Experiences of Preconception, Pregnancy, and New Motherhood for Lesbian Nonbiological Mothers


  • Danuta M. Wojnar,

    Corresponding author
    • Correspondence

      Danuta M. Wojnar, PhD, RN, IBCLC, FAAN, Maternal Child and Family Nursing, Seattle University, College of Nursing, 901 12th Avenue, PO Box 222000, Seattle, WA 98122-1090. wojnard@seattleu.edu

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  • Amy Katzenmeyer

  • The authors report no conflict of interest or relevant financial relationships.



To describe the experiences of preconception, pregnancy, and new motherhood from the perspective of lesbian nonbiological mothers.


Descriptive phenomenology.


A private room at the study site and participants’ homes.


Twenty-four self-identified lesbian nonbiological mothers in a committed relationship and whose partner gave birth within the past 2 years participated. All of the participants were from urban or suburban areas in the Pacific Northwest.


Women participated in semistructured in person interviews that were audio recorded and transcribed verbatim for analysis. Coliazzi's method guided the process.


An overarching theme of “feeling different” permeated the experiences of preconception, pregnancy, and new motherhood for the participants. The women's narratives revealed seven themes that illustrated their experiences: (a) Launching pregnancy: A roller coaster ride; (b) Having legal and biological concerns: Biology prevails; (c) There is a little person in there: Dealing with pregnancy issues; (d) Losing relationships over pregnancy: The elephant in the room; (e) Feeling incomplete as a mother; (f) Carving a unique role: There are very few of us out there; and (g) Sadness and regret: Nonbiological mothers get the postpartum blues, too.


The experience of preconception, pregnancy, and new motherhood for nonbiological lesbian mothers is complicated by the lack of biological and legal substantiation to the infant, few role models, and limited social support. Nurses and health care providers cognizant of these issues can play an important role in facilitating a positive transition to motherhood for this population.