Terms like mum, dad, mother, father and even breastfeeding are no longer allowed in two UK hospitals after Australian University researchers suggested these words are not gender-inclusive.
These words are being replaced by more gender-inclusive terms with the Australia National University (ANU) suggesting more hospitals and birthing centres should adopt these terms.
New gender-inclusive terms in birthing centres
What terms are we meant to be using then? Here are their suggestions:
- For mum or mother: “gestational” or “birthing parent”
- For dad or father: “non-gestational” or “non-birthing parent”
- Other options for dad include: “second biological parent”, “non-birthing parent” or “co-parent”
- For mother’s milk: “human milk” or “chest milk” (eeewww)
- For breastfeeding: “chestfeeding”
- Instead of maternity care department: “perinatal services”
I’m sorry, CHESTFEEDING? CHEST MILK. What circle of hell is this? Where’s Ashton and his Punk’d team or that Stranger Things kid who does that new prank show? Surely this is some sort of early April Fools joke?
But, alas, it’s not.
According to the Australian National University Gender Institute’s Gender-Inclusive Handbook,
This non-gendered language is particularly important in clinical or abstract academic discussions of childbirth and parenthood, both to recognise the identities of students in the class, and to model inclusive behaviour for students entering clinical practice.”
I am all for inclusively, but isn’t this a bit much? What about the gendered parents who like being known as Mum and Dad?
I don’t wanna be known as a chestfeeding gestational parent. I wanna be a breastfeeding mummy, dammit.
Not official terms, yet
According to an ANU spokesperson, the guide is not official policy but suggestions on how staff should be trained.
This is a guide produced by a research institute that, among its many areas of focus, examines how to improve gender equity and inclusiveness in our society,” the spokesperson told 7NEWS.com.au.
“This document is not an official ANU policy, process or official prescription to staff and students.”
The public have spoken
While many hospitals are still mulling over the suggestions, the Brighton and Sussex University Hospital NHS Trust introduced the measures earlier this month.
Plenty of supporters have come forward, praising the handbook guidelines.
Campaign group TransActual tweeted: “This is fantastic, well done. Let’s hope many more trusts follow suit. Everybody deserves to be treated with dignity and respect.”
However, plenty of others have suggested the whole thing is unnecessary and disrespectful to the mothers who are doing the hard work – the birthing and breastfeeding.
“I’m sorry but I’m more than just a birthing parent. I’m a mum and that’s how I’d like to be referred to,” one mother wrote.
Don’t mums deserve to be called by a title they are proud of, not something so generic such as “gestational parent”? I mean, this isn’t a study – it’s one of the most important moments of a woman’s life.
And, on that note, if we’re changing things around, maybe we need to look at a few other birthing terms too that aren’t up to the new code.
A few more new terms to consider
We decided to create our own birthing terms, because, if you wanna play ball, let’s play ball properly!
From now on, I’d like my vagina to be known as the Birth Blossom. That’s a bit prettier. Nevermind the whole horror show going on down there.
Crowning will no longer be called crowning, because that sounds a bit too masculine. Now it will be called Sprouting.
I know contraction isn’t really gender-exclusive but I simply don’t like the name. It’s not fierce enough. So let’s change it to Death Adder Uterus Hug. Sound good?
And Midwife isn’t too gender neutral either. So now she or he will be referred to as MidHuman or perhaps Birth Jockey.
I don’t like the term “non-birthing partner” for the father of the child being born. So, during childbirth, my husband will be referred to as The Dickhead Who Did This To Me. I may switch it a bit during birth though, so be warned. He may also be known as AssHat. Or possible just this term — %^*& – The AssHat formally known as Dad.
An anesthesiologist also sounds a bit too girly for me. So the person with the needle with now be known as What Took You So F-ing Long, Drug Lord.
Now, onto the breastfeeding thing. I’m not using chestfeeding as that’s as inaccurate as they get. Ain’t no newborn of mine sucks on my chest. So we shall refer to it as Nipple Suckling. Is everyone happy with Nipple Suckling?
I suppose we should also address the whole “expressing” term. Shall we refer to it as Human milk extraction? Chestpump lifts? Squeeze and give me 10ml!
And no more labour ward either. Cause Ward is a boy’s name. From now on, we will be birthing in the Labour Jungle.
Because this whole thing is f-ing bananas.