share about her or his experience with abortion. As researcher Dr. Brené Brown explains, “Empathy is feeling with people.” Thank you for coming over here and feeling with us.

1. But weren’t you unstable before the abortion?
We’re smart people. We are fully aware of the lives we’ve led. If our state of mind beforehand seems relevant, then we will discuss it in our own time. We came to you because we would like to talk about how we feel right now.

What to say: I’m glad you came to talk to me about this.

2. That was years ago, dollface. Isn’t it time to move on?
We know exactly how much time has elapsed. If we could have moved on already, we would have. Some people see their abortion as the loss of their identity, or their child, or their chance. While it is important to make no assumptions about why someone is having feelings around their abortion, you can tell us you know how normal we are for feeling the way we do. We are completely acceptable as-is.

What to say: I know this happened years ago, and it’s okay if you’re still really, really sad.

3. All this sadness makes you sound like you’re against abortion.
Our emotions may have nothing to do with our opinion about abortion. I know women who have marched on Washington for their right to choose while privately regretting their own decisions. I know women who believe very deeply that abortion is wrong while feeling that abortion was the right decision for them. Our personal stories do not always reflect our political beliefs. When we come to you, please do not match our emotions to a political narrative.

What to say: There’s no right or wrong way to feel.

4. You weren’t ready for a baby.
This tells us that we are inferior, irresponsible, and immature, which is simply not true. We made the most mature, responsible decisions we could at the time. Some of us feel proud of the independence we gained from all the footwork this decision required. If we tell you we didn’t have access to the resources we needed, feel with us. Remember a time when you didn’t have what you needed. Acknowledge that we are worthy of having everything we need. All of us.

What to say: Sounds like you know what’s best for you.

5. Well, I support your right to choose.
This one sounds like support, but it ends the conversation. What we need is space to connect with you. If we would like to know your political views, please trust us to ask you. If we don’t ask, then perhaps we don’t need to know.

What to say: Take your time — I’m listening.

6. I don’t support what you did, but I’m here to support you.
It can be difficult to feel unconditionally loved and supported by someone who condemns what you did. You don’t have to support what we did, but when you are supporting us, please leave your opinions and expectations at the door. Then come in, listen to what we are saying, and try to put yourself in our shoes.

What to say: I’m here to support you.

7. No — it was actually a baby/child/fetus/embryo/zygote/clump of cells.
Many of us have done the research. We know the terminology. Sometimes it takes nerve to use the word we like best. Please don’t correct us. Instead, use our terminology when you talk to us.

What to say: You’re allowed to call it a fetus or a baby —it was yours and you can call it whatever you want.

8. But are you really happy now?
Some of us really are very happy right after the procedure for reasons so vast and diverse that I could write about them for pages. Even if we’re not happy right afterward, many of us become happy in our own time. If we tell you that we’re happy, we may have done a lot of work to reach this extraordinary place. Please celebrate with us. Do a little dance. Hip-bump. Yay.

What to say: I’m glad you feel relieved and rejuvenated.

If you have experienced abortion, what would you add to this list? What would you change?

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An AWESOME resource for anyone who has experienced abortion — and for the people who love them — is exhaleprovoice.org. Check out the “Pro-Voice Counseling Guide” for more information about how to support someone after abortion.

I read an earlier version of this list at “Clear Eyes, Full Hearts: Can Choose!,” a variety show for the women of Texas, hosted by comedians Sarah Silverman and Lizz Winstead. This piece was first published on Medium.com and exhaleprovoice.org.

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Kassi Underwood is a Pro-Voice Fellow who writes and speaks about abortion all over the place, including The New York Times, The New York Daily News, New York Magazine, Exhale’s Pro-Voice Blog, and on UpWorthy.com and MSNBC’s “Melissa Harris-Perry Show,” among others venues. Follow her on Twitter: @kassiunderwood.