It is 2015, right?

It is 2015, right?

I ask this because, in the world of trying to conceive (TTC) and pregnancy, I have read a LOT of books and websites since we started trying to have a baby three (wow, three) years ago. What to Expect When You’re Expecting. AmericanPregnancy. BabyCenter. The Bump. Happiest Baby on the Block. And you know what they all have in common?

They assume that mom has a partner. And that the partner is her husband and the baby’s father. It goes without saying that the partner is male. In fact, nearly every website has “tips for Dad” or “what Dad should expect when Mom is expecting” or “how to help your partner” or “tell Dad to do X so that he feels involved.” Of course, the things these sites and books recommend Dad do are also very sexist. (“He’ll be excited to get out those power tools to set up the nursery furniture!”)

Now, I get that for most expectant mothers, there’s a Dad in the picture. But again: it is 2015, right? Can not one of these sites/books consistently use the word partner instead of husband? Often they start out using partner, but then it’s like the author regresses to Dad when their attention drifts. (Note: when we went to our baby classes (birth, bringing baby home, etc.) it was also hard for the instructors to remember this. They addressed “Dads” a lot, even though I had introduced K as my wife and she was sitting right there. In one class they even segregated the Dads and Moms for certain sections, which was awkward).

Partner helps the single mom feel less isolated, as she likely has some help from a birthing partner, be it a sister, friend, or mother. It’s more inclusive to women who are not married to their children’s father, even if he is very active and in the picture. It’s of course more relevant to the many, many gay couples who are now having children. While we’re at it, could we get rid of the sexism too? My wife and I worked together to set up things.

It’s like this with grief books too, but I’m pretty sure I already wrote about those. C’mon authors, catch up with the times!

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4 Responses to It is 2015, right?

  1. Oh, this drives me totally crazy, too. The iPad app we’ve been using to keep track of pregnancy stuff mostly uses ‘partner’, but that is just about the only mainstream material I’ve found that does so (but the general the sexism is still there, though less so than with What to Expect). I’m also really bothered by the fact ‘dad’ is assumed to be some kind of disengaged, peripheral figure that needs to be reminded to do things (and mostly ‘manly’ things) to participate in the pregnancy. I’m sure some dads are very engaged, caring partners who don’t need to be wrangled into helping prepare for a baby. Even though my partner is the one carrying, we are both equally invested in the baby-having endeavour; it would be great if some books reflected different family dynamics and didn’t assume that we all live in married heterosexual relationships with traditional gendered divisions of labour. And you’re right, partner would be an appropriate catch-all for virtually anyone; I wonder why it isn’t used. Too modern? Too gay? Who knows…

  2. brianjeliquespeaks says:

    Reblogged this on What BriAnjelique Thinks and commented:
    I love this!

  3. This is just fair. I totally agree with that but I must say it does slip my mind sometimes.
    I will certainly be more aware of it from now on.

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