Everybody has babies, not every person, but every group of people. Heterosexual cis-gendered people have babies, young people have babies, people across all racial identities have babies, people who make money and come from money, people who don’t, and each of these people deserve to be held in their full humanity when they go through a life changing experience. Having support and attention that fosters feelings of security, safety, and acceptance can improve the overall labor outcome and experience for pregnant people.
Finding this kind of support can be difficult for a lot of people, and especially for queer (LGBTQI) people. Our community spans over race, class, religions, and other forms of identities but we stand on the outside of each of these. We may find comfort in specific food, cultural activities, and familiar norms but we also often find hurt and pain in those same places because we love women, or men, or non-binary people. Because we are trans, agendered, or non-binary. The joy that comes with being your authentic self can also create rifts between those who you love and have loved you since childhood.
Now add in pregnancy, birth, and parenthood into the equation. And while “for queer people, our story isn’t shocking at all”, says Trystan Reese, a transgendered man who gave birth, but we all know that it can be for non-queer people. Often time this manifests as having questions asked that cis-hetero people very rarely are ever asked; who’s the parent? How did you get pregnant? Will there be a strong role model in your child's life?
Continue the obvious shock of queer parents at childbirth classes where nobody looks like you and binary language is ascribed to partner and pregnant person. And then going into labor and having to do the work of educating medical professionals on your pronouns and the pregnant person’s pronouns, while you are experiencing a life changing moment and are trying to create a safe and calm environment. A lot of energy goes into becoming a parent, as is, and even more so when you are queer and trying to surround yourself with resources that support you.
Enter in queer doulas. As a queer person, I believe that I am more qualified than straight doulas to support queer parents simply because it is my community with a language I know and a familiarity I feel. I also know that I will hire a queer birth team when my time comes to give birth, because they will know and understand my story in their bones. Because nothing I tell them about my life will be a shock and all of the ways my life is being set up will be supported.
Our gratitude to Angharad for sharing with us. We are offering $150 off Doula Training in Santa Cruz for queer aspiring doulas. Greater diversity in birth workers means more support for more families.