Before I start saying what I feel I have to say as the owner of this agency, I have to preface by stating that I know this is a complicated, sensitive, and often times, triggering conversation. Let it be clear that I'm not trying to provoke debate here.
I should also note that I am, by no means, attacking the anti-abortion movement as a whole. Like any group, there are those that reflect poorly on the mission of the group, and I am not oblivious to that. There are voices on the pro-choice side of things that I'm not particularly fond of as well.
That all being said, this blog post has been brewing for some time - since the agency started gaining more traction, but I wasn't emotionally fueled enough to write it until the House passed a bill to end most late term abortions. While it will not likely pass through the Senate, this legislation inspired me to find the energy to keep fighting for people who want and need abortions.
When I started to envision what I wanted my doula agency to look like, I knew that I wanted to support people, and I wanted people to know that my agency was a safe place to seek support without judgement, no matter the choices they make. That's the goal of most doulas (or at least it should be.)
It's obvious that I am pro-choice. Even if I wasn't, though, I don't feel that it is my place to judge any person's decision regarding the growth of their family. In fact, that is the most important aspect of being a doula.
We are trained to stand by parents that elect to schedule a c-section, want to give birth at home, get that epidural as soon as they can, plan to exclusively breastfeed, and the list goes on an on. We are trained to present options and information to help families make decisions and to then fiercely validate and support those decisions. Our opinions and biases have no room in the relationship.
I don't know why the decision to have an abortion is any different. Those planning on getting an abortion or those that have had one (or more) in the past are routinely shamed, humiliated, and isolated, which I an vehemently against. This shame, of course, it most routinely placed on women. There's very little discourse (if any at all) around the father in stories about abortion.
So, thinking about the support I wanted to provide, and thinking about how I would set myself apart as an agency, I knew I wanted to provide services for families wanting or needing an abortion, especially the women who are unfairly and unapologetically hurt by the views of our society. No two abortion stories are the same: some are filled with grief and pain while others are told with relief and liberation. I'm here to hear all stories.
While I recognize that some people have little to no emotional response to an abortion, I think that those who do (for a variety of reasons) deserve compassion and support in the same way a pregnant person or new parent does.
I struggled to advertise my abortion doula services initially because I knew it would deter some potential clients and that other providers/community members may also be less likely to back me up as a business. In short, I saw all the ways that being pro-choice would hurt my business. However, I now feel secure in my decision because I know there are people out there looking for authentic businesses to get behind.
I'm done apologizing for my pro-choice stance because if it makes one woman feel less alone, less shamed, less isolated, I've achieved what I wanted to with this agency. Moreover, I want families in this community to know that when they hire me (or any of the people in my agency) that they are hiring someone that's open to hearing each person's unique experience. Every story is different, and each story deserves to be told without scrutiny.
I'm done apologizing for my pro-choice stance because it's completely based on my ability to empathize and show compassion, which is the core of my being and the foundation of Live Light Doula Services.