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My Mother’s Story

What year did you have your abortion?

1974, 1976, 1978

How old were you when you had your abortion?

18, 20, 22.

How did you feel at the time?

Fine, relieved.

How do you feel now?

Great and thankful.

My story…

When i was a young woman my mother answered a request by an author who wrote for the new yorker magazine. this author wanted to interview women who had had illegal abortions. while i don’t think the author ever traveled to vermont to speak with my mother and my grandmother, it opened the conversation between my mother, my grandmother and me and my 3 sisters. collectively we had had 12 abortions. we all unburdened ourselves of our stories. i cannot remember gramma mary’s story other than that it was in the 1920’s. but i clearly recall my mom’s; it was 1958 and she had had 4 children and one miscarriage and once again her diaphragm had failed her. she went to a woman whom she had heard had had an abortion and was given the name of a doctor in manhattan. she went with my father into the city. she was told she could have no food before the operation. my father was hungry and insisted on stopping at a diner for a meal. my mother sat silently raging that my father could calmly eat while she anxiously anticipated the appointment. finally, they climbed very narrow dark stairs to an unmarked door. they had to pay three hundred one dollar bills and the doctor counted them out one by one. the abortion was performed with no anesthesia. my father got a vasectomy soon afterwards.
i have my own stories, but this one haunts me.

One Response to “My Mother’s Story”

  1. Oliva Woloszyn Says:

    This is an excellent story. Thank you so much for writing this.

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