Ask around, and you’ll hear that there is something wonderfully supportive about being surrounded by the Dar a Luz community. And the truth is even though our family is complete, our community of friends keeps growing thanks to them.
My name is Caitlin. My wife Monica and I are parents to three amazing children. Dar a Luz helped us to welcome all of them. As we enter Pride month, highlighting the importance of respecting and serving the needs of LGBTQ people in health care is essential. That is why I always feel compelled to share the wonderful experiences we’ve had at Dar a Luz.
The birth center created a truly safe and inclusive space where our experience as a queer couple were accepted and visible, not just touched on as an exception to the norm. Early in our journey, we encountered heterosexist attitudes, heteronormative assumptions, and a lack of knowledge regarding our health needs. So naturally, we spent the first few weeks of that first pregnancy imagining and preparing to feel marginalized, invisible, and “othered.”
One quick internet search will fill you with terrifying stories of queer people birthing in hospitals where partners aren’t recognized or allowed to be part of the process. Birthing humans is such a scary, beautiful, magical experience, and we didn’t know where we could turn. So, I had decided that a home birth was the only option to avoid going to the hospital. Still, when I mentioned my decision to Monica, she said, “there has to be another route, a middle road.”
We turned to the internet and found Dar a Luz and subsequently signed up for a tour. I searched everything I could on the internet to sniff out their “vibe.” What I found online echoed what I experienced in person. Dedicated professionals who value developing relationships with patients and families before labor, creating a home-like atmosphere and a place where holistic care is prioritized. Not only were we sold after our initial tour, but we were also welcomed. We met other like-minded couples who have become some of our best friends and confidantes in parenting.
Monica and I have both received care as pregnant people there. Every chance I get, I tell people that Dar a Luz provided the best healthcare experience I have ever had. We have both reflected on how empowering and tailored the care was. I felt like they really “saw” each of us and made each appointment important. Nothing was ever about how to “survive childbirth” but more about feeling confident, prepared, and supported through the entire process. Instead of the rushed, impersonal, or rigid feel typically associated with healthcare, the atmosphere and service I received at Dar a Luz was affirming, friendly, caring, warm, and professional. Although each pregnancy and birth were different (two of our three deliveries happened at UNMH), I always felt like we were treated with the utmost importance.
In 2021, our last baby was born; we called this one our “best COVID DIY project.” This baby had us concerned. We encountered unexpected health complications that left us both scared, yet I left each visit confident and empowered. At 34 weeks, our care was transferred to UNMH, yet we were in constant communication with the Dar a Luz team throughout this pregnancy, birth, and after. Their commitment to our care was profoundly significant to us. Sometimes I feel sad that our baby, birthing, and newborn days are behind us, but I am forever grateful for our connection to Dar a Luz. They provided the best gifts: acceptance, visibility, and excellent care.
Lori Martinez Photography