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The Other Mother meets other mothers

DIVA's parenting columnist wonders where gay/bi mums go for online support and advice

Steph Mann

Mon, 15 Apr 2013 12:12:13 GMT | Updated 3 years today

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 good stuff.

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

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