Abortion is not an easy decision. We all are yet to reach a cultural stage wherein a woman is not shamed, judged, made to feel guilty about having an abortion. As long as there are moral, religious values clinging strongly to sex, pregnancy and abortion, all the stigma and shame will continue to exist around abortion. And almost always, it is the women who are at the receiving end of all the misery.
The decision to have an abortion is entirely a woman’s. As a partner of a woman who wants an abortion, you can be put in a very confusing position on how to help and support her. This article can offer some insights for you to care for your partner in her decision to have an abortion.
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Accept her decision:
Not all pregnancy news is met with happiness and excitement. If your partner thinks that her unplanned pregnancy is bad news for her, and she reaches out to you for advice, be there for her. As anxiety inducing and stressful it is for you to navigate through unplanned pregnancy news from your partner, you must understand that she has graver consequences (owing to the socio – cultural-religious taboos existing in many places towards premarital sex resulting in pregnancy, and also the financial factors involved in raising a child) to face if she wants to proceed with the pregnancy. If she chooses to have an abortion, then you must accept her decision.
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Going to the doctor to get an abortion can be an unpleasant experience for women, especially in our country where doctors and supporting health staff such as nurses and receptionists, are always ready to insult and humiliate a woman, especially an unmarried woman.
What you can do is find safe, legal and non-judgemental abortion service providers where your partner is assured to be treated with dignity and care.
When she goes to the doctor, offer to accompany her. If she turns down your offer, do not force your company on her! However, if she accepts your offer, then go with her. Irrespective of you accompanying her or not, make sure that you put forward the suggestion to either bear the whole expenses for abortion or share the expenses with her.
At the doctor’s office, the doctor can request you to be out so that she/he can talk to your partner alone. Understand that this is a routine procedure and there is nothing frightening about it. Comply with the doctor’s requests.
For billing such as doctor’s fee, any tests that are needed such as Ultrasound scan, blood tests, make the payment at the counter, if your partner and you have come to an understanding about bearing the expenses.
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When your partner is on Medical Abortion pills, she will have bleeding and cramps for the next few days. If she wants to be in her place when she is on MA pills, then offer her that you can stay over during that time. However, if she does not want to be in her place, then make sure that you take her home to your place.
Keep sanitary napkins ready in whichever place – hers or yours- you are. They will come handy during the bleeding. Also, have a hot water pouch bag ready as they can be used to soothe out the cramps. The doctor would have prescribed medications to manage the pain. So keep them also in stand by. Make sure she is hydrated well enough and eats food that is palatable to her during this time.
If the doctor has suggested Manual Vaccum Aspiration (MVA), then be with her at the clinic on the day of the procedure. You will not be allowed entry into the room where the procedure is taking place. However, your presence in the waiting room will be a huge support for her.
MVA does not need overnight hospitalization and you can take her home for rest and recovery.
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Abortion does not end with the procedure alone. Post abortion diet and overall care are very important. It is not just about the do’s and dont’s for the body after an abortion, but also about the emotional health of your partner. You need to ensure that you are there for your partner in all capacities you can so that she can have a speedy recovery.
You can read more about post abortion care here: Post Abortion Care: 5 Things You should Know
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