Claire Lynch shares her experience of being a two-mum family and her advice for other families with two mums.
Photography by And then she clicked.
In my experience, if you’re a woman with a pregnant partner you might find people define you by the things you are not. You’re not pregnant, not giving birth and not becoming a new father. Yet your role is more than that of a birth partner who supports the birth mother, because you are about to become a parent too.
I’m the mother of three children, ranging in age from three years to eight weeks. My wife gave birth to all of our children who were conceived via reciprocal IVF, that is, using my eggs. As a parent in a two-mum family, I’ve learnt some lessons about how to deal with intrusive questions. I’ve also learnt how to manage awkward conversations, and most of all, how to shape family life around the things that matter to us.
I’m writing these articles not because I have all the answers (if only) but because I hope they will be of use to others going through similar experiences.
All parents-to-be worry about how life will change after their baby is born. Will you cope with sleepless nights? How will the baby change your relationship? Through their classes, branch events, support line and website, NCT offers support and information that many families depend on. This is why it is so important that all families see themselves represented through their website, classes and support.
These articles create a space for non-birth mothers to think through their role. How can you support your partner during pregnancy and birth? How can you both prepare, practically and emotionally, for life as new mums? Antenatal classes offer a great opportunity to make new friends and learn useful skills alongside other new parents. Unfortunately, some same-sex couples can feel anxious about joining a group, worried that they might face discrimination, or be made to feel different from the other parents in the group.
All parents can expect to be included and feel welcomed at NCT classes. If you feel nervous about joining a group, you might like to talk to the antenatal teacher in advance to clarify how the course will work. If, for example, parents are sometimes separated into groups by gender, you could request an alternative. You might also like to think in advance about the language you prefer to use. NCT has a vision of a world in which no parent is isolated. All parents should have access to online resources, courses, and networks that support them as parents. I hope you find these articles a useful starting place.
Claire Lynch is a writer and academic. She lives near Windsor with her wife Bethan and their three daughters. This article is part of series she has written about her experiences as a same-sex parent for NCT. If you'd like to share your story, please do get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org