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Birthing Books:

  • Birth Reborn, by Michel Odent
  • Birthing from Within, by Pam England
  • Having a Baby, Naturally, by Peggy O'Mara
  • Immaculate Deception: Myth, Magic, and Birth, by Suzanne Arms
  • Mindful Birthing: the Mind, Body, and Heart, Nancy Bardacke
  • Mothering the Mother: How a Doula Can Help You Have a Shorter, Easier, and Healthier Birth, by Marshall H. Klaus
  • Special Delivery, by Rahima Baldwin
  • Spiritual Midwifery, by Ina May Gaskin
  • The Birth Partner, by Penny Simkin
  • The New Essential Guide to Lesbian Conception, Pregnancy, and Birth, by Brill & Sacks
  • The Thinking Woman's Guide to A Better Birth, by Henci Goer
  • Your Baby Your Way, by Sheila Kitzinger

Parenting Blogs:

Parenting Books:

  • Buddhism for Mothers, by Sarah Napthali
  • Mindful Motherhood, Cassandra Vieten
  • Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids: How to Stop Yelling and Start Connecting, Laura Markham
  • Discipline Without Distress, by Judy Arnall
  • Lesbians Raising Sons, by Jesse Wells
  • Magical Child, by Joseph Chilton Pearce
  • Magical Parent Magical Child: The Art of Joyful Parenting, by by Joseph Chilton Pearce
  • Mommy Mantras: Affirmations and Insights to
         Keep You from Loosing Your Mind, by Casarjian and Dillon
  • Optimal Parenting: Using Natural Learning Rhythms
         to Nurture the Whole Child, by Ba Luvmour
  • Parenting from the Heart: Sharing the of Compassion,
         Connection, and Choice, by Inbal Kashtan
  • Parenting from the Inside Out, by Dan Siegel and Mary Hartzell
  • Parenting With Love And Logic, by Foster Cline and Jim Fay
  • Queer Families, Common Agendas:
         Gay People, Lesbians, and Family Values, by T. Richard Sullivan
  • Raising a Family: Living on Planet Parenthood,
         by Jeanne Elium and Don Elium
  • Raising Our Children, Raising Ourselves, by Naomi Aldort
  • Single Mothers By Choice: A Guidebook for
         The Great Behavior Breakdown, by Bryan Post
  • Who Are Considering or Have Chosen Motherhood,by Jane Mattes
  • The Queer Parent's Primer: A Lesbian and Gay Families'
         Guide to Navigating Through a Straight World, by Stephanie Brill

Pregnancy, Birth, & Parenting Groups & Services:

Parenting Lists:

Birthcare Professionals:

Health & Fitness:

Urgent Support:

  • Local Emergency: 911
  • FamilyPaths: 1-800-829-3777
  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline:
         1-800-273-TALK (8255)
  • Postpartum Warm Line:

Realities & Resources for the Queer Solo Parent

Meghan Lewis, PhD, CMT (An excerpt first published in the BirthWays Newsletter, March 2011)

Becoming a single parent by choice assumes great love and great fortitude. For many queer solo parents the understanding exists that, yes, love makes a family, and fortitude is required, but an additional quality is oftentimes necessary: The ability to jump through hoops with great hope (and great humor) that one's intention and purpose to become a parent will be validated with the proverbial and literal stamp of (social/political/institutional) approval. Unfortunately, this is not always true. For example, queer solo parents may have to wrestle with insurance companies to have costs covered for reproductive technology, such as intentional fertilization/artificial insemination; they may have to cross their fingers that the licensed clinical social worker at the adoption agency acts in accordance with the non-discrimination by-laws; and they likely will contend with other social ramifications and political injustices that stigmatize and scrutinize not only those who are categorized as single mothers, but doubly-so as those who breed queer spawn.

In an interview with a queer solo parent of a preschooler, one Oakland lesbian mom shared her experience of joining a mom's group wherein the conversations often turned to the topic of the other women's husbands' roles and responsibilities in their respective families and the particular challenges therein. It was not long before she saw her social life growing more and more heterosexually-oriented. Being consistently surrounded by straight mothers with marital privilege, she felt somewhat othered and out of place. In response, this mom sought balance by joining queer family-oriented social groups. A bi-identified mother of an elementary-age student described her experience similarly, wherein the majority of her social contacts, such as at her son's school, athletic events, and play dates, were with people of two-parent, heterosexual, legally married households. She felt compelled to find folk that reflected her family constellation so her son would see that, though they were unique, they were certainly not alone. The proactive actions of these moms worked to prevent isolation that could otherwise occur as a result of insufficient reflection in the face of the predominant parenting paradigm.

In an area rich in resources for families, from farmers' markets to fine art museums, holistic pediatricians to homeschool playgroups, soccer coaches to spiritual communities, more and more families are finding what they need to feel nourished. The Bay Area also is home to a wide range of queer-focused groups, organizations, and professional service providers offering unconditional support and community connections. Our Family Coalition (OFC), founded in 1997, regularly offers queer single parent gatherings, monthly transgender parent support groups, as well as an annual LGBTQ Family Day event at the Berkeley YMCA. OFC also strives to create safe and welcoming environments in schools, and works to promote social justice for all families. Also available to East Bay families is the Berkeley Lesbian Moms Meetup Group, which organizes monthly events such as holiday cookie decorating parties, 4th of July BBQ's, bowling parties, trips to the beach, visits to the zoo and many other child-friendly activities throughout the year. At these gatherings it is easy to find other queer solo parents with children of all ages, and to join in the various fun-filled, community building activities.

An additional challenge for queer solo parents may be in seeing one's family as a complete family, especially for those who spent many years envisioning a co-parent in the picture. Embracing one's position in the spectrum of family diversity may feel increasingly daunting within the maelstrom of such frequently posed questions as, "Where's the daddy/mommy?" and "Don't you think your child should have a male/female role model?" These queries seem to insinuate that the wisdom underlying the very personal choice of becoming a solo parent (possibly the most personal choice) is in question. They also may imply that the queer solo parent is inherently not good enough. Having a plan to probe and challenge well-intended inquiries and concerns may be of benefit, as the opportunity invariably will arise to enlighten the perplexed and the doubtful.

And for the femme-identified parent, who appears to be gender-conforming, there may be a sense of invisibility in her seeming passability. For example, there may be situations in which she must decide whether or not to come out when the other new mom at the park asks her what her husband does.

Transgender people also may face gender biases regarding their fit-ness for family. One Berkeley transparent of two described his experience of creating family through a fost-adopt program. While there is always a real possibility of re-unification with the biological family and, thus, loss of adoption for any foster family in the program, this transparent had to cope with the added worry that the adoption process could be reversed if the adoptee's biological family discovered, and disapproved of, his gender non-conforming identity.

As parents we are called constantly to dig deep. As queer solo parents we have to dig deeper still. We have to stand our ground, to affirm and reaffirm our parenting positions. We are a rich and resourceful community of the strong, the independent, the bold and the brave. We push the boundaries of established realities, we question authority, we follow our own leads, trusting our instincts and our hearts, believing in our right to parent. And when in doubt, we can call on those who have been there. We can choose to remember that though we are solo, we are not alone. We love, we cherish, we sacrifice, we share. We are devoted parents full of pride.

Queer Solo Parent-Friendly Providers in the East Bay


     A Better Way,

     Alameda County Social Services,

     Family Builders,

Sperm Banks:

     Pacific Reproductive Services,

     The Sperm Bank of California,

LGBTQ Perinatal Wellness Associates of the Bay Area:

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