An Abortion and Generational Trauma Memoir

Non-Fiction - Memoir
210 Pages
Reviewed on 10/06/2022
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Viga Boland for Readers' Favorite

With abortion once again a hot political/religious and social topic in the US since the reversal of the Roe-Wade ruling, it’s little wonder that writers are speaking out. Teresa Benitez, the author of the memoir Unburdening, is one of these. Her story graphically detailing three abortions she had between 2004 and 2022 is eye-opening, and will interest any woman contemplating an abortion, and not just for the recent decision to once again make getting an abortion so difficult.

You may well ask yourself why this intelligent woman who is today an engineer, doctor, and professor faced the difficult decision to abort not one pregnancy but three. The moving and sad story of her younger years as a child physically and mentally abused by her mother holds the key. But it wasn’t until Teresa, as an older adult and single mother of one, was finally able to afford truly healing therapy, including the use of EMDR, that she found the answers. Yet, how ironic that even then, she became pregnant for the fourth time and decided to abort.

The details of Teresa’s childhood and younger adult years are indeed interesting, but even more so, at least for me, are her descriptions of the first two abortions in the first decade of the 21st century. These were brutally painful! What she suffered physically is frightening, and a far cry from her more recent abortion. One cannot help but think of the many unfortunate women who have been forced to have back alley abortions, or, who today, thanks to the recent overturning of Roe vs Wade may do likewise. But Teresa Benitez also gives us an intimate look at the mental anguish she endured for years after that first abortion. This will leave women contemplating abortion with much to think about beyond their undeniable right to decide what is best for themselves and their bodies. Unburdening is an important book for many reasons. Benitez writes smoothly, sometimes almost poetically, but always honestly. Add this memoir to your must-read list today if abortion is currently on your mind for any reason.

Rabia Tanveer

Unburdening: An Abortion and Generational Trauma Memoir by Teresa Benitez takes you up close and personal into the life of a woman who experienced abortion thrice in her life. Teresa has achieved a lot academically and in her career over the years. Despite not having a great childhood and even being the first-born girl in her family, things weren’t as they should be. But this memoir examines what a woman goes through when she has to make a decision such as abortion. Traumatic and devastating, abortion damages the souls of women who have to go through it. Teresa was 19 when she had her first abortion, and she would have two more in the years to come, but each time, a piece of Teresa’s soul went away with that child. It is her story, and Teresa tells it on her terms.

Abortion is never easy for women who go through it, but author Teresa Benitez is brave enough to share this deeply personal story of her struggles and how she survived. She divided the memoir into seven parts and each of them reflects a different mindset and how she was doing mentally in that particular part of her life. During the harsh times in her life when she had to go through abortions thrice, she mulled over her choices, why she did it, and if she had other options. That decision was the hardest to make at times. She kept her story personal and allowed her readers to understand what was she going through in her life and why any certain decision was the best for her. Even if Teresa didn’t understand it at that time, she wants her readers to know it is okay to be confused and a little selfish in your life. Who would fight for you if you could fight for yourself?

Essien Asian

A difficult relationship with her mother was the origin of a downward spiral into the abyss of self-loathing and depression for Teresa Benitez. Forced to cohabit with a woman who verbally and physically abused her at every opportunity, denying her the most basic of protection or love that a person would expect from someone they call mommy, Teresa ends up going through not one, not two, but three abortions because she did not believe she could ever be a capable mother. Unburdening: An Abortion and Generational Trauma Memoir is her intimate account of how everything went south, the dysfunction within her family, and her inability to either accept love or give it to those who tried to stand by her.

Unburdening by Teresa Benitez is a touching book. I must warn you, if you are the squeamish type then you have to prepare yourself before you pick up this book. The details are so graphic they nearly made me cry. Benitez does not hold back at all, giving the innermost details of her ordeal while enlightening the reader about the proper procedures that must be followed during an abortion. She is clear, concise, and direct with her story, to the extent that her rationalizations are easy to identify with. Credit must go to her for being objective in her writing. Every year millions of women privately go through the pain and emotional anguish of an abortion that was not their choice. Benitez has given these tortured souls a voice with her book. This is a must-read for every individual.