Our First Pride Month As Parents

As Pride Month draws to a close, let this first be a reminder that we, the LGBTQIA+ community, exist. We always have, and we always will. Secondly, let this also be a reminder that active allyship matters year-round and not just for the month of June. Disgustingly, but not surprisingly, too many companies rainbow wash their western social media accounts and physical premises whilst doing nothing to support the LGBTQIA+ community in parts of the world where simply living life as your authentic self could get you imprisoned or, worse still, killed.

Last Pride month, we were patiently awaiting our little baby’s arrival. This Pride month has been our first as parents. Looking back, it’s interesting to see how being parents has slightly changed how we mark Pride Month. For us, Pride has, and always will be, a protest. Our rights are still being attacked, our right to live, our right to be our authentic selves. So this month, we’ve been looking at who shows active allyship year-round and who is only doing it for June (not cool, in case you’re wondering).

We’ve also been getting Alice involved in seeing some of the various installations near us, and with Pride In London being this weekend, we are excited to be taking her on her first Pride parade with friends from football (look out for the Chelsea Pride bus!). Alice might still be a baby, but for us, getting her involved and giving her the understanding of why Pride is needed, the history and the work that is still yet to be complete is super important to us as members of the LGBTQIA+ community. Just like no child is born racist, no child is born homophobic, biphobic, transphobic or interphobic. Children learn from the environment that they’re brought up in, so bringing Alice up around diversity, inclusion, and equality is a must.

Another thing we’re planning to do with Alice is to take a photo of her each June for Pride with the Intersex-Inclusive Progress Pride Flag, which was designed last year by the wonderful Valentino Vecchietti. With Alex being trans and me (Steph) being intersex, this flag really does represent us. All too often, the trans and intersex communities are forgotten about when people talk about issues the LGBTQIA+ community face, so to see both of our community’s flags on the new design gives us some hope for the future that people will be more inclusive in their language and conversations. Alice will grow up to be a very active ally at the very least, so it will be great to be able to show her how she’s growing up around Pride and how we mark it each year. If you haven’t guessed already, Alex and I are very sentimental and prefer to take photos and videos to capture experiences rather than buying things which will only cause clutter. However, there are some things we’ve brought to show Alice when she’s older, including our friend AJ Silver’s book, Supporting Queer Birth, for which I was very honoured to be interviewed whilst pregnant with Alice. Being able to share my lived experience as an intersex person who has had many dealings with perinatal care (both negative and positive) is so important because we’re very rarely heard. It’s also why Alex and I were honoured to be part of The Positive Birth Company’s #ProudParent campaign last year.

Well, that’s how we’ve marked Pride month; quieter than we originally planned for various reasons, but as we always say – Pride is every day and not just for June! Allies show up every day of the year, call people out and pull them up on their language and behaviour when needed. So don’t let comments slide. We should be well past that now!

Finally, one last thing. This year’s world cup is being played in a country where it is illegal to simply be your authentic self if you’re LGBTQIA+, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg since Qatar abuse numerous human rights. So remember that when you see FIFA promoting equality, inclusion and diversity because if they genuinely cared, the world cup wouldn’t be held in a place where it is so unsafe for so many people.

Alice, a white baby with brown hair is wearing a rainbow coloured vest with white long sleeved vest underneath and dark blue jeans. She is sat on an Intersex-Inclusive Pride flag and holding her hair in one of her hands.
Alice sitting on her Intersex-Inclusive Pride Flag

Going To Big Events With A Newborn

For some parents of newborns, there will be events that you wish to attend but are worried about taking your new bundle of joy with you. Whether it be a summer fair or a big event for your town or city, a fireworks display or a Christmas light switch on, attending with a brand new baby in tow means lots more things to think about! Big events typically mean lots of noise and lots of things going on, which can be overwhelming for your little one! 

Despite many stressful events surrounding Alice’s health, we have still managed to get out and about with her. Alex and I crave normality and for us, going out and about to our favourite events gives us that little bit of much-needed normality in what has been a stressful couple of months. But how do you safely take your precious bundle of joy to significant events and on busy days out? Well, here we share products and tips that have really helped us! 

