Moving the Pro-Voice Revolution Forward

posted October 26, 2017

I had an abortion in 2004. Even though I had co-founded Exhale, I knew I could tell no one about it. I called my close friend, Exhale’s founding Executive Director, Aspen Baker, and I cried. I cried because I had wanted this baby. I cried because I wanted my son to have a sibling. I cried because I wasn’t sure if God would still love me if I had an abortion, and because I thought if anyone in my congregation found out, I would lose my job. Through it all, Aspen listened. She validated my feelings and the grief I was swimming in. I will never forget getting off the phone, aware of the blessing to have a friend who made space to hold all of my feelings. To this day I am proud to have been part of forming an organization that creates space for listening, healing, holding -- and even amplifying -- the feelings and voices of those with abortion stories like mine.

Exhale provides space for the real stories of individuals who have abortions, acknowledging the collective power in sharing our multi-faceted selves. Our Talkline volunteers witness this each time they receive a phone call and a brave caller shares their experience with abortion. Many people do not have a friend like I did -- someone they can call to process their feelings with and receive non-judgemental support and validation. This is why we created Exhale. Exhale practices the art of deep listening: of letting someone cry and feel their grief fully, or to laugh and feel joy or nervousness deeply. Because we have learned that when we create the opportunity to explore deep feelings, we are able to move our lives forward in ways that may have never felt possible. Feelings of grief can turn into a motivation to heal; feelings of joy can connect us with community and intimacy in new ways.

And now, more than ever, is the time to come together to support moving into a compassionate, connected, and empathetic way of being together. Our society needs it. Our children need it. We need to model it for our friends and co-workers and family members. Pro-voice is a way of being that opens dialogue, allows for complexity, and acknowledges there are no easy answers -- all of which can lead to deepening community with others. And you have been a significant part of practicing that with us.

At Exhale, we are doing critical, life changing work through our pro-voice social media campaigns, our storytelling tours, and our After-Abortion Talkline. I just increased my monthly pledge to Exhale because I believe in our mission and our need to raise our visibility in the National Conversation about transforming divisiveness into bridge-building. Will you join me in making a donation today, or taking a lead in our #GivingTuesday campaign this November?

As I move towards the end of my first week as Executive Director of Exhale, I have a deep sense of gratitude to be doing this work in full force with our amazingly talented and committed team. I can feel the power of pro-voice propelling me forward throughout each day and with every interaction I have.

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Exhale is a 501(c)3 organization (EIN/tax ID: 94-3393719)