For the past twenty years I have been working with pregnant women who are deeply ambivalent about whether to have an abortion or have a baby. They almost feel as though they are split in two. When these women didn’t find me until after they had an abortion, they were having a really hard time emotionally. After they had their abortion, the half of themselves that thought abortion was the best decision went into hiding, so all they were aware of what the part that told them they had done the wrong thing.
In working with these women, I have learned that the split has almost always been there since childhood. Because of the dynamic with their parents, they had to create one strategy for managing their relationship with one parent, and a very different strategy for managing their relationship with the other parent. It’s not just the pregnancy they can’t decide about—it is almost everything.
Though I don’t know any easy way for a Woman Split in Two to make a decision about her pregnancy, I have learned to assist women in appreciating the strengths and gifts that both ‘sides’ of them have to offer—and I have also been helping women to bring their two sides together, which brings them a sense of increased inner strength.