I'll be my own advocate, thanks.
It's all over the news that Pope Francis will allow priests to forgive women who have had abortions if they seek forgiveness during the upcoming Holy Year. The Holy Year begins on December 8th and ends November 20th, 2016.
This is a nice gesture on the Pope's part, but do any of us need permission and/or forgiveness for what we do with our own bodies?
I'm not Catholic, and the topic of forgiveness in the Catholic church doesn't really relate to me, as it's not an issue for non-Catholics. But my Catholic friends say that Catholicism is all about forgiveness, and I'm glad that abortion will now be forgiven.
I hope things go so well during the year that abortion is permanently in the books as "OK to be forgiven." But the church isn't saying abortion still isn't a sin, just that forgiveness won't be denied to anyone who's repented.
If you're a Catholic and have had an abortion, hopefully this time of forgiveness will give you some peace. But I also wish that you'll come to a place of forgiveness or acceptance on your own.
Whether you're anti-abortion or pro-choice, no decision that you make about your own body comes lightly. Women don't rush to have abortions because they think it's a good time; they do it because at that time, for whatever reason, it's their choice.
They may not be capable (financially, emotionally, or physically) of raising a child, the circumstances of the conception were especially heinous, or it may be that carrying a pregnancy to term will affect their health in terrible ways.
There are a million reasons to have an abortion, but in the end it doesn't matter why you have one — it's your decision.
Guilt is a terrible thing, and can eat away at our self-esteem and happiness, but we can't depend on other people to absolve us of it. We have to do it for ourselves. No matter if you're religious or just believe in a higher power, you need to be compassionate with yourself.
That's the way it should be between oneself and one's religious views. You can still have faith, but you should also have faith in yourself. Any time you need kindness, give it to yourself. Take responsibility for your decisions, trust yourself, and release the negativity.
So, no, I don't need the Pope to forgive me, but I'm glad the church is slowly changing its stance on abortion for the women who need absolution. Still, no matter what, we all — religious or not — need to forgive ourselves and be our own advocates.