Janet Broady is a midwife educator who on one recent sunny Sunday in March led the very first LGBTQI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer, intersex) antenatal class in Sydney, with 21 participants. In partnership with Rainbow Families, Janet had been developing this project for a number of months with the aim of presenting a class for expectant LGBTIQ parents in an inclusive, safe environment .
Janet explains: Rainbow Families is a 100 percent volunteer organisation that provides a network of support to children and families within the NSW LGBTIQ community. Its mission is to build a community which fosters resiliency by connecting, supporting and empowering LGBTIQ families and to address discrimination and other social disadvantages faced by member families.
Rainbow Families surveyed their members across NSW in 2016 and identified that the community wanted their own antenatal class experience. So Rainbow Families NSW approached me to develop and deliver classes to this community.
By way of background, I started the Mardi Gras Medical Team with nursing and medical friends in 1989 and have always been a volunteer for the LGBTIQ community in various capacities, so was keen to respond. I am a midwife and RN working at a teaching hospital in Sydney and my lesbian partner and I have a seven year old boy.
The antenatal class covers pregnancy, birth and the post-natal period, including care of the newborn. The class provides expectant parents important information that will help them prepare for the birth of their child and the journey of parenthood. It caters for lesbians, gays, involved donors and surrogates, transgender and queer prospective parents.The group also connects parents and gives them the chance to form social connections and support – an important resource for new parents.
The first antenatal class in March had 21 participants – seven lesbian couples, three gay couples having a baby through surrogacy in Australia, California and British Columbia and someone’s mum. We had a great day and it was fun learning together.
To date, four of the couples have had their babies – so exciting!
The classes will be held every three months, with the next one on 28th May. All information and bookings available at www.rainbowfamilies.com.au under events section.
Some responses from the group about the class:
Thank you for doing this. It’s really great to do birthing classes with people with similar families and to acknowledge same sex partners.
Congratulations on running this class – really hope it can continue ongoing, much needed in the community. Thank you Rainbow Families.