Have A Powerful Conversation Today
Save sex for marriage was the sex education that most young women from my generation received. For our birth control and relationship-related questions we were directed to stay focused on school and further conversations on the matter were often discouraged. When sex and birth control were spoken about it was only in hushed tones. I was 19 years old when I immigrated to the US with only a fundamental understanding of my reproductive well-being and certainly with more questions than answers. I was fortunate in that I had the opportunity to seek out the information that I needed to make critical decisions, but my experience was not the norm.
As an immigrant I have raised my son to appreciate his multicultural background, but I have also adopted an open and honest approach about sensitive conversations that could significantly impact his life trajectory. Young people today have access to multiple sources for their questions, not all of which provide fact-based information. Rather than leave it to chance, I took the initiative to start the conversation in order to ensure that my son got reliable, resonant, and accurate information. I encourage all parents and champions of young people to do the same.
October is Let's Talk Month, during which we encourage meaningful conversations about sex, love, relationships, and ultimately birth control between young people and the parents and champions who care about them. This year we are encouraging people to talk it out among young people, their friends, family, and themselves. Have a powerful conversation around any or all of these important topics.
We live in trying times, which have challenged families in every way. But amongst the challenges they have provided greater opportunities to be with our families and have uninterrupted conversations with our kids. This fact was recently confirmed by a Power to Decide poll where 57% of adults surveyed agreed to seeing increased opportunities to have conversations that can positively influence youth to make informed decisions about sex, love, and relationships. In addition, 90% of adults agree that these conversations positively influence youth to make informed decisions about these critical issues. Whomever the young person in your life, these conversations play a critical role in helping to ensure that all young people have access to important and accurate information.
This need is particularly prevalent in communities of color where according to the data, Black women have the highest unintended pregnancy rate—more than twice as high as non-Hispanic white women. In addition, women who make less money and have less education are more than five times as likely to have an unplanned pregnancy as women in the highest income level. To compound these already existing challenges, more than 19 million women in need live in contraceptive deserts where they lack reasonable access in their county to a health center that offers the full range of contraceptive methods.
When I began my life journey, I was fortunate that I had the agency and opportunity to obtain information regarding my health care needs. For my well-woman visits, I sought providers I was comfortable with and sought out information regarding the full range of contraceptive methods. I want every young person—regardless of who they are or where they live—to have the same access to information in order to make the best decisions for themselves.
There is much to be thankful for during this uncertainty and the gift of time and stability with the young people in our lives is one of those blessings. By spending it having thoughtful conversations, we have the opportunity to support their power to decide if, when, and under what circumstances to get pregnant and have a child. Not only must we use this time wisely, we must seize it. Have a powerful conversation today.