April 15, 2018

As an abortion care provider, there’s four questions patients often ask me:

1. Do you have children?
2. Are the protestors always out there?
3. Am I a bad person?
4. Is it hard to work here?

My mom was fourteen when she had me.

I grew up watching her stay up all night working as a third generation seamstress,
always stitching away her dreams into the fabric of everyone else’s life.
In every way she could,
she lifted my brother and I up to the clouds so we could see
far into the horizon all the opportunities no one ever lifted her high enough to see.
My mom is the altar to which I pray, the goddess I thank for turning all dreams into reality.

When I was twelve, my family and I left everything behind
and migrated to the United States to fight for a better life.
Fifteen years later and here we are, still fighting.

Every morning,
before the sun comes up,
I see my mom going to work
hopeful for another day in a country that sees her, sees us, as criminals
and I wish she would’ve had a choice.
I wish she would’ve been able to weave golden threads into the fabric of her own life.
I like to think I would be up there,
high above the clouds cheering her on
as she became the first person in her family to college,
to go to law school,
to be a badass in a much different kind of life.

So when patients ask me those questions,
in my head the answers are always these:

1. I don’t have children. My mom’s life-long hustle allowed me to step into a whole different world, one where, unlike her and so many others, I was able to access birth control and access the idea that my body doesn’t have to become a home for anyone other than myself until I choose to do so.

2. Yes, the protestors are always out there but not just on the sidewalk. I hear them manifesting in my patient’s stories as the men who lied when they said condom stayed on the whole time. The families who believe that a merciful God will punish you for doing what you think it’s best. And the men who have turned our bodies into political battlefields. Sadly, there’s a lot more to be afraid of than the monsters that step out onto the sidewalk.

3. What I’ve learned after migrating to this country is that people might never understand the hard choices and scarifies you’ve had to make in search of a better life. You, my dear, will never be a bad person for wanting a better life.

4. Yes, it is hard to work here and listen to the ways in which so many of us continue to be violated, shamed, and oppressed. But lifting you high above the sky, into your own horizon, has been the biggest blessing of my life.