Trigger warning: Sexual Assault, abortions, pregnancy, Catholicism and plenty of other hot-button topics.
I’ve been doing quite a bit of thinking lately. During the heavily covered Depp-Heard trial, I was struggling with the shame of sharing a mental illness with the she-devil. One thing was said in particular that stuck with me, and definitely not a good way.
A quick Google search parrots her words: According to The Cleveland Clinic, about 6% of people in the United States are believed to have a borderline personality disorder, which is characterized by extreme and frequent mood swings; that patients may “have trouble regulating their emotions, controlling their behavior and maintaining stable relationships.” A main feature of borderline personality disorder is an extreme fear of abandonment, as well as impulsive and dangerous behavior (including substance abuse, risky sexual activity, reckless driving and gambling), self-harm and suicidal ideation and threats to end their own lives.
Having recently been diagnosed with the disorder myself, I decided to work on who I really am. It’s taken me a while to start figuring that out, but I did realize something while in the midst of my soul search.
One of the things that popped up pretty quickly was that I feel unsafe, as a woman, in my country. Today’s overturn of Roe V. Wade cemented that. In my strict Roman Catholic upbringing (that’s a whole different can of worms I’m preparing to open up in the near future) I remember hearing how women were seen in the eyes of the church. We were second to men. It always stiffened my spine and set my jaw whenever it was brought up.
Then, working through trauma in college and having a serial dating phase, and being sexually assaulted. I was lucky and never had to make the choice to raise a baby or have an abortion, but it shook me to my core, and understandably so. After it happened, I remember waking up my mom at home in tears in the middle of the night.
That was the moment that I truly feared for my physical safety and my life. It never should have happened. But it did.
Later in life, I remember asking my then-boyfriend and now-husband his thoughts on abortion when the women’s rights movement was in its upswing on the scale of where it is now. True to my Catholicism, I found it abhorrent that he fully supported the woman’s right to abortion. I had been given one side of the entire argument my entire life; that a baby needs to be born. I’m not here to argue the morality of an abortion though. It’s deeper than that now.
A few months ago, I suffered a miscarriage seven weeks into my pregnancy that was seven years in the making. One round of IUI, countless bloodwork panels, pills, injections and the like and that’s what I was left with. How was I supposed to be able to rebuild after the loss of my son? How could I make sure that I wouldn’t get an infection, turn septic and die from the decaying tissue in my body?
At that point, my treatment plan went from neonatal care to the exact same treatment for an abortion. The procedure is called a D & C, (so terrible that it doesn’t even have a proper name) and brutal to the body. I agreed to the surgery and don’t regret it a single day. I was given the same advice for recovery, the same procedure, the same medicine. My Catholic guilt sensors pressed on my conscience. Hard. Ultimately, the whole ordeal changed my life. I’m in therapy now to start unpacking what I’ve been through, but it’s hard to feel anything but disgust for thousands of women who will now have to deal with the nastiness of a miscarriage without the medicines needed to maintain safety for the recovering patient.
Losing my son woke me up from the drone of being silenced for so long. I’m awake now, and I’m readying myself for the fight for my rights. And I’m angry as hell.