Talking about the important things

I am very sad about the local Planned Parenthood office in my neighborhood relocating. But maybe not for the reasons most people would expect.

Sassy Lassy used to take dance at the community center across the street. Every Saturday morning,  rain or shine, the anti-choice protestors would be out en masse. She was 4 the first time she asked about them:

“Can we go to that parade after dance class?”

“No.”

“But Mom… It looks like fun. Why not?”

And there I was smack in the middle of a how to explain a complex issue to a 4-year-old. Talk about thinking on your feet.

“You know how Dad and I always tell you that you are the boss of your body? Well, those people don’t believe that you should be the boss of your body.”

“Okay. We don’t want to go then.”

And off she skipped into dance class.

About a year later the protesters had upped the ante. On a bright and beautiful winter morning they had huge posters and trucks with graphic images of a fetus on them. I was about 7 months pregnant. Sassy Lassy came out of the community center and stopped short:

“What does being the boss of your body have to do with babies?”

Gulp.

“Well, part of being the boss of your body means that you have choices about IF and WHEN you want to have babies. The Doctor can give a woman medicine to make sure her body doesn’t have babies until it is the right time. The people who don’t believe you are the boss of your body don’t believe you should have a choice about that.”

And so that is why I will miss having Planned Parenthood in my neighborhood; it gave me the opportunity to discuss what I feel is an important subject in an easy and comfortable way with my daughter. I never would have dreamed that we’d be having that discussion when she was 4 and 5 years old. But I am so glad that we did. It’s a start of a very important discussion.

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About jpshuster

Working mother of two living in Minnesota.
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