Normalizing Abortion is Important
Updated: Mar 28, 2021
Doulas can help support women and families through normal life cycle events ... including abortion.
Terminating a pregnancy is an incredibly personal decision that can be difficult both physically and emotionally. There are many reasons someone may choose to terminate, including individual choice, health concerns, or fetal abnormalities. It can be important to reach out for support, and empowering to understand that abortion is also a normal life event.
There are a broad range of emotions surrounding pregnancy termination, both negative and positive, and that chances are pretty good that everything you're feeling is normal and okay. From the experience of one abortion doula:
Some women might cry, and that was normal. Some women might feel only relief, and that was normal. Some might feel guilty about their relief. Feel drowsy after anesthesia. Feel woozy, in the patient lounge, while they sat with the other women who had just come out of their own procedures. Have cramps. Laugh. Want to talk about nothing but the final season of "Veep." Normal, normal, normal.
Abortion needs to be normalized, talked about, and acknowledged so that we can empower women to seek support.
How we choose to talk about abortion is an important factor affecting who seeks out support, and how that support (if any) is provided. Real-talk that normalizes and acknowledges opens doors, instead of shutting down discussions that could lead to the physical and emotional support that can ease and mitigate potential trauma.
Options for Support
Abortion Doulas. Individuals who provide physical and emotional support during a pregnancy termination. You can search for birth doulas in your area on https://doulamatch.net/, and many doulas will indicate in their profile whether they provide abortion support services as part of their practice.
Local support groups. Planned Parenthood can be a great place to find local resources. Search for the office closest to you: https://www.plannedparenthood.org/. You can also check with your health provider to see if they can connect you with others in your community.
Private therapy. Consider searching for a therapist who has experience working with others who have terminated pregnancies. Another option could be to search for therapists practicing a trauma-informed model of care that incorporates tenants of compassion, open-mindedness, and a holistic approach to support. https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/trauma-informed-care-what-it-is-and-why-its-important-2018101613562