In the U.S. 90% of abortions happen in the first trimester, which means later abortion stories may be less familiar to us.
Still, tens of thousands of people have later abortions each year. These people face increased stigma and barriers to accessing care.
I'm grateful to Kate Carson for generously sharing sharing her story of ending a wanted later term pregnancy with the Full-Spectrum Doula Circles.
Last month I had the pleasure of facilitating an in-person abortion support skills workshop for the Jane Fund of Central Massachusetts and NARAL Pro-Choice At Clark University.
These folks in the photo above all spent a whole beautiful, sunny Sunday indoors so they could build knowledge and skills to increase the ways in which they support their abortion fund's callers.
I feel so fortunate to have gotten to spend that day facilitating learning and growth with them. So much love and gratitude to everyone who participated.
I just read The Mothers by Brit Bennett. It's an engaging novel about adolescence, sexuality, friendship, motherhood, and the Black church.
Abortion is central to the narrative, but the book doesn't really take a clear stance on the pro-choice/anti-choice divide. I think, though, a great deal of what goes wrong for the characters in this story can be attributed to the stigmatization, shame, and secrecy around abortion and adolescent sexuality.
Have you read this book? What did you think? Can you recommend another novel about abortion?
Today's discussion in Refilling The Cup, the online course on self-care for doulas, inspired me to share this quote from Poonam Dreyfus-Pai, who's deputy director at All-Options, and who was the speaker for the January Full-Spectrum Doula Circle:
"Boundaries aren't there to fence me in or keep people out, but actually to allow me to interact with the world and to interact with things that I love with flexibility and with grace."
In March Full-Spectrum Doula Circle passed 1,000 likes on Facebook!
Thank you, dear community, for standing together in supporting people in all their pregnancy outcomes -- birth, abortion, or any of the many ways people experience transitions out of pregnancy.
Thank you for standing with each other to strengthen all of our ability to show up and love folks as they move through these powerful transitions. 1,000 likes - amazing!
Together, we are a mighty force of love. ️️
I got to hear Khiara M. Bridges talk last week about her research on how poor women in the U.S. are stripped of their rights to privacy as they access healthcare.
It got me thinking about how doulas ask for information about clients.
Can we talk about doula intake processes?
Here's info about Khiara and her awesome work:
I just listened to the webinar summarizing the results of the big new report reviewing scientific evidence on The Safety and Quality of Abortion Care in the United States. So much data!
Most of it's not really a surprise, though:
You can download all 200 pages of the study here
Doula Syllabus: "Integrating Doulas Into First-Trimester Abortion Care: Physician, Clinic Staff, and Doula Experiences"
Newly published research about how introducing abortion doulas into a clinic resulted in more patient-centered care + "Everyone Loves Someone Who Had An Abortion" mug from National Network of Abortion Funds + steaming hot coffee + sunbeam.
The full article "Integrating Doulas Into First-Trimester Abortion Care: Physician, Clinic Staff, and Doula Experiences" is here:
In her newest book, Holding Space: On Loving, Dying, And Letting Go, Amy Wright Glenn uses these words to describe what birth doulas do, but she could just as well have been describing doula support for any transition out of pregnancy:
"We offer comfort measures, healing touch, and encouraging words. We serve as compassionate companions at a most transformative time. The doula is a constant reminder that pain does not have to equal suffering."
Our society shames and punishes young mothers. We don't make it easy for them to access the support they and their children need.
These young people get caught in a double-bind when they are pregnant. On the one hand they are judged for choosing abortion, but then they're also punished for choosing parenthood.
Instead of feeling shamed, pregnant and parenting adolescents deserve to feel pride, support, confidence, and love.
So how do we support these young people and their rights to determine their own reproductive lives?
How do we promote access to the resources that young people need so they're empowered to choose whether, when, and how to have sex, to end a pregnancy, to carry a pregnancy to term, or to parent?
How can doulas prepare to serve young people without judgment?
Melinda Morales, doula and founder of Project Teen Birth, discusses this topic with us in a Full-Spectrum Doula Circle which is now recorded and available to listen to by anyone who's registered for the Full-Spectrum Doula Circles.