Amy MoyVP Public Affairs at California Family Health CouncilSan Francisco, CAPhotography by Lauri LevenfeldStory by Lauri Levenfeld
I am so glad I met my dear friend Amy. Not only is she an amazing friend with the dearest heart, she is a patient and loving teacher and an advocate with a force- to-be-reckon passion for protecting, honoring and saving women’s rights for all of us. As a mom, Amy has always been a great resource for me when diving into more complicated topics of parenting. And with October marked as Let’s Talk Month-we decided to hone in on all the goodies and create a template that us parents can refer to when approached with “the sex talk” and more…
I think like many women I know and love, I am what I’ve made out of what I’m made of. We are all shaped by our experiences and family backgrounds in some way. I’ve tried my best to honor and respect where I come from while also taking full license to create my own story and journey as a woman, a wife and mother. I also do my best to live an intentional, open and active life that feels true and good and more helpful than harmful.
I have grown up personally and professionally within the framework of reproductive health, rights and justice for nearly 20 years. When I was in college I had a personal experience that brought me to Planned Parenthood. This all happened at a time of awakening to many things, particularly to politics and women’s issues.
From that point on, I was fully committed to ensuring that any woman or teen who found themselves in a similar position could have the freedom to choose the best path for themselves, with respect and without barriers to quality care. I started at Planned Parenthood as a communications intern and over a decade worked my way to leading policy, communications and community education activities and electoral work at an affiliate in California. When Zoe was born two months early, I was fortunate enough to make the decision to stay home with her full-time. When she was almost three, I returned to the movement and am now Vice President of Public Affairs at California Family Health Council, a statewide organization that champions and promotes quality sexual and reproductive health care for all. We help advance public policies to expand and protect access, train providers in best practices in the delivery of quality sexual and reproductive health care, conduct advanced clinical research helping bring new sexual and reproductive health technologies and therapies to market and increase consumer awareness – particularly among teens and parents – to help them make informed decisions about their sexual and reproductive health and promote family communication.
“Being a mother – especially a mother of a daughter – has made my work even more personal
I am inspired by the peaceful yet fierce freedom fighters that came before me and worked tirelessly for the rights that many of us enjoy today like Alice Paul, Diane Nash, Dolores Huerta and Gloria Steinem. I am inspired by every individual still working for justice, equality and a better world. And I am inspired to be my best self for Zoe.
Child: Zoe Sage Frank-age 6
“Listen more than you talk”
Zoe’s Favorite Things…
Zoe’s chickens – She just got four chickens for her birthday. She loves them because she really wants to be a “city farm girl.”
Zoe’s creative closet – Zoe is almost always in costume. Just this past week she came frolicking toward the house from a trip to the park in an elf’s costume (what a glorious surprise in October!), she dressed up like Dorothy to go pumpkin picking, pretended to be a witch on a neighborhood stroll and put her face in yet another cake, channeling one of her heroes – Pippi Longstocking.
Zoe’s magic wand chopstick – Recently Zoe has been into spells and potions. She believes she has the power of magic, and so do I.
I think the most exciting and humbling moments I’ve had as a mother have been when our roles have reversed and I recognize Zoe as my teacher. For example, this summer we were traveling internationally and we were all set for our trip but it ended up getting delayed by a few days. My husband and I were temporarily gutted and Zoe snapped us back in shape by saying, “Don’t worry, it’s OK, it’s only a vacation. No one’s hurt and we’re all together so it’s fine.” Her words immediately shifted my perspective and I was so grateful and proud. I’m not sure how she became so wise beyond her years, but I am so lucky to benefit from her awareness.
I have had to change my meditation practice since becoming a mom. Before Zoe was born, I spent a good amount of time meditating, practicing yoga and going on spiritual retreats. With less time and my own little guru at home, I have grown to use motherhood as my meditation practice. When I am free to have focused time with Zoe, the mobile devices are down and I am immersed in the present moment – most often roleplaying a character of Zoe’s choice.
I have also joked that I had my second child when Zoe turned two and my third when she turned four. I have had to adjust my parenting to meet her where she was at each stage of development and I’m sure the tactics that work now at six won’t work at sixteen so I will have to keep switching up my game!
Although it’s sometimes necessary to change certain parenting styles to meet our kids where they are at any given time, one of the most important things I think we can do as parents is to consistently let our children know that they can come to us and we are there for them and love them no matter what. It is so important to establish an open and honest dialogue from the beginning. This can build a lifelong relationship of trust and mutual respect.
Like most children, Zoe has always been very curious and observant.
When she asked how babies were made at three years old, I dug into the best practices around family communication promoted by organizations like California Family Health Council and Planned Parenthood.
1. I affirmed her question. “That’s a great question.”
2. I tried to get more information to put her question in context. “Why are you asking today? Did you see or hear something that made you think of it?”
3. I gauged what she knew already. “What do you think? After she answered that babies are made with bodies…
4. I gave an open and honest medically accurate response based on my values and her age. “That’s exactly right! I couldn’t have answered better myself!”
Whew. When she asked the same question again at six, we had a repeat of the conversation above this time she asked “but HOW?” And I answered “A woman’s body makes an egg. A man’s body makes sperm. When an egg and sperm meet, it can make a baby.”
This seemed to satisfy her curiosity at six. We’ll see how it goes when she asks next time!