I fully realize that this post is not for every one of my LGBT readers. Further, I realize it isn’t even for every one of my lesbian specific readers. Still, there are lesbians that are interested in having and raising children and, given their lifestyle, they face some challenges that straight prospective and expectant mothers do not. For that reason, I’d like to help.
First off, if you’ve been reading this blog for the past two months, you know that I was previously married to a man and that I have a 16 year old son. Yes, to answer the criticisms, I did things the straight way (some would say “breeder” way) for awhile. Yes, that made it infinitely easier on me as far as conception and convention were concerned. I still had to deliver the child and I’m still raising the child who now splits time equally between my 3 person “lesbian” household and his dads all new blended family of six (6). Guess who’s house “The Boy” thinks is more normal?!
If you’ve decided to have a baby on your own, or if you and you’re partner have decided to start a family, here’s just a little help. First off, because of your non-traditional situation, a guide for lesbians “The Ultimate Guide to Pregnancy for Lesbians: How to Stay Sane and Care for Yourself from Pre-conception through Birth, 2nd Edition“. This book will ultimately guide you through carrying your child through birth but it’s real value is in the presentation of topics unique (mostly) to lesbians like:
- Choosing a donor
- Financing the insemination
- Fertility and Infertility
- Legal protections for the lesbian family unit
- The non-pregnant lesbian partner
- Attachment parenting
- Partners as parents
For a book that covers every aspect of your actual pregnancy through the birth of your child there is no better reference in print than What to Expect When You’re Expecting by Heidi Murkoff and Sharon Mazel. People will argue this and invoke any number of books by “expert” obstetricians (who seem to be primarily men) as the best but 90% of American women who read a book about pregnancy can’t be wrong when the book that they ultimately choose is this one!
Finally, the first few years of your child’s life are the most trying with the first year trumping all. Fortunately, for most average babies, the first year is also a very predictable one as far as development and needs are concerned. Here Heidi Murkoff comes to the rescue again with the book to answer every single question a new mother could possibly have about her infant, What to Expect the First Year. The book will amaze you with it’s ability to cover all of the questions that springs to mind.
I have one caveat about the “First Year” book: There are things that Murkoff is a very strong advocate of that are simply going to be difficult choices for a lesbian family. The primary example of this is breastfeeding. ALL obstetricians and obstetrics nurses heavily advocate brestfeeding as best for your baby. Murkoff (a nurse) is no different. This may work for you and your partner, it may not. If it doesn’t, ignore it. Despite assertions to the contrary, your baby will not grow up inferior to his or her peers because he or she got formula as an infant. Do you want proof? My son is a talented young man and a walking encyclopedia. He has tested at above average proficiency at every grade level in every subject with little prodding from me or his dad (good genes!). He passed all 5 portions of the Ohio Graduation Test administered to sophomores on the first go-around. He was never breastfed as an infant because I couldn’t breastfeed. Don’t let the “experts” scare you. Do what feels right for you.