“Incompatible with life.”
Nicole Stewart lives in Dallas, Texas. She and her husband were deeply conflicted when they found out at their 20-week sonogram that the fetus that Nicole was carrying was what the doctors called “incompatible with life,” Nicole says that her “entire world collapsed” and she experienced things she never thought she would experience. They made the courageous decision to tell their story and not hide in the shadows. Here are the five most surprising things about her abortion.
1. She openly shares her story. Her TEDx talk
On the day of her abortion in Dallas, Texas state Sen. Wendy Davis was filibustering harsh anti-women laws — HB-2– in Austin. The abortion restrictions that Sen.Davis was filibustering included a ban on abortions after 20 weeks. Nicole was 20 weeks pregnant. Watching Wendy Davis describe exactly what Nicole was experiencing deeply consoled her.
2. She speaks publicly about her abortion.
Nicole says that she and her husband knew that sharing her story would “change my life forever.” She knew that before she experienced what she did, she’d likely not have understood why a woman would want to have an abortion after 20 weeks. She couldn’t stay silent. She became committed to protecting a woman’s right to choose.
3. Her abortion helped her to made friends and grow a strong community of support.
Her friends began to confide to her about their abortions. Her story has helped to bring solidarity to “women who have suffered in silence” and felt isolated. When she tells her story publicly, men and women shake her hand and commend her courage for telling her story.
4. She believes in healing through storytelling. Her abortion encouraged her to provide a platform for other women to come forward and share their own traumas.
Nicole and her husband produce a live storytelling series in Dallas called “Oral Fixation (An Obsession With True Life Tales).” The series features people reading aloud their personal stories. She had previously avoided divisive topics and issues, but now she’s become bolder and welcomed speakers who have experienced trauma that is often left in the shadows, such as childhood sexual abuse. She began to understand that silence is the enemy. She says that it is her “greatest reward” to witness the healing of sharing stories long suppressed and held inside and their impact on the community that hears the story.
5. Her abortion experience made her marriage stronger.
She and her husband had only been married for four months when they conceived. They were joyous and when they found out about the baby’s abnormalities, they were committed to not bringing a child into the world to suffer. They did extensive research to make sure they were making the best decision for the baby. The emotional and physical trauma of the abortion and its aftermath made her understand the depth of her husband and his love for her.
You can read more about Nicole’s story at Upworthy. You can also listen to Nicole tell her story in the video below.