Reflecting on loss from a non-bio mother's perspective

Laura-Rose and her wife have been together for 13 years and are founders of The LGBT Mummies Tribe. They always knew they wanted children but didn’t know any other same-sex families. In this blog, Laura-Rose discusses the journey to their miracle children, and reflects on fertility treatment and loss from a non-bio mother’s perspective.
Image

As an LGBT+ lesbian couple, our journey has been fraught with difficulty and heartache. Between us we’ve been through IVF, 10 intrauterine inseminations and a frozen embryo transfer, including a miscarriage in the first trimester. 

Fertility treatment is difficult at the best of times for anyone; however, going through treatment as a non-biological mother or parent can be difficult. Similarly, a loss can be difficult for any couple, but as a non-biological mother or parent it can add yet another dimension to the isolation you feel.

“I was emotionally invested and present for the pregnancy, but physically I wasn’t showing.”

When we discovered my wife may possibly lose the baby, it was a long few weeks of seeing her levels go down and having to monitor the pregnancy. When the time came and she lost the baby, as a partner, I felt helpless.

I was angry that we had lost the baby, and frustrated that I couldn’t make my wife feel better – but I also felt isolated that no-one made me feel present, and then selfish for even feeling that way.

Whenever a couple suffer a loss, we find many professionals direct their empathy and language towards the birth mother or parent, and I was a mere bystander.

“My scars and pain weren’t physical, they were internal – so they went unseen, unnoticed.”

There needs to be further support for LGBT+ women, including ‘non-bio’ mothers and parents, during pregnancy but also through loss. More conversations need to be had and more stories shared, so that other LGBT+ women and people do not feel alone, and our partnership with Tommy’s will do just that.

The story behind the LGBT Mummies Tribe

Between us we have 2 miracle children and are incredibly lucky that we are both ‘bio’ and ‘non-bio’ mothers. In those 9 years, we were consistently contacted by others, or people who had ‘friends like us’, about how we started our family. It cemented for us the fact that there was no central point or source of information and support for women looking to start a family - not just by fertility treatment, but any route available to starting a family.

That’s why we decided to set up The LGBT Mummies Tribe: to ‘Educate, Share, Celebrate’ and support LBGT+ women and people looking to start a family. What started off as a small Instagram page has flourished into a full-blown business, involving ‘meet’ events, support groups and worldwide media coverage, with over 23k+ followers across our social channels.

We’ve had multiple articles and interview published, been on the LGBT+ Parenting panel for My GWork and have worked with some amazing brands like The Positive Birth Company and Stonewall. We were invited to Downing Street’s Pride Reception by the Prime Minister last year, and met with the Government Equalities Office to discuss areas that LGBT+ women and their families need further support across Healthcare and also in society.

Recently we were honoured to be asked to be involved with one of the UK’s Clinical Commissioning Groups for their Policy Review of assisted reproductive techniques -meaning we can directly impact how our community is provided for within those areas. We’re also in talks with NHS Improvement England, Health Education England, The Royal College of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists, Royal College of Midwives and other organisations.

We’re delighted to be working with the LGBT Mummies Tribe, to promote inclusivity throughout the pregnancy journey and in support around baby loss.