It Happened, It Still Happens and It's Time To Talk About It

Fiery red hair and a personality to match. A loud Tasmanian voice that echoes through rooms with a humor I had not experienced before.

I met Jordan Fassina during my first year of school in New York. Her piercing blue eyes and strong convictions about women's rights; I was intimidated. It didn’t take long till we laughed and laughed again and then we agreed on just about everything (except astrology).

As time went on and our friendship grew, I was sad that we had so much in common. We had shared traumas. But there was one we didn’t share and it was something I knew very little about.

People often share our views on abortion, whether people with female reproductive systems should have the choice to have one or not.

Fassina has made the choice. But what most people don’t realize about making the choice to terminate a pregnancy is a heartbreaking decision even if one identifies as being pro-choice. Even if you know it’s the right decision in your situation, there is a trauma and heartbreak that follows. Post Abortion Stress Syndrome* is a theory based on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). To believe this syndrome exists does not belittle a person’s choice but rather allows for a better understanding of how to help someone after they have made this choice. Stressors that may occur after having an abortion are (in no particular order): guilt, anxiety, numbness/depression, flashbacks and in extreme cases, suicidal thoughts. If someone doesn’t feel these things, that’s okay, too.

Fassina wrote ‘That Thing I Had One Time’, a short film about her decision to have an abortion and the strong and often personal and taboo feelings. Name that movie when someone had an unplanned pregnancy, that leads to an abortion and shares an honest story about that experience? Oh, right. That doesn’t exist, until now (or later in 2019 when the movie is released). Movies about unplanned pregnancy usually result in happy endings which is some women’s experience but more often than not that ending lacks reality and sensibility to the struggles women have.  

As Fassina was developing the story for film,  she knew that she needed to tell the full story and hold nothing back. To punch with every line and for every heavy sigh to be saturated with truth. Jordan also knew that humor was essential to get through writing the movie, just as it had been when she was going through the experience.

‘That Thing I Had One Time’ is a unique film providing a critical first-hand perspective of a scarring experience. Hopefully, it will allow society to better understand trauma in empathetic ways and to recognize that some decisions aren’t totally political or evil but full of love, heartbreak and honesty. Fassina takes a big leaps by speaking for those who haven’t had a voice.

* PASS is not accepted (yet) by the American Psychiatric Association or the American Psychological Association

Annie BehrensComment