Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Big Thanks

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I feel our work can be incredibly isolating. I don’t live in a big, urban area where I have the luxury of being around lots of liberal like-minded people; so for me and my co-workers, it can sometimes feel like we’re alone. No one wants to hear about where you work or what you do. Often family and friends don’t even want to know about your day. Maybe it’s a sign I’ve been doing abortion work a long time because I just simply don’t talk about my day anymore. And I hardly notice that I don’t. Who’s going to understand, anyway? Only other Abortioneers, really. Sometimes – often – I wish that I lived closer to many Abortioneers so I could just let go of my day. Debrief. Talk about our women. Make jokes. Support one another. Get support.

This week, though, I’ve been reminded of just how much intrinsic solidarity there is between all those who provide direct abortion services. Recently, I talked to staff from four different clinics across the country trying to help a client access an abortion after we couldn’t help her at our facility. Each of the employees I spoke to were willing to bend over backwards to help. I didn’t know any of the staff, but I was connected – or at least felt connected – to each of them. Without knowing their name, or having ever met, we had something profound in common: the willingness to help women access abortion care. And I realized that part of me almost yearns to reach out and talk, just chat, to these other Abortioneers. I realized that I could’ve spent a long time on the phone with them, listening to their kind voices also encourage me that we will do – collectively – whatever we can to help the client.

I usually have to be the advocate, the cheerleader, the go-getter for clients, telling them not to give up hope: we will find funding for them; we will do our best to get that abortion for them; we will try everything we can to get her 2,000 miles away to access care; we’ll make sure that asshole partner doesn’t come near her on the day of her abortion, etc. This time, though, my cup was filled. I was bolstered up. I was given strength by the incredible, warm, caring women I talked to at different clinics who reminded me that we’re all in this together, trying to toss barriers out of the way of our clients. I didn’t feel alone or isolated. So, to all of you abortion workers out there: thank you. Thanks for lifting me up. Thank you for helping me realize we’re not alone in this work. Thank you for caring.

Much love to all of you.

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