A few months ago, I sat on a bus headed to Salinas, California, a three hour bus ride from Oakland, where I was traveling with the podcast. As I sat on the bus, I watched the California landscape with the sun shining upon it; a view that was quite different from the snow covered trees and slush I left behind in New York City a month earlier. I was on my way to Salinas to meet a woman who wanted to share her abortion story with The Abortion Diary. Jean contacted me through The Abortion Diary’s website a few days prior to our meeting. As I sat on the bus I thought about how strange it was to once again be on my way to listen to a stranger share such an intimately personal experience. Sometimes these stories have never been shared with anyone else.
For the past six months I have been listening to people as they share their abortion stories with me and, with the help of digital media, podcast listeners around the world. I launched the podcast in November, a few months after the idea first entered my mind. Last summer, I felt a very strong need to connect to people with this shared experience. For sixteen years I remained relatively silent about my abortion experience as a seventeen year old. Most of the silence came from the understanding, from society and my own family members, that my abortion was not something I was allowed to talk about or even acknowledge. But what I came to realize was that I needed to share that experience and that I needed to be surrounded by the stories of others. I needed to listen and know I wasn’t alone.