Skip to main content

Impossible Motherhood: Testimony of an Abortion Addict

About the Book

Impossible Motherhood: Testimony of an Abortion Addict

“Irene Vilar reclaimed her life when she finally brought to term and birthed the woman she is today, after so many decades of a tragedy infinitely worse than all her pregnancy terminations: the aborted self. Those who think the struggle for women’s freedom and power no longer necessary or single-issue simplistic would do well to read this book. We dare not forget that a woman’s right to control her own body includes not just the right to control her womb but also her voice. Irene Vilar has courageously let that voice sing. Listen to it.”
--- Robin Morgan, in her foreword to Impossible Motherhood

Irene Vilar was just a pliant young college undergraduate in thrall to her professor when they embarked on a relationship that led to marriage --- a union of impossible odds --- and fifteen abortions in fifteen years. Vilar knows that she is destined to be misunderstood, that many will see her nightmare as an instance of abusing a right, of using abortion as a means of birth control. But it isn’t that. The real story is part of an awful secret, shrouded in shame, colonialism, self-mutilation, and a family legacy that features a heroic grandmother, a suicidal mother, and two heroin-addicted brothers. It is a story that looks back on her traumatic childhood growing up in the shadow of her mother’s death and the footsteps of her famed grandmother, the political activist Lolita Lebrón, and a history that touches on American exploitation and reproductive repression in Puerto Rico. Vilar seamlessly weaves together past, present, and future, channeling a narrative that is at once dramatic and subtle.

Impossible Motherhood is a heartrending and ultimately triumphant testimonial told by a writer looking back on her history of addiction. Abortion has never offered any honest person easy answers. Vilar’s dark journey through self-inflicted wounds, compulsive patterns, and historical hauntings is a powerful story of loss and mourning that bravely delves into selfhood, national identity, reproductive freedom, family responsibility, and finally motherhood itself --- today, Vilar is the mother of two beautiful children.

Impossible Motherhood: Testimony of an Abortion Addict
by Irene Vilar

  • Publication Date: October 6, 2009
  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Other Press
  • ISBN-10: 1590513207
  • ISBN-13: 9781590513200