I’m humbled to my core by the support I have from the people in my life who love me regardless of the fact they may disagree with my positions. Of the privileges I’ve enjoyed in life (which is basically all of them) being born into a family of people willing to be the wind at my back and not the spit in my face no matter what I think, feel, believe or do for a living is an incalculable advantage.
I already walk around the world with the confidence and access of an educated and able bodied white person and to get to do so without the baggage of letting my family down is a gift I do not take for granted. To have grown up being told I can do and be whatever and whomever I choose is in and of itself not nothing, but what’s more is that I grew up and got to keep hearing it. My mother was the person who taught me that strong women don’t put other women down but rather build them up, because women are at the core of communities everywhere and we aren’t getting anywhere without each other.
It is because of her example that I will always be on the side of the women in my life and those in my clinic. Full stop. I support them; my opinion on their choices is irrelevant. This latter value I credit to my father, who as a self-proclaimed libertarian, likely has a range of opinions on my work as a clinician with Planned Parenthood. I couldn’t tell you how he feels about my involvement with abortion care, because although we have regular and lengthy conversations that I value highly, his expressed opinions on my work has been limited to his pride for my commitment to provide care to my patients.
This unfettered support for his children is something many parents are unable to offer and I couldn’t be more grateful to have it in this unconditional manner. The strength it provides runs deeper that an independent person like me is prepared to admit. All I can do is embrace it as an important piece of the privilege I get to enjoy walking around this earth and be grateful.
Furthermore, my big sister and true north is one badass boss who advocates tirelessly and without restraint for herself and all the people working with her, specifically women and people of color. She negotiated a promotion for herself while on maternity leave and has consistently walked into offices of superiors and demanded more for those working with her. She does so fearlessly and potentially at her peril. But she, like the rest of my family, doesn’t give a fuck.
She likely faces more adversity in advocating for her colleagues in Texas than I do in providing reproductive health care in Washington. What’s special is we both get to do so under the glowing light of our mother, the epitome of an advocate for women and the beacon of pride that shines from our father, the epitome of an advocate for the two of us. These advantages are not lost on me. It is from them I derive the strength to smile at the end of a long day and know I did something that mattered. It is from them that I derive the strength. Full stop. Hashtag blessed.