Melbourne’s first and only LGBTIQ birth classes will begin this May in Brunswick.
Childbirth educator and queer mother of two, Jess Permezel, will be running the classes in a safe environment for all families.
“I want these classes as inclusive as possible, lots of us have sat on the periphery for a long time and I think it’s really nice to be able to offer something other than that,” Permezel told Mamamia.
“I want everyone to feel welcome, single mums, single mums having babies with gay dads – everyone.”
The childbirth educator says there has been an increase in demand for antenatal “information and resources specific to our families”.
“We are really mindful of language, I would never refer to a husband – I would always refer to a partner. It’s pretty easy and it’s inclusive,” says Permezel.
"It’s not just about same sex families. It could be about a surrogate family - maybe a woman having a baby for a gay couple - or even families where there’s more than two people romantically involved."
After promising friends for years that she would run the antenatal classes, she's thrilled to finally have them on offer as a community building exercise.
"There’s some social stuff around being part of a queer family, social barriers and things we have to navigate that straight families don’t have to navigate," Permezel said.
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"Some of those things are better done in their own community."
The educator hopes life-long friendships will be born from the classes, along with healthy babies.
The Melbourne offering follows Australia's first antenatal class for expectant parents who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or intersex - which was held in Sydney earlier this year.
Both classes offer an alternative to mainstream antenatal classes and cover a range of topics including pain relief, the stages of labour and baby care.
“These classes will add a much-needed resource to what is already available for queer families, and will also provide them an opportunity to meet other queer families and establish parenting networks prior to birth,” said Permezel.
The classes are set to run quarterly at My Midwives Melbourne in Brunswick, commencing on May 5 and 6.
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