Neither father nor biological mother. A qualitative study about lesbian co-mothers' maternity care experiences.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Bente Dahl, Kirsti Malterud

Objective: To explore lesbian co-mothers’ maternity care experiences and their implications for the caringencounter.
Methods: A qualitative interview study with data from a convenience sample of eleven Norwegiancomothers was conducted. Systematic text condensation was used for data analysis.
Results: Analysis showed that ordinary tokens of recognition created feelings of being included, whilelesbian self-confidence played a major role in awkward encounters. Being neither father nor biologicalmother sometimes challenged parental identity. Being women helped co-mothers understand what theirpartners went through but they had to find other ways of mothering than if they had given birth themselves.Co-mothers addressed themselves with different terms and perceived some concepts as unnaturalor excluding. Parental identity was defined by their relationship to baby, and the term “co-mother” wasperceived as a bureaucratic concept.
Conclusion: For lesbian co-mothers, being recognized in maternity care implies that they are valued forthe qualities that separate them from other user groups on a personal level. On a societal level, beingrecognized is related to acknowledgement of inventive ways of doing family. Everyday signs of recognitionmay prevent moral violation, and by paying particular attention to use of language, staff can helpco-mothers feel acknowledged.
Original languageEnglish
JournalSexual & Reproductive HealthCare
Volume6
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)169-173
Number of pages5
ISSN1877-5756
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2015

ID: 141093983