i stand with planned parenthood.
I'm pretty confident that most of you reading this already also stand with Planned Parenthood, however, in the off chance that someone stumbles across this that doesn't, I thought it might be important to share my recent experience there. As much as certain groups portray Planned Parenthood as this awful, inhumane, baby killing mecca...I'm here to attest that it is not. I, personally, did not need any more convincing that it is a wonderful place that provides incredible (necessary) services to women all over the country, but some people do, and if I've learned anything in these last few months of political madness, it's sometimes the personal stories from people you know that can help change opinions the most - so here's mine.
As you may or may not know, I was laid off from my job a few months ago, and with my job went my insurance. Although there are options such as COBRA or joining the marketplace, I could afford neither. Considering myself a relatively healthy person, and with the hopes that I would find full time employment in the near future, I decided to just let my insurance go and take my chances. Unfortunately with that, I could no longer get my brith control prescription, and I could no longer go get the IUD inserted that I had planned to get through my OB-GYN. As a sexually active adult woman that is no where even close to ready to have a child, this was a problem for me. Yes, there are methods of contraception that do not require a doctor or prescription, but these tend to be statistically more unreliable, and I happen to be one of those women who wants to take full control of my reproductive health - I know, crazy right?
I'll be honest...it took me nearly a month and a half to actually make the call to Planned Parenthood to get more information and see what options were available to me. I don't know why. From the second I spoke to someone on the phone they were nothing but understanding, informative and judgement free. Turns out, being unemployed and having no insurance means you qualify for what they call their Grant program - and you can get an IUD of your choice inserted for free. FOR FREE. A birth control method made to last up to five to ten years. FOR FREE. To me, there is no better way to ensure your reproductive rights remain unchallenged. (I won't go into the details of what an IUD is or what it's benefits are or any of that here, because that's not the point of this post, but should you be curious, I've listed some sites at the bottom of this post where you can get more info.)
Anyways. The lovely lady on the other end of the phone not only helped to schedule my appointment, but gave me pertinent information on when I could get one inserted based on my cycle, what I needed to do to prepare for insertion (including not having unprotected sex within a certain amount of time and other viable methods of birth control to use in the meantime), and some helpful tips on choosing which one was right for me. EDUCATION. Already. I hadn't even stepped foot into the office and, to be honest, I already felt more comfortable with my decision than I had when I first spoke to my OB-GYN about it.
The day of the appointment I was told eating was a requirement (easy) and to take some ibuprofen to help with the pain that was inevitably about to occur. Fortunately the location I was scheduled at was on an upper floor of a general office building, so there weren't any annoying protesters outside (sorry, think what you want, but they're annoying). There was a metal detector, but, you know, Brooklyn...
I truly don't think I'll ever forget the fantastic nurse that took my heath and family history and vitals. She was, hands down, one of the most enthusiastic and kind-hearted people I've ever come across in a doctors office - because she really, truly loved her job. You knew, from the second she introduced herself, that all she wanted to do was help others. Although it got pretty personal, as it should, I've never felt more at ease talking about some things that aren't always the easiest to talk about. To be fair, she did start chatting about how nervous she was about getting her brazilian wax later that day, but let's be honest, the humor that surrounds that is endless, and immediately made me feel comfortable with her. Another reason to appreciate the organization? More than once throughout my visit I was asked if I had sex with people that had a penis or a vagina. This may seem like an odd way of phrasing that question, but the reasoning behind it is key. Planned Parenthood is an organization that proudly supports the LGBTQ+ community, and this question, to me, is the embodiment of that support. They recognize that someone with a penis does not necessarily identify as a man, and that someone with a vagina is not necessarily defined as a women. This phasing needs to be used. Always.
Although the procedure itself is less than awesome (seriously ladies, lets please stop downplaying the pain, ok?), the midwife that did the insertion was kind, warm, experienced, knowledgable and informative. I've never felt more at ease while having my feet in those damn stirrups. She walked me through everything I needed to know, chatted with me about her experience, talked to me like a person and not a patient, and was there was I was mildly freaking out. I learned more about my body, and women's bodies in general, in that 10 minutes I was with her than I ever did with my personal OB-GYN, and I came out feeling proud and empowered (albeit quite sore).
I've never seen so many people from so many different walks of life in the lobby of one doctor's office. And I've never been prouder to be one of them. The Planned Parenthood organization is one that is caring, supportive, helpful, educational and judgement free. The women I came across while there were no different. The amount of support and understanding and teaching I received in my brief two hours there surpassed what I have received going to various doctors throughout my 30 years, and it was all for free. So yes, I stand with Planned Parenthood, and so should you.
Please see the links below for more information on IUD's and Planned Parenthood, share your stories with me in the comments section, and don't forget to donate.