I got to talk to a lovely trans male midwife this week. He’s called Nathan and I’ll try and get his whole blog post up soon.
The most important thing I learnt from Nathan was this:
He and every other trans sibling he’s asked believe that motherhood and womanhood are what midwifery are made of.
I don’t know if you’ve heard but there are some debates that ‘woman’ and ‘mother’ are too gendered and shouldn’t be automatically used in midwifery?
Nathan believes that all midwives and other healthcare professionals should be aware that you can’t tell someone’s gender by looking at them, and be open to asking questions about pronouns, especially if there are cues like more androgynous clothing.
But motherhood is too important a word to take out of childbearing. It's just we need to ask people what they need from us with sensitivity.
Nathan stance on this argument goes with my gut, but I’d love to hear your thoughts.
There’s a fantastic blog from Shawn Walker (RM, PhD) here that covers the concept: Can “mothering” be gender-neutral?
In other news, I’ll be going to Mary Cronk’s funeral tomorrow. I didn’t know Mary but I think she’s extraordinary. The daughter of a unionist, she campaigned for women’s rights in maternity care, became a breech birth expert and was amazing at handling complex politics.
If you have a few seconds this week please think of her and her family. Also the fundraising is for the Association of Radical Midwives, if you can add anything, she'd so appreciate this.
It’s a strange coincidence that as I was putting this blog together I found out another Mary, one of my favourite poets, Mary Oliver has died today. I'm quoting her in the title of this blog:
“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”
May we be as brave, clever and funny as both Marys, and as open and wise as Nathan.