When Lisa Goldberg walks into a room to find a new mother, babe in her arms and surrounded by family, the nurse’s first question will always be the same: Who is everybody?
It may seem like an obvious thing to ask, but often clinicians — and society — jump to assumptions about what a new family looks like. The “mommy, daddy, baby” image, as Goldberg calls it.
Instead of assuming that the man standing on one side of the bed is the father, it’s critical to ask, says the Dalhousie University nursing professor. The health-care system is a creaky, old institution that was first built on what are known as heteronormative beliefs — or, more simply, the idea that everyone who comes through the hospital door is straight.
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