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Entries in self-care (3)


November Salon Series: The Pill and Patriarchy 

By: Lauren MacDonald 

Our November Salon Series was inspired and guided by Kristen Portney, a doula and student of psychotherapy. She offered to share her curiosity, personal experience, and research about hormonal birth control with the BADP community. She led us in a discussion about how the ancient wisdom of self-care, fertility tracking and health care has been threatened by capitalism and patriarchal dominance for hundreds of years.

The conversation was powerful, positive and passionate. However there were experiences shared that carried the all too common themes of shame, guilt, fear, manipulation, and repression of sexuality. Many of us shared our personal experiences, positive and negative, about using conventional pharmaceuticals and birth control methods. We talked about how different hormones and procedures affected us mentally, physically, and emotionally. We talked about methods of fertility tracking, herbal alternatives for birth control and abortion, and the benefits of emotional support through transformative times like pregnancy and puberty. We imagined the ideal doctor’s office visit to include education about all birth control methods including fertility awareness. We asked questions, of each other, of our ancestors, of the world.

An image came to mind to me as were sharing, our experiences and wisdom were flames flickering on candles; we were passing a candle flame, one by one, until the whole room was lit by candle light, the light that will burn the veil that is cast over us all by patriarchal oppression. 

The what-ifs, whys, and how's were inspiring and lead me to ask you to light another candle! Below are some resources to some topics discussed. Please feel free to comment on blog with articles, books, events, workshops, safe space resources to continue conversations and share our ancient wisdom! 

Thank you to everyone for coming on a chilly November night to shine brighter together!





Caliban and the Witch: Women, the Body and Primitive Accumulation by Silvia Federici

Women's Bodies, Women's Wisdom (Revised Edition): Creating Physical and Emotional Health and Healing by Christiane Northrup M.D. 


Offering support for medication abortions

-By Kelly, BADP blog co-manager

On Wednesday BADP's doulas had our quarterly meeting, the topic of which was how to support folks who are choosing a medication abortion. Medication abortion is the ending of a pregnancy with medications taken in pill form rather than a surgical procedure, and represents just under 20% of nonhospital abortions performed in the United States according to the Guttmacher Institute. While support for a person having a medication abortion looks different from in-clinic support, it can look very similar to the at-home support provided by some birth doulas. 

Wednesday's meeting started with a doula who recently supported someone through a medication abortion talking about her experience, then clinical information about the process was presented. Much of the meeting was spent discussing potential physical, emotional, and spiritual support that could be offered by doulas. Physical support during medication abortion is centered around support through cramping, including massage, heating pads, position changes, getting in the shower, focused breathing, and offering distractions. Encouraging food and fluid intake as well as addressing potential nausea with teas and aromatheraphy were also suggestions discussed. Emotional and spiritual support focuses on above all, holding space and active listening. Working with the person experiencing the medication abortion to create a safe and comfortable space can include lighting candles, watching movies, talking, or staying silent and reflective. Suggesting some sort of ritual can also be important. Self-care for ourselves and suggestions for someone having a medication abortion was also something discussed at the meeting. A list of helpful books and organizations can be found in the "Resources" section of our website, and a recent post on our blog discussed self-care for doulas. 

All in all, Wednesday's meeting on medication abortion support was extremely informative and inspiring. Thanks to all who shared their personal experiences and helpful information. BADP is developing a program to provide doula support for folks choosing a medication abortion which we hope to have up and running in the next couple of months. Check in for updates about these future services!


Self-Care For Doulas

And ever has it been that love knows

not its own depth until the hour of separation

               - Kahil Gibran

On Sunday, September 16th BADP doulas had their quarterly meeting and induction termination continuing education session alongside members of SFGH's volunteer doula program. The induction termination doula support training covered a range of topics including timing and reasons for induction termination, an overview of the procedure, labor support including physical and emotional comfort measures, postpartum comfort, and doula self-care.

Supporting someone through a birth, abortion, or other reproductive event can be as physically, emotionally, and spiritually demanding as it is rewarding. That's why doulas need to take good care of ourselves.

Here are some ideas our doulas suggested:

While you're at the hospital...

  • eat, drink, and sleep on your shift if possible
  • use the bathroom as a place to take a short break

When you get home...

  • call your mom or other close family member
  • call other doulas/ friends in the field/ nurses/ doctors who were there with you
  • take baths
  • write about the experience
  • take walks outside
  • get lots of sleep
  • therapy

How do you practice self-care? Leave a comment to share your suggestions.