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-   -   Poly and babies (http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=56192)

sleepygirl 09-23-2013 01:37 PM

Poly and babies
 
I don't know if this is truly the correct place for this post, please feel free to move it, if necessary.

My life calling is to be a midwife, eventually, once my children are older. For now, in preparation, I'm working on becoming a doula. In light of my recent reading and research, I've been (pleasantly) surprised at how many polys have children or are planning children. It has led me to wonder just how important it might be to have a doula/midwife who specializes in poly families, someone who understands, accepts, even welcomes the dynamics and interplay of poly relationships within a family group.

So...thoughts, folks? Good idea? Bad idea? Total non-issue?

london 09-23-2013 02:02 PM

I'm a midwife. Not practicing right now though. I'd say it is important, very important, in fact. There are a few issues that poly families present, not issues per se, but things that need to be explained properly so they make decisions that are best for them. I know, for example, that it's fairly popular for a woman with more than one male partner to conceive without finding out the paternity as she has the intention of more than one male being a father to the child. That's fine, but in some cases, knowing the paternity might be safer for the baby. I'd ideally want medical history of all potential fathers so we could prepare for any eventuality. But in an extreme case where one guy has a history of some sort of heart issue, the other carries a chromosomal disorder and the third has a family history of pathological neonatal jaundice, it will take a lot of preparation to provide the safest birth and postnatal period for that baby. The problem is that polyamorous people are so used to being discriminated against by health care professionals, they either don't disclose these things or become defensive/uncooperative when asked about it. Having someone that they could disclose to without feeling judged would be brilliant and also provide the best holistic care for women and their families.

As well as the medical side, there is the more emotional side too - if you know that someone, or some people present at a birth/prenatal appointment are to be parents to the child opposed to being birth partners to the mum, you will involve them more, treat them like you would any dad from a monogamous heterosexual relationship. I remember these lesbians who came in for induction of labour - they said throughout the pregnancy that they are sisters. Some staff were horrified when they were kissing etc. Incest obviously trumps homosexuality on the squick scale.

Natja 09-23-2013 02:08 PM

Hmmm, we have Midwife led care in the UK so, your experiences might be totally different but generally medical staff don't tend to pry, they ask questions from a medical history standpoint but s long as you and the baby are healthy they tend not to judge. But that is the UK, I know people are often more vocal in their judgement in other countries which might necessitate the need for a person from within your 'alt' community?

MsChristy 09-23-2013 02:08 PM

I have never thought about poly specific birth needs, but I find this topic to be fascinating. While there are no children in my life right now, my husband and I would like to start trying next year, and my goal is to either have the delivery at home or at the local birth center. While unlike some poly couples there is no desire for children by my other partner, we have already talked about we want him to be involved in their lives, etc.

Then again, I have yet to even tell my midwife (I see one for GYN care) that I am poly and non-monogamous in my sex life, so that should be a fun conversation.

london 09-23-2013 02:17 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Natja (Post 232803)
Hmmm, we have Midwife led care in the UK so, your experiences might be totally different but generally medical staff don't tend to pry, they ask questions from a medical history standpoint but s long as you and the baby are healthy they tend not to judge. But that is the UK, I know people are often more vocal in their judgement in other countries which might necessitate the need for a person from within your 'alt' community?

The way I think it would affect your care in this country is things like your baby going into NICU and only "parents" being allowed to visit them (it's like that in some units here). Or even the fact that most women have their partner and mum in the room, and most hospitals allow 2 people in the room (even in birth centres). What about the woman who wants both her partners (both parents to the baby) and her mum in the room? Who will she pick? Also, say you have both partners there, you don't want one person to be treated like Dad and the other to be treated like an uncle/aunt. Honestly, a poly friendly midwife would give you the optimum birth experience as new parents. Luckily, most universities do discuss alternative relationships during the course, so new midwives hopefully have some idea that not everyone is monogamous and sometimes children have more than two parents.

sleepygirl 09-23-2013 08:03 PM

I'm very curious about the differences in care in the UK, compared to the often disastrous and controlling care here in the states. I have the privilege of living in a state that doesn't restrict midwifery at all, one of the few. Most of mine were midwife care and home births, and I'm thankful for that.

I just had never considered the need for a doula/midwife that was "alternative" (to use an inappropriate term for it) friendly until this morning. I can see how it could change a person's birth experience for the better. For a woman to have the loving support of all her partners, if she wants, will benefit her tremendously. I've been mulling it about in my brain all day, and I think it's a valuable idea, particularly in a place as intolerant as Oklahoma.

(btw: "squick" cracked me up. I've never heard that word before.)

willowstar 09-23-2013 08:54 PM

I am also a midwife, and I do home births. I have not yet had the privilege of attending a birth with a poly family, but one of my colleagues in the area has been with the same family twice. Once one female partner had a child, the next time it was the other partner. They have a male partner with the two mothers.

I make it clear that I accept "diversity" in my practice, but I dont advertise it specifically. But, yes, it would be extremely important for poly families to know they can be "out" with you.

Perhaps making your services known within the poly community would let them know it is available?

Good luck!
Willow

Natja 09-23-2013 10:38 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by sleepygirl (Post 232944)
I'm very curious about the differences in care in the UK, compared to the often disastrous and controlling care here in the states.

All I know about American birth experiences is what I see on reality TV and in that I wonder just how 'real' it is! Regardless it looks very terrifying, I once watched one Maternity program in which the Doctor openly called a labouring woman selfish because she declined an epidural, apparently, she might get noisy and scare other women. :eek:

All those women flat on their back too? I just don't get it.

Over here the policy is a natural vaginal birth is the best possible birth for both mother and baby.

My baby was born in May, she was born in a pool, once I got in, the midwives didn't really do anything physical until, I pushed her all the way out, it was an incredibly low intervention birth which was fantastic!

Inyourendo 09-24-2013 02:06 AM

I think there's,a market for it. My last 2 babies were unassisted homebirths and amazing. Have

london 09-24-2013 06:08 AM

I've cried in a US maternity show because the doctors were determined to harm the baby.


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