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Inclusive Parenting Terminology

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If you’ve ever read a baby book, a parenting blog or a magazine- you’ll likely be reading the same family terminology: Mom, dad, mom and dad. Most of the parenting population is, in fact, a cis boy and a cis girl that got together, made a baby and birthed said baby from the cis girl’s body. So it makes sense that the people in the marketing analytics departments decided to use the terms that speaks to the variety of their audience. At Nightingales we make conscious decisions daily to utilize inclusive parenting terminology.

Because here’s the thing, and take a seat because it might shock you, not all couplings fit the “standard” mold. There are boy and boy, girl and girl, boy and girl but the baby was born through adoption or surrogacy. There are single parents by choice [and not by choice] in which there is only a mom or a dad, but not both. And there is a whole population of parents that are nonbinary, transgender, or that just otherwise don’t identify as “mom” or “dad”.

I asked around in different communities and asked parents what they would change about this industry of Parenting. Almost across the board I heard the same answer. Inclusive terminology.

Don’t shoot the messenger! I know there are people out there that want to maintain the status quo. But I can promise those people that simply using the term “parents”, isn’t taking anything away from the traditional “mom and dad” coupling.

How to be use inclusive parenting terminology.

It’s really not that difficult. When you are writing [or speaking] just be aware and intentional that even just one person in your audience isn’t being seen. Inclusive parenting terminology is so important. Just saying “parents” instead of mom and dad could really make someone’s day.

If you want to really go the extra mile, here are some more terms to try out:

Gestational carrier: this means whomever carried the baby. Might be mom, or adoptive or surrogate or in some cases even dad

Intended Parents: this is whoever hired a surrogate

Lactating parent: again, could be anyone who is lactating

Chest feeding: an inclusive term that acknowledges that some trans/non binary parents may not refer to their chest as breasts.

Partner: non specific way to refer to a significant other.

You can’t go wrong with just being kind! Don’t worry about offending anyone and always ask questions if you’re unsure.

Karina McCarthy

A Rhode Island native who has babies in her blood. A mom to a beautiful daughter and a lover of yoga and long naps.