You’re The Only One I’ve Told by Dr. Meera Shah
Today I’m writing a review about a book that I have yet to finish. As a matter of fact, I’ve yet to even make a significant dent in it. But Dr. Meera Shah’s introduction to her book You’re The Only One I’ve Told: The Stories Behind Abortion was so impactful to me that I was impulsed to write! So I guess this isn’t really a review, it’s more of a note of gratitude and congratulations to Dr. Shah as I embark on her work.
I originally picked up this book because I was enticed by the font and colors on the cover (what can I say, I’m vain in this way). However, I decided to take the book home with me because, as I read the title, You’re The Only One I’ve Told: The Stories Behind Abortion, I felt like I had been entrusted with a secret; I was already hooked!
At the beginning of the introduction, Dr. Shah discloses that she is a doctor who provides abortion care (among other sexual and reproductive health services) and shares that she would like to push past the polarizing politics that often shroud the topic of abortion to facilitate a space for people’s personal stories. That being said, Dr. Shah does not shy away from acknowledging and explaining systemic issues which impact reproductive justice, such as poverty, racism, miseducation, and others. Actually, she goes as far as to cite figures and quote studies; she gives quite a lot of Information, capital I.
The thing that makes Dr. Shah and this introduction special though, is that she manages to do all this educating while still making the reader feel as if she’s extending an invitation to an open communication. I guess it speaks to Dr. Shah’s prowess as a doctor that she can explain complex topics in a way that invites a listener to think and ask questions as opposed to absent-mindedly smile and nod. In just 32 pages, Dr. Shah curated an accessible environment for me to interact with abortion in a manner I seldom have before: on a personal level, while also establishing guidelines and boundaries for the safety and comfort of the individuals sharing their stories.
As I write this, I’m only about half way through the first of 17 personal accounts shared in You’re The Only One I’ve Told, but I look forward to learning, to expanding my perspective, and to challenging my opinions. Dr. Shah has surely welcomed me to this book and this experience, and I look forward to carrying on this attitude of empathy and open-heartedness that she has inspired as I read her work.