Looking back to the end of last week's entry, I see a grocery list of things I've been meaning to write about. So here goes:
My Appointments with the Therapist:
I've been twice to see this woman, and probably will not go back. Not that she wasn't knowledgeable and wise, not that she didn't have a perfect voice for late-night soft-rock radio (think: earthy, new-age Delilah), but because I could barely squeeze in a word edgewise between all the smooth-voiced wisdom and knowledge. And frankly, I had a hard time taking her seriously. The truth is, I really did get something out of seeing her, and she did have some very useful things to say, which is why I went back for a second dose. I may go again at some point, after exploring other venues for my psychological development, but it won't be anytime soon.
More on step-mothering, and How I Felt on Parent-Teacher Conference Night:
There is a trick to being a happy and effective step-parent, when what you really want is to be a full-fledged parent, starting from scratch. Well, actually, there are many tricks, many challenges, but the one at the top of the list for me is this: making room for the full spectrum of feelings that such a situation evokes. For instance, when J~ came home from parent-teacher conferences, his heart brimming with how much his son's teachers liked his son, it hit me. "You've been a parent for almost thirteen years," I said, struck by all the commitment, the work, the thoughtfulness that such a role requires. I felt glad for him, proud of him, for being such a solid father, and told him as much. And then I burst into tears. It took me a minute to figure out that my sadness was due to the possibility that I will never have a child of my own, let alone the affirming experience of having my child loved and respected in the world.
It never ceases to amaze me how effective a few tears can be for clearing the mind. The more I allow myself to express whatever feeling comes up about what I don't have, the more present I can be to enjoy what I do.
My night out with the girls.
I won't go too much into this one except to say: we didn't do much beyond talking and nursing drinks and eating garlic fries, but I had fun. I stayed up way too late - I'm still recovering. But it feels good to be finding a circle of friends in and around my new home.
Abortion and the Not-So-Simple Choice Between Surgical and Medical (meaning with pills) Procedures:
I won't go too far into this one either. It never felt like the right time to write about this subject, and it certainly doesn't feel right now either, but in case this is of use to a woman planning to have an abortion but agonizing over what method to choose, I want to get this down: It really is a matter of personal preference.
Also, let me be clear: a medical abortion and "the morning after pill" are different things. "The morning after pill" is really a high-dose birth control pill whichprevents a pregnancy from starting after unprotected sex. Medical abortion is basically an induced miscarriage.
In my brief time as an abortion counselor, I spoke to many women (other abortion counselors, that is) who were very clear about which method they would choose, and let me tell you, there is no consensus. Some are more comfortable with the surgery, which is quicker, not necessarily more painful, and involves having a doctor present. Some were more comfortable with aborting medically. In fact, one woman who'd actually experienced both methods, and found medical abortion to be more physically difficult, still insisted she would choose it over surgery if ever she had to choose again, for the privacy it affords, and because it is less invasive.
As far as safety goes, both are reputedly safe, though of course, nothing is foolproof. Actually, I don't know what the state of affairs is these days about medical abortion. A year ago, as I was moving away from that line of work, there was a scare after several deaths due to infections following medical abortions. This had happened once before in California, but this time it was happening elsewhere. It was unclear what was to blame for these deaths, though an obscure soil bacteria seemed to be involved. Here's some more information, if you're interested.