*Warning: Heavy adult themes below!*
This topic is not for the faint of heart, nor for the heartless.
It is not a decision to be made by men in ivory towers, who have no concept of the inner workings of women or motherhood. This will be obvious to most.
It’s estimated that one in five pregnancies lead to abortion worldwide. And, on average, there are 43 million documented abortions every year. This says nothing for the undocumented—a staggering figure, I imagine.
In the following lines, I hope to make clear not only that mindful abortion is possible, but also that the mindful route can do the world good. I make no attempts to steer the ultimate direction of any individual reading this, but I hope to bring healing to those who have been here, as well as some clarity to those facing abortion now.
I believe that a woman’s right to choice is inalienable and that the magnitude of this decision is hefty enough on its own, without the chorus from the choir. In my experience, a woman does not make this choice with a flippant heart, as it will impact her life in every conceivable way.
We inherently understand this when it happens to us.
Most women will find their finances, hormones, relationships, careers, spirits and—primarily—relationships with themselves called into question. Often for years to come, whether we decide to keep the child or not.
Any woman with a shred of awareness recognizes that we are living on a burgeoning planet of more than seven billion people, filled with political, ecological and economic strife.
Of course there are innumerable positives in the world too, which can and should be celebrated! But if a woman is even thinking of making this decision, it’s likely that resources and or support—be they practical, emotional or both—are in relatively short supply. This is never to be scoffed at.
When a woman is in tune with herself, I believe she has an innate sense as to whether the timing of something is right—or not. No one can or should take this truth away from her. This is an intuitive acknowledgement, as well as a cognitive one—one made by women across the globe, throughout history, arguably from a place of deep wisdom.
I have friends who have made the decision to abort, only to feel pain, shame or guilt for years to come. In many cases, the emotions they have held about this decision have impacted their health, their relationships, their faith in men and their self esteem—deeply.
I have spoken to women who had their abortions decades prior, who still welled up with painful emotion when discussing the topic. They had clearly been carrying their burden, every day, for all that time.
So, if we are faced with this incredibly difficult and often painful decision, how do we go about it mindfully?
How do we grapple with the concept of taking a life or extinguishing a little spirit—especially one which has sprung from our own flesh and blood?
It’s paramount that this decision be made within the sanctuary of our own psyche, using not only our minds, but also our hearts and body wisdom. We must find a deep, quiet place away from the prying eyes and opinions of others.
While I believe it is important to gather wisdom and information from others—especially other women—the final decision has to be our own.
When it comes to this final decision, it helps to consciously address our own beliefs about ourselves, our resources, our world and the nature of reality. I am not talking about the beliefs we hold which have been handed down to us by our parents, our community or our culture.
It’s important to distinguish these from the ones we hold privately, which have developed in our own experience, culminating from our observations and questions about ourselves and the world. Perhaps these are deep philosophical questions about God, reality and soul, or religion, economics and ecology. Perhaps they are practical observations about our financial standing, the job market, or our own maturity and grounding. Or, perhaps they are something quite different.
Despite my being brought up in an academic environment, my experience of spirit and energy was irrefutable. So I had a conversation—many conversations—with the spirit of my unborn child, which flowed through my heart space and left me with peace, resolution and understanding with regards to my decision.
I was lucky, perhaps. I had a clear gut response as to what I needed to do. I didn’t do it lightly. I felt into it—all of it.
Here’s what I did:
>> First, I listened to my gut.
>> I reflected on the state of affairs in the world, in my own life and between myself and my partner.
>> I became still.
>> I communicated with spirit. With the child. Even if one holds a reductionist view, this is a remarkably powerful process for the psyche—a way to connect deeply with the wisdom of our own bodies.
>> I honoured my desire for children in the future. Not everything has to come now.
>> I called on my strength and surrender.
>> I held a ceremony with lit candles and honoured the child’s spirit and the lessons she brought with her.
>> I honoured the feeling of being like a golden chalice, creating and sustaining life.
>> I chose to birth her creative energy in other ways—through me. I invited her spirit to return when the time was right.
I watched as a whole new space opened up within me. I became stronger. Wiser. More resilient. More confident with my own voice.
It felt like I’d experienced another facet of womanhood—not just from being pregnant, but in walking the unutterable path which has no name, but bears women of character, substance and empathy.
My world (personally and at large) came into focus as my perspectives shifted. In the mirror was a woman no longer willing to subvert herself. I was a child no more, and age had nothing to do with it. I began to own the sense of social responsibility which had been floating around inside me for as long as I could remember.
I came to terms with the awareness that any decisions made against my deep self would cause undue suffering—not only for myself, but for the child, my partner and our families:
>> I surrendered all fear of social, hormonal or psychological backlash.
>> I breathed into the awareness that a backlash might occur, but that it wouldn’t last forever.
>> I chose to believe that I was strong enough to handle it.
>> I cried when I needed to. Deep guttural sobs. Better out than in. I moved through it. Breathed into it. Let it go.
After this, I was able to act on my decision with a clear spirit, heart and mind. I was able to face the fullness of the experience—which entailed incredible light and growth, and incredible pain—with certainty that I had made the right choice. I had grappled with it intellectually, emotionally, spiritually and socially. I had made the decision with an awareness of the greatest good for all.
Years later, I still believe I made the right decision. Without a shadow of doubt.
For those of you who are still living in pain from your past decisions—I invite you to communicate with your little one.
Say what you need to say. Listen to the response. Ask forgiveness, if that’s what you feel you need.
Allow understanding and acceptance to filter through you and release what harms you. For good.
I hope you will viscerally release the angst.
Contrary to how you may feel, you do not deserve to suffer. Your decisions, as difficult as they were, were rooted in the knowledge that to sustain life, one must have some semblance of balance. Without it, we perpetuate cycles that drain life itself.
There is nothing to be gained from carrying this pain around with you. There is no resurrection from self-flagellation. There is much to gain from letting go. Much to give the world by allowing yourself to heal.
Please—give yourself this. Trust me. Let that creative energy flow through you. Don’t stem the process.
In conclusion, the decision to go ahead with an abortion should never be made lightly. Nor should it hold the mother’s spirit to ransom. The social pressures on women are not only astronomical, but they also filter into our psyches until, sometimes, we’re unable to distinguish them from our own personal dilemma.
It’s of primary importance that this decision—whichever way you may lean in your own circumstance—be made according to your own highest truth, wisdom, security and purpose.
I sincerely wish you well.
It is okay to trust yourself.
Author: Catherine Simmons
Image: Suhyeon Choi/Unsplash
Editor: Toby Israel