Mothers in Same-Sex Relationships - Striving for Equal Parenthood: A Grounded Theory Study

Heléne Appelgren Engström, Elisabet Häggström-Nordin, Catrin Borneskog, Anna-Lena Almqvist

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)
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Aims and objectives: To get a deeper understanding of how mothers in same-sex relationships think and reason about their parenthood in terms of gender equality, and how they experience early parental support from child healthcare professionals. Background: There is an increasing amount of research on how women in same-sex relationships experience healthcare services when forming a family. Yet there is limited knowledge of what kind of early parental support these women may request. Design: Grounded theory. Follows guidelines for qualitative research (COREQ). Method: Twenty women ranging from 25 to 42 years of age participated in semi-structured interviews. Data collection and analysis took place in parallel, as recommended in grounded theory methodology. Results: The results are described by the core category Same-sex mothers request professional support to achieve equal parenthood, which includes five categories: (a) equality in everyday life, (b) diversity in mother and child attachment, (c) justification of the family structure, (d) ambivalent thoughts about their child's future and (e) a special need for networking and request for professional support. These findings provide a deeper understanding of how same-sex mothers experience their parenthood and the parental support that is offered. Conclusion: Child healthcare professionals need to be sensitive and recognise both mothers as equal parents and offer early parenting groups where two-mother families feel included and supported. Relevance to clinical practice: Healthcare professionals need to be aware of diverse family formations and meet each parent as a unique individual without heteronormative assumptions. Same-sex mothers must be treated as equal parents and acknowledged as mothers. Healthcare professionals should offer inclusive and supportive parental groups to same-sex families. They should also inform and support nonbirth mothers about the possibility to breastfeed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3700-3709
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Clinical Nursing
Issue number19-20
Early online date10 Jul 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2019


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