Butches with Buns in the Oven!

ImageI opened up my Facebook today to see this fantastic picture and the words “Look guys! It’s our first butch + bun…in the oven!”

I could not be happier with this photo! First off, Chris in the picture has got all kinds of sass, which naturally I love. Secondly, pictures of people who look like me and who are pregnant!!! Someday, maybe I can add my picture(s) to the Butches + Babies blog.

I feel so happy and through the roof because it raises awareness that butches are carrying and birthing children (along with genderqueer and trans folks). When the public thinks of childbearing amongst gender non-conforming folks, my guess is the only image that (maybe) comes to mind is Thomas Beatie sharing his pregnancy on Oprah (or maybe Scott Moore if they’re really radical) as being THE transman who is also a birth parent. THE As in the one and only. A salacious circus sideshow for the public to consume and ponder about how this is even possible. This article announces that Moore is “[t]he world’s second known pregnant man”. This claim simply isn’t true. Trans and other gender non-conforming folks have been getting pregnant and giving birth since, well, longer than Oprah has had a talk show for sure. For sure.

But ay, there’s the rub. Yes I care that there is public awareness of these pregnancies. Yes, I want people to feel like they are not alone in their parenting decisions. To me, however, that’s not the most pressing issue. Most of all, I want there to be good, qualified, culturally competent, and sensitive care givers that gender non-conforming folks can reliably turn to for their GYN and OB care. I never want someone to wonder whether their healthcare provider will mix up their name and/or pronouns, never ever to worry if their body and embodied experience in this world will be treated respectfully or even competently. And part of the problem is that if there’s not public awareness of the pregnancies and births of gender non-conforming folks, then care providers will not feel the push to become competent in this area. To intentionally change their practices to become radically inclusive of all people who need their services. I want to applaud the ACNM for their recent position statement promising to work towards inclusive and competent care for their gender non-conforming clients.

Homebirth midwives, I think, could be ideal care providers for necessary sexual and reproductive health services for trans and gender queer clients as well as for pregnancy and birth. Imagine a homebirth for your beautiful family watching Baba push his baby out in the water into the waiting hands of his love and then snuggling up with their baby surrounded by care providers who know them for who they are and love and respect them. With no social workers coming in moments after the birth demanding to know who the birth parent is, removing the non-birth/non-biological parent from the room and making them sign second-parent adoption papers instead of bonding with your child in those precious first hours. Nobody using the wrong pronouns intentionally and derogatorily. Nobody giving anybody the stink eye, looking shocked, or being confused. And nobody talking about how ideal your breasts are for breastfeeding after you had a long conversation about with your care provider prenatally and explicitly stated that you plan to chestfeed your infant. Just you, your family, and your competent, inclusive care providers that you feel comfortable being your whole selves with.

I fully intend to serve queer and gender non-conforming clients in my (future) midwifery practice. I’m so close to that reality I can taste. Now we’ve just got to get MANA the general population of homebirth midwives on board and we’d really be heading in the right direction.

Midwifery Care is Revolutionary

 

“Deciding that you’re going to have a baby with a midwife makes you a revolutionary. Just that decision alone. You have decided that you are not going to be a passive voyeur in the journey of pregnancy and of birth. That you are, as I tell my clients, deciding that you’re going to drive this car. You will invite other people to be in the car with you. Your midwife and your birth team will be sitting next to you with a map. When you decide that you’re going to have a baby with a midwife, you decide that you’re going to participate in the decisions that are made during your pregnancy.”

Inspiring and stirring words by Claudia Booker from the short film Midwives Address Health Disparities.

Dar La Teta Es Dar Vida

From Puerto Rico. It’s been out for a few years, but I love the candid images and film of nursing infants and toddlers. I think you’d be hard put to find a film in the US that gave such a honest look to breastfeeding. Here, we are so worried and anxious about the sexualized breast that nipples and breasts are to be hidden always during breastfeeding and toddlers are clearly too old to receive nourishment from the breast. This short film is as joyful and beautiful as it is refreshing.

And Even More Babies

When I’m not obsessively visiting Butches + Babies daily for more glorious pictures of my community posing so handsomely with the babies in their lives, I’m reveling in the beauty of this family as they navigate the joys and challenges of raising a daughter with Down’s Syndrome while living in Laos. And it’s not just because Nava might be about the cutest toddler I’ve ever seen posing in her fashionable orange baby glasses.

I marvel at the deftness with which this family seems to navigate their world and the multiple identities they inhabit. I take so much joy in the fact that they have chosen to share their story with all of us, and in such a visual and visible way. And quite honestly, I simply cannot get enough of Nava’s smile.