Same-Sex Couples: How To Create Inclusive Spaces During Pregnancy and Birth
I must admit, we don't get many birth preparation course enquiries from same-sex couples. When we do, I’m keen to make them feel welcome, comfortable and confident about working with me during their pregnancy - as I do with all our clients.
Heterosexual couples, and sometimes women with a relative, make up the vast majority of our clients, so I'm used to using certain language and saying certain things. It can all be very heteronormative!
Language is central to Hypnobirthing - it can have a powerful impact on the person giving birth and their partner. Let me give you an example: If someone asks "how much pain are you in?" when you're trying to relax during birth, it can take you right off course by focusing your attention on pain. Asking instead: "How comfortable are you?" helps hold you in your calm, relaxed zone, by focusing on your comfort.
For some same-sex couples, language can be really important, too. I'm used to usually saying "he" in reference to birth partners, and that's bound to jar for some - maybe all - same sex-couples during a birth preparation course. I think these little things have the potential have a big impact for some people, reinforcing concerns about feeling ‘different, ‘othered’ or even excluded - the absolute opposite of what they should be feeling.
I'm always aiming to grow and learn as a birth professional, a teacher, a community member and as a business owner. With that in mind, I asked our Instagram followers for their advice on how I can make sure our work with same-sex couples is inclusive. It generated a lot of interest and some really helpful and encouraging advice. This, coupled with my Co-Director, Frances’ expertise of inclusion work in the youth, training and international development sectors, as well as my many year’s of experience as a Hypnobirthing Practitioner, has really helped ensure I have inclusion, language and support at the forefront of my mind.
Here are some of the comments we had on our original Instagram post:
The comments we received on this Instagram post reassured me that it's not hard and we're [hopefully!] doing all the right things. Same-sex couples should expect a fully inclusive birth preparation course during such a precious time in their lives.
Author: Miriam, Parent Tribe Founder and Hypnobirthing Practitioner