A Deafening Silence

My baby’s birthday is next month.

Even four years after the miscarriage, every October, I say a little prayer for the soul that didn’t make it full term.  I think I was going to name him something cool like Titan or Oscar.  It would have been my first child.

Truth be told, I was not in a good situation now that I look back on it in retrospect.  I didn’t have much of anything: life experience, money, resources, or time.  You can also throw in the fact that I wasn’t married or in a good relationship with the would-be father.  I was devastated when it had happened but I am mature enough to admit that I was not ready and since then have taken precautions to prevent another unplanned pregnancy.

I have a lot of friends who have used abortions as their panacea for the unplanned pregnancy.   My friends who have had it done are all college educated.  One even has her Ph.D.  Some of them have had it done several times, but many Sistas don’t speak on it.

 

 

A right to choose?  Or a right to life?

There is a “loud silence” in the Black 

community over this issue…

 Abortion always has had a negative stigma attached to it for women.  Period.  In many instances, women who have had it done were labeled as ill informed at best or evil at worst.  Everyone seems to weigh in on the issue.  But within the Black community, as one Sista put it, “there is a loud silence.”

There has been some debate on where this silence comes from and I think I have an answer – at least one that makes sense to me.  

Ever since being sent to America, women of African-descent have been classified as either the over-sexed nubile or the asexual matron.  Overall, many of us have been uncomfortable with our sexuality and grew up with an air of shame.  That stench has wafted down over two centuries to us in present day America.  Even with our college degrees, car notes, pimped out cell phones, manicured nails and hair, that stink is still apparent, coming off of our designer clothes and everybody is noticing it and some organizations are even being funded to do studies on it.

But in the Black community, there is still this eerie silence, and to quote the famous song, “It’s killing us softly…”

According to Fox News, Black women have higher numbers of abortions than women of other races.

The study claimed that “in 2000, while Blacks made up 17 percent of live births, they made up more than twice that share of abortions (36 percent). It further stated that if those aborted children had been born, the number of Blacks born would have been slightly over 50 percent greater than it was.”

From my own personal experience, I was taught that you don’t tell your business to anyone.  If it is killing you, then damn it, you better die with your secrets kept to yourself.  Even if it means that the secret was shame about your body, ignorance and guilt instilled parents or guardians concerning sex and even possibly being molested by a relative.

It may not be as extreme as all that.  There are plenty of women who can testify to being raised in wonderful families where they were taught to love and honor their bodies.  But yet outside of the cozy insulation of family values, many of us Black women step out into the world having to measure their own values against those of larger and more established social infrastructures.  

Even though I don’t agree with all of his actions, the Rev. Al Sharpton stated in a CNN report that many churches, a major social and political establishment for the Black community, has not been supportive to Black women concerning planned parenthood.

“Some high-profile black ministers continue to employ an agenda focused solely on sexually-based themes,” he said,  “like denying a women’s right to choose an abortion…to rally their congregations and drive a wedge through our people. Not only are they speaking narrowly on the issues of abortion, but even as the Supreme Court is taking action, there has been silence from the Black church.”

I wish I could be a person that has been through life always thinking clear headed and making the most effective and correct decision for myself at every which way and turn.  Unfortunately, I can’t say that with a straight face.  I have made mistakes and will make efforts to not make the same ones. I can’t say whether I approve of abortion or not.  I guess that it seems like one of those things that has to be encountered before I could make a definite opinion.

But whether I approve or disapprove isn’t the point.  I would rather just have Black women being in a space to dialogue about it, free from judgments and ridicule from both the pro-lifers and the pro-choice supporters.  

As October approaches, I think about what if I had an abortion instead of deciding to have the baby, despite my circumstances.  I don’t reminisce upon it too long because nature ultimately decided for me.  

Years later, all I have been able to do is to wake up every morning open to the possibility of new beginnings and second chances… and emotionally move on with my life.  

 

 

 

 

 

Peace,
Dina

Dina Peace is the Web Editor and a blogger for the Michigan Chronicle.  Her interests includes dancing, writing, painting and making mud pies in her backyard.  She can be reached at webmaster@michronicle.com.  Follow her on Facebook by visiting https://www.facebook.com/dina.peace.  She loves connecting with like minded individuals!

 

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