mama, gender neutral

Why We Will Never Call Our Clients “Mama”

My mama went into labor…

I had a mama who…

My mama said her baby…

Color me confused. How old are you? Did your actual mom just have another baby and now you’re an older sibling? I mean it’s entirely possible but surely you can see the confusion this one little word can cause.

In addition to the confusion, we live in a culture where many individuals do not necessarily define themselves by traditional terminology. By continuing to use gender normative terminology we are isolating many individuals in the birthing world.

I am not just a mother. I am not solely defined by ability to carry and birth a child. I am not solely defined by my role as their parent. I am so much more.

By referring to clients as mamas we are erasing who they are as individuals. We are ignoring that first and foremost they are human. They are unique creatures and their bodily functions do not define them. Instead, we call our clients by their name. Their chosen name. Their chosen pronouns. Their chosen titles.


Simply put, it’s not about us.

Whether someone identifies as a male or female or non-binary or genderfluid or whatever, it is not our place to put titles on anyone other than those they give us to use.

At Sun State Doulas, that looks like:

  • Asking what your pronouns are and using them
  • Using your preferred name
  • Using your preferred title (mom, dad, parent)
  • Using your partners’ preferred pronouns
  • Using your partners’ preferred name(s)
  • Using your partners’ preferred title(s)
  • Having contracts, classes, and social media/website material that reflects that commitment.

If we ever mess up, correct us. If we don’t know something, educate us (we are working hard to educate ourselves). We desire to learn and use the proper verbiage so you can be completely comfortable with our entire team. We desire to treat you as a human and not a “mama.”

About the Author

Christine Santos

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Owner of Sun State Doulas, Christine is passionate about pregnancy, birth, and parenting issues that affect mainstream families. She is mother to 3 girls and is an active member of the roller derby community. Her favorite quote is, "Not my body, not my baby, not my birth, not my choice."

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