Flip open almost any childbirth book from a bookstore shelf and I guarantee you will encounter some or all of the following: language about moms and dads, photos of white heterosexual couples, and phrasing like “natural birth.”
What you may not find, is anything that affirms the experience of queer birthing folks, people of color during their birth journey, or judgement-free language around birthing options. Rainbow Doula DC is launching a new approach to Childbirth Education designed to fill in those gaps, just in time for Pride month.
Inclusive Language Is Trauma-Informed Care
There is an act of mental labor that is performed every time a person interacts with language that purports to be representative of all but doesn’t quite fit their experience. It happens when an intake form asks if you are “male” or “female,” and you identify as nonbinary, for example, your lived experience falls through the cracks. It happens when birth is talked about as being a safe and natural process, when the death rate for black women in America is 3-4x higher than white women, the reality of a whole group of people is ignored. It happens when the "best" laboring positions all include positions where a person is not in a wheelchair or is able to stand up. When this happens repeatedly, the burden of performing this mental labor adds up, creating an overall message to folks outside these boundaries that is at best exclusionary and at worst hostile.
In short, centering the marginalized experience of birthing folks means the inclusion of all.
The radically inclusive, 4-part Childbirth Education Series Rainbow Doula is launching this month is designed to give all birthing people the information they need for an empowered and informed birth. Attendees can pick and choose the parts of the series that they most want to learn, putting them firmly in control of the education they receive.
Advocacy during the time of COVID-19 is more important than ever, which is why an entire module of this series is dedicated to finding your voice, reframing conflict, and self-advocacy. Other modules include birth and postpartum preparation, mental health and self care, and how to labor “with love” in an environment that may not be built for you.
You can find the entire series here.
The series is hosted by Rainbow Doula DC, a Washington, DC based doula agency that provides birth, postpartum, and postoperative care for gender-affirming surgery, and co-taught by Kelsey Carroll, Owner and Founder of Rainbow Doula DC, and Dr. Laura McGuire, sexologist, consultant, and full-spectrum doula.