Optional Motherhood: A Description of Psycho-Social Issues Within the Lesbian Parenting Process

Julie A. Nohner, Augsburg College


The study explored the psycho-social issues of five lesbian-identified couples as they decided to pa.rent. What are the emotional needs, from their perspectives, of lesbian couples as they experience the process of choosing motherhood? The central research question provided descriptive data of the women's experiences from their support networks: their partners, families-of-origin or self-defined families, the lesbian community, their friendship group, professional clinician$, and religious institutions. A common theme emerging within these areas was the need for validation of the women's choice to parent and acknowledgement of this family creation. This demands confronting myths that lesbians should not have children. From a system's perspective, the assumption cannot be made that encouragement and validation for lesbian parenting is accessible from traditional support networks. A discussion of social work practice is included.