This article discusses some of the roadblocks queer families face, which can all be over generalized by saying mainstream spaces are created by and for cisgender, heterosexual people having babies. And, the reality is this is true everywhere from fertility clinics to birth classes and postpartum “mother-baby” units in the hospital.
It can be exhausting for queer parents to constantly translate hyper-gendered language and explain their family dynamics to each and every professional you meet.
Here are our top three tips:
1. Work with Queer-Affirming Providers!
Ideally, every LGBTQIA+ person would be able to work with queer-affirming obstetricians, midwives, doulas, childbirth educators, body workers, and mental health professionals. Because everyone pregnant, regardless of sexual orientation, gender, race, age, size, and ability deserves to work with providers who provide patient centered care.
In a time where conveyor belt perinatal care is the norm, how do you go about finding these professionals? In our opinion, local doulas and childbirth educators have the broadest resources lists. Connecting to a queer-affirming doula or childbirth educator will likely be the best way to connect to the other professionals you’ll want to work with. And, for better or worse, Instagram is a phenomenal way of connecting with, or vetting birthworkers these days.
All Things Birth for Queer Families, is a totally free, interactive workshop we host a few times a year for those figuring out everything from how to get the baby in to how to get the baby out. We’ll also share resources for what to be thinking about and who to be working with in between.
2. Take a queer-affirming Birth Class!
For many LGBTQIA+ pregnant folks, taking a childbirth ed class with mostly cisgender, heterosexual couples can feel isolating. You may have questions that pertain to your experience as a queer birthing person but be afraid to ask in front of the whole class.
All of Birthsmarter’s Childbirth Education classes are inclusive and our instructors are Queer / Queer Affirming. Preparing to deliver is about more than just education; it’s about building community, finding connection, and leaving the class feeling more confident about your birth and parenthood journey.
3. Curate Your Resources:
We highly recommend digging into books like Confessions of the Other Mother , a book about Lesbian parenting, Where’s the Mother, stories from a Transgender Dad, or Rad Dad, an inclusive take on “fatherhood.”
Please reach out if you could use support navigating fertility, pregnancy, or parenting. We will do our best to connect you with information and professionals we trust. And share in the comments: what other resources do you love for Queer Family Building?
FWIW, Birthsmarter’s curriculum is unbiased, inclusive, and realistic. We begin each class by acknowledging the political and cultural context of childbirth (looking at you, 2020!). We break down the physiology of birth in a way that builds confidence in the human body and teaches your support team to improvise no matter the journey. We discuss creating a birth space that feels safe and making sure you and your birth partner(s) are treated with respect.
Want to learn more? Beth was featured on the Yoga | Birth | Babies podcast, hosted by Prenatal Yoga Center. Check out her episode: Supporting Queer, Trans, Non-Binary Folks In Pregnancy, Birth And Postpartum With Beth Hardy!