By Joy Migala
Have you heard about doulas yet? You probably have – doulas are becoming more and more common in the world of pregnancy and childbirth – but in case you haven’t, let us take a moment to fill you in: Doulas are trained and (sometimes) certified people who support pregnant people during their pregnancy, childbirth, and even through the first several weeks postpartum. Doula literally means “care giver” or “servant” in Greek. Doulas provide non-medical care in the form of physical, emotional, informational, and sometimes spiritual support. There are several different kinds of doulas – birth, postpartum, adoption, miscarriage, and yes, ABORTION doulas.
Abortion doulas are an important part of complete patient care for people who are terminating pregnancies. This cutting-edge model of care is being replicated all over the country. Abortion can be a life event for many people, and women can have complicated needs during their pregnancies, especially when in the process of terminating a pregnancy. These needs often extend beyond the right to a safe, accessible abortion to include compassionate care of a woman’s emotional and spiritual self and incorporation of physical comfort measures. Every woman deserves to be at the center of her abortion experience, and abortion doulas make that happen.
Most of the time, facilities cannot permit a patient’s support person (mother, boyfriend, husband, partner, cousin, friend, etc…) to accompany the patient during her abortion for a variety of reasons: the sterile environment and the sometimes small amount of space in a procedure room are just a couple of those reasons. Abortion doulas can go above and beyond in filling that gap, because they are trained to support people in this specific situation and are aware of the range of experiences that are possible. They can also support the support people – knowing that their loved one is being taken care of in such a comprehensive way during a potentially difficult time can be a huge comfort to the support person who is probably already worried.
We know that women and families utilize doulas during pregnancy, labor, and the postpartum period because they deserve to have every expectation met when it comes to their care. Doesn’t it make sense to expand that to include abortion? After all, abortion is a large part of reproductive health and one in three women will have one during her childbearing years.
The Advocacy Center for The Women’s Centers is starting an abortion doula program! We’re interviewing potential volunteers NOW and will be running a required 12-15 hour training in August. WE NEED YOU! Email Joy at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information and to apply. We hope you’ll join the movement to support people throughout the entire spectrum of pregnancy!