Talking About LGBT Family Building
About LGBT Family Building: A Conversation
As many of you know, our featured blogger Lisa Rosenthal contributes to our community in many ways. In addition to her posts here on PathtoFertility, she is founder and teacher of our Fertile Yoga classes and she blogs elsewhere, among other things. Her posts appear on Fertility Authority's website and the following post published recently on Gay Parenting Voices, the official blog at GayParentsToBe.com. GayParentsToBe is a partnership with RMACT, whose entire practice is dedicated to providing excellent fertility treatment and cutting edge assisted reproductive technology to same-sex couples looking to start a family. Read below for what Lisa had to say about LGBT family building. *****************************************
When I was ready for a baby, getting pregnant was a much bigger ordeal than I ever could have imagined. It cost more financially and emotionally than my husband and I were in any way prepared to handle. While the financial cost was tremendously challenging, the emotional cost was far greater. Especially when it came to relationships and what one could and could not expect.
One thing that astounded me over and over again were the kind of comments made by family, friends, colleagues and even complete strangers. I made a list of things that I never wanted to hear again, in regards to my family building. I also made a list of things that I found were comforting and helpful to say. I made copies of these lists and handed them out liberally and literally. Those lists became lifesavers for my friends and I. Those lists helped preserve relationships. Those lists are updated periodically and are a top read on PathtoFertility.
I learned that people don’t always mean to say insensitive, hurtful things and that given the choice, education and information, they could learn to say things that were meaningful and soothing. Putting that time and effort into making a list helped me define the things that hurt me right to the core and things that I found silly and irrelevant. Some things I heard, over time, even made me laugh. Exploring my own reactions helped me learn that “I’m sorry” is always welcome when the alternative is to try to give advice or fix a situation that is not fixable in that moment.
Each of us hears things differently. I know that any comment that had to do with god was not going to go well with me. I believe in being respectful, to the best of my ability, and that includes not inflicting my version of god on you. I expect and invite that same respect back. So comments that had to do with god’s will or intentions or desires for me were particularly not well received. What I also learned was that I was not alone in hearing these types of comments. Well-meant, well-intentioned most of the time (and sometimes not), anyone on a path that strayed from the married, heterosexual couple having sex and creating a baby was subject to uncomfortable and hurtful comments.
Here’s my question to you about LGBT Family Building:
*What questions and comments have you gotten while trying to create your family?
*Are there some particular dis-favorites that you have heard and wish you hadn’t?
*Are you willing to share them so that we can offer some comfort to others going through this?
It’s our intention at GayParentstoBe to create a series of blogs about comments that are not helpful as well as those comments with which you felt supported and comforted.
Please share with us some of the comments that you’ve heard about LGBT Family Building. It can be hard to do; I know that. To dig up these comments that cut right to the core doesn’t necessarily feel good. We’re not asking you to do so for anyone’s entertainment or amusement. We’re asking you to do so to help support someone else going through this. Chances are that someone else has heard those comments as well. There’s some comfort right there, in knowing that you are not alone. And you are definitely not alone. We want everyone out there to remember that.
Consider, too, the person out there who would like to be supportive, loving and compassionate and simply does not know how to express that to you. Let’s help them out. Let’s tell them what hurts and what soothes. Let’s let them help us.
We can do this better. All of us. I’m all in.
What about you?
Please join the conversation about negative comments heard regarding LGBT Family Building. Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments section below or with this post on our Facebook page. We are encouraging as many people as possible to participate. Stay tuned for a blog post chronicling actual responses and how to respond to negativity.
Lisa Rosenthal's Google+
About Lisa Rosenthal
Lisa has over thirty years of experience in the fertility field. After her personal infertility journey, she felt dissatisfied with the lack of comprehensive services available to support her. She was determined to help others undergoing fertility treatment. Lisa has been with RMACT for eleven years and serves as Patient Advocate and the Strategic Content Lead.
Lisa is the teacher and founder of Fertile Yoga, a program designed to support men and women on their quest for their families through gentle movement and meditation.
Lisa’s true passion is supporting patients getting into treatment, being able to stay in treatment and staying whole and complete throughout the process. Lisa is also a Certified Grief Recovery Specialist, which is helpful in her work with fertility patients.
Her experience also includes working with RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association and The American Fertility Association (now Path2Parenthood), where she was Educational Coordinator, Conference Director and Assistant Executive Director.