I'm Melissa and I am the creator, curator, and Jill of All Trades at The Abortion Diary Podcast, a podcast of abortion stories. I have self-funded this project for over 3 years.
Some people call me the abortion diarist. I have listened to and recorded over 280 people's reproductive experiences, and there are already over 150 stories posted online. I post a new story every week. You can listen to them on the Abortion Diary's website, SoundCloud, iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher Radio, and ivoox.
My own abortion story and the deep impact sharing it (13 years later) had on me, my family, my friends, and complete strangers inspired me to create The Abortion Diary. The Abortion Diary is a labor of love and I started it with my own savings and continue to run it out of pocket. I can't do this alone anymore. Now I need some financial support.
Support us continuing to share our stories, create community, and break the silence, stigma and shame around abortion.
Abortion is a common experience. 1 in 3 women in The United States will have an abortion by her 45th birthday and 42 million people worldwide will have an abortion each year. Yet how many times have you heard someone share their abortion story? Have you ever?
The majority of people will never talk about their abortion experiences, and very few people will ever hear their stories. I created The Abortion Diary in order to create a community around an experience that can be extremely isolating and overly politicized, and provide an intimate space for sharing, listening and, most importantly, feeling listened to by others.The Abortion Diary is the intersection of self-expression, healing, and the art of story-sharing and story-listening. I have always been dedicated to creating a space for people to share stories they haven't been able to share and listen to stories they haven't been able to hear. These are our personal choices and stories shared by us.
I have travelled to 20 states across the United States, over 10 European cities, Canada, The Dominican Republic, and Thailand with the podcast. These experiences are quite diverse across geographic location (33 U.S. states and 22 countries), socioeconomic background, age (18-85.5), ethnicity, race, religion, and gender, and span from the late 1950s to 2016.
What does it take to post one diary entry (just the very basics)?
- I listen to and record every single story. I spend an average of 3 hours with every person who shares their story. (This does not include travel time so add 1-2 hours each way for that.)
- It takes an average of 5 hours to audio edit and post one story.
- Monthly website and podcast hosting fees.
- I've been working on The Abortion Diary full time and it takes all my time to run this podcast - traveling, researching, writing, social media, e-mails, etc. (I can't really list all the stuff I do to keep everything going and maintain The Abortion Diary).
- Transportation. (car and gas, buses, trains, planes)
Why is the Abortion Diary unique?
- No one else does what I do.
- This podcast is centering the voices of people who have had abortion experiences. This is a place for us to share our own stories in our own words.
- You can connect to the voices of over 100 people who have had abortions through the internet.
- The Abortion Diary creates a safe and supportive environment for all people to share their personal, unmediated abortion experiences, and true and complex decision making process surrounding their abortion experience.
- We are interrupting the narrative of abortion storytelling by moving the conversation out of the political realm and into the personal realm in order to decrease isolation and build community for people who have had abortion experiences.
- It create connection and community building amongst people who have had abortion experiences. We are healing and connecting with each other by sharing our stories.
- My model of story-sharing relies on human connection. There is always someone listening (me) in person while the story-sharer (for as long as they need) is sharing their experience. When was the last time you felt listened to by someone?
- The Abortion Diary is the only publicly accessible audio collection of abortion stories.
- People contact me from around the world to share their stories with me for the podcast.
- This work is even more important in our new political reality.
If you find value in this work, would like to help keep The Abortion Diary running and help me to continue to provide a space for sharing and listening, please make a pledge.
Here's the most recent story:
The Abortion Diary has been featured on the front page of The Washington Post, on NPR’s Weekend Edition, a Q&A with Cosmopolitan Magazine, Latina.com, ThePool.com, Rewire, Q&A with Cosmopolitan Magazine, Latina.com, ThePool.com, Rewire, Univision, and MSNBC.
Your support will help the podcast continues to exist! We can create change together!
Thanks for your support!
If you would like to donate equipment, technical assistance, or host me in your city or town, e-mail me at [email protected].
More about me:
Originally from Washington Heights, New York, I am a first generation Dominican-American. I travel the world with with The Abortion Diary podcast (I am always on the road). I am a story-sharer and dedicated story-listener, recovering academic, multimedia historian, full-spectrum doula, and a bilingual reproductive justice educator and advocate. I've also been a high school teacher, adjunct college professor, and Gynecological Teaching Associate (you can ask me about that later), and have trained in Restorative Therapeutic Yoga (as well as an Anusara Yoga 200 hour YTT), Thai Yoga Bodywork, and Reiki I.
I'm also the curator of “artifacts: abortion stories and histories,” a traveling multimedia exhibit. This exhibition gives voice to untold and silenced experiences through audio stories, images, and objects; artifacts I gathered over the past three and a half years for The Abortion Diary.
I hold a B.A. in History from Baruch College (CUNY), a Master of Science in Social Studies Education from Pace University, and a Master of Arts and a Ph.D. in Latin American and Caribbean History from The State University of New York at Binghamton.
My writing has been featured in Self Magazine and Nursing Clio.