So much of LGBTQ+ parenting is just “parenting.” Dealing with meltdowns in the frozen food aisle at the supermarket, for example, is a great democratizer, and in those high-stress moments, one’s identity becomes meaningless — whatever your pronouns, sexuality, or politics, you just need to peel your small person off the floor and make it out in one piece.
My wife and I became parents in 2018. I’d always loved kids and just knew I’d be a parent someday. I was clear about this from our very first date, and over the first five years of our relationship, we spoke about our feelings about starting a family. These feelings evolved as our relationship did, and one day, it just felt like the right time to stop talking and start doing.
Families are diverse and different, and no two are the same. This applies to LGBTQ+ families too. In 2018, research by UCLA’s School of Law estimated that 3 million LGBTQ+ Americans have had a child, and this number is growing. The Office of National Statistics in the UK highlighted that in 2019 there were 212,000 same-sex families in the UK. This is an increase of 40% since 2015. However, this number doesn’t differentiate between LGBTQ+ people in same-sex relationships choosing to raise children and couples living together without children.
In fact, there is a gap in the data about how many LGBTQ+ families there are out there and what their unique experiences are. There are times as a queer mum — and especially during the journey to get there — that I was made hyper-aware of my otherness in the pregnancy, birth, and parenting worlds, which remain so focused on the cisgender heterosexual experience.