Building a family is one of the greatest joys we can experience in life, and how we get there looks different for every individual. But for the LGBTQ+ community, the fertility hurdles to get there can often be higher. Some individuals may need to seek out sperm or egg donors, undergo IVF and IUI treatments, or to seek out a surrogate to carry their baby. Others may opt to foster and/or adopt a child into their families. And while starting a family is already a costly venture, those costs are often multiplied for LGBTQ+ individuals and couples. One thing remains constant though: self-care and mental wellbeing for your LGBTQ+ family building journey are vital, whether you get that through LGBTQ+ affirmations, community support, or overall mindfulness.
Juggling all this creates plenty of stress from the get-go. And that’s not even considering all the additional factors when it comes to pregnancy and childbirth—the possibility of experiencing ectopic pregnancies, miscarriages, preterm labor, and other issues is real no matter who is carrying. At Expectful, we recognize the need for managing mental health during the exciting but sometimes difficult journey into parenthood. That’s why we have plenty of meditations on hand via our app that can benefit any individual or couple looking to build their family.
As a queer mom myself, I recognize folks in our community could also use additional tools to support their journey. That’s why I’ve reached out to parents and doulas in the LGBTQ+ community to compile several affirmations to help you and your loved ones stay positive while you start the process of building your families.
1. “I surround myself with loving, supportive people” / “We surround ourselves with loving, supportive people”
Starting a family doesn’t just mean growing your own household, but rather connecting with many people along the way to make this happen. You might involve your partner, as well as an OB/GYN, fertility specialists, adoption professionals, family, friends, and others. But the important thing is to have people who are there to support you (and your partner if you’re doing this together).
“I love this mantra myself as a queer person, as it’s a beautiful reminder that I can make the choice to bring supportive, affirming people into my community,” says Megan Malone-Franklin of Pittsburgh, PA. A perinatal educator and part of the wife-and-wife doula team at Riverbend Birth, Malone-Franklin feels this is an always-relevant LGBTQ+ affirmation that can be helpful at any stage of the family building journey.
“There can be so many opportunities to encounter those who are less than loving and supportive towards us,” says Malone-Franklin. “But as our families grow, so do our supportive communities if we can make intentional choices about who we bring into our family’s world.”
When trying to figure out which of your loved ones to reach out to in this special time, consider checking out the Asking for Support meditation on the Expectful app.
2. “My body knows how to conceive a healthy pregnancy”
Many people, both in and outside of the queer community, struggle to conceive. But it’s helpful to try and go into the experience using a positive affirmation like this one.
“My first pregnancy was ectopic and ended at 10 weeks,” says Tori Freund, a full spectrum doula and educator at Greater Love Doula Services, and queer nonbinary parent. “Ever since then, it’s been important to remind myself that my body is capable of conceiving a healthy pregnancy.”
Freund also knows that folks who have to jump into using reproductive technology (such as IVF, artificial insemination, etc.) sometimes worry about how their bodies will react to medications and procedures and feel this may be especially beneficial for them. You can also check the Expectful app for their series on Egg Harvesting, which includes meditations on Overcoming Fear of Injections and Egg Production Without Fear.
3. “Our baby is created with love and will be birthed with love”
Choosing to build and grow your family is a journey that should always begin with love. This is especially true for LGBTQ+ couples who often have to put in more effort (and often more time and money) to start this process.
“No matter what situation is needed or who is involved in order to conceive, everything was done with love and in community with people who wanted to help make this happen for us,” says Freund, who is based in Milwaukee, WI. For Freund, that meant a donor, midwife, friends, and family who all showed them love throughout the process.
“Just because some queer and trans folks’ kids aren’t conceived ‘traditionally’ doesn’t mean that there wasn’t loved involved at every step,” says Freund.
Read this honest, reflective interview with two new moms who welcomed their daughter, Rosie, after so much love was poured into the conception process.
4. “Be here”
Kirsten Palladino, co-founder and editorial director of Equally Wed, offered this affirmation, which she has tattooed on her own wrist to help her stay present in her body. “(It) helps me to stay grounded and grow from every moment. It also helps me remember that I am not currently in danger, and that I can, in fact, do hard things,” she says.
She and her wife’s process of family building began with seeking the perfect sperm donor, followed by IUI on three separate occasions with double inseminations.
“(We) got lucky on the third round, and then it turned out we were going to have twins,” says Palladino, who continues to use this mantra to maintain a peaceful energy in her household. Stay present using this affirmation, and check out more meditations on the Expectful app to complement it even after your baby is born, such as Sharing Parenthood, Being With Your Shifting Identity, and Stroller Meditation.
5. “I will not compare my conception journey/pregnancy/birth/parenting to anyone else”
Every conception, pregnancy, birth, and parenting journey is different from the next. But because heterosexual couples are still viewed as the standard in popular media and elsewhere, sometimes queer folks struggle to avoid the comparison trap. But in reality, nothing good comes from dwelling on how your own experience differs from those of others.
“There are a ton of different ways to make babies and have families, and I think it’s human nature to compare our journeys to other people’s, especially for the queer and trans community,” says Freund. “But we’ve been making our families in multiple different ways for as long as we’ve existed—and every single family, however it was built, is valid.”
You can also find helpful meditations on the Expectful app that cover a gamut of unique experiences, from Trusting Your Journey, to Releasing Expectations, and more.
6. “We are having a baby / This is our family”
While many queer couples (and even heterosexual couples) birth their own babies, many others do not. Whether you’re using a surrogate or are growing your family by way of adoption, the truth is you are having your baby and making the conscious decision to become their parent. This is indeed your family.
While some unkind individuals might have their own criticisms about your path to parenthood, frankly those are people you don’t need in your circle on this journey anyhow. Ignore the stigma, and instead, focus on the fact that you and your partner are becoming (or have just become) parents and the amazing family life that awaits you. And don’t forget to check out the Reclaiming Joy meditation on the Expectful app to combat any emotions sparked from any ignorant encounters.
Building a family is about love, honoring your journeys, and connecting with yourselves and your baby. Even if you haven’t used affirmations of other mindful practices with past pregnancies, it’s never too late to start.
“I didn’t use any affirmations in my first pregnancy, but I’d definitely use them going into a second pregnancy,” says Sa’iyda Shabazz, a writer and queer mom based in Los Angeles. Shabazz is in a same-sex relationship and says she and her partner are looking to expand their family in the next few years via IVF.
“I absolutely believe that affirmations can be helpful throughout the journey, from conceiving to the early days of having a child—especially during the process of trying to conceive,” she says. “It’s easy to go to a dark place, and affirmations can keep you from staying there.”
No matter where you are in your family building journey, make sure to use these affirmations to help you get into and stay in the right frame of mind. Feel free to come up with your own that suit your family’s needs, and don’