Why I Love the Internet

We lost Alexandra a year ago. We miscarried again in February. Since then I think every single person on the planet has gotten pregnant. Seriously, it’s insane. My best friend and his wife, my wife’s best friend and her husband, two good female friends from high school, my neighbor and countless other acquaintances out there on the periphery. All with the proverbial bun in the oven.

Please don’t get me wrong, I’m happy for them. Thrilled actually. I have nothing but all the love in the world for each of them and I can’t wait until all these babies are born so I can play with them and hold them. But watching everyone else get what you so desperately want…it’s tough.

As the year anniversary of my clash with the abortion protesters drew near, I began to get a little chippy. The YouTube video below is nearing 1 million hits, and with that comes some of the nutcases. There are some nasty comments on there calling me and MJ murderers, telling us we didn’t love our baby enough, etc.

For the most part I’ve been able to ignore them and see them for the crazies they are. But lately, feeling the weight and frustration that’s been building up, I’ve taken to responding to some of them. I know it’s never a good idea to feed the trolls but I can’t help it.

I’ve just been so fucking angry. I feel like anger seeps out of my pores and spontaneously combusts as I walk around on fire. I’ve considered taking the video down and even stopping this blog altogether just to get away from it all and not have to deal with it.

And just then, I got the most soul-refreshing email from a perfect stranger whose kind words have helped me gain some perspective and really soothed me. And boy did I need it. So, with her permission and taking out some identifying information, I’d like to thank the author of this email for saving me when I desperately needed it.

Hello Aaron, my names M___. I’m a 20-something year old from the midwest – an artsy nerd, a roller derby girl, a typical black sheep art school type. I’m also among the thousands of young women who had to make the choice that would leave my heart permanently chipped. To keep a difficult story short, I made a similiar choice as you and your famliy. I was (and still am, though it doesn’t feel it) young, it was unplanned as the story usually goes: I was on medication for anxiety that unknowingly effected my method of birth control, and finding out I was pregnant was a shock I always told myself I would never allow to happen.

However, it wasn’t the worst news either. I had stability and luxeries a lot of young mothers didn’t have – a long, strong relationship with my soon-to-be husband, an almost too supportive, traditional southern family that wanted me to ‘get hitched’ and settle down with a family by the time I was 18 anyway. My grandmother was estatic. With the comfort knowing I had the means and support to bring a child into a world of nothing but love and financial comfort within both families, over time I was infatuated with mommy-dom like I had never imagined.

I recieved similair news you and your wife endured later in my pregnancy. I then made the same choice.

I don’t normally do this, go out of my way to contact a stranger, especially through youtube, but you truly deserve it. I know from reading your blog excerpt that you felt foolish for confronting those women on the street, these people who put so much of thier time and effort into spreading ‘the word’ of God with ridiculous scare tactics and a blind eye to all the reasons there are to end a pregnancy, a choice every woman deserves without ridicule. My child was the victim of chance and an unfortunate genetic history, and though I felt it, it was of no fault of this baby or my own. I wasn’t strong enough to stand up for myself when I was harrassed trying to enter a planned parenthood. I was miserable and heart broken. I hurt so much I wanted to die, and the protestors could see I was wounded. They knew they had the ammunition to bring me down, to make my shame into a cruel example, and they did so in front of every person within ear shot as I tried to do what was best for my health and a child that would not reach full term no matter how much I willed it otherwise. I was powerless in that moment, too upset to voice my side, so instead I just looked at my feet and cried into my hands.

I know what you said on the street that day wasn’t everything you wanted it to be in the heat of the moment, that maybe you didn’t feel like it was a victory. I just want you to know that when I read your story, and saw you from that day, that in a small way I felt like you were protecting me.

I hope with all my heart that you and your family are happy, healthy and continue to stay strong.

M___

 

This is not to paint myself as a hero. I’m the farthest thing from it. This is to say thank you to M.

Even if yours was the only supportive email I received, it was worth it. Aside from the obvious pain MJ was in that day at the clinic, I was equally saddened by the young faces of the women sitting in the lobby that day, who had also just run the gauntlet of crazy religious zealots shouting at them with no understanding of their particular circumstances. I saw the shame, compounded by taunts from the thoughtless jackasses outside. And every so often their hateful words would drift in through the cracked window, causing a fresh round of tears and heartbreak for women making an impossible decision.

Yes I had my wife in the forefront of my mind that day, but I took a mental snapshot of each face in that waiting room and tucked it away. And I thought about women who went there for abortions in the past, who didn’t have anyone to stick up for them. Who either wouldn’t, or couldn’t, fight back. Women like M.

Thank you for that email M. You’ll never quite understand what it means to me. Or how much I needed it. Say what you want about the Internet, but it allowed me to connect with a total stranger on a ridiculously meaningful and personal level. And I’m forever grateful for that.

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12 thoughts on “Why I Love the Internet

  1. Thank you Aaron, for all the women who are verbally and emotionally battered by these so-called Christians on, what could possibly be, the worst day in their entire lives. The world need more good men like you. MJ is lucky to have you.

