Gifts for partner recovering from pregnancy termination
August 13, 2015 12:51 AM   Subscribe

My partner is recovering from a pregnancy termination. What can I get for her that will help her through the extended cramps and bleeding that may last up to a month?

After getting through the initial few days with her she had to return to work ~2 hours away. I'll be going up there this weekend.

This is the first time she has had an abortion and the first time I've had a partner who had an abortion. What can I bring her that I wouldn't think of and she wouldn't think to ask for? What has helped you or your partner during this recovery time?

Her interests/tastes veer towards the gothy/occult/punk side. She also likes cartoons, old books, Jodorowksy and plants. She walks a lot each day and works long days on her feet with children. She is vegan and doesn't like much processed food (besides Red Vines) but otherwise isn't sensitive to smells or ingredients.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (9 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I would just make a big effort to take care of her this weekend - cook dinner (that includes planning and buying the food and washing up afterwards), find a movie to watch together, get her favourite beer or cakes or whatever to enjoy together.

I definitely wouldn't get her anything related to abortion symptoms (no heat pads or special blankets or anything like that). For one thing she may not have many symptoms this far out (the bleeding can last a month but doesn't usually), but also she may not want to unwrap something that shouts "hey remember you had an abortion!". I also wouldn't get romantic gifts like jewellery - it's too soon and too close to "thanks for having an abortion for me".

Low key but caring is the vibe you're going for.
posted by tinkletown at 2:48 AM on August 13, 2015 [35 favorites]

Agreed with tinkletown but another option is a booking something like a couples' activity you do together that is relaxing.
posted by warriorqueen at 4:34 AM on August 13, 2015 [1 favorite]

If she does complain about cramps, those uterus-situated disposable heat wraps were a lifesaver for me after my IUD insertion.
posted by phunniemee at 5:56 AM on August 13, 2015 [2 favorites]

Thing is, there isn't really any *thing* that everybody wants after an abortion. The emotional and physical impact of a termination varies wildly from person to person.

Some of my friends have been all, "This is the saddest thing that's ever happened to me, I need all the hugs and yes, please go get me more pads, I can't stop crying. Also a Nutella milkshake please." And some have been all, "Well THANK GOD that's over! Let's go celebrate our freedom! MARGARITAVILLE!" And some have been all, "What. Why are you looking at me like that. It's no big deal. You're being weird, why are you trying to hug me."

So - what's her physical and emotional mindset? I think the greatest gift is to just be aware, listen, and notice. And you could just ask what she wants and needs. I mean, a nice dinner wouldn't hurt. But not if she's all, "Why are you cooking me dinner, you're being weird, can't we just order Thai like we usually do."

This is a really sweet question, and I'm glad you asked.
posted by functionequalsform at 5:59 AM on August 13, 2015 [46 favorites]

This advice is pretty much true for loved ones after any kind of medical procedure: Early in the weekend I'd do a grocery run for ingredients of a bunch of simple freezeable/reheatable meals (e.g., soups, curries, casseroles, lasagna) and snacks (hummus, baked kale/sweet potato chips, etc.) that you can prepare while she's expected to do nothing but sit on a kitchen stool and drink wine/tea/whatever and chit-chat with you. Or nap in the other room. Or be your sous chef. That part is totally up to her.

There are a lot of great suggestions here on AskMe if you search the "vegan" tag, or the keywords "vegan" and "freeze," etc. They'll be an enormous help (and comfort) to her after you've gone back home. Heck, even if you'd just be willing to stock her pantry vs. doing actual cooking, it's still a wonderful thing.

Oh, and bring along the jumbo-est bag of Red Vines you can find.

Wishing her the easiest possible recovery -- it really is a sweet question, and it sounds like you both are lucky to have each other.
posted by argonauta at 6:05 AM on August 13, 2015

A plant would be really nice and sweet, and a lot of affection.

I personally had no symptoms, and felt a ton better afterwards (no more morning sickness WOO), so I'd be open to following her lead about how she feels.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 6:18 AM on August 13, 2015

Please memail me if you'd like. I had a termination in February and am more than happy to talk to you or her about my/your experience. Your situation may be different to mine but I was blessed with some incredible support, and would like to pay it forward if I can.

Agreed that this question is incredibly sweet; but also that it depends on her take on the situation (a la functionequalsform's great comment).

General thoughts - she may not cramp. I didn't. She is best placed to advise what helps her if she is cramping. It's likely to be tylenol and maybe a hug.

She *will* be bleeding. I found this an outrageous liberty and a total fucking indignity, so anything practical which minimises that might be appreciated. This could be anything from a large supply of discreetly enormous underwear which she can bin at the end of the experience with a gleeful laugh, to a leg wax or similar once she's comfortable with showing her newly-recovered nethers to another person - I found this an incredibly humanising return to normality, weirdly.
posted by citands at 6:25 AM on August 13, 2015

And this month may very well not be the end of her needs about it. Physically, she'll likely recover quickly... mentally & emotionally, she's just beginning to process it.

Speaking from experience here - even though I was totally in "this is necessary and I'm totally ok with this" mode at the time, the months and years following changed things, multiple times, in both directions. It can be very hazardous territory for a relationship to weather, as well.

Your time and your ear are going to be the most important gift, in the long run.
posted by stormyteal at 8:32 AM on August 13, 2015

Anecdotally: I didn't have a termination, but I had a D&C for a nonviable pregnancy. I'm not sure how similar that might be to her experience, but anyway...

I had had no problems with the procedure and only bled about a quarter's worth of blood, but I will say that I had an unexpected side effect of being REALLY carsick two days later. I'd felt fine and had gotten kind of stir-crazy, so we decided to go visit some friends. I NEVER get nauseous or carsick, and was sitting in the front seat, but we had to stop, wait and turn back about an hour in.

So be mindful that any anesthesia (depending on what kind of procedure or process she went through) may affect her in unexpected ways, just as she may run into other unexpected complications. That may add to her frustration with going through a new and disconcerting experience.

I remember another very crampy experience after a procedure early in my relationship with my now-husband. Nothing was helping, but he read out loud from some low-key stuff that didn't really require my concentration. I liked the distraction, and I really appreciated his voice and presence.

You're a good partner. I'm caretaking for my husband right now; just knowing that you're there for what your partner needs is a good feeling.
posted by St. Hubbins at 9:09 AM on August 13, 2015

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