Irene Vilar tries to explain the pathology that led her to abort 15 pregnancies
-- From "An addiction that only motherhood could cure" by Manuel Roig-Franzia, Washington Post Staff Writer 10/30/09
That Irene Vilar embraces the role of motherhood is a grand incongruity, a mind-blower. She has just published a precariously nuanced, intellectually ambitious and unnervingly frank memoir titled "Impossible Motherhood: Testimony of an Abortion Addict." In the book, Vilar writes about a "shameful" period in her life -- before she became a mother -- when she says she underwent 15 abortions in 15 years. What she now sees as her "nightmare" began with a teenage affair with a Syracuse University professor who was 34 years her senior.
Yet, in Vilar's deft hands, her story of serial abortions mostly bypasses the volatile abortion rights standoff, instead plumbing her "self-mutilation," her "pregnancy fantasies" and multiple suicide attempts, her conflicts over submission and control, and, ultimately, her healing. She wants to steer readers to a subtler point: that abortion was, for her, an addiction, a warped and tragic vehicle to assert control over her life.
Years ago, she wrote that an 11-year period in which she had 12 abortions was "the happiest" time of her life. Looking back, she diagnoses the person she was as "a deluded creature in suspended animation."
Her book is less ideological than personal, and so original that she thinks her story might actually engage the two sides of the abortion debate that rarely agree on anything. "It could be a pro-choice extreme," she says. "It could be an argument for abortion foes."
To read this extensive article, CLICK HERE.