“It’s a Little Bit Tricky”: Results from the POLYamorous Childbearing and Birth Experiences Study (POLYBABES) Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • AbstractThe number of polyamorous people in Canada is growing steadily, and many polyamorous people are of childbearing age and report living with children. Experiences of polyamorous families, particularly those related to pregnancy and childbirth, have thus far been underrepresented in the literature. The POLYamorous Childbearing and Birth Experiences Study (POLYBABES) sought to explore the pregnancy and birth experiences of polyamorous people. Having previously reported findings relating to experiences with the health system and healthcare providers, this article specifically focuses on the social aspects of polyamorous families’ experiences. We explored the impact of polyamory on one’s self identity, relationship structures, and experiences navigating the social world. Anyone who self-identified as polyamorous during pregnancy and birth, gave birth in Canada within 5 years, and received some prenatal care was eligible to participate in this study. Participants were recruited through social media and interviewed online or in person. Twenty-four participants were interviewed (11 birthing people and 13 of their partners). Thematic analysis was used to explore the data, and four primary themes were identified: deliberately planning families, more is more, presenting polyamory, and living in a mononormative world. Each theme was further broken down into a number of sub-themes. We also collaborated with research participants to create a glossary of terms. By exploring the pregnancy and birth experiences of polyamorous families and focusing on participant voices, this research adds to the limited research on polyamorous families and contributes to the process of breaking down stigma associated with alternative family structures. Further, by creating an accessible glossary of terms, researchers and lay persons alike have been given access to a meaningful resource.

publication date

  • May 2021