Maybe you’ve read that abortion doulas provide physical, emotional, and informational support for people choosing abortions, but you’re having a hard time imagining that theory put into practice. Nicole at Abortion Gang recently interviewed Kathleen Reutter of The Doula Project in New York City who also happens to have been one of the training facilitators for the Bay Area Doula Project, to see how she answers So What Is An Abortion Doula? Here’s a short excerpt:
What does a day’s work for an abortion doula look like?
Depending on the site, our doulas work with between four and 15 abortion clients per day. When I work with an abortion client, I try to help her feel safe and at ease. Any medical procedure can be scary, but facing an abortion can be especially frightening for some because of the wealth of inaccurate information and the stigma surrounding the procedure. Before the abortion begins I try to help my client feel comfortable by answering her questions and chatting. I’m usually with her as she meets the doctor and the nursing staff.
Being awake during an abortion is very doable but is sometimes painful. During the procedure I may help her breathe through uncomfortable moments, explain what’s happening, squeeze her hand, stroke her forehead, and distract her with conversation about her favorite TV show or her weekend plans. Afterwards I help her get settled in the recovery room. I may give her a hot pack to place on her abdomen to help with cramps and put cool cloths on her forehead and back of her neck if she’s overheated. Some of my clients want to talk a lot in the recovery room, others are quieter. If my client is settled and seems to be feeling okay, I often sit quietly in a chair close by, ready to engage if and when she chooses.
Read the full interview at Abortion Gang. Thanks to Miriam Zoila Perez at Radical Doula for tipping us off about this interview.