More

A Woman Wants To Tell You The 5 Most Surprising Things About Her Abortion

Set aside right or wrong just for a few moments. A woman wants to tell you her story.

A Woman Wants To Tell You The 5 Most Surprising Things About Her Abortion


I ate lunch alone at my desk before driving to the clinic for our appointment. In the two weeks since my husband and I found out at our 20-week sonogram that our fetus was abnormal, I’d barely left the house. My entire world collapsed. The baby I had loved since before he was conceived was deemed by doctors “incompatible with life.” My husband told me about a senator from Fort Worth who was filibustering HB-2, a series of restrictions on abortions in Texas that includes a ban on abortions after 20 weeks. I clicked on the live stream, afraid of what I’d see — afraid of anything that could make my reality more excruciating than it already was. Instead, I saw a "Legally Blonde"-esque powerhouse in pink sneakers and listened to her describe my exact situation. Seeing her stand there, so professional and composed as she spoke about what I was facing, was the single most consoling act I could have experienced in that moment.

The day after the abortion, I made a statement to my husband that would change my life even further: “I’m going to share our story.” Before having an abnormal fetus, I might not have understood why a woman would want or need to have an abortion after 20 weeks. It sounded lazy, careless, and selfish to me. But once I knew from traumatic personal experience that there can be loving reasons for a late-term abortion, I felt I couldn’t stay silent. I realized that if I had heard more people talking about this side of the issue before I went through it myself, I might have felt less alone — and I might have felt less humiliated to think that others might think me lazy, careless, or selfish, when the truth was that I wanted my baby more than anything. Like Senator Davis, who stood for me and all women, I decided to let people know how important it is to protect a woman’s right to choose. I started with a speech for TEDxSMU last October and then told my story for "Oral Fixation" — and I haven’t stopped.

After taking a deep breath and putting my truth out into the world, I was inundated with loving support. Friends have confided that they’ve had abortions, and now we are closer because I know something about them that hardly anyone else knows. Strangers who’ve read my story have reached out and thanked me for sharing. I’m developing friendships with a couple of women who’ve also gone through terminations due to fetal abnormalities. And then there’s the immediate reaction when I speak in public — men shaking my hand, thanking me for being brave enough to shed light on an issue they’ve struggled to understand; women hugging me, saying it’s a miracle I could talk about such pain in public when they’ve lived quietly with their own pain for years. Even the woman whose story Wendy Davis was telling when I clicked on the live stream reached out to me in solidarity. My story has brought awareness to the plight of so many who previously suffered in silence. And together we feel stronger and less isolated.

Every month, my husband and I co-produce a live storytelling series in Dallas called "Oral Fixation (An Obsession With True Life Tales)" that features regular folks reading aloud their true, personal stories on a theme. In the past, when I ran across a really tough or divisive issue, I’d detour around it, afraid to alienate my audience. But now, I am bolder. For example, our March show, “Elephant in the Room,” included the story of a man who at 14 years old narrowly avoided molestation and another of a suicide attempt due to childhood sexual abuse. I’ve worked with members of my community to share their stories of racism and dealing with disability. Perhaps because I’ve been so grateful not only for the positive response and support but also the healing I’ve experienced since sharing my story, I’m now fearless about talking about tough stuff. In fact, I've begun to understand that it is silence, far more than honesty, that we should fear. It is my greatest reward to witness the catharsis of sharing something long held inside and how it heals both the individual and the community who hears the story.

My husband and I had been married only four months when we conceived our baby, intentionally and with incredible joy. When we learned about the baby’s problems, we were on the same page instantly: We didn’t want to bring a child into this world to suffer. But we didn’t give up easily. We felt we owed it to the baby to find out as much as we could about his condition before making a decision about his life. My husband stood by my side, putting aside all professional obligations to be there at every sonogram and every test, and then he spent hours in the abortion clinic’s waiting room while I underwent three days of procedures. By the end, I felt for the first time that I trusted another human being with my life. The following months were heavy with crazy menstrual cycles, epic crying fits on the bathroom floor, and so much sadness for what could have been. It hasn’t been perfect, but over time we are learning how to be there for each other in our grief. We know now that our love can overcome any obstacle, and rather than feel like victims, we rejoice daily in our many blessings, such as the ability to try to get pregnant again. We help each other hold the belief that we did the best thing for our baby and that we will be parents someday. And every time we learn of a family or individual who has benefited from hearing our story, we feel our love for our lost soul deepen with the knowledge that he has left an incredible legacy.

