On Sunday February 26th, Rainbow Families will run thefirst Antenatal Class specifically designed for the LGBTIQ community.

When Kylie and Sahara* fell pregnant with their first baby, they attended the local hospital birthing class. Whilst the information was helpful and staff was friendly, they felt invisible. There was lots of talk about “hubbies” and “fathers”. Kylie as the non-biological mother was asked to join the “fathers” group. There were generalisations that just did not apply to them. They had also wanted their friend and donor Josh to attend. They had questions they were uncomfortable to ask (about joint breastfeeding), and also felt the need to do a lot of educating of the other participants. Similarly Brendan and Johnnie were having a baby with the support of altruistic surrogate, Brendan’s sister Juels. They were looking for a class where the three would be welcomed and included. If only there was a birthing class that was culturally sensitive to them all. Well now there is!

In partnership with Rainbow Families, Midwife Educators Janet Broady and Andrew Lee have been developing this project for a number of months and are excited about presenting the class in an inclusive, safe environment for expectant LGBTIQ parents. Broady explains:
“The class is aimed at people expecting a baby in the next few months. It will cover pregnancy, birth and the post natal period. It is an LGTBIQ focussed, inclusive, alternative to the parenting education classes offered by hospitals.”

Rainbow Families’ Committee, Education Officer Justine Harris has been working on the project, which she believes will fulfil a need within the LGBTIQ community:

“Up until now the only option for LGBTIQ parents to be has been to attend mainstream antenatal classes. Lesbians, gays, involved donors and surrogates, trans and queer prospective parents will feel included.”

The Rainbow Families antenatal class will present information that will help you prepare for the birth of your child in an environment where you are free to ask questions in a safe space that is knowledgeable about our families.  Co Chair Vanessa Gonzalez says “In 2016 Rainbow Families surveyed community needs, and inclusive antenatal classes were identified as being a high priority. We are really proud to be offering this to our community. This is the first class of it’s type!"

WHAT: Rainbow Families Antenatal Class
WHEN: Sunday February 26th, 10am – 4.30pm
WHERE: Joseph Sargent Community Centre, Erskineville
COST: $25
TICKETS: http://rainbowfamilies.bigcartel.com/

For more information contact Justine Harris on 0477 677 643

About Rainbow Families

RAINBOW FAMILIES is a 100% volunteer organisation that provides a network of support to children and families within the NSW LGBTIQ community. It’s 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 LGBTIQ member families.

*Note: names have been changed for privacy but based on real experience. Photo provided with consent of expectant couple Sarah and Emma.