Laura-Rose Thorogood is a proud queer mum to four children – but getting to where she is today wasn’t always easy.
She and her wife Stacey spent years – and in excess of £40,000 – to build the family they craved. They’ve had to contend with a system that is impenetrable and expensive for queer people who want to have children.
Each year, Mother’s Day is a chance for the family to celebrate how far they’ve come.
“Getting to that point of actually having a baby in your arms for an LGBTQ+ woman, man, person is incredibly difficult because it is full of barriers, whether it be lack of access to funding, lack offinances, lack of support in the workplace,” Laura tells PinkNews.
“By the time you get that baby in your arms, sometimes it does feel like, has this all been a dream? It’s been such a difficult journey.”
The obstacles for queer parents don’t stop at childbirth – Laura and her wife have repeatedly found themselves contending with systems that are set up for heterosexual parents.
“You have to deal with the questions or the looks at the school gates, or trying to fill out the birth certificate, filing out forms at the GP surgery, having to argue about whether the non-birthing or non-gestational parent can actually sign the forms,” Laura explains.
There’s also the never-ending cycle of coming out that queer mums face.
“We’re consistently having to tell people because the heteronormative view is that we must be sisters, we must be mother and daughter – there can’t be any possible scenario where we might be married or we might be partners.
“The journey doesn’t end once you get baby in your arms. You have to consistently address your gender identity, your sexuality, your path to family creation, and then what your family make up is.”
On Mother’s Day, queer mum says everyday joys trump barriers
Even despite all the challenges, Laura is deeply aware just how lucky she and her wife are. They’ve been able to overcome barriers to build the family they always wanted – and now they get to relish in the everyday joys of raising children.
“Our journey may have been really difficult, but wow – how lucky are we?” she says.
“I think for us, the joys are the same as they are for heterosexual parents – it’s their firsts and their lasts. You get their first laugh, their first steps, when they say ‘mummy’ or whatever your chosen name is as a parent.
“With their lasts, it’s knowing it’s the last time they’ll wear that baby grow or the last time that they’ll be at nursery. It’s those moments that you’ll treasure and hold close and those memories that you’ll look back on.”
Seeing those lasts comes with a tinge of sadness, and that can be exacerbated when your journey to parenthood wasn’t staightforward.
“By the time you get to the point where [your children] are doing these amazing, wonderful, memorable things, it kind of makes you reflect back on how far you’ve come to get to that point, but on how quickly it’s gone as well.”
Laura adds: “I think because of the journeys we have to go through to create our families, we don’t tend to take those things for granted. Every little sneeze and word and laugh is memorable and is treasured because we know how difficult it was to get to that point.
“For a lot of people it’s really marred with a lot of sadness – joy at the same time. It’s that double-edged sword.”
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