When Lucy Jackson, 31, first met her partner Amy, 33, over seven years ago, she knew straight away they were meant for each other.
‘It was supposed to be one or two drinks,’ Lucy told Gay Star News. ‘But 11 hours later, we were still chatting.
‘For me personally, I knew straight away she was the one,’ she said.
The Sydney-based couple eventually tied the knot, bought a house together and were ready to start their journey to parenthood.
In early 2017, the lesbian couple began IVF ‘due to medical reasons’, with Amy carrying the baby.
Lucy (left) and Amy (right) Jackson. | Photo: supplied
During the pregnancy, friends of theirs recommended the Rainbow Families prenatal class, catering specifically to LGBTI parents.
Ashley Scott is the director of Rainbow Families.
He told Gay Star News: ‘Rainbow Families identified a need within our community for this class.’
He added: ‘For LGBTI parents attending traditional birthing classes, it has been a very heteronormative experience that they often don’t fit into, or feel comfortable with.’
Working with a volunteer midwife educator, they started the program in February last year. It has since grown and the feedback has been ‘overwhelmingly positive’.
In August this year, Sydney Local Area Health began facilitating the class. Macquarie Bank also now host the day, providing catering and the venue.
So what happens on the day?
Each class is a full day, running from 9am to 5pm.
The morning starts with an introduction to Rainbow Families and an icebreaker for the group.
Lucy said: ‘Amy and I were sat with two beautiful dads.’
Then the prenatal presentation begins. This includes role playing, videos and discussion, as well as the presentation.
Amy and Lucy Jackson at the Rainbow Families prenatal class. | Photo: supplied
This is followed by a Q&A, which Scott describes as ‘one of the best aspects of the class.’ Within the class, there are generally many variables on how people are planning on giving birth, so there are usually a wide variety of questions.
During the Q&A, Lucy and Amy took the opportunity to ask about their specific birthing questions.
For medical reasons, Amy could only give birth via C-section.
Lucy explained: ‘I have friends who have been to other prenatal classes where they assume everyone will give birth “naturally” – vaginally – or they assume everyone will breastfeed. All of those stigmas can be so demoralizing.
‘At no point were we made to feel like there was anything wrong with [Amy having a C-section],’ Lucy said.
She added: ‘The Rainbow Families class was so well organized and so considerate of everyone’s different situations, both medically and personally.’
Lucy and Amy Jackson. | Photo: supplied
After lunch, the afternoon session is about caring for a newborn and covers topics like breast, chest and co-feeding, wrapping and settling.
Lucy said: ‘We picked up a lot of useful tips from the class.’
They learnt about swaddling and breastfeeding but she said the most important thing they learnt was patience and to be kinder to yourself.
Lucy said: ‘Go with the flow. Babies can be so unpredictable and you need to be open to change.’
Amy and Lucy welcomed their baby Arlo on 20 September, born at 38 weeks.
‘He is the most divine little boy,’ Lucy said. ‘The joy and peace he has brought into our home is indescribable.’
The lesbian couple said the new addition to their family has profoundly changed their lives.
‘Life now is beautifully raw, amazing and fascinating,’ Lucy said. ‘We have learnt so quickly. We have never loved so hard or deeply and we have never been more tired, more happy, more hormonal but we wouldn’t change a thing,’ she said.
Amy and Lucy with baby Arlo. | Photo: supplied
They use the techniques they learnt at the prenatal class every day. They’ve perfected their swaddling technique and say it changed their lives.
Offering some words of wisdom, Lucy said: ‘Be kind to yourself, a baby changes everything – in the most incredible way!
‘Amy and I are both incredibly aware that people will be reading this hoping for their rainbow baby and all we can say to those people is never give up hope.
‘When there is hope, nothing is too much trouble. So take a deep breath and remember love will get you through,’ she said.
They’re also planning to meet up with the gay dads they were sat next to in their Rainbow Families prenatal class.
The next Rainbow Families class is Saturday 24 November. The classes are run quarterly and each class has around 20 people in it.
For more information, visit the Rainbow Families website.
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