| by Melissa Madera |

As I sat at her kitchen table, Amanda shared her story with me as her five year old son ate breakfast and played with his legos in another room. Before I knocked on her door in Portland, Oregon that morning, we were both complete strangers to one another. She was the forty-second person to share her story with me.

Someone recently told me that every trip is part of the journey. My life journey took a major detour a year ago. I was supposed to be a college professor. I spent eight years in a Ph.D. program where I sat in libraries surrounded by stacks of books and stood in classrooms full of college students. I became a historian. I learned to read about people found in the brown, torn pages I uncovered in hot, dusty archives and tell those stories. One day I realized I needed to tell my own story and listen to the voices of other people as they shared their own stories in their own words.

That’s when I started to listen.

When I was seventeen years old, I woke up in a small room with two or three other women. I was sitting in a chair with a thick maxi pad between my thighs, and I was throwing up in to a plastic, kidney-shaped basin. It was the summer after my high school graduation.

I just had my abortion.

It was the singularly most isolating experience of my life. It was also the most impactful. It impacted the choices that I made and the way I lived my life and I didn’t even know it. I would have never have guessed that my abortion experience seventeen years ago would have birthed The Abortion Diary.

Does everyone cry? Some people don’t, but, yes, some people do and that’s okay.

[SYS Editors’ Note: Melissa is our soul-sister in story-telling and we are honored to share her story on our site. She has been doing courageous and empowering work with women for three years now, and she is an inspiration to our work. The Abortion Diary stands as part of a movement showing women that there is no shame in our experiences, and that stepping into our truths will shine a light for others to follow. Please take a moment to visit Melissa on her website and support her life-changing project:]

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