Penelope Trunk: 我为什么公然讨论流产
Recently, I updated my Twitter feed: "I'm in a board meeting. Having a miscarriage. Thank goodness, because there's a fucked-up three-week hoop-jump to have an abortion in Wisconsin."
I am 42 years old and run a social networking site for managing careers, and a blog with half a million visitors a month. On Twitter, the micro-blogging site, my feed is one of the most popular around. I have tweeted about my sex life, my period, and even a minor run-in with the police. For me, Twitter is a way to make a note about the most important things that happen in the day. So, I never thought this message would cause uproar. But it did.
Television, blogs and newspapers around the world reported what I had written. People posted critcisms on my blog. I was even interviewed on CNN where the news anchor asked me, "Young lady, do you have no shame?" My boyfriend's extended family called to make sure he was dumping me – although my mother told me she was proud of my CNN interview and forwarded it to all her feminist friends.
People were shocked at my response to the miscarriage. But I was shocked by their outrage. I am not sure why people think there is a "correct" emotion for miscarriages. For anything, really. Emotions are complicated. Sometimes people laugh in a crisis because they can't control themselves. We know some men walk away during a fight, we know some parents hit their kids when they love them. Pregnancies, too, are complicated. Something I knew when I wrote that tweet.
I have given birth to two children and they are the love of my life. They are four and seven years old. And they are difficult, fun, scary, smart and always seem to need something from me – they make my life feel full and important. I also understand the pain a miscarriage can cause. I had one in between having my two kids, and I thought I was never going to recover. I remember the ultrasound technician's face when she saw the baby was dead. I knew before she told me: I screamed and had to be put in a separate room at the doctor's office because I had a panic attack and nearly fainted. I was inconsolable for days. I was scared I'd never have another child. I hated myself for not trying to have children sooner.
But this time was different. I knew I did not want the baby. Is that so bad? I had taken a pregnancy test when I couldn't do my normal run or stay awake at work. When it came back positive, I felt old, scared and angry. When I called my boyfriend to tell him, he cried. He doesn't believe in abortion. But I have a child with autism and the odds that the next child will have autism is almost 90%. The odds of a mother over 40 having a child with Down's syndrome is one in 100. The risk that a woman who is 42 will miscarry at some point in the pregnancy is higher than 50%. These are not good odds. And I'm the sole breadwinner. I already knew that the risks of this pregnancy were huge. And if I had a baby with compromised medical health, it would jeopardise my ability to care for my two kids in the way I want to.
So, of course I was relieved that I didn't have to have an abortion because the decision was made for me. That this is controversial is absolutely shocking to me. I have had an abortion before. I know a few things about abortions. They are difficult morally, terrifying emotionally, and they are usually secret.
People have said that I shouldn't have got pregnant in the first place. But according to the Guttmacher Institute in the US (a not-for-profit organisation that works to advance reproductive health), most women who have abortions were on birth control the month they got pregnant. And half the women in the US will have an unintended pregnancy by age 45. So there is no single emotion for miscarriage or for pregnancy.
What none of the commentators of my tweet seems keen to discuss is how a woman's right to have an abortion where I live in Wisconsin has been undermined. It is one of 12 states that make women wait 24 hours before they can schedule an abortion. And the only place to get one that is covered by insurance is at a Planned Parenthood clinic, of which there are only three in the state. There is a week-and-a-half wait to get the first meeting and a week-and-a-half wait to get the abortion. To me, this is far more important than judging whether or not I should share personal information.
Some people say that a miscarriage is too private to discuss at work. But why? It's an important part of a woman's experience. It is not dirty or evil or shameful. A large number of women will have miscarriages in their lifetime. It's part of being a woman. And most men at the office have lived through the miscarriage of a significant other. It's an experience that happens over weeks, not hours. And it happens at work. We talk about death at work. We talk about violence at work. We talk about emotional problems such as breakups and mishaps and major disappointments. Why can't we talk about miscarriage? Who is hurt by keeping the topic taboo?
Others say I should not have discussed my experience on Twitter, but Twitter is not a public forum. Those who want to read my tweets have to sign up to receive my updates. And I can approve or disapprove people on an individual basis. The percentage of people who subscribe to my Twitter feed who were offended by my miscarriage tweet is very small. I know because you can unsubscribe to the feed, and only about 70 did.
I believe that the history of women can be seen, in some ways, as a history of language. The more women talk about their experiences, the more power they have to shape those experiences. Words such as date rape and antenatal depression are empowering because they give us ways to talk about issues that were hidden when we did not have the language to express them. We have a word for miscarriage. We should use it to explore the complicated issues around it.
If you insist on keeping the word private, you force the experience of women back into darkness. If you start telling women which media is appropriate for which emotion, you undermine the progress we make.
I didn't think about any of this when I wrote my tweet. But all the media attention has made me think a lot more, and I'm glad I have. I'm smarter for it.
2009-11-08 22:21 编辑：kuaileyingyu
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