Meet Our Doulas: Melissa Madera
At The Doula Project, we're lucky to work with a fabulous roster of incredible volunteer full-spectrum doulas, and we'll periodically share their work with you here on our blog. First up: an extraordinary project launched by doula Melissa Madera. Melissa is the creator of the Abortion Diary Podcast, an ongoing project that records people telling stories about their abortion experiences. We'll be cross-posting new podcasts here on the Doula Project's blog; you can find previous podcasts at The Abortion Diary Podcast site and find out more via the hashtags #TellYourStoryTuesday and #TYST. Below, Melissa explains the origins of the podcast.
Sharing Our Stories: The Abortion Diary Podcast
This blogpost is a shortened and modified version of a blogpost posted on The Abortion Diary’s blog.
I launched The Abortion Diary Podcast in November 2013, a few months after the idea first entered my mind. Last summer, I felt a very strong need to connect to people with this shared experience. For sixteen years I remained relatively silent about my own abortion experience as a seventeen year old. But I came to realize that I needed to share that experience and that I needed to be surrounded by the stories of others. I needed to listen and know I wasn’t alone.
I searched online for something to read or listen to and share my story with, but I didn’t come across anything that resonated with me. I thought about listening to a podcast that featured abortion stories, but I was surprised to find that there were no audio stories that I could listen to online. A podcast seemed logical to me because I wanted to hear another human being’s voice. I yearned for the kind of connection that only listening offers. Since I couldn’t find a podcast on abortion stories I created one.
The Abortion Diary is a space anyone can access at any time so that people know that they are not alone. Every person’s story is different, and so are people’s feeling and emotions about their own abortion experiences. People may feel joy and relief while also feeling sadness and grief. Too often our experiences are reduced to two minute soundbites. Lost are our personal struggles, real life traumas and the riches of our successes. I am committed to creating a deeply personal space and community of support where we can tell our own stories, and where every story could be told and heard. A space where we can share and honor the fullness of our experiences.
For the past eight months I have been listening to people as they share their abortion stories with me and, with the help of digital media, podcast listeners around the world. As I continue to travel and record stories (over sixty-four so far) I have realized that, like me, people have craved the space to share their stories, to let their stories out, to be listened to, to heal, to share with others and feel connected. I am constantly surprised by people’s bravery, vulnerability and willingness to share.
Every time I am on my way to meet someone and listen to them share their story I have doubts about what I am doing and then I sit down with them and listen as they share and I know why I am there. And this girl with a podcast is humbled and grateful for every moment of it.
these are the stories we share.
Melissa Madera is the Founder & Director | Curator | Dedicated Listener | Story-Sharer at The Abortion Diary. She is a multimedia historian, full spectrum doula with The Doula Project, co-creator of The Mother Wit Conference, and CoreAlign Generative Fellow. Melissa is currently on a cross country (and soon worldwide) road trip with the podcast. You can listen to our abortion stories here. To share your story e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.