Thursday, January 5, 2012
Working 9-5: How We Talk (Or Don't) About Abortion
We frequently discuss how to talk to friends/acquaintances/family who are not abortioneers about being an abortioneer. Or even, simply, about abortion. Though I’ve been doing this work a long time, I find I go through stages. Sometimes it’s easier to discuss abortion and other times, it just isn’t easy at all. Probably some of it depends on how much is going on at work (if it’s stressful or we’re having a lot of protesters, I tend not to want to discuss work outside work as much. Especially with people who just won’t get it anyway).
It can feel isolating to have the people who are closest to you not understand your work, your commitment to it, and your passion for it. Only recently have I been able to have conversations with my dad about abortion after years of bitter silence. Sometimes, it’s still frustrating to even talk to my husband; for example, if I have a shit day, he is quick to tell me I should just leave the clinic. He reminds me that I already have to put up with protesters and the stigma that comes along with being an abortioneer. He asks why I should stick around if my boss is being…err…unappreciative. It’s hard for me to explain to him that I’m committed to something larger (the “work”) and can put up with a bunch of bullshit in order to feel like I’m making a difference in someone’s life…and I’m motivated by that…not quite as much by recognition from my employer.
It’s stigma that really makes it so difficult to talk about our work. I haven’t even discussed it with my son’s best friend’s mom (who I have become very good friends with). We do mommy things together all the time; we take our sons to soccer practice, to basketball practice. Over the summer, our kids did gymnastics and baseball. We see each other almost every day. Still, I am vague about my work and have never used the word “abortion.” She probably knows. I’ve mentioned asshole protesters before so hopefully she’s put it all together, but we’ve never talked about it: abortion. Not once. I have no idea how she feels about it, but obviously, I’m worried or else I’d speak more freely. The reality is, though I know she’s fairly liberal, I also know she’s a small town girl, a cowgirl at heart, who likes to ride horses and is from a conservative area. (Which does not mean she would be anti-abortion!)
...So I get nervous. And I feel like I need to grow the fuck up! LOL