Since I was just a little girl, I have delved into "baby" books. When I learned at age four that my baby sister was coming, for example, I determined to read my mother's books on what to expect with a baby's formation and arrival along with her, to the best of my ability at the time. And again at age 11, I had a newborn brother to play with and learn from---from the gritty diapering, to the naps in which his tiny frame would rest on my chest in the afternoon sunshine. I relished the thought of being a "second mother" even from those early memory and now, at age 31 and single, I endeavor to transfer my honor of motherhood towards becoming a birth doula. A birth doula assists the mother emotionally and physically throughout her pregnancy, labor, and even a bit following the birth. She often provides homeopathic advice ranging from herbal remedies to stress-relief and breathing techniques. I was shocked to discover just recently, however, that there is also apparently something called an "abortion doula."
Renee Tracy Sherman shares her inspiration for becoming an abortion doula. At 19, she had an abortion herself, and was assisted by a woman who helped her to maintain emotionally calm. From that point on, Sherman was determined to offer the same support as a business. Ms. Sherman gives one account of her later experience as an abortion doula. The situation proved a bit frightening at first glance, but soon turned into a ministry of compassion as Renee proceeded:
"Her body was covered with tattoos of birds and stars. She hugged me with a warm smile and introduced me to her boyfriend. He didn’t look at me. In fact, he didn’t look me in the eye for the five hours we sat together in the waiting room.
I assumed it was out of shame until I noticed the white supremacist tattoos on his shaved head, neck, forearms and knuckles. As a black woman, I was scared of him. Yet I felt a bond. They had driven several hours from Virginia to avoid the numerous restrictions on abortions there. He was returning from jail. She already had a child and wasn’t ready for another. I knew the feeling well.
She asked for an abortion doula because she wanted unconditional support, no matter what she decided. She wanted me, a total stranger, to reinforce her trust in herself. After she went to the procedure room, her boyfriend and I went outside, me to make a call, him to smoke. In the elevator down, he finally spoke: 'Thank you.'"
What Ms. Sherman fails to recognize in her work is the fact that abortion hurts, rather than helps, women. In fact, statistics prove that the emotional and psychological side effects surpass even the physical damage potential with abortion. Women---especially those who believe that her unborn child is indeed a child---experience everything ranging from anger, anxiety, and depression to suicide and even mental illness. While a doula may appease the conscience for a short time, women are left with only their own consciences in quietness at the end of the day.