Stories of grief and hope: Queer experiences of reproductive loss.

2017-01-20T13:33:54Z (GMT) by Christa Craven Elizabeth Peel
When parents and researchers talk of queer perspectives on pregnancy, birth and parenting, an issue that we often avoid is queer experiences of loss during pregnancy, birth or adoption. This chapter centers on the personal narratives collected by two researchers—an American anthropologist and a British psychologist —who met online after their own experiences with pregnancy loss as queer women. We present the stories of queer people—primarily lesbian and bisexual women, but also several gay men and transpeople—as they have experienced reproductive loss. These stories are drawn from Peel’s online survey of 60 non-heterosexual women from the UK, USA, Canada and Australia and Craven’s 40 interviews with LGBTQ people who had experienced loss in the USA and Canada. We argue that for LGBTQ people, challenges in achieving conception and adoption amplify stories of loss, and that both grief and hope suffuse stories of reproductive loss. We identify several factors, such as the severely under-researched experiences of nonEgestational or “social” parents, financial concerns about loss following assisted reproduction or adoption expenses, and fears of further marginalization as non-normative parents. These issues are particular, if not unique to queer experiences of reproductive loss. As most research and existing resources for support have focused heavily on the experiences of married, heterosexual (primarily white, middleEclass) women, we conclude by suggesting ways for medical professionals and support groups to better serve LGBTQ people following reproductive loss.