1. A suitable baby carrier

Alice has two baby carriers, one which I use with her when out and about, and the other one is Alex’s favourite. For me, the Ergobaby Omni 360 is the best baby carrier for many reasons. Firstly, as the carrier is structured, I can safely carry Alice despite being a wheelchair user without risking any dislocations. Secondly, the pouch on the front of the carrier is large enough to put cards, passports, phones and other small but essential things in there and keep them on me. Not only is this excellent safety-wise, but it’s also an excellent feature for when travelling and at large events. For example, I used the Ergobaby when taking Alice to her first football match. In addition, the carrier is easy to get babies in and out of. This meant that Alice had lots of time out of the Ergobaby that day! 

a selfie Steph, a white woman with brown and blonde hair wearing a black baby carrier with Alice, a small baby with brown hair and wearing a white jacket inside. The baby carrier has blue and blue ear defenders and a blue Chelsea bib attached to it.
Alice in the Ergobaby!

Whilst I absolutely adore the Ergobaby, Alex loves the wrap-style carriers, so we also have the Hana Baby Wrap, which he uses with Alice when we’re out and about. However, he is going to try the Ergobaby later this month when we go to London! The wrap style is great as it can be used with smaller babies subject to clearance from a medical professional. It also allows little ones to be held in many different positions and closer to whoever is wearing them. However, I found that as a wheelchair user, the wrap style isn’t that safe until little ones can hold their head up, which is why Alice is carried by Alex a lot more than by me! 

Alex, a white man with red hair and wearing glasses is looking towards the camera smiling. Alex is wearing a blue and pink jacket, and a black baby wrap which has Alice, a small white baby with brown hair inside.
Alex carrying Alice in the Hana baby wrap

2. Good ear and eye protection! 

Tiny ears and eyes are extra-sensitive. A baby’s hearing can easily be damaged by loud noises and speakers if too close. For us, getting Alice not one but two pairs of Banz Baby ear defenders was a no-brainer. Having two pairs means we can keep a pair at Alex’s and a pair at mine, which means no worrying about losing ear defenders and having no backup, or worse, leaving them at the one house when going to an event from the other! True story; Alex didn’t know about the second pair until I took Alice with my dad to her first Chelsea match! He was panicking about her having no ear defenders until I sent a photo of her second pair attached to the carrier, ready for when we got to Kingsmeadow! 

A selfie of Alex, a white man with red hair wearing clear framed glasses carrying Alice, a white baby with brown hair wearing light blue and black ear defenders.
Alice rocking one of her pairs of ear defenders!

As for eyes, sunlight can damage little eyes, and it can be hard to find suitable sunglasses for babies. Luckily, Banz Baby also have a selection of matching sunglasses to go alongside their ear defenders! The sunglasses fit around the head using an adjustable headband, and both the ear defenders and sunglasses can be used until the little one is around 2 years old before needing to move up to the next size. 

3. A good changing backpack

I have raved about this changing backpack in a previous post, but it really is excellent for days out, going to large events, travelling and just as your usual day-to-day changing bag. Not only does this particular bag from Amazon have a big main compartment for a change of clothes, snacks etc. It also has a bottle pocket that can store three bottles, a phone charging port (need your own battery pack) and a pocket for baby wipes! The most significant function for me, however, is the inbuilt cot and changing mat. Not only does it mean you can change your little one with privacy, but they can also nap in it when out and about during the day if at a picnic, for example. The cot also features a sun canopy for protection on sunnier days or as a barrier against the wind when using it when outside. It’s important to note that the inbuilt cot isn’t suitable for overnight sleeping, however, so you’d still need a travel cot if going away. 

Overall, large events can be done with a bit of planning and organisation beforehand. However, having a baby doesn’t mean life has to stop! You can very much still have a life and attend events like Christmas light switch on, Pride, picnics, fun days etc., with your bundle of joy! 

Do you have any tips to help new parents who want to go to events with their little ones? Then, share them in the comments! 

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