Lesbian mothers: queer families: the experience of planned pregnancy

Bree, Caroline
Giddings, Lynne
Spence, Deb
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Master of Health Science
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Auckland University of Technology

Lesbian-identified women are choosing to become parents in increasing numbers. This 'lesbian baby boom' has implications for midwives and their practice. The purpose of this study was to gain insight and understanding of planned pregnancy from a lesbian perspective, in order to facilitate the provision of appropriate care for lesbian mothers and their families.The methodology used for the study was radical hermeneutics informed by lesbian feminism and queer poststructuralism. Purposive sampling identified ten lesbian-identified mothers and conversational interviews with the participants yielded rich data about the phenomenon of inquiry. Thematic analysis of the data was foregrounded by a discussion of the socio-political context.A number of findings emerged from the study. Careful pre-conceptual planning reflected a highly responsible approach to parenting. The women's partners felt uncertain about their parenting role and experienced a lack of acknowledgement by the wider community. Despite legal access to assisted fertility, the participants usually sought an involved father for their child. Lesbian mothers expressed a preference for a lesbian midwife and all experienced homophobic attitudes from healthcare professionals. Queer families included mothers and their partners, fathers and their partners, children, families-of-origin, and close friends.Recommendations from the study include the provision of safe and supportive workplaces for lesbian-identified midwives, the use of inclusive language such as partner and parent, acknowledgement of the woman's partner as a co-parent, midwifery resources featuring same-sex parents and midwifery education covering diverse family forms.

Lesbian mothers , Pregnancy , Birth control , Gay parents , Nursing
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