I attended the Building Bridges: Working to Improve Birth conference at Mt. Carmel St. Ann’s Hospital in Westerville, Ohio this past weekend. I soaked in so much new information and had much of what I knew already about various subject matters validated.
It is so encouraging that in our community there is a hospital that is trying hard to be welcoming to all families including the LBGTQ community. It was thrilling to see a hospital system actually invite birth professionals, labor and delivery nurses, and even care providers to come together and learn from actual LBGTQ families.
During the session two families had the opportunity to discuss their birth experiences. Each couple was a little different in perspective. The first family spoke about their experience as a lesbian couple with one partner pregnant. The other partner’s experiences were discussed too. The second family spoke about their experience as a transgender pregnant person and the struggle they faced as a family with infertility. Chest-feeding was a topic of conversation along with pronouns and more gender neutral language.
I feel respect and listening are the two most important things that we can do to help support all families during the birthing year. As a birth professional, nurse, and/or care provider I need to make time to listen to what families need. This listening is critical in the way I support pregnant people. We hold much influence over how families experience and see their births. Everyone should feel respected and listened to during that birthing year. All of this was so evident during this seminar.
I look forward to supporting more LBGTQ families as I learn to care in the most inclusive ways possible.