Dundee charity boss worries about women who experience abortion or miscarriage during ‘insulating’ lockdown
The boss of a Dundee charity said she was “concerned” about the emotional well-being of women who suffered miscarriages or abortions during the coronavirus lockdown.
Rachel MacDonald, director of the Alternatives Dundee center, urged those in need to reach out during this “very isolated time”.
In the wake of Covid-19, women across Scotland can now have early medical abortions at home, to help reduce the number of people attending clinics and avoid exposing them to the virus.
Rachel said: “I think we will see in the future what impact this has, but the main thing to know is that it is very insulating.
“All of this time is so isolating because the normal places where you can chat face to face with a nurse just aren’t available and that’s what I would be concerned about going forward.
“In terms of pregnancy choice, it also makes it difficult, because if you want to talk things out, there is very little opportunity to have these conversations with professionals.”
Changes to the abortion service started at NHS Tayside on April 15 and were based on legislative changes made by the Scottish Government.
“People feel threatened because of this whole situation,” Rachel said.
“If you are going through this in any way and then had to make a difficult and very isolating decision on top of that, my concerns are that the whole situation will become more traumatic than it would have been if people had. could go out and chat. things with their friends.
“Relationships are so important in these traumatic times and when they get more difficult and people are more isolated, I’m afraid the whole situation will make it harder for some people to come to terms with it.
“I think it’s so important that there is a place for people to go and that they know they have full permission to talk about everything they feel and experience.
“The biggest advice I would give to anyone who finds themselves in this situation is to be compassionate with yourself.
“We’re going through a really tough time for everyone and then going through something tough on top of that?” We ask a lot just to be able to cope and manage.
“We have to allow a compassionate way of understanding ourselves and understanding what has happened and we have to be able to find a place to talk about it.”
The Dundee Alternatives team has switched to counseling over the phone, following the end of all face-to-face support.
They have also introduced virtual help rooms due to the fact that many younger service users are not comfortable talking on the phone.
Rachel added, “It’s difficult. I don’t think young people are used to phone calls so it’s an unfamiliar way of communicating. We set up instant messaging because it seems like a much more comfortable situation.
“I think people get the idea that they can’t really talk about feelings or things of that nature on the phone.
“Maybe in the long run, setting up these secure chat rooms will become something that will really be used and make our services accessible to people who may not have wanted face-to-face assistance.
Women can now refer themselves to the abortion service by calling 01382 496762 from Monday to Friday between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. You can find more information by clicking on this link.
Early pregnancy services, including counseling and support for women who have had a miscarriage, remain in place as usual.
Women who have concerns about their pregnancy can contact their midwives by phone and refer themselves or they can go to the hospital through their GP.
Due to Covid-19 and the temporary restrictions in place around visits, women cannot bring a partner or friend to their date.
However, NHS Tayside has said there will be situations where women may need the support of their partner, family or friends to help them discuss their choices and this is supported where appropriate.
Anyone looking for more information on the support offered by Alternatives Dundee can click on this link.