Abortion Doula Training with the Boston Doula Project
In January I was fortunate to attend the first Boston Doula Project abortion doula training. I wrote about the experience in a piece for RH Reality Check, Reproductive Justice Through the Eyes of an Abortion Doula.
For the story I interviewed several amazing women, including co-director of the Boston Doula Project Sarah Whedon, Poonam Dreyfus-Pai from the Bay Area Doula Project, and the executive director of ACCESS Women's Health Justice Samara Azam also out of California.
It's incredibly encouraging and motiviating to be in a room full of people dedicated to this work sharing stories of working as birth doulas, abortion doulas, midwives and across the spectrum of reproductive health and policy care. During the weekend I also learned about the innovative Repeal Hyde Art Project through Poonam's tattoo, "a project from artist Megan Smith aiming to raise awareness of and increase dialogue about the Hyde Amendment."
It's so exciting to see the growing network of full-spectrum doulas who recognize the value of working within the reproductive justice framework to provide support to pregnant people! It was especially exciting to see the cross-country partnership between the Bay Area Doula Project trainers and the co-directors of our new Boston Doula Project. Since the initial training we've had a second training among those of us who are interested and able to continue to work in the Boston area and provide medical abortion doula support. The Boston Doula Project is currently working to network with area clinics and get the word out about our services.
I attended the training with my friend Brenda Hernandez (and Outreach Coordinator for Hollaback!Boston who I met as a volunteer for the group) who reminded me to sign up for the training after we learned about it at the New England Women's Center Conference. I was actually on the waiting list for the training and I'm very thrilled I was able to attend at all! Addressing self-care was an important part of the training and it's amazing to be able to share and decompress about this work with a friend. With this in mind, we learned in our training each doula will have an on-call doula to reach out to with questions and for support when working with a client.
Update: after significant investment of organizing energy by women of color, the Boston Doula Project is now the Boston Abortion Support Collective.