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.
The idea of a full-spectrum approach to pregnancy support is really quite radical.
Did you know that the Doula Project in New York City, the first group of its kind in the country, started off as the Abortion Doula Project before they realized they needed to broaden their scope and be prepared to provide support for the full spectrum of pregnancy outcomes?
In the January 2018 Full-Spectrum Doula Circle, featured speaker Poonam Dreyfus-Pai said:
"A full-spectrum doula is someone that is willing to be with someone in the midst of a pretty enormous transition, a bodily transition, sometimes an emotional transition, an immense transition out of pregnancy... regardless of what the outcome of that transition is."
The outcome could be birth, it could be abortion, it could be miscarriage, stillbirth, or adoption.
I want to have more conversations that put all these pregnancy outcomes on a spectrum instead of in silos, and that consider the spectrum of race, gender, class, and all the other important ways our identities shape our pregnancy experiences.
I want to have more conversations about how we approach care work differently when we adopt a full-spectrum approach, and about what the relationship is between full-spectrum care and a reproductive justice framework.
I want to talk about why it was big news when the first combined birth center & abortion clinic in the U.S. opened in 2014.
I want to talk about what professor and full-spectrum doula Jessica Shaw calls "the affinity between birth activism and abortion activism."
One way we do this is with a monthly online gathering (okay, so it's a webinar, but that word sounds so cold and corporate) of the Full-Spectrum Doula Circle.
Today I'm celebrating sending out a big batch of Certificates of Completion for people who've completed the online Abortion Support Skills course.
I feel so privileged to get to watch folks learn, stretch, and grow into greater understanding of abortion procedures and experiences & into finding their own individual ways to bring greater love and compassion into this world.🎉 💚🎈
I'm reading about informed consent and refusal today.
“Paternalism has a long history in obstetrics. Many women understandably fear that they will lose control over their care decisions...” -Dr. Andrew Kotaska
Full text of this commentary is online if you want to read it too.
I've just learned that the online abortion support skills course is approved for 2 EUS for Doula Canada (DTC) students.
I hope in the future that the course will be approved for continuing education credits for other certifying organizations.
For doulas, healthcare providers, and community members who want skills to support people having abortions, the Abortion Support Skills course is a program designed to help you to develop the tools to offer compassionate, nonjudgmental support.
I'm humbled by all the women who showed up with their whole hearts to The Mother Wit Conference in Boston: Healing In Our Way, In Our Own Time & On Our Own Terms" yesterday.
Thank you to Nneka Hall for inviting us and to Jacqui Morton for continued sweet collaboration on facilitating Holding Our Space. Here's how Jacqui define's Holding Our Space:
(n) A place for feelings about our reproductive experiences, including abortion.
(v) The act of being there, with these experiences, all out in the open.
(n) A time and location, with tissues and candles.
see also, tumblr: http://holdingourspace.tumblr.com
Thank you to everyone who invested the energy to complete the Full-Spectrum Doula Needs Survey! I’m going to be using the results to help plan abortion support courses and other programs, so the input is very valuable.
So far 90% of people who've taken the survey want abortion doula training and only 40% are looking for birth doula training. That makes sense since there are many more ways to get trained as a birth doula than as an abortion doula.
Here's one of many survey responses (shared with permission) letting me know I'm on the right track with this initiative:
"I really want to do a training and be able to continue training. There are few resources to do this; please, please, please, help with adding more of those resources! I am ready and willing to become a doula, all I need is more trainings!" -Alexandria Colbert
Here's an article I wrote about the full-spectrum doula approach when I was a volunteer for the Bay Area Doula Project:
The Bay Area Doula Project is a full-spectrum doula organization. That means we support folks across the spectrum of their reproductive lives. We want all people to have access to compassionate support through all the possible outcomes of pregnancy, as well as for sexual and reproductive health issues that don't involve pregnancy.
But why does it make sense for us to bring these all together instead of forming an organization that focuses on a single issue? I see three major reasons: the people we serve, the volunteer energy we draw upon, and the issues involved. Let me explain... (read the full article here)