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Born for This?!

This is my birthday weekend! πŸ₯³ πŸŽ‰ 

And I'm reminded of a story of one of my most memorable birthdays. My 13th.


Well, if you've taken a puberty related program from me you have likely heard me share a personal piece of information about this specific birthday because it was when I got my very FIRST period! 

I've shared this story for years, but this past year a mother said something to me that I had never heard before.

She said, "You got your period the day you were born! See, you were born for this!"

Born for this? I blushed. πŸ₯°β˜ΊοΈ

Yet it stuck with me enough that I'm telling you about it today.

Could I have been born to talk about this?

I'm going to share something very personal. There is history of sexual abuse in my family.

My mother was molested by her father and brother as a child.

My parents were surprisingly open about this with my sister and I growing up.

I have more than one memory of conversations my parents had in front of us.

Even a confrontation between my dad and grandfather when he thought he took his clothes off in front of me at age 6. He was never inappropriate, but my dad let him know he knew what he did to Brenda and if he ever touched me, he would kill him. 

So early on these were some of my first conversations about sex and touch. 

I know the work I do could never "undo" the hurt and pain my mother and so many others have suffered, but I love that I get to empower young people with correct, age-appropriate information making it less likely for them to become victims.

I also had a disabled mother. 

If you've taken my courses I sometimes mention that my mother had 2 strokes before I was born.

The first, before age 30.

She had to learn how to read, write, walk, and talk....THREE TIMES!

The story I was told was my grandmother and mom had a big fight about money. My grandmother had a heart attack that night. 

Four months later my mom had a stroke from the stress of losing her mom and overwhelming feelings that it was somehow her fault. 

The second stroke happened a few short years later. This time she was pregnant. She didn't know her name, so doctors felt it was best to terminate her pregnancy. 

Six years later she was pregnant again.

She was told that she would die if she had another baby.

She swiftly informed the doctors, "I'm having this baby!" 

That baby was me. 

Jennifer Joy Barber. 

Because every time I kicked she felt so much joy. That was what she always told me. πŸ₯²

I was blessed with a mother that loved and admired me deeply. She was always my loudest cheerleader! Literally - she yelled "That's my baby!" at my graduation.

However, growing-up there were many things that were different about my childhood.

There were subtle ways my mothers disability and abuse shaped who I am today. 

My mom often struggled communicating and I learned to "read her" so I could help her finish her sentences.

My mothers reading and comprehension probably returned to about a 4th grade level so she was unable to help me with things like homework or college applications. 

However, she was ALWAYS taking a class and learning. Although she didn't finish high school she still instilled a love and expectation to never stop learning in me that I still benefit from today.  

But how did you get into this?

The summer I turned 13 years old I was grounded. My mom took all my privileges away like my phone (attached to the wall) and TV. All I was allowed to really do was read. She took me to the library and while strolling the books, one caught my eye. It had a brain on the cover - I don't remember the title - but this book was one of the most interesting one's I had ever read. 

It was a psychology book with several case studies describing human behavior. 

I recall one case study about hand washing in the bathroom when someone was present and when someone thought they were alone. As you could imagine, many people skipped hand washing when they thought nobody was watching. πŸ₯΄

This sparked an interest in psychology for me. So while in high school my senior year I took a psychology class at a community college. 

The teacher I had was AMAZING and I took everything she taught. 

This included an Intro to Counseling course  AND Human Sexuality. 

After taking those courses, she offered  a  "peer helping" class and I was trained to give safer sex workshops in her Human Sexuality classes. 

After that I was hooked! 

People listened when you talked about sex. 

Once I completed my graduate degree, I went back to the college I attended and she got me a position teaching Human Sexuality for the department. Meanwhile I picked up side work for a youth development agency that taught parent-child sex ed. 

I taught evenings for 2 years when the Director position became available and ran their program for the following 5 years. 

I later branched off and started my own business, The Talk Institute in 2007 and still offer parent-child sex education courses today. 

So, was I born for this...?


My life passion for over 20 years now has been to help families have "tough talks" and help young people to be sexually healthy. I feel like the parents I had were exactly the ones I needed to develop some of the soft skills that help me teach today.

Also how I felt pulled towards psychology and teaching as a teenager. 

To the million of other experiences and stories I could share for pages and pages that have shown to me that I'm doing my life's work.

I'm feeling very blessed this birthday with the πŸ’ of living my life purpose. 

Thank you for trusting me to help your families with this tough, life talk for over 20 years! 




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