Josh Healey is one part comedian, one part storyteller, and 100% refreshing.
Two proud immigrant grandmothers. One wedding. One shot at a lifetime of glory.
That's what was going on the day that Barbara and Henrietta made history in Josh Healey's family. In a bid for bragging rights over who'd had the harder life, Barbara got the ultimate mic drop moment when she exclaimed about having the most abortions — 12 of them!
It's simultaneously shocking and hilarious. And it's a huge reminder about why abortion exists.
For whatever reason, some women don't get a lot of say about much in their lives. Abortion is a way for them to have at least some control over their circumstances.
It's a lead-in for a deeply personal turn that the story takes when Josh found himself floundering for how to be there for his own girlfriend.
Josh, an award-winning writer and creative activist, told Welcometoterranova it's the most personal and vulnerable story he's ever told.
He was 19 when his then-girlfriend and now-wife, Esther, became pregnant. They sat in the bathroom together, staring at a positive pregnancy test, with Josh looking for the right words to be supportive like the strong women in his life had taught him to be. He discovered — gasp! — that he actually had his own feelings about what they should do. Only he had no idea what to do with them.
When Josh requested consent from Esther to share their experience with the world, she gave him an ultimatum: "If you don’t do it, I’ll divorce you. We need to tell this story."
The reaction he gets from people after telling what he and Esther went through when they considered abortion is almost always a multitude of thank-yous. People seek him out after his shows to express their gratitude for sharing, often because they too have a story that they've been holding in and suddenly feel emboldened to talk about it.
The really telling thing: Most of those thanking him are other men. Josh said:
"A lot of younger men have listened to this piece and said, ‘I’ve been there.’ And you know a lot of guys have this story of when you thought you got the girl pregnant and they don’t know what to do, but then the story often ends there. And we don’t talk about what we actually would do and we don’t talk about how to support a woman who is trying to decide what to do — and how as pro-choice men, we are grappling with our love, our solidarity, and our own emotional responses, too."
Today's men are craving honest, human, emotional experiences like Josh's to relate to and take cues from.
A wickedly funny, deeply poignant story that also gives upcoming generations of young hetero men a blueprint for how to support their partners and how to honor their own emotions instead of stuffing them down?
Goodbye toxic masculinity, hello brave new world!
If you have found yourself wondering during abortion debates, "Where exactly does the man's responsibility and wishes for the pregnancy rank in relation to the woman's?" Josh's brilliant story is an important one to hang onto.
It's a story for women, a story for men, a story for those who didn't choose abortion, and a story for those who did. Everyone can take something away from it.