by Denisse Nassar
I have been thinking about where to start my story. Should I start from yesterday, when I could not move from bed? Or should I start right at the beginning, before I was born? Some people, though, like to say that there was no beginning before birth or that you began before birth only if you were wanted or were some kind of asset to the world. Some people like to put a green bandana around their necks without even knowing what it really means and how dangerous it is. I am not judging you or blaming you, however. I believe you have been misled.
I am going to start when I began to realize there was a problem. I was 14 years old when I realized that I did not like my mother. Teenagers normally feel this way, but this was different. I was not in touch with my femininity. I had never trusted her, and our life was a continuous fight. I did not know why, and I did not want it to be like that. I wanted to have a relationship with her.
That same year, I got diagnosed with osteosarcoma (bone cancer). My mom and I had to move to a new country for the treatment. I would have preferred to have been with my father, but I was stuck with her. It was a difficult year, between chemotherapy and fights with my mother. Our relationship was getting better, but I still felt something in my heart holding on to resentment towards her. I didn’t know what exactly.
The answer came to me one night while reading, when I found out that my parents were not prepared for me and my mother wanted to abort me.
She did not receive the help and support she needed at the beginning. Her mental health was fragile. Also, she had no money and she already had two children. I cannot imagine how scared she was. Thankfully, she received my father’s support. (I believe that stating that men have no say in whether a baby is born is doing to them what society has done to women.)
I came to terms with this. I have forgiven my mother because I can understand how difficult it was for her to say yes to life. I can understand how abortionists can trick you into thinking that there is no life and that a fetus doesn’t have any feelings. I was insecure in the place that you're supposed to be the most peaceful and secure: the womb of your mother.
All my treatment friends died from cancer. I survived and tried to continue living life for them. Something that I have learned, however, is that you cannot live for others. You are your own person and must live your own life. At that point in my life, though, I believed that I had to live for the ones that died, that I had to transmit hope to people because I was a miracle. I thought to transmit hope I had to cure cancer or do something extraordinary. I thought I had to do this because my life is expensive and I have to contribute benefits to balance its cost; otherwise I am worthless. I had to make tons of money because my parents decided to have me. I felt great guilt to be alive.
In 2018, at the end of my master’s degree, I found myself crying out of nowhere while doing laundry. After three days without getting out of my apartment, I gathered myself and decided to go to therapy because praying wasn’t enough. I got diagnosed with survivors’ guilt, and everything made sense. I barely wrote my thesis, graduated, and came back home.
Today, I am looking for work, but how can I find work when I am depressed? It’s been two years, and I am still unemployed, and the first thing that I find in my social media feed is pro-choice propaganda and memes from people that I know who'd tell me that they love me. I am left thinking that all my problems would have been solved if I hadn’t been born, right?
That is what the propaganda says: if a child is going to be poor, if she is going to suffer, you need to have an abortion. It makes me wish to be dead, but suicide is not an option to me.
And again, I see more green bandanas and propaganda and from people I know. This seems to validate my survivor’s guilt and depressed thoughts, seems to validate suicide. When I see these tweets and propaganda, I don’t want to move from bed. My body aches. I can feel the pain in my bones. These are a few symptoms of my mental health struggles.
So, what is my worth? My worth does not come from whether I have a job or whether I have done something extraordinary. It does not come from my money, social status, or race. My worth does not come from being a cancer survivor. My worth comes from being me, a human being; it comes from being alive, and that is enough.
The truly pro-life movement is about healing, atonement, and restorative laws; something that Catholics like to call mercy.
We want core solutions. We don’t want to force you into motherhood; we want to help you so you do not kill a human being. We want to protect you from being in an unwanted position. We want to end human trafficking and violence.
As women our fight should not be for abortion; our fight should be against poverty and human trafficking and for child protection, access to health care, and so on. Not only as women but as human beings we should fight against social injustice at its core.
The pro-life movement is about healing. Healing is a painful thing to do but the pain will eventually go away. Without healing, you will live the rest of your life fighting yourself and others, being angry, and carrying stuff that is not yours to carry.
I will not let them dehumanize me. Dehumanization is violence against me. The propaganda is hurtful and doesn’t contain any real information or educational value. I write this searching for my own healing, maybe to help others in their own healing — but mainly to tell you that, if you are going to wear a green bandana in support of abortion, please at least read and research both sides of the debate. Think twice before you tweet, because you never know who may be listening.