Showing posts from October, 2009

Thoughts from an Abortion Doula

In 2008 I became an abortion doula in New York City. After I completed my doula training, I became incredibly apprehensive about my role during the procedure. I was worried that I would say the wrong thing, that I would be awkward, and that, as a college-educated, white genderqueer, I would not be able to relate to my clients at the clinic, who are mostly lower-income women of color and immigrants. What I found after my first few shifts of work was that I had worried way too much about saying the right thing. With most of my clients, I barely speak at all. In the waiting room, I sit next to her as I hold her hand. During the procedure, I try to be a solid presence- I plant my feet squarely next to the table and I face her; I try to make our dynamic her focus- whether its letting her squeeze my hand or looking her in the eye with absolute confidence that she is going to be ok. Afterward, we mostly sit in silence together, only really speaking if I sense that she wants to talk. This is a