Growing up in a southern baptist household, sexuality was shameful- the only option was abstinence until marriage. Even though my family has significantly relaxed their beliefs over time, I don't think I will ever feel comfortable discussing the subject with them, and I still struggle at times with the deeply entrenched shame related to body and sexuality.
When my little sister announced she was pregnant, I felt an immense sadness along with my joy. The sorrow wasn't for her; she has a healthy and happy marriage, is financially secure, lives close to family. No, I grieved that I would experience my dear sister's pregnancy only virtually from a great distance. I wished I could be the wise older sister who had been there before and could guide her along the way. I wanted to share stories and commiserate when she talked about her morning sickness. I, too, constantly felt nauseous when I was pregnant, and I understood what she was going through. Only she didn't know I had been pregnant- because I never told her, and because I had an abortion. I was very fortunate to have easy legal access in a state where the right to choose is now more restricted. I don't regret the decision I made. I adore my little nephew and my sister is now pregnant with a second child. While I don't think she would judge me for my choice, I'm not willing to risk other family members finding out. So again I commiserate in silence, holding my secret close.