On Sunday, April 10th, MTV Canada aired a special called “Impact: Abortion Stories.” Unlike the panel interview structure and accompanying reality-show style telling of Markai’s experience in “No Easy Decision,” the Canadian special included interviews with people representing a variety of perspectives on abortion. Part of a comprehensive “Impact” series, which includes shows on other topics ranging from Haiti to bullying, “Abortion Stories” included first person interviews with women describing personal abortion experiences; and others representing a range of views.
Nicole Miller is one of the women who shared her personal abortion story in Canada’s special, and she agreed to talk to Exhale about abortion wellbeing and storysharing. As we conclude our 2nd annual commemoration of Abortion Wellbeing Month, we hope that Nicole and all women who have shared their stories in ways from private to public will feel supported, respected and well!
Exhale: What does “abortion wellbeing” mean to you?
Nicole: Abortion wellbeing to me means many things. It’s not a particular place or state of mind, as much as an inner feeling of peace. It means to be completely honest and open not only with others, but with yourself.
To say I have never felt conflicting emotions because of my abortion would be a blatant lie. However, deep in my soul I know that I absolutely made the right decision, despite what anyone says or thinks or does and that is the most important aspect of my wellbeing.
Exhale: How did you decide to share your story? What role has sharing in such a public way played in your post abortion well being?
Nicole: The decision to share my story was not an easy one. For most people it was the first time they heard that I even had an abortion. For years I lived in fear of people finding out and judging me. Then one day I came across a correspondence between MTV and a high school classmate of mine. It was regarding a special MTV was to be airing on abortion. This particular girl had her first child at 17 and identified as pro-life. The sum of her portion of the emails was that abortion was murder and ‘the easy out’. Maybe it just struck a nerve- I felt as though I had no choice but to email MTV as well and not only share my story, but let it be known how difficult of a decision it really was for me.
The producer promptly replied and asked how I felt about being interviewed for the special. I really struggled with the decision. Everything you would think ran through my mind, did. I struggled with the fact that I would be sharing my story on national television. My family might see it, my high school classmates, and my friends. How could I ever face the world again with them knowing ‘what I did’? Then I began to think about all the girls out there that needed me. Who needed me to be the voice when theirs were too shaky to speak. Who needed to know they weren’t alone. And now here we are.
The past six weeks (since being interviewed) have made the most impact on my post-abortion wellbeing. When I shared my story I felt as though the shackles had finally been removed. I am no longer chained to my abortion, I carry it freely for all to see. And revel, or judge how they see fit. I am at peace with my decision because I know I made the right one.
Exhale: What kind of support did you need to tell your story publicly? And, did you get it? What would you have liked?
Nicole: Going into this I wasn’t expecting support as much as hoping for it. I am blessed to have an amazing fiancé who encourages me in anything I do so having him there to tell me I was doing the right thing was enough for me.
I dreamed of having my mother’s support and in a perfect world I would have. Early on in my post-abortion journey I realized that her support would not be something that I would receive. I learned to not let the fact that I didn’t get it stand in the way of me and my wellbeing.
Exhale: What has been the best thing that has happened since the special aired? What has been the most challenging?
Nicole: The overwhelming encouragement and support that I have received—from the people I was always so afraid would judge me—since the special aired has by far been the best thing that has happened. So many kind words, and thank you’s and praises. I have been told that my story brought people to tears, and that really affected me. Girls who have had abortions have messaged me and thanked me for being strong enough to be their voice. I was even told that I was a role model, and that touched my heart.
The support I have received has been all positive. The only difficult part in all of this has been deciphering between sincerity and those who are faking smiles and kind words. I know for the most part that intentions have been positive, but I also know there are people out there who are not being sincere. I just choose to treat everyone kindly, even if I suspect their ulterior motives. There is too much hatred in the world, if everyone just loved it would make everything so much easier. So that’s what I do.
Exhale: What advice do you have for other women who might want to go public with their abortion stories?
Nicole: It starts with being honest with yourself. If you can be honest with yourself you’ve gotten past the hardest part. You will be surprised to see how naturally it comes. Try not to be ashamed and please don’t worry about what other people may think. There will always be people there wanting to knock you down and you need to prove to them that you aren’t like humpty dumpty. You CAN get back up. You have the support, even if you can’t see it, it’s there.
Exhale: Is there anything else you’d like to add about your experience?
Nicole: I’d just like to say thank you to MTV for letting me share my story, it has led me on a beautiful journey to wellbeing and I am so thankful!
And also I’d just like to say, if I can make it through this so can you. I’ve never been the strongest or most outspoken, and at times I feel there isn’t a more weak person on this planet than I. But somehow I managed to muster enough courage to use my words to heal and I couldn’t be more happy with my decision. If anything comes out of this special, I hope it’s an open dialogue. The more you talk about it the less taboo it will become and hopefully one day all the shame and prejudice will disappear.