An Exploratory Study of Single and Coupled Lesbian Mothers' Experiences with Social Support


  • Lara Descartes



This exploratory interview study reveals ten lesbian mothers’ experiences with different forms of social support. Ten lesbian mothers, five single and five who were part of couples, all with young children and living in southern Ontario, discussed their experiences with emotional, instrumental, and informational support from family, friends and neighbours, the LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning) community, support groups, day cares and schools, health care providers, and online and print resources. Most women had largely positive experiences with family and friends but experienced more variability in the other domains. The mothers’ perceptions of potential support sources’ acceptance of diversity and efforts at inclusivity particularly influenced their willingness to access organized forms of support. The single lesbian mothers’ experiences differed from the coupled lesbian mothers’, although there was overlap. Organizations, service providers, and authors providing assistance and information to prospective and current parents are encouraged to continue to increase their awareness of and efforts at including all families.