My Planned Parenthood Story

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Quite honestly, I’ve been almost stifled by the recent actions of the presidential administration. Acting out and protesting in some moments and sitting baffled in other moments. I’ve been thinking about Planned Parenthood a lot. How the moves to defund it feels and is a direct attack on women. I’ve been pissed thinking how men who are not even directly served by Planned Parenthood, privileged men who have partners who probably have but would never admit to having used Planned Parenthood’s services, get to vote on its fate. It’s like me deciding that men’s underwear don’t need the little opening in the front anymore and making it a law or maybe it would be better to compare it to men’s right to prostate exams or to breathe. I don’t know. I read that a South Carolinian politician presented a bill to ban the selling of Viagra to prove a point about women’s rights to medical care. It totally went over people’s heads to the point that it may even become law. What kind of world are we living in right now?

I’ve been thinking about all the many low income women and youth whom, without Planned Parenthood will face a lot of health risks and then I remembered, I frequented Planned Parenthood for years. Planned Parenthood isn’t just for the teen that needs birth control or the woman who needs a Pap smear, Planned Parenthood is for the part time educator who is on a poor insurance plan that charges insane prices for birth control pills.

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Yay! I’m a soon to be uninsured college graduate!

When I graduated from college and got booted off of my father’s medical plan, I worked part time as an educator at various school sites to patch together a living wage to start paying back my loans, to pay my rent, buy food, you know, support myself. My money was tight so once I discovered I could get birth control for free I was happy to receive my green card from Planned Parenthood. To avoid being seen by my students, I frequented Planned Parenthood offices in the suburbs (I was super self conscious then, I probably wouldn’t care as much today). I would go, fill out my questionnaire, discuss my relationship status with a health professional and get my pills. The discussion part was simple for me but now I can’t help but think about all of the women who had more complex information to share. What about the women who are victims of domestic violence? Women who are being coerced into sex? Who will help them without Planned Parenthood? Who will point them towards support services? I now have access to decent medical insurance but when I first got pregnant, as a first year teacher who hadn’t worked for the district long enough to receive medical insurance, it was Planned Parenthood that I depended on to confirm my pregnancy and tell me what I needed to do. Thinking about it now, Planned Parenthood helped my partner and me do just that, plan our parenthood.

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The Women’s March happened. Executive orders have been signed behind closed doors, with only cameras and all male accomplices in attendance. There is a lot to fight right now and as a black heterosexual cis-woman living in an urban environment I feel we need to fight them all, which includes protecting Planned Parenthood. Shit is crazy and calling representatives, fundraising, marching and other forms of protest are exhausting but so is *slavery. Do what you can when you can, take breaks to recharge, stay informed and love your love ones. This is the time to act. It seems that our government is being run by men that in the words of Tupac Shakur, “hate the ladies that make the babies” and they need to be stopped.

#WomenCrushWednesday~Paulette Leaphart: A Mama With a Mission

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This #WomenCrushWednesday is a little different. I haven’t met this woman and she hasn’t answered the three questions I generally pose, but she is crushing it nevertheless and so I have to give her a shoutout! You may have heard of Paulette Leaphart by now. She was featured in Beyonce’s “Lemonade” video album, has been on multiple news broadcasts and also has her own documentary, “Scar Story”. For those of you who aren’t as familiar with her story, she is a mother and breast cancer survivor who is walking 1,000 miles to Washington D.C. to demand a cure for cancer and an improved healthcare system.

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I have a deep admiration for this mama because she represents the epitome of strength, resilience and activism. Before even being diagnosed with breast cancer she was a determined mama who not only raised and cared for her own children but raised multiple foster youth as well. Now, having survived breast cancer and finding herself homeless as a result of paying for her cancer treatment, she is walking topless to Washington D.C. to push for systemic change. I don’t have the resources and ability to meet her this Saturday, June 25th but if you do, I encourage you stand with this woman. She already survived breast cancer, she is walking, fighting and sharing the most vulnerable part of herself to the world so that all of us can have a better chance of being cancer free.

With that said, thank you mama Leaphart. I am inspired and in awe of you! You are a MyPostBabyBody shero! I could go on and on but I’ll close by simply saying, “You slay!”.

Here is her story in her own words:

#WomenCrushWednesday~ Ryan

Women crush everyday of the week! To honor and share stories of women who are crushing it either on the body front or the mama front, I am featuring short interviews of women who are crushing it, hence the title #WomenCrushWednesday. So without further ado, let me introduce you to the multifaceted, multi-talented amazingly awesome, Ryan!

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How has your view of your body evolved over the years?

I became very aware of the power (both physically & socially) of my feminine features encased in a muscular frame when I started running track in high school, and ever since I have worked to maintain some semblance of the balance of strength and grace inherent in being a girl athlete.  I have more creaks and pains than ever, but am constantly impressed by how strength shifts over time.  I used to be able to jump from tall heights without so much as a wince.  Now I only jump when I see spiders.  But in my youth I could never fathom that this body could withstand giving birth, and now I’m fearlessly considering having a second child.  Strength shifts indeed.

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How do you think women should feel about their bodies?

I think how a woman feels about her body is entirely subjective.  Me imposing my ideas of how a woman should feel about HER body, is no better than a man telling me what I should do with mine.  There are enough presumptive ideas and objective opinions about women’s bodies.  It’s yours…feel about it as you wish.
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Why do you do what you do?

I call myself the 4-A: Artist, Athlete, Actress, Activist.  I have every appendage in whatever thing I am interested in.  Overall, I am fiercely about liberating black folks, and I use whatever talents and resources God has given me to do such.  Check out my polymathy at www.msryannicole.com 
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