Gay & Lesbian Non Bio Parents
You are a MEANINGFUL PARENT and your child needs you...
"In a flash the baby is here, but I can't find my voice. I feel invisible... Freaked out - They had 9 months together, but my relationship with this child hasn't started yet. Will this child accept me? Will my partner's family accept me? Will the hospital treat me as the parent - will I be degraded or worse turned away? The belly is growing, and I don't feel the recognition because I am the non-biological parent"
There is a gap in the literature and lack of support for non-bio parents; be it gay fathers or lesbian mothers! Upon finishing my Bachelor's degree I wrote the final paper on "The Effect of Gay and Lesbian Parenting on Children" whereas my thesis in my Master's counseling program was about "The Experience of the Non-Biological Lesbian Mother".
Gay and lesbian parents are part of a growing population in the LGBT community, where fertility treatments, pregnancy and adoption are part of a positive change in society. Due to the lack of LGBT equality, some families still experience struggles in their daily living because they cannot just do the "right" thing for their family. At times you may feel like you are in a challenging relationship as your maternal clock is ticking or you wonder "will I ever have a child?".
As a gay dad or lesbian mom, you may feel the social stigmatization, distress, and disputes about your perceived maternal or paternal status because of your personal choice of same sex cohabitation and lifestyle even if you were part of a planned process of becoming a mother or father. Some non-biological lesbian mothers and fathers (and non gestational parent / NGP) are exposed to condescending words describing their motherhood / fatherhood roles in a same sex relationship (e.g. non-gestational, non-biological, non-birth, second mother, social father, other mother, and co-parent) rather than just mother or father, mommy or daddy and mom or dad.
The experience, emotional journey and struggles for non-biological lesbian mothers or gay fathers in regards to a partner's fertility treatments, pregnancy, same sex parenting, dissolution of marriage, divorce, co-parenting and issues surrounding the tidal waves that come crashing during times of legal struggles and custody battles, is what I realized lacked deeper understanding among therapists.
There is a gap in the literature and lack of support for non-bio moms and dads! We really want the best possible scenario for our children so they do not suffer, get hurt of miss out on having two great parents in their lives no matter what circumstances. I get it, as a non-bio mother myself, there is a lot you don't have to explain to me. I am here to help, you are not alone!
Maybe your partner's growing belly makes you feel invisible during the pregnancy and you have to create your own visibility through language and in your social and work community. Or you may be grieving the loss of having a child of your own, living in a lesbian relationship as "the other lesbian mother and other gay father", or trying to make meaning of not having a biological connection with your child.
- You are a meaningful mother, father and parent and your child needs you, even if your journey may seem bumpy at times.
Many different family constellations exist, where children are raised in blended, divorced, single or two parent households and relationships. There has been a lack of research pertaining to gay fatherhood and lesbian motherhood maybe because of the notion that fathers and mothers have been seen as a conventional part of heterosexual couples. However, gay fathers and lesbian mothers may have more similarities in their desires of having children rather than differences.
You ARE a meaningful parent and your child deserve loving parents.