When trauma is your last resort
and other reasons I am exhausted
It’s been a busy couple weeks around here. Last week I joined members of my church in DC to explore anti-racist worship practices with four churches. This week we’ll share combined worship (and preaching!) with St Ambrose Episcopal, the historically Black who was our choir partner over Lent. And tomorrow I’m the Shabbat speaker at Beth Meyer synagogue, talking about the work of a lynching memorial in our county and how memory redeems.
But today I added on another task. I joined the North Carolina Council of Churches and Repairers of the Breach at a press conference at the General Assembly, attempting to talk a member of the NC GOP into understanding how immoral and deadly a ban on abortion will be for people in our state.
Several of the speakers were people who shared their stories of abortion, of life-threatening genetic anomalies in their neonates, and how their own lives were threatened by chronic disease during pregnancy. It was gut wrenching. I thought of my own story, the story I’ve shared publicly about wondering if my child would have serious brain defects.
I thought about what I would say if I was asked to speak. Would I talk about my serious wonderings about getting a more effective form of birth control because I’m way past safe maternal age? Would I talk about perimenopause? Or fears of being raped?
And then I was consumed with rage. A dark red circle of red hot anger.
The NC GOP, like their many of their compatriots across the country, is passing a law that doctors and nurses are begging them to vote against. The only tool left in the toolbox is to re-traumatize ourselves in public, to share intimate details about our lives, to put on display our fear in hopes of flipping one of their consciences.
I would have liked to keep the story of my son’s choroid plexus cysts tucked away in the corner of my heart. I would very much not have to talk about perimenopause and my preferred form of birth control. The clergywomen today shouldn’t have had to talk about being pregnant with lupus, a diagnosis of Turners syndrome, the decision to abort a much desired pregnancy.
It shouldn’t be this way. But here we are again, begging at the doorstep of the NC GOP on behalf of thousands of women who will have to bear the consequences of Senate Bill 20 in dire circumstances. Some of those circumstances will certainly kill them.
It shouldn’t be this way. I am tired and I am angry.