Barbara and Henrietta throwing down at a wedding is a brilliant parable about abortion.

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!


"What else haven't you told me, GRANDMA!?!" Image by Gerd Altmann/Pixabay.

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.

Storytelling chops galore! Image used with permission by Josh Healey.

Josh, an award-winning writer and creative activist, told Upworthy 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.

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Courtesy of Macy's

In many ways, 18-year-old Idaho native, Hank Cazier, is like any other teenager you've met. He loves chocolate, pop music, and playing games with his family. He has lofty dreams of modeling for a major clothing company one day. But one thing that sets him apart may also jeopardize his future is his recent battle against a brain tumor.

Cazier was diagnosed in 2015. When he had surgery to remove the tumor, he received trauma to his brain and lost some of his motor functionality. He's been in physical, occupational, and speech therapy ever since. The experience impacted Cazier's confidence and self-esteem, so he's been looking for a way to build himself back up again.

"I wanted to do something that helped me look forward to the future," he says.

Enter Make-A-Wish, a nonprofit organization that grants wishes for children battling critical illnesses, providing them a chance to make the impossible possible. The organization partnered with Macy's to raise awareness and help make those wishes a reality. The hope is that the "wish effect" will improve their quality of life and empower them with the strength they need to overcome these illnesses and look towards the future. That was a particularly big deal for Cazier, who had been feeling like so many of his wishes weren't going to be possible because of his critical illness.

"In the beginning, it was hard to accept that it would be improbable for me to accomplish my previous goals because my illness took away so many of my physical abilities," says Cazier. His wish of becoming a model also seemed out of reach.

But Macy's and Make-A-Wish didn't see it like that. Once they learned about Cazier's wish, they knew he had to make it come true by inviting him to be part of the magical Macy's holiday shoot in New York.

Courtesy of Macy's

Make-A-Wish can't fulfill children's wishes without the generosity of donors and partners like Macy's. In fact, since 2003, Macy's has given more than $122 million to Make-A-Wish and impacted the lives of more than 2.9 million people.

Cazier's wish experience was beyond what he could've imagined, and it filled him with so much joy and confidence. "It is like waking up and discovering that you have super powers. It feels amazing!" he exclaims.

One of the best parts about the day for him was the kindness everyone who helped make it happen showed him.

"The employees of Macy's and Make-A-Wish made me feel welcome, warm, and cared for," he says. "I am truly grateful that even though they were busy doing their jobs, they were able to show kindness and compassion towards me in all of the little details."

He also got to spend part of the shoot outdoors, which, as someone who loves climbing, hiking, and scuba-diving but has trouble doing those activities now, was very welcome.

Courtesy of Macy's

Overall, Cazier feels he grew a lot during his modeling wish and is now emboldened to work towards a better quality of life. "I want to acquire skills that help me continue to improve in these circumstances," he says.

You can change the lives of more kids like Cazier just by writing a letter to Santa and dropping it in the big red letterbox at Macy's (you can also write and submit one online). For every letter received before Dec. 24, 2019, Macy's will donate $1 to Make-A-Wish, up to $1 million. By writing a letter to Santa, you can help a child replace fear with confidence, sadness with joy, and anxiety with hope.

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