Mother Confesses Life of Abortion Addiction

Determined to tell her own truth, and destined to be misunderstood, Irene Vilar’s narrative is a heartrending expose on reproductive freedom. With a foreword by Robin Morgan and advance quotes from such writers as Junot Diaz and Bob Shacochis, IMPOSSIBLE MOTHERHOOD: Testimony of an Abortion Addict (Other Press; October 6, 2009) is poised to break barriers and defy stereotypes.

As a sixteen year old undergraduate at Syracuse University , Vilar became involved with her fifty year old professor, whom she later married. Their union was one of impossible odds, built on submission and manipulation, and ultimately shattering some eleven years and twelve abortions later. Adding to dysfunction in Vilar’s life are the lingering shadows from her childhood in Puerto Rico : her mother’s suicide, her grandmother—famed incarcerated political activist Lolita Lebron's legacy, a philanderer father, and two heroin-addicted brothers.

Vilar’s patterns of addiction, as well, are troubling: as she spirals through depression, multiple suicide attempts, and fifteen abortions (twelve with her then-husband, three with another man), we are drawn into her world of shame and servility, of depression and addiction. And yet, IMPOSSIBLE MOTHERHOOD is at once a fragile coming of age story and a triumphant testimonial of the spirit.

While many will view the circumstances of IMPOSSIBLE MOTHERHOOD as the story of a woman abusing her rights, of using abortion as a means of birth control, it opens lines of communication that often lay dormant. Vilar’s dark journey revisits the difficulties this country has with the subject of abortion and prompts a vital discussion—literary, political, social and philosophical.


Irene Vilar was born in Arecibo , Puerto Rico . Her memoir, The Ladies’ Gallery (Other Press, 2009, originally published in 1996) was a Philadelphia Inquirer and Detroit Free Press notable book of the year and was short-listed for the 1999 Mind Book of the Year Award. The memoir was featured on NPR’s Fresh Air, Univison, CBS, PBS La Plaza, Vogue magazine, New York Times Magazine, and in the Arts’ front page section of The New York Times.

Vilar worked as acquisitions editor for Women and Jewish studies at Syracuse University Press and from 2002 to 2005 served as founder and series editor of The Americas book series published by the University of Wisconsin Press . Currently she is series editor of the Americas at Texas Tech University Press and chair of the non-for profit organization, The Americas for the Arts, Inc.

She is a literary agent for Vilar Creative Agency and Ray-Gude Mertin Literary Agency, an agency specializing in Spanish, Latin American, and Portuguese authors, representing such notable writers as Nobel Prize winner Jose Saramago. Today, Vilar is the birth mother of two.


oh wow, this sounds really interesting. nice review, I'd love to check this out at some point.

Cheryl said…
Lauren - This is not my review but a sumamry of the book. It sounded very interesting and thought I would share it with people.

If you do check it out. I would love to hear your thoughts.
Stephanie said…
I don't think I could read this ... it sounds too depressing.

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