an After abortion

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Thursday, February 23, 2006

Starting Over is a daytime television reality show. Women move into a house for six to ten weeks, and work intensively with coaches and therapists to move past old problems and make some major lifestyle changes. On Tuesday's episode, house guest Jodi talked about an abortion she'd had long ago. In the show summary that follows, Ilanya is one of the show's coaches/counselors:

Ilanya: Why do you want to release the weight?

Jodi: I’m tired of hiding myself, and punishing myself. Cause weight was a punishment for me.

Ilanya: For?

Jodi: The abortion.

Ilanya: Why did you need to be punished because you had an abortion?

Jodi: Because I didn’t know who the father was, I had been dating 3 men at the same time, that wasn’t my character, I wasn’t honoring my authentic self.

Ilanya: So was it the abortion or was it dishonoring yourself by sleeping with 3 different men?

Jodi: It was a combination of both. The experience of the abortion was horrible for me. I had never gone through that. Though I do believe it’s a woman’s choice, it won’t ever be a choice for me again. I was humiliated, I was scared, and I don’t know how to phrase that but just the reality of the ending of that, the closure of it, the complete it’s gone… I wasn’t prepared for that at all. And then to have my niece be born, it was so in my face, holding that child and loving that child and realizing what I had done. [Transcript note: Jodi is crying.]

Ilanya: Have you ever said goodbye to that child?

Jodi: I don’t think so. Actually, no.

Ilanya: So what would happen if you wrote that baby a letter?

Jodi: Wow. I probably should try to do that.

Ilanya: A nice letter, letting it go.

Jodi: I don’t know how you…

Ilanya: I’m sorry that we didn’t get to meet each other face to face, and I want to explain to you why I had to let you go. How about that? [Transcript note: Jodi is wiping her eyes.]

Jodi: I think that would be really good to do.

Ilanya: Give yourself permission to let yourself off the hook.

Note from Emily: The purpose of writing a letter to your child is to help with the grief process, not to let yourself off the hook. Letting yourself off the hook is a whole 'nother letter or process. By mushing all this together, Ilanya is minimizing the extent of the work Jodi needs to do to recover.

Jodi is writing her letter and crying. We see her writing her letter while lying on her bed and then she talks in confessional.

Jodi: Ilanya wants me to write a letter to the unborn child that I terminated. All these emotions have been so deep inside me for so long and it’s killing me. It wasn’t the pretty package that I always wanted for myself. And I do know now that the package doesn’t really matter. I would give anything to have that child now. She breaks down in uncontrollable sobs.
"Starting Over" Life Coach Ilanya has a webpage that describes her coaching philosophy. She can be contacted here, and I hope I can get around to writing her a note to applaud her for starting to help with the wrenching pain Jodi is experiencing, as well as sharing my own, um, know-it-all attitude about additional ways to help women resolve their history with abortion.

HT: Pro-Life Blogs.

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