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If the Roe decision has triggered a range of feelings, you are not alone



Zoe Romanowsky - published on 07/01/22

Comedian Jennifer Fulwiler helps unravel why many are struggling with mixed emotions after the Supreme Court ruling.

The Supreme Court’s decision on Dobbs, which overturned Roe, has unleashed a fire storm of reactions. And while one might expect those who support a “right to abortion” to be wildly upset, even those who uphold the right to life for the unborn find themselves experiencing a wide range of emotions.

When stand-up comedian, writer, and Catholic mom of six Jennifer Fulwiler posted on Instagram about how she was feeling, many women could relate. Fulwiler wrote:

I’ve been feeling weird the past few days. Not in a good way.

Extreme stress about nothing in particular, surprise bouts of depression. I saw a TV show where someone was in a coma and thought “some people have all the luck.”

And then I realized why …

For many of us, the Roe discussion has brought up old wounds we’ve spent years trying to forget.

If you’re a woman, you probably had something bad happen to you in the arena of pregnancy, birth, fertility, or sex.

And maybe the current news cycle is re-opening old wounds and you’re having a hard time.

This is not being discussed enough.

Fulwiler goes on to share that all of her pregnancies were high risk; she almost died and one of her babies almost died. And yet, out of everything she went through, the hardest part was: “Standing up for myself and my babies amidst the abject scorn I receive for being in this situation in the first place.”

Fulwiler then took an informal poll on Instagram asking followers if they had ever experienced trauma in the area of sex, pregnancy, birth or fertility. Almost three quarter of those who responded said “yes.”

The comments section under Fulwiler’s post was flooded with hundreds of comments — women chiming in that they, too, have been all over the map with their emotions and struggling to understand it.

Many women who consider themselves pro-life find themselves in a similar place. They’re grateful for the Supreme Court’s decision, but they’re also encountering strong reactions of close friends and family who are furious or extremely anxious about the news. Some women are experiencing flashbacks or remembering painful events in their lives related to sex and pregnancy. And some are worried about pregnant women who may fall though the cracks in the coming days and not receive the care they require to stay healthy — and alive.

What to make of the mixed feelings we may find hard to sort through?

To begin with, it’s always helpful to know that you’re not alone. If you’re not feeling the way you thought you would, that’s okay. It’s difficult to cope with feelings that seem incongruent. When you know that others who hold to your beliefs are also feeling “weird,” it can provide a little relief and help you normalize what you’re going through.

The ruling on Dobbs has also come at a time when the country is already deeply divided — so coping with the reactions and comments of friends, family, and people you normally enjoy following on social media is stressful. It’s okay, and maybe even necessary, to take a break from it all. Use the summer months to pick up a good book, get into nature, and connect with like-minded friends.

The best practice for any of us is to pray. So pray for all that you’re worried about, for peace in your heart, and others’ hearts, and in the country. Pray for women and children and families and elected representatives and judges. Pray in gratitude for all that is good in your life and make acts of trust. Spending time in prayer will ground you and help you to focus on God’s love, mercy, and presence. The fruit of prayer is peace and surrender.

And don’t forget that sometimes we all just need to lighten up for a bit. The world can feel heavy and the issues are indeed serious, but we also need to remember that laughter, play, pleasure, and relaxation can help us “check out” for a bit and take a mental break. As Fulwiler reminded her audience in her Instagram thread:

You can just binge watch dumb shows, eat junk food, and take baths.

(Eating junk might make you feel worse, as far as I’m concerned, but some good chocolate always goes a long way.)

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