I had the honor of seeing Dr. Susan Wicklund at Women & Children First on Wednesday night. She read from her memoir, This Common Secret. The first piece she read was from chapter one and the same piece that was in Ms. magazine. Despite the fact that I had read that piece over and over and cried over it, hearing her read it was so moving.
The book came about during a time she was living with a family where the father was an author. He would watch her head off to work each morning in her bullet proof vest & sidearm. Each evening she'd come home and not talk much about her day. Finally he told her, "You have to write this down. People have to know."
We had a great Q&A session (even with the weird/anti question) where she talked about performing an abortion on a long-time protester. Each of the staff members had to take time to find a place in their heart for this woman who had yelled "Mommy don't kill me!" for years to patients. How could they treat her with the same love & kindness that they treated the women she had taunted? Well, they did. And once that women went through the procedure, saw the inside of the clinic, and felt the support of the staff, she changed her stance. She never again was present outside the clinic harassing patients.
Dr. Wicklund talked of her daughter going to school in police cars and of the anti's showing up at her school with signs that said, "Sonia's mom kills babies!" That hurt quite a nerve with me. While I'm not an abortion provider, I do know that I take some high profile stances and on occasion can be high profile. I also know that my daughter, like most, loves the heck outta me. Could I ever imagine putting her in that situation? Would I? How could I?
On top of that, a friend of mine whose daughter is abut 6 months older and is also very active likes to tease that we'll end up with girls who in order to rebel will become born-again Christians and protest us. I of course ponder if my daughter will end up hating what I do and me for doing it all.
So I asked, "And what happened to your daughter? How did she end up with all of this?" Dr. Wicklund told us that her daughter actually wrote the afterword (I never buy a book before a reading) and that she had veto power over the book. Her daughter is about my age and is so proud of her mother. She said more, but my heart was pounding & I was trying to hard not to totally cry right there in the bookstore.
Of course, now I have an autographed copy of her book sitting on my dining room table..waiting. Sadly it will have to wait as I have 2-3 books in front of it. But it's there and I love it.
Edited to add: Thanks to Shakesville for linking here. I have more thoughts on Dr. Wicklund's reading in the next post. And thanks to all the new readers, I hope some of you come back now and again.
Technorati tags: Susan Wicklund, abortion, activism, feminism