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The First BADP Training – a Volunteer’s Thoughts

The First BADP Training

– Sarah W., BADP Doula and Blogger

On the third weekend in November, 2011 the Bay Area Doula Project held its first abortion doula training. The excitement was palpable as the approximately 30 eager volunteers packed into one cozy room to begin the weekend. Our training facilitators included two pioneering abortion doulas from the Doula Project in New York as well as presentations from people already working in doula or abortion fields in the Bay area.

In two days the training managed to cover a lot of ground: what abortion doulas do; details of different relevant surgical procedures, medical situations, and clinical sites; strategies for communicating and connecting with clients who are choosing abortions; practical exercises in both counseling and offering physical support; and more.

Barby, one of the newly trained abortion doulas reflected afterward that,

…the training went above my expectations. We got so much information about abortion-specific concerns and issues that come up for people – I previously hadn’t appreciated how many different perspectives and backgrounds people can bring to the procedure. I really appreciated hearing the experiences of the ladies from the New York Doula Project – that was invaluable.

Barby went on to talk about the ways in which some aspects of abortion doula training constitute training for being a better person in relationships beyond the clinical setting:

I think what was most surprising for me was how much I feel I will use the training outside of being an abortion doula – in being a good friend and a competent support person for people in all kinds of difficult situations… I have come to realize that most of the time, people in crisis (or just upset) simply need someone to give them permission to feel the way they feel, someone to bear witness to their experience and validate it. As simple as that is, this has been eye- opening for me and has changed the dynamics in my relationships.

Even with all the topics that were covered that weekend, the BADP leadership circle recognizes that our growth as abortion doulas is an ongoing process and has planned continuing education segments as part of quarterly volunteer meet-ups for the volunteers, the first of which took place this past weekend.

—Thanks to Sarah W. and Barby Z. for their time and effort! 

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