Planned Parenthood changes people’s lives. They provide compassionate care that not only benefits patients’ physical health, but enables them to feel confident in themselves, which illuminates the possibilities for them to live a happy, healthy, and fulfilling life.
Planned Parenthood’s education and care led patient Gwen W. from feeling ashamed and lost, to being an informed and liberated sexual and reproductive rights advocate. Now, she is a sexuality and spirituality consultant and is able to empower others, just as the Planned Parenthood clinicians empowered her.
Gwen explained that she was a college student when she first realized the importance of sexual and reproductive health care. She needed birth control, but with the numerous options available, she was unsure which method would work best for her.
Her Women and Gender Studies major group frequently spoke of Planned Parenthood’s trustworthy, holistic, and affordable healthcare. She quickly made an appointment at the Portland health center, and after discussing the options with her medical provider, she got an IUD.
The Planned Parenthood staff met her physical health needs by helping her find the method of birth control that worked best for her. Additionally, they went above and beyond the traditional expectations of a medical provider, because they also met her mental and emotional health needs, by making her feel cared for and comforted throughout the process.
The importance of Planned Parenthood’s health care was brought to light for Gwen during a serious health scare. She remembers when she had a UTI (urinary tract infection) that turned into a kidney infection. As she recounted this experience, she described that it was so painful she couldn't walk, and she was afraid of the health repercussions.
Disappointed by her primary care provider who brushed off her UTI, she went to Planned Parenthood. They provided medication for her to heal, and she once again left feeling relieved and cared for -- and she chose to go back to Planned Parenthood for her annual Check Up.
Her passion for accessible birth control led her to an internship for Planned Parenthood, where she further advocated for their mission. Throughout college and beyond, she felt liberated as she also participated in many successful activism events, like gathering patient stories, talking with voters about the importance of Planned Parenthood and the care the health centers provide, and leading volunteer trainings.
Planned Parenthood is an integral part of Gwen’s story. The education and care she received there was the impetus that sparked her passion for sexual and productive health. She knew she could give that same compassionate care to others and help them on their journey.
Today, she has extrapolated her passion into a thriving online business. She infuses spirituality with sexual and reproductive education to inform and empower her Instagram followers and blog readers.
She also personalizes the experience for her clients in the same way that Planned Parenthood does with their patients. She consults with folks about their spiritual and intimate lives and gives intuitive guidance, helping them to overcome obstacles and gain confidence.
Gwen is forever grateful for the care she receives each time she enters the Planned Parenthood health center. “Planned Parenthood is a place of compassion and education; there’s no judgement, they just take care of you and educate you so you can be as safe and empowered as possible. Whether it’s education, healthcare, or support, they're always there,” she says. “They give you care in the moment, and education and resources for the future.”