I have been accused of hating men. Not true. Hate is a strong word and a violent emotion. What I don't like and don't appreciate are men's attitudes and beliefs towards women. No, not all men have these attitudes and yes, some women exhibit the same attitudes and beliefs as the men I have mentioned. The thing is men and women do not experience certain events in the same way. Men and women can sympathise with each other but they can't empathise.
It would be like saying to a war veteran, "I can imagine how terrible it was for you". I can't say that because there are experiences that have to be first hand. I can say that I know how it would feel to have a son go to war, that's within my experience as a mother.
I can't say to a woman who has decided that abortion is her only option that I know how she feels because I've never had one, never had to make the decision and never had to live with the reality of that decision. But I can empathise with her pain leading to that decision because it's a place I've been in.
Post-natal psychosis is a horrible condition and I was borderline between post-natal depression and full psychosis. The feeling of terror of being left alone with your baby because you know you could lose reality altogether and harm or even kill him can only be understood by another woman experiencing the same emotion.
As much as you try to explain, it never quite gets absorbed by the man in your life, because he can't imagine himself ever hurting his child. The doctor finally accepts your condition, discarding the possibility that your husband is inflicting the injuries you inflict on yourself in order not to touch your child. The Psychiatrist listens and prescribes drugs, so many you write your name and address on a piece of paper and keep it with you, because sometimes it's hard to remember.
Your mother finally stands up to all of them and says, "I will take the baby. You take her off the pills". So for the first year of his life, you travel to your mother's to look after him every day. You and your husband put him to bed at night and go home.
You are still very ill in mind and body. All your doctors agree that another pregnancy will send you into full psychosis. So if pregnancy occurs, abortion is the first option. The second option, is pyschosis with a certainty of harming or even killing your child. The third option is a long term stay in a psychiatric hospital.
Inside your tormented mind you know you won't survive any of those options. There is a fourth option which you offer to them. You will have no more children. You will have a tubal ligation. You are 23 years old and your psychiatrist says you are the sanest person he has seen all week.
The one question he asks, in several ways, is what happens if your only child dies. You tell him he can't be replaced by any other child, he is unique. Your husband is glad to agree, to finally make an end to something he experiences secondhand and admits he doesn't understand.
All the men involved in this year, even the most experienced of doctors, say we can see what you are going through but we don't know what it's really like.
So I go back to my last rant and I stand by what I said. Men cannot make decisions about our bodies because they can only know secondhand, through us, the pain we experience in any decisions we make regarding abortion or pregnancy.