From Melita Schwartz, LMT, RYT, CEIM of Catalyst Healthy Solutions
There is one comment my midwife made during the arduous 29 hour home birth of my son that sticks with me to this day. I’m pretty sure my midwife had never attended the birth of a child of a same-sex couple. However, I deeply desired a home birth and she had been birthing babies for longer than I had been alive. We were in small town Arizona but, in many ways, I finally had a practitioner who I felt completely confident in. I totally trusted her ability to bring my son into the world without drugs or unnecessary interventions. My blood pressure relaxed around her and she never wavered in her steady, confident demeanor. Even several hours into pushing, I knew she still had faith that we were doing women’s work and that my body was built for this.
But, then came the comment. It was during the manual scraping of my cervix which never effaced fully. That is an extremely painful procedure as it stands. But, adding insult to injury, she said “I never thought about it before, but this is like pushing a baby out of a virgin.” I still catch my breath when I think of this moment. We were all tired. We had been in the water, on the ball, on walks for over 20 hours at this point. I’m sure, in her mind, she was trying to think of all the things that were in the way of this baby coming out. But inherent in her ignorant comment were two beliefs: a) that I had never had sex with a man and was therefore a virgin and b) that sex with men somehow helps babies come out easier. I remember thinking, in my vulnerability, that perhaps I should have done exercises to stretch my vagina! I wasn’t angry at the time. I was becoming a mother and I instantly thought of what I could have sacrificed in myself to make this process easier for my baby.
I’m not really angry about it now either. There is a serious lack of training and knowledge for birth professionals working with non-hetero or non-cisgender couples. I know that. So, why does this one comment stick? Does one ignorant statement disregard an otherwise beautiful home birth? What could I do to make a difference for the next person?
In answer to these questions and more, I have devoted my life’s work to helping new parents and parents-to-be feel confident, safe, and healthy. While Colorado may be light years ahead of Arizona, there is still a need for support around the things that can come up when we create a family that doesn’t look like a Norman Rockwell painting. That is why I am happy to facilitate that Family Group here at the Family Room for those of creating beautiful families who also desire community and connection with someone who has been there or somewhere similar.
Please join us the first Sunday of the month from 2-4. Also, please join us at the LGBTQI Family Resource Fair on Sunday, June 5th from 2-4!! Here is a link to the Facebook Event: https://www.facebook.com/events/1760745254211674/
Melita Schwartz is a Postpartum Doula and Prenatal Massage Therapist with more than 12 years of experience working with the LGBTQI Community.