Feeling Empowered

I won’t deny it, blogging has certainly proved to be a challenge for me this year. In the last year I’ve graduated from college, lost my job, gained some jobs, finally settled down to one job, had a stellar vacation, gotten pregnant, and considered the implications of pregnancy (and the baby that I hear comes at the end of the pregnancy) on my little family.

With all of this, it’s hard to stay grounded. What is important to me in one moment changes in the next. How can I write when the things I want to write about are constantly changing. Even now, I’m not completely sure where I’m going with this.  I have a loose idea, about feeling empowered in your life (I have a feeling you may have gathered that from the title already).

In the way that you need to own your body when you’re pregnant (heck, even when you’re not!) you also need to be empowered to express your opinions. There are decisions that need to be made relatively quickly and so many people who want to weigh in, either with the desire to empower you or the desire to make you feel completely disenfranchised. Or maybe their comments are thoughtless, serving no purpose. In my own experience these comments are equally disenfranchising as the comments designed to make you feel that way.

With all of this, so many personal examples are coming to mind that I want to keep pretty close to the vest. But there is one experience I had seven weeks ago that I would like to share relating specifically to pregnancy. Nathan and I had our 21-week ultrasound and it was amazing! We found out that our little girl has a perfectly formed face, the normal compliment of digits, and her spine is forming beautifully. We also learned (well okay, I already knew this one) that she is a very active human being. We will have our hands full!

This experience was so amazing and powerful that I wanted to share it with 432 of my closest friends on Facebook. I felt the intense desire to share my own amazement at this tiny life growing inside of me. I sat down (much as I am doing right now) and carefully crafted my status update. Most of my friends shared my excitement. One of my “friends” felt the need to state that if I was still “pro-choice” after this experience then I was basically some kind of monster. She even apologized for this statement.

Her words hurt me.

I immediately deleted her comment and then began to write her a private message sharing how I felt: essentially that I was surprised that she would make such a disrespectful statement in a public setting. I acknowledged that I continued to believe that every woman (and her partner if that person is in the picture) had the right to choose what was best for them. I then stated it was clear that Nathan & I had not made that choice, very much wanting out baby and being committed (and able) to take care of her. I concluded by stating that if she was truly sorry for her words she would not have typed them.

During this time she bombarded my status with angry comments, anger that her voice had been silenced by me.

I quickly sent her another message stating that because of her inappropriate behavior I would not longer be friends with her in any sense of that word. That I could no longer be associated with someone who had poisoned my life for so long.

I share this experience now, almost two months after it happened, for one main reason.  Because I’ve had time to mull it over and decide exactly how I wanted to share it.

I also share this experience now because I feel that we live in a time where every single decision we make is scrutinized. Where it is so much easier to go with the flow of the crowd, to never speak out about your opinions. The easiest decision isn’t always the best one, but I certainly don’t blame anyone for choosing it. We all do it and it is fine. But there are times when you need to empower yourself to express how you feel and to surround yourself with people that make you feel safe doing so.

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2 thoughts on “Feeling Empowered

  1. I have three boys and I STILL pro choice! I’m not a monster! That friend of yours is misguided… Your views about abortion regarding yourself may change – mine did and I can’t imagine going through another one (I had one when I was19) – but your pro CHOICE views shouldn’t change. You are correct… It’s still a woman’s choice do do what is right for her. We are not monsters Rachel, we are feminists!

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