Q: In the book, you compare your first husband to a dictator. How has he reacted to the book and to the way he’s been portrayed? Did he know about the number of abortions you had while you were with him?
A: I don’t know -- I have not spoken with him. He didn’t know about the first couple. By the time I got to the fourth one, I told him about the previous ones. After that, he knew every time I was pregnant but there was no discussion. It was just understood that I had the choice: a relationship with him or single motherhood.
Q: Why didn’t he just have a vasectomy?
A: That’s a question to ask him. Even when I was less disassociated enough to think through questions in my mind, I still never felt that I could bring them up to him. Generally, I felt that it was my responsibility to take care of it.
Q: Did you ever feel guilty about what you were doing?
A: Because it was a neurosis, it changed forms. Every pregnancy and abortion was different. The moments of termination were moments that I was disassociated. I didn’t allow myself to feel – there was a sense of, [the abortion] needs to happen or I will die – it was cold-blooded in a way.
My two second-term terminations shook me psychologically. The overall feeling I have about the terminations is a problem of morality which I cannot resolve. I was reckless with my body and the fetuses that I carried. I will live with that everlasting mourning. It’s not a statement that I’m guilty in the religious sense, but more a moral and ethical sense. To be clear, I am pro-choice, but that’s the dilemma and the weight of the accountability that I try to give testimony to.
Q: How did you stop this cycle?
A: It took heavy-duty therapy. Most rehabilitations don’t happen suddenly – you try, fail, come back and fail again. I had many false starts. I started therapy shortly after I left my husband in 1998, and went for three years. It was through the therapy that I wrote the previous drafts of this book.
I also met the companion who is now the father of my children. He embraced me knowing about this horror and dealing with it with such tolerance. He has been crucial in supporting me in this book and becoming a mother. Q:You now have two daughters, ages 5 and 3 with your second husband. How does your experience impact you as a mother?A:
Motherhood is a validating experience in the most authentic way. I lived a life of servitude and subjugation, I was in an unequal relationship and looked to the wrong alliances for safety and protection. Now I can find that through being a mother. My family sent me mixed messages – there was love and caring – but then abandonment and neglect. I try to avoid that mixed message with my children. Today, as a mother who has spent most of the last ten years trying to investigate my actions, I read books on psychology and infant development, searching for all the ways I can protect my girls from everything, including me. I’m haunted by visions of them at 15, alone in a foreign city feeling inadequate, unloved, staring at shop windows while sophisticated looking women pass by. I don’t want my daughters to live the anguish of feeling trapped in the wrong body. I don’t want them to ever succumb to the dismembered life of a false self. I don’t want them ever to lie on a stretcher at an abortion clinic. Their fate depends, to a great deal, on me. Q: Will you explain your story to your children?A:
A time will come when they will be ready to know about this part of their mother’s life—hopefully my testimony will be seen as one of resilience and hope for any difficulties they encounter in life. I hope that through my mothering they will grow up to be tolerant, compassionate human beings. Q: So what’s next for you?A:
I’m in the process of writing my next book, “Middle of The Night,” about being a mother and the continuous healing I’m engaged with through motherhood. But family is my main profession right now. Read an excerpt of "Impossible Motherhood"