June 03, 2022

Article at Medium

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Women Speak Up: Your Story is Critical

If you have a personal story, about reproductive rights, it’s time to speak up

Speak truth, call for women to tell their personal pro-choice and abortion stories
Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash

I’m Gen-Xer and whether I like it not, many in my generation are a tad spoiled and a little apathetic as a whole when it comes to politics.

My mother, my grandmother, and my great grandmother were more or less on the front lines of the women’s movement. Many of the members of the writing community I belong to stood up back then and still do.

Say what you will about the Boomer generation. They fought the fight, they marched and protested.

They went against the grain. They didn’t hesitate to rock the boat.

I have benefited greatly in my life from their strength and courage. My millennial and zoomer children (I have two of each), likely unrecognized to them, have benefited from it too.

I fought some

When I was younger, yes, I participated in advocacy events quite often. I worked tirelessly to empower individual women, especially those wanting to return to college, leave an abusive relationship, or who were raising children in poverty. I attended several Ms Foundation conferences. I facilitated life skills (not martial arts) classes for disadvantaged women.

I resisted being a “woman who was seen and not heard” and I wasn’t afraid to “rock the boat” or “make a few waves” when the safety of women or children was at risk. The programs and classes I taught regularly encouraged other women to find their voice, be assertive, and stand up for themselves.

I adopted the motto “it’s easier to ask forgiveness than permission” and I forged ahead if I thought what I was doing could make a difference in someone’s life.

Into the Shadows

But as I became more busy as a mother myself, with four children instead of two, I’m ashamed to admit I took some of those hard won struggles for granted. I left social service and those long hours. In hindsight I think I was mentally exhausted from working as much as I could to make ends meet and raise four children alone.

Several years later after learning through research exactly how deeply ingrained the control over the population really is, I stepped even further back into the shadows. I stopped watching the news since most of it was exaggerated and misleading for ratings.

To save my sanity, I focused more on what was happening in my own home, in my neighborhood and less on what was happening around the country and even around the world.

I grew more and more silent. But the time for standing silent in the shadows is over.

Stand in the sun

The time for flying under the radar is done.

We have a super limited window of opportunity to change the tide of the decision to overturn Roe v Wade. It may already be too late. But if you believe “everything happens for a reason” then like I do, you realize those leaked documents, were a call to action to all women and their allies around the nation.

Once again, all women, around the country, must act.

But this time, let’s forgo the hats, the picket signs and name calling and instead pick up our pens, microphones, or video cameras.

It’s time, for every single woman and their allies to tell their own personal story of how Roe v Wade, and/or access or restriction of access to birth control and healthcare has impacted their own life.

And it’s time to be vigilant at every level including the local business level.

We can’t talk in generalizations this time. We can’t just throw out the well-worn statistics. We need to leave politics out of it whenever possible.

We need to act collectively to ensure those on either side of this issue and those on the fence or apathetic, see individual circumstances, and not political groups. This isn’t a political issue.

Make no mistake, this is a revived war on women. All women.

And the decision, when it’s made, will impact ALL of our children in ways we can’t yet imagine. Although the Netflix series, Call the Midwife based on the memoirs of real-life midwife, Jennifer Worth, gives some food for thought.

We need to muster up our courage, draw upon our strength and we must all tell our stories.

As someone who had two children, an abortion, and then two more children, I’ve started working on my story. I never want anyone to go through an abortion, ever. But I know that we don’t yet live in a world where it doesn’t need to be a choice for some women.

I know it’s going to take me some time to full tell my story because it’s been unspoken for so long. Until then, I promise to listen and to hear first person stories from either side and I hope you will too.

Will you tell your story?

Meg Stewart has been freelancing for nearly two decades. She’s a multi-passionate skill hoarder and the intersection of freelance writing, technology, and teaching is her sweet spot. Freelance Ladder was founded to help writers get paid and help solopreneurs do tech stuff better. Meg and her family, (along with two dogs, two cats, and two leopard geckos), live in Northeast Ohio. Follow me on Medium or become a Medium member and get unlimited access.