I don’t know nothing about birthing no babies! Now I know why you take this class when you are about 8 months into the pregnancy. They scare you to death. If we had attended this class 2 months in, I would have lost sleep for 7 months. Now there is just 4 weeks left of waking up from bad dreams in the middle of the night. That is actually good preparation for the newborn’s sleeping habits. At the end of the class, they took us on a tour of the hospital which included a stop at the nursery. Seeing those babies eliminated some fears and made me feel the whole process would be worth it.
Before I even knew the content, I was not looking forward to birthing class. All the literature sent from the hospital was not politically correct. Even the gift registry form at Babies R Us has “mother” and “partner” on it. Confirmation from the birthing class contained information such as where to park and what to bring. It told us what the mother should bring and what the father should bring. I hate when I have to be the daddy. I did as all fathers were told, and I dressed for a cold room.
The instructor was nice, and so were the class participants. It was not totally their fault that I felt uncomfortable. I am sure 90% of birthing class participants are heterosexual couples. In our class, there were 12 straight couples, me and Wendy, and one single woman. With those kinds of numbers, do you think the facilitators of the class are obligated to use gender neutral vocabulary in their lecture and literature? I don’t know the answer, but I don’t think it would be difficult to use the term partner a few times in a 2 day period.
The person in my role was called “dad,” “husband,” “guys,” and “support person.” I don’t recall anyone ever saying “partner.” Support person sounds like you are not going home together. I don’t think anyone in that room was a support person, except the nurse. I actually don’t think the instructor should be limited to using “partner.” I am fine with using traditional terms as long as a specific label for me and a gender neutral term, besides “support person” is thrown in there occasionally. I don’t think it would hurt anyone in that class if the instructor said, “In some families “wife” or “other mother”…”
I don’t think any of these people who were calling me and my role “father,” and “man” were doing it in a condemning, discriminatory manner. I think the instructor did not have experience using other terminology and if participants did, they were just following the instructor’s lead.
I do have a plan to help such instructors, teachers, managers, and businesses. I am not going to lose sleep over it right now. There is still a video stuck in my memory to do that for me.