Reproductive Loss for LGBTQ+ People
Pregnancy loss is an unfortunate and heartbreaking part of many people’s fertility journeys.
An estimated twenty-six percent of all pregnancies result in miscarriage. Oftentimes this is before someone even realizes that they’re pregnant, but this statistic can still seem staggering.
Despite how common miscarriages are, there is a limited amount of information out there for people to turn to in their time of need. What is out there is largely targeted towards heterosexual cis women. While this is entirely necessary, this isn’t the only demographic of people who experience pregnancy loss.
People who are queer, as well as trans, non-binary, and gender non-conforming folks also experience miscarriage, but it can be difficult, if not impossible sometimes, to find inclusive and supportive resources that align with their needs.
We’re here to give you some insight on navigating miscarriage as an LBGTQ+ person, whether you are the gestational parent, non-gestational parent, or experienced loss through adoption.
Know Your Resources
As we mentioned, it can be incredibly difficult to find relatable information on miscarriage and pregnancy loss for LGBTQ people.
Miscarriage can be such an isolating experience. If you’re feeling alone, know that you’re not the only one. There are other people out there who have been through what you’re going through. One of the best tools we have when healing from grief is to hear others’ stories. To reassure us that we’re not the only ones. The same is true for miscarriage.
Books and online resources can help you feel less alone in this journey.
The LGBTQ+ Reproductive Loss website was created as a companion website to the book Reproductive Losses: Challenges to LGBTQ Family-Making by Dr. Christa Craven, a cultural and medical anthropologist. The goal of the project is to paint a broad picture of the kind of reproductive loss LGBTQ+ people face.
There you can find information on the research Dr. Craven conducted on LGBTQ+ reproductive loss, as well stories and support resources for LGBTQ+ people and those who support them.
The Legacy of Leo was created by an LGBT parent after experiencing a stillbirth. On their website, you can find people’s different stories about reproductive loss, as well as helpful information and resources on LGBTQ+ conception and loss.
Baby in Heaven is another website offering a variety of supportive tools and resources for LGBTQ+ who have experienced reproductive loss, whether during pregnancy, birth, or adoption. They also have a list of online support groups for healing in community.
Another incredible resource is Return to Zero: H.O.P.E. They have an easy-to-navigate list of resources on LGBTQ+ loss and support, advocacy and empowerment, inclusive midwives and doulas, blogs and articles, books, and podcasts.
Find Inclusive Support
Reproductive loss can be like any other form of grief. It can take time to heal, and oftentimes you need support from people outside of your loved ones.
Finding inclusive support can be difficult as an LGBTQ+ person. Technology has made it possible to find this support virtually anywhere if you live in an area where this might be difficult to access.
A support person could mean a therapist or counselor, as well as a midwife or full-spectrum doula.
The Psychology Today website allows you to search for providers that match your specific needs. You can specifically search for LGBTQ+ friendly providers, as well as those who specialize in reproductive loss and grief.
Queer Doula Network is dedicated to helping LGBTQ+ people find inclusive doula support across the U.S.
Set Clear Boundaries
After a reproductive loss, it’s common to be bombarded with questions and concerns.
You don’t owe anyone extra details about your life or family. You get to choose how, when, and what you disclose to people about your reproductive loss.
Set boundaries by taking time off of work if you need to and are able to, limit socializing to only people who you feel safe with and held by, and take all the time you need for rest and self-care.
Although this isn’t the case for every person, many queer people undergo intra-uterine-insemination (IUI) or in-vitro fertilization (IVF) in order to conceive.
These incredible modern advancements give people more options for conceiving than just the old-fashioned way.
As great as this is, it can also make having a baby an incredibly expensive and time-consuming process. Outside of the financial strain and possible side effects from hormones if undergoing IVF, many people undergo stress because of how medicalized pregnancy becomes.
After a miscarriage, you may find yourself undergoing all sorts of tests and being poked and prodded when you might just want to rest and take a break.
If this is you, know that it’s ok to say no to your providers, to set boundaries, to take time off from trying to conceive again, and to focus on your health and self-care for a while.
The Bottom Line
If you have experienced a miscarriage or are anticipating one know that we are so sorry. We understand how your journey as a queer person is nuanced, and how difficult it can be to find the support you need.
Remember that now is the time to prioritize your health and wellbeing. You don’t owe anyone an explanation or more energy than you have to give. Focus your energy inwards, you will get through this.
Natasha (she/her) is a full-spectrum doula and health+wellness copywriter. Her work focuses on deconstructing the shame, stigma, and barriers people carry around birth, sex, health, and beyond, to help people navigate through their lives with more education and empowerment. You can connect with Natasha on IG @natasha.s.weiss.