For most people who choose and/or have an abortion, there's at least one decision to make after all is said and done: who do you tell your story to? Some people keep their decision to have this common medical procedure to themselves, while others feel compelled to tell close friends or family members. And some go on to be vocal activists, proudly sharing their abortion story in solidarity with the one in four women who will have an abortion. Since moms have abortions too, I asked a few to share how they explained their abortion to their kids. Because while you don't owe your story or an explanation of your medical decisions to anyone, discussing abortion can help eliminate the stigma that has remained attached to the procedure.
My son hasn't started elementary school, so his understanding of the world if fairly simplistic and, well, involves a lot of Hot Wheels cars. So the fact that I had an abortion a year after he was born simply hasn’t come up. Eventually, though, I plan to tell him about the experience. I want him to know, without a shadow of a doubt, that his mother believes in a pregnant person’s right to choose. I want him to know someone, first-hand, who can talk about abortion, and who doesn't regret her positive experience. I want him to know that if he should ever know someone who is in need of an abortion or considering one, that I can be a trusted individual and, moreover, a resource. I want him to grow up acknowledging everyone’s bodily autonomy (something we already practice via lessons in consent). And a conversation about my abortion experience will help me facilitate all of these messages and lessons.
I might wait to have this discussion until he asks a question about abortion himself, or if it doesn't happen organically I might just bring up the topic myself. Because, for me, it’s extremely important that my son understands why people choose this legal and safe option, and why it’s more often than not the right choice for them. I spoke with a few moms who have had abortions, and they each talked about the way they’ve either begun telling their kids, how they plan to, or what these particular discussions were like. If you’re on the fence about whether you’ll ever tell your own kids about your abortion experience, here’s how other moms handled the topic with their children: