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Entries in quarterly meeting (3)


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!


Self-Care For Doulas

And ever has it been that love knows

not its own depth until the hour of separation

               - Kahil Gibran

On Sunday, September 16th BADP doulas had their quarterly meeting and induction termination continuing education session alongside members of SFGH's volunteer doula program. The induction termination doula support training covered a range of topics including timing and reasons for induction termination, an overview of the procedure, labor support including physical and emotional comfort measures, postpartum comfort, and doula self-care.

Supporting someone through a birth, abortion, or other reproductive event can be as physically, emotionally, and spiritually demanding as it is rewarding. That's why doulas need to take good care of ourselves.

Here are some ideas our doulas suggested:

While you're at the hospital...

  • eat, drink, and sleep on your shift if possible
  • use the bathroom as a place to take a short break

When you get home...

  • call your mom or other close family member
  • call other doulas/ friends in the field/ nurses/ doctors who were there with you
  • take baths
  • write about the experience
  • take walks outside
  • get lots of sleep
  • therapy

How do you practice self-care? Leave a comment to share your suggestions.


The Abortion Diaries

- Sarah W., BADP Doula and Blogger

The BADP’s first quarterly meet-up and ongoing training for abortion doulas happened back in Februrary.  If you weren’t at the meeting you can get a lot out of watching the documentary that was screened there.

The Abortion Diaries is a short documentary by Penny Lane.  The twelve women who tell their stories in this film surprise us by failing to fit any of the standard polarized narratives that are commonly manipulated by media and politicians in the abortion debates.  They are simply, painfully, beautifully human stories.

You can watch the entire documentary online at The Abortion Diaries website.

BADP doula Barby observed, “one of the most striking points of the movie was that most women recounted having never talked about abortion before having one and never even hearing it mentioned before they "joined the club." This silence is central to creating the fear and stigma around abortion. It reminded me how valuable and important it is to share our experience with each other.”

Watch this space for an announcement of an upcoming opportunity the BADP is working on to make space for people to share their abortion experiences.