A Letter to Women on Abortion and Grief

A tea leaf reader once told me she saw two cherries linked in my cup, signifying twin energy. This was seven months after I aborted my twin pregnancy, at seven weeks. I felt elation, sadness, and wonder when she said this. Does that mean they are still with me, beside me? Does this mean the future holds another twin pregnancy?

There is a special place in my heart for women who have had abortions; it is a confusing grief that we are not supposed to talk about. This hush hush leaves a mark on the soul and prolongs the healing process. It leaves scar tissue that twists and contorts the underbelly until you’re left feeling like you’ve been chewed up and spit back out by some great, big monster.

 A woman after abortion can feel grief, relief, a deep sense of ‘what if’, guilt, anger, shame, confusion, immense freedom, happiness, hatred. Sometimes separately, sometimes simultaneously. Among the women who have died during abortions, who have fought to make abortions legal, who are still battling with their rights being taken away and who are forced to have abortions either by a parent or spouse, I found it hard to fully envelop my grief without feeling guilt. Who was I to feel sad about a decision I made, when so many women have struggled and still do to have autonomy over their own bodies?

I decided to go to the appointment by myself. I took the medication, and aborted my twins at home, alone, unsure how to ask for help and wanting to keep the process close to my chest. For a whole year I questioned this decision and sometimes still do. A woman feels her grief deep inside her body and soul. Its as if the underworld and the topside world become uneven; we walk more comfortably in the underworld amongst the dark forests and spirits, unable to see clearly in the fog. The devil down here says ‘you’re not deserving of feeling these waves of sadness, you caused your own drowning’. Compassion and empathy walk out the door, two fundamental aspects required for healing.

Ursula Leguin once wrote that women grow things in darkness, not in light. This is the beautiful aspect of being swallowed up by night; something is always inevitably brought forth from the corners of the psyche, out into the sun. Our ability to grow and sustain life is cause for celebration every minute of the day. To bring forth life, whether that’s a child, art, a work of poetry, a piece of music, or a new business, this nursing of creativity is what it means to be a woman.  A woman is a fire during a cold, long winter; she is the moon on a dark night; a warm meal after famine. Our warmth is necessary to grow and sustain life. When you’re swallowed by the dark, reach out and let another woman light your way. Let your sisters soothe your soul. You are worthy of feeling your sadness and grief, always, no matter what or who caused it. 

Write the story, sing the song, start the business, and publish the poems. Create, create, create. You will become a beacon of light to another woman in need.


P.S. To my twins in the spirit world, I love you. I’ll see you in another life.


Riley Craven

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