Editor's Note: Like the idea of people sharing their experiences instead of getting caught up in the "wrong or right," "should or shouldn't" debate? Us too. Please consider sharing this if you think this approach is good for the world.

Pexels
True
Amazon

Shopping sustainably is increasingly important given the severity of the climate crisis, but sometimes it's hard to know where to turn. Thankfully, Amazon is making it a little easier to browse thousands of products that have one or more of 19 sustainability certifications that help preserve the natural world.

The online retailer recently announced Climate Pledge Friendly, a program to make it easier for customers to discover and shop for more sustainable products. To determine the sustainability of a product, the program partnered with third-party certifications, including governmental agencies, nonprofits, and independent labs.

With a selection of items spanning grocery, household, fashion, beauty, and personal electronics, you'll be able to shop more sustainably not just for the holiday season, but throughout the year for your essentials, as well.

You can browse all of the Climate Pledge Friendly products here, labeled with an icon and which certification(s) they meet. To get you on your way to shopping more sustainably, we've rounded up eight of our favorite Climate Pledge Friendly-products that will make great gifts all year long.

Amazon

Jack Wolfskin Women's North York Coat

Give the gift of warmth and style with this coat, available in a variety of colors. Sustainability is built into all Jack Wolfskin products and each item comes with a code that lets you trace back to its origins and understand how it was made.

Bluesign: Bluesign products are responsibly manufactured by using safer chemicals and fewer resources, including less energy, in production.


Amazon

Amazon All-new Echo Dot (4th Gen)

For the tech-obsessed. This Alexa smart speaker, which comes in a sleek, compact design, lets you voice control your entertainment and your smart home as well as connect with others.

Reducing CO2: Products with this certification reduce their carbon footprint year after year. Certified by the Carbon Trust.


Amazon

Burt's Bees Family Jammies Matching Holiday Organic Cotton Pajamas

Get into the holiday spirit with these fun matching PJs for the whole family. Perfect for pictures that even Fido can get in on.

Global Organic Textile Standard: This certifies each step of the organic textile supply chain against strict ecological and social standards. Each product with this certification contains 95%-100% organic content.

Amazon

Naturistick 5-Pack Lip Balm Gift Set

With 100% natural ingredients that are gentle on ultra-sensitive lips, this gift is a great gift for the whole family.

Compact by Design (Certified by Amazon): Products with this certification are packaged without excess air and water, which reduces the carbon footprint of shipping and packaging.


Amazon

Arus Women's GOTS Certified Organic Cotton Hooded Full Length Turkish Bathrobe

For those who love to lounge around, this full-length organic cotton bathrobe is the way to go. Available in five different colors, it has comfortable cuffed sleeves, a hood, pockets, and adjustable belt.

Global Organic Textile Standard: This certifies each step of the organic textile supply chain against strict ecological and social standards. Each product with this certification contains 95%-100% organic content.

Amazon

L'Occitane Extra-Gentle Vegetable Based Soap

This luxe soap, made with moisturizing shea butter and scented with verbena, is perfect for the self-care obsessed.

Compact by Design (Certified by Amazon): Products with this certification are packaged without excess air and water, which reduces the carbon footprint of shipping and packaging.

Amazon

Goodthreads Men's Sweater-Knit Fleece Long-Sleeve Bomber

For the fashionable men in your life, this fashion-forward knit bomber is an excellent choice. The sweater material keeps it cozy and warm, while the bomber jacket-cut, zip front, and rib-trim neck make it look elevated.

Recycled Claim Standard 100: Products with this certification use materials made from at least 95% recycled content.

Amazon

All-new Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote

Make it even easier to access your favorite movies and shows this holiday season. The new Fire TV Stick lets you use your voice to search across apps. Plus it controls the power and volume on your TV, so you'll never need to leave the couch! Except for snacks.

Reducing CO2: Products with this certification reduce their carbon footprint year after year. Certified by the Carbon Trust.

True

If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.