Becoming a parent brings a range of joys and challenges to most people. However, if you identify as LGBTQ+ you may experience additional concerns.
Despite the increasing number of families who do not fall neatly into the ‘one-mum, one-dad’ structure, you may still face a considerable amount of stigma and prejudice and find that services are not designed to cater fully for the wide range of modern family set-ups.
The heterosexual and cis-normative biases that you encounter may leave you feeling frustrated, misunderstood, and unsupported.
There is evidence that LGBTQ+ people are more likely to experience mental health issues and this may mean you are at increased risk during the perinatal period, particularly if you feel socially isolated or have strained relationships with your own family network.
The route to parenthood for you may have included fertility treatment, surrogacy, adoption or fostering, or you may have had children from a previous relationship and have felt increasingly stressed during this time.
If you are a non-biological or non-birthing parent, you can also experience perinatal mental illness but may find you are not being included or offered support.
You may feel that healthcare professionals lack the confidence and knowledge to understand and recognise the issues you may be experiencing but it is important to discuss with your GP, midwife, or health visitor if you have concerns about your mental health or other aspects of your care.
There are many organisations offering helpful advice and signposting which may also be useful. You can also contact the Patient Advisory and Liaison Service at your hospital to discuss any issues.
Below is a resource list of support organisations for members of the LGBTQ+ community.
National Childbirth Trust (NCT) website has information and support for LGBTQ+ parents including:
Pink Parents – Offers support for same sex couples who are parents
Stonewall parenting rights – Information for parents on parenting rights including parental responsibility, adopting, fostering, co-parenting, fertility treatment and surrogacy
The LGBT Mummies Tribe – Provide resources, support groups and services for LGBTQ+ mums and parents
New Family Social – Support for LGBTQ+ families with adoption and fostering
Mind – Information about mental health support for people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, intersex, queer or questioning (LGBTIQ+)
Galop – LGBTQ+ anti violence charity supporting all LGBTQ+ people who’ve experienced hate crime, domestic abuse or sexual violence
NHS – Having a baby of you’re LGBT+ Find out about starting a family if you’re lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or non-binary.