Sasha Answers: Be there to listen
Sasha, My cousin recently made the difficult decision to terminate a pregnancy. We come from a hyper-conservative, very judgy family. She's young, college educated, married, but not financially ready to have a family. However, she was upfront with her father, and this information has been spread through the family, accompanied by the super-judgy faces that only our nearest and dearest can make. When my parents told me, both with a tone of shocked disapproval, I responded that at this point, it's important to support her emotionally as this may be a very difficult time. Not exactly the join-in they were expecting.
I said all that to say this: I terminated a pregnancy at her age (10 years ago). So, should I talk to her or Keep quiet? Help! L
The other week I wrote a reply to a reader who was dealing with infertility and in doing so, I shared a bit of my experience, and the hordes of supportive emails I received were overwhelmingly lovely. Whether people shared their own heartbreaking stories or just gave my uterus a shout-out, it not only made me feel less alone, but it made me feel better. And L, you have the opportunity to do just that.
Your cousin is obviously going through a really tough time and the fact that you’ve been where she is right now will be a huge help in getting her through this. I think a lot of people assume that if you’ve made the decision to have an abortion you’ll be skipping out of the clinic relieved. The truth is, for many, there's a tremendous amount of sadness and grief. L, you know better than anyone that it’s going to take some time to process all those emotions, so to have you there as her support system would be a surprise and a total blessing.
That’s kind of the take away here: if you know someone is struggling, don’t think twice about it, just be there. Be there to listen, be there to share your own experience, or be there just to let them know that you’re thinking of them.
So L, if I haven’t made myself clear enough with all of this, the answer is YES! - yes, absolutely speak up.