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Entries in medication abortion (4)

Monday
Sep142015

My experience with a BADP doula

This blog post is written by a guest author, Teresa. 

Hi! My name's Teresa, I had an at-home (or in my case, in-hotel room) medical abortion in July with the help of BADP doula Christine. My experience was wonderful and I've been meaning to send in a testimonial of sorts since then. I've been kinda furiously memoing to myself since then about the emotions that came up for me, plus all the surrounding political influences around abortion. All my thoughts go back to feeling uber grateful I had the opportunity to meet Christine and share such an intimate experience with her.

My thoughts:
I found out I was pregnant when I was in Austria, daunted by the glaring "schwanger" confirmation on the two German-language pregnancy tests I took. I felt unnerved, though still in control of my experience. I had comprehensive medical insurance to cover costs and I calculated that I was at about 5 weeks, thus would have adequate time to procure a medical abortion upon my arrival home in the States. I knew immediately that I would request a doula from BADP, and I began picturing what I thought was the ideal abortion environment and experience. I wanted to be outside in nature as I began bleeding, and feel one with all womb-carrying people that had procured abortions before me! Although I had lofty goals of having the most idyllic and spiritually attuned abortion experience possible, I knew the most important element would be my accompaniment.

When I finally procured the Mifepristone and Misoprostol prescriptions, I wasn't apprehensive about my abortion, merely looking forward to no longer being pregnant. Even so, I had begun feeling the hormonal rumblings of my changing, 7-week pregnant body, and I felt as if I was at a crossroads. I ended up having my abortion experience in a hotel room, as my living situation would not have been a hospitable environment. Christine was an angelic presence. She brought snacks, which immediately endeared her to my heart. I was overwhelmed by a great deal of pain for the hours preceding the placental expulsion, and Christine always knew exactly what to say and do to comfort me. She massaged my arms and lower back, reminded me to vocalize and take deep, regular breaths, helped me move around, and engaged in pleasant conversation in between the cramp surges. I had wanted to journal and hold some kind of ceremonial space during my abortion, but it turned out that I was too focused on the physical sensations to think about anything else. And it was Christine who held space for me and encouraged me to step into my strength. My medical provider had given me prescription pain medication but had offered nothing in the way of emotional support. Having a professional, supportive presence to accompany me was infinitely more useful than hydrocodone.

Christine both supported my choice and understood the physical aspects of having an abortion; this intimate support was an incredible blessing. I believe all pregnant people should have access to doulas, regardless of what the outcome of their pregnancy is. My experience with Christine only corroborated this belief, and I extend the deepest, most heartfelt gratitude to both Christine and all of BADP.

Thursday
Jun062013

June Abortion Doula Training in Pictures

Last weekend, June 1-2, BADP held our first "open-call" training available to anyone interested in providing abortion doula services to their clients and communities. We trained 32 doulas from all over the place, including different parts of the Bay Area, Central Valley, and Los Angeles in California; Portland, Oregon; Colorado; and British Columbia, Canada. We also received some amazing support in the form of donated food and space, as well as a meal specialized for doulas and pregnant folks!

Thank you to the amazing training team, who did a great job making the training a welcoming, informative space! If you are interested in becoming an abortion doula we will be having another training in the second half of the year, most likely in late Fall. More details to be announced in July. 

Here are some pictures from last weekend's training:
One of the training team members, Sally, explains medication abortion to our trainees.
  

Sally and Poonam show how a provider would dilate the cervix, on a papaya.

Becky shares her experience as an abortion doula. 

Thank you to Hearth Healing Foods for the amazing lunch!

Yania leads the group in some stretching exercises.

Physical support techniques include massage, which is great for relaxation and pain relief.

Participants practice some of the physical support techniques on each other. 

Some of the trainers show off their awesome Bay Area Doula Project t-shirts.

Congratulations to all the new trainees!

Monday
Feb112013

Announcing In-Home Support for Medication Abortions

We are thrilled to announce that starting today, the Bay Area Doula Project volunteer doulas will be offering in-home support to those experiencing medication abortions.

While providing the obvious benefits of privacy, confidentiality, and comfort, medication abortions pose some challenges to patients who may require extra support during their experience. Our doulas are prepared to offer free in-home physical, emotional, educational, and spiritual support during the medication abortion experience. BADP has created a comprehensive model for providing in-home support after months of careful planning and training. To do this, we have consulted with medical experts, home-birth professional doula groups, and abortion access communities to ensure that it has responded to various practical concerns: for example, client contracts will be used to address issues of doula and client safety and legality of practice. The BADP has also created internal procedures to provide on-going guidance to volunteer doulas as they provide in-home support to clients.

 

For clinics:

If you are a clinic providing women’s health care in the Bay Area, and would like to offer referrals for our in-home support services, please contact info@bayareadoulaproject.org. While it will be up to the clients to initiate a request for doula support, the BADP would be more than happy to make a presentation to your staff about the services offered that could then be described to patients. 

For finding support:

Click here to find out how you can get support.

For doulas and friends:

Our potential to serve women in their home through medication abortion depends on our network of contacts. If you know of a site that could refer patients to us for MAB support, please contact info@bayareadoulaproject.org for outreach materials. Thank you so much for supporting our work!

Friday
Nov162012

Offering support for medication abortions

-By Kelly, BADP blog co-manager

On Wednesday BADP's doulas had our quarterly meeting, the topic of which was how to support folks who are choosing a medication abortion. Medication abortion is the ending of a pregnancy with medications taken in pill form rather than a surgical procedure, and represents just under 20% of nonhospital abortions performed in the United States according to the Guttmacher Institute. While support for a person having a medication abortion looks different from in-clinic support, it can look very similar to the at-home support provided by some birth doulas. 

Wednesday's meeting started with a doula who recently supported someone through a medication abortion talking about her experience, then clinical information about the process was presented. Much of the meeting was spent discussing potential physical, emotional, and spiritual support that could be offered by doulas. Physical support during medication abortion is centered around support through cramping, including massage, heating pads, position changes, getting in the shower, focused breathing, and offering distractions. Encouraging food and fluid intake as well as addressing potential nausea with teas and aromatheraphy were also suggestions discussed. Emotional and spiritual support focuses on above all, holding space and active listening. Working with the person experiencing the medication abortion to create a safe and comfortable space can include lighting candles, watching movies, talking, or staying silent and reflective. Suggesting some sort of ritual can also be important. Self-care for ourselves and suggestions for someone having a medication abortion was also something discussed at the meeting. A list of helpful books and organizations can be found in the "Resources" section of our website, and a recent post on our blog discussed self-care for doulas. 

All in all, Wednesday's meeting on medication abortion support was extremely informative and inspiring. Thanks to all who shared their personal experiences and helpful information. BADP is developing a program to provide doula support for folks choosing a medication abortion which we hope to have up and running in the next couple of months. Check in for updates about these future services!