  2. I am so sorry for the pain you & your wife have had to endure. As a volunteer women’s clinic defense escort, every experience you & “M” share, shows how valuable our presence is to the women requiring their services of any kind, not always abortion. We are an organized peaceful, non-confrontational group, serving in multiple cities in my state. We are not to reply to the anti’s, not to argue. But they sure do try to bully us verbally & sometimes physically. For us, any attention paid to/at us, is attention not given to a client, who may be able to get into the clinic unnoticed. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, & those who are opposed to abortion shouldn’t have one. But the harrasment & hatefulness are so unnecessary & certainly not in a Christian spirit.

  3. Those same damn protesters are the same fucking people that yelled at my gay sister when she went to a conference for LGBT youth. She walked right up to them too. They told her she’s gay because she was born in sin. She’s 16. What the fuck kind of adult says that to a kid. This video has inspired me to go find a clinic to volunteer at. I don’t want those women, those snapshots in your mind to be alone anymore. It breaks my heart that people think they have the right to judge and villify when they don’t know the full story. I am thrilled, but not surprised, that you stood up for MJ like that. You have true character my friend.

    Thank you for standing up for people who don’t always have a voice.

  4. I want to say this because I don’t think I ever did. There are good people out there defending against this. I had a friend in college who volunteered to escort women from their cars to Planned Parenthood to fend off these people. In my town there was often a police officer manning that corner to prevent anything too crazy. They are technically allowed to speak their mind, but not to harass, and the police helped with that. I will never forget the one day I actually said something to one of them. I don’t think it did anything. I was in college, with no money and no insurance, and I was going to Planned Parenthood for an annual visit and blood test. They yelled at me not to abort my fetus. I walked right up to one of them and said “Listen. I am going in there to have an annual check up. It is none of your goddamned business, but I am going in order to protect my reproductive health so I am more able to have healthy happy children in my future. That said, most women who are going in there are going for birth control, not abortions. And those who are? Most of them don’t want to be doing it anyway. So give them a break.” I know it did nothing. But it felt good to defend people for a change instead of hiding from these horrible people.

    Thanks for doing the same.

  5. I’m with Misha dude. You are one of the best out there. Your son is lucky that he will get to look back on this and see that is father is a real man.

  6. Hi,
    I just wanted to thank you for standing up for your wife, for standing up to protesters, for standing up for Alexandra, and so much more. I work in a clinic and you may not realize that by confronting the protesters, you also stood up for all abortion clinic workers, all abortion doctors, and for every single woman who goes into a clinic. Across the country, women are faced with the bullying and judgment that goes on by anti-abortion protesters in front of clinics. Most clinic workers aren’t able to talk to the protesters because many places have a non-engagement policy. Yet, we honor you and are so grateful for your bravery.

    I do not think you should take down the YouTube post and I am very sorry that you’re getting the anti trolls. (We get them too.) Not enough people speak out. Perhaps you can put a spam box on your blog, though. Filter some of that negativity. Also, I personally find that there is no room for debate with antis. They protest because they are adamant. They won’t understand unless they find themselves in a similar situation. As infuriating as it is, please know that your voice will touch many. More than you will probably ever know. Feel free to stop by our blog for any venting sessions you may need. We’re called the Abortioneers (there are several of us blogging under pseudonyms – because – sadly, it’s required for our safety). Because I just found out about you and was impressed, I just put a post up on your situation. Including links to your blog and your YouTube video. You’ll find love and support there (we call ourselves “Abortioneers” because we’re those who do direct service work).

    Much love to you and your family.

  7. I came over at aboutagirl’s suggestion. Thank you for standing up for your wife (and other women) to those crazy people! I wish you the best of luck in everything!

  8. I heard about your story through the abortioneers. I am so sorry for your family’s loss and amazed at how you stood up to those protestors even in your moment of grief. I know what that rage feels like, fortunately experiences and stories like yours help dissipate it and renews my hope. Thank you for what you have done and continue to do.

  9. I was a sexually active teenager who was treated with respect and kindness by my local Planned Parenthood when I went to get birth control for the first time at age 15. I will never forget it. When I went away to college, I sent my last 20$ in my bank account to them, with a letter. I have been a fervent defender and supporter of them ever since. But that pales in comparison to you and your courage. Your wife and family are lucky to have you.
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  10. I read about your story on http://abortioneers.blogspot.com/ and had to come over here and say thank you. Thank you for defending what must have been an unimaginable difficult choice to make and thank you for sharing your feelings now.

    Even though I live in a country where (emergency) birth control and abortion are more easily available, I have still seen women suffer because they feel they are being judged for having an abortion. I have met girls and young women who feel they will be called sluts for taking care of themselves and protecting themselves by carrying and using birth control. Every time someone stands up for these choices, is a step towards people having the right to choose for themselves without being judged for it! Thank you for being that voice!

    Much love to you and your wife!

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