What Does Abortion Doula Support Look Like?
Updated: Jun 6, 2019
Many folks go through abortion alone, which can be overwhelming. Abortion support can help make your experience more positive.
An abortion doula is your companion through the process of getting an abortion. We are by your side in the days before the procedure, helping you prepare for how to cope with any physical discomfort, talking through what is important to you and your different options moving forward, and providing a safe space for you to share any emotions you may have leading up to the day of the abortion.
There is no one ”right” way to feel about abortion. Some emotions people may feel around their abortion are relief, fear, anxiety, joy, grief, and sadness. It’s normal to feel any of these things or even to feel all of them at once. For some folks, abortion feels no more emotional than a trip to the dentist. For others, there may be very heavy emotions associated with the abortion procedure.
Any of these ways to feel is perfectly okay. You will find validation for your emotions as well as a listening ear from your abortion doula. We are open to supporting you emotionally in whatever way you need and a large part of our job is simply asking how you’re doing and what you’re feeling.
In Person Support
For a surgical abortion (performed in-clinic), support begins from the moment you step through the clinic door until the moment you leave the clinic. You don’t have to go through any part of the in clinic process by yourself, regardless of how long it may take.
At our local Huntsville abortion clinic, patients are not permitted to bring a support person with them into the procedure room (support people are allowed in the general waiting area prior to the procedure). It can feel lonely and overwhelming to people to be in a room with only doctors and nurses, while going through the abortion procedure.
As an abortion doula, my priority in the procedure room is to help you feel safe, supported, and grounded as you go through the procedure. Being reminded to take deep breaths and relax may be helpful, as the more tension you hold in your body the more pain you may perceive. Some folks find it helpful to have a hand to squeeze. Others prefer to just chat about tv shows and weekend plans to keep their minds off the procedure. Whatever you need in those moments, I’ll be there with you and there for you.
If you have chosen to have an in-home medication abortion, I’m available to be there for you to support you in the home. I will be there when you take the second medication (misoprostol) which begins the process of helping your body expel the pregnancy through uterine contractions. This process is similar to that of labor, as a pregnancy is being released and many of the physiologic sensations may be similar. I am there to help ease the process through comfortmeasures like heating pads, foot rubs, back massage, and gentle movement (swaying, dancing, sitting and rocking on an exercise ball) can be very helpful while supporting your body physically.
After Care Support
Any time a pregnancy ends, whether through an abortion, a birth, or a miscarriage, your body undergoes massive physiological and hormonal shifts. This time after pregnancy release is traditionally known as postpartum. After birth, we know women need support in healing and recovery, both physically and emotionally, yet this healing can be overlooked when it comes to abortion.
As your body shifts from being pregnant to not pregnant, major hormones are changing and having support around that is vital. Nurturing and nourishing your body, being gentle to yourself and supported in “taking in easy,” will ensure a smooth transition back into daily life after your abortion.
An abortion doula can offer both guidance in ways to take care of yourself after your abortion and is also available for in-home support, preparing nourishing foods, helping with light housework, and helping with comfort measures for any post-abortion pain and discomfort.
Spiritual and Ritual Support
Not every person sees their abortion as an important moment in their life and that is okay. If the word “spiritual” in connection to your abortion is a turn off, this may not be a form of support that you would like to have.
For many, their abortion is a significant point in their life. Rather than sweeping it under the rug, there is great power in acknowledging what has happened through the form of a meaningful ritual. For some that may be a grief ritual, a way of letting go. For others, it may be a ritual to express gratitude and moving forward onto a new path.
I am open to support folks in finding what ritual resonates with them as they mark their abortion as a point in their life that holds meaning.
If you are in need of support for your abortion here in the Huntsville area, please reach out. ❤️❤️