As a lesbian or bisexual mum, where do you go for advice? Is
there a one-stop shop for us? Everywhere I turn there are ads for
mums featuring dads with links to various websites. But if your sex
life takes a bit of a dip, or you are having relationship worries,
as a gay/bi woman, is there anywhere you can go?
When I was pregnant with my first son, my partner at the time
decided she didn't want to be a mum and left weeks before he was
born. I was left stranded emotionally, so to speak. I had no-one
who really understood. I did have family support, which helped, but
the evenings after a break-up can be lonely at the best of times,
never mind when you are eight months pregnant. What do you do? You
Google, of course, and I did.
I came across Mumsnet. I am
sure you have heard of this site, even if you don't have children,
as they've been in the news quite a lot in recent times. Often
described as a nest of vipers (Mumsnet "brings together... angry
women" said Christina Odone in the Telegraph last week), my
experience is far from this. With various sections, from feminism
to cooking, to lesbian/gay
parents and parents with LGBT children,
Mumsnet has been a great resource for me. The women I met there
helped me through a dark time in my life, finding me resources and
just being there at 5am when I couldn't sleep.
The LGBT parenting section is a great place for us to post any
issues we have. It is anonymous, so you don't have to "out"
yourself. There is something liberating about getting advice from
people who don't know you. It feels open and honest. Of course it's
a forum-based website and is open to trolls, posters with bad
advice and people disagreeing, but you pick and choose from the
I have found over the years, that it is a site not only for
mothers, but for women. It has taught me about feminism and legal
rights to how to help my children through sleepless nights, or even
when they refuse to eat. The wisdom and laughter of the genuine
posters is immense and invaluable.
It's not as straight as you might assume, either. Clare Balding
even had a webchat
with them, and a surprising number of Mumsnetters are quite
obsessed with Sue
Perkins! I have never encountered homophobia on the site
directly (though it is out there), in fact, the women I have
chatted with have never even brought sexuality up. Just because you
are a mother, it's not all you are. Sites like Mumsnet give us a
big booming voice. Social media has changed the way women can
interact in the world and a lot of people don't like it when we say
something they disagree with. My reaction to this is to make my
voice even louder.
Are you a Mumsnetter? Tweet me @stephother