Tuesday, June 12, 2012

There are Many Ways to Make a Family

So many times I teach a small group where there is a single mom-to-be with an alternative birth partner. A mom, a sister, friend. A Partner. It is so important to remember that there are many, many ways to make a family. Whatever the laws and public opinion suggest, thank heavens, that in our society, we are able to exercise our rights and privileges to make our families the way we choose.

Gender roles are often portrayed in the media ( including all the birthing advice websites ) as "traditional". Mom is a lady with feminine attributes and dad is the briefcase carrying man who really isn't sure he wants to cut the cord or change a dirty diaper. But in real life there are many ways to make a family. Two moms, two dads, one mom, one dad, grandparents or just one: we can draw out all the configurations and someone will inevitably come up with one more.

We must be sensitive to not how the configuration looks but rather what goes on in that specific family. And it starts in childbirth preparation classes where acknowledgement is made for what shouldn't be labeled "alternative". Because it continues at daycare and nursery school, through the middle years up until the time we send our precious babies out there into a world that has changed for the good. We must recognize that there are many ways to make a family and that it isn't going to change back to uninformed stereotypes of times gone by.

When I was young there was a song, "Teach Your Children Well" and  that pretty much says it all. We have a huge responsibility to our kids. To teach them to honor differences, but more than that, to accept differences as a way of life. Differences that may not look like our family, but differences, none the less, that are all part of that village it takes to raise our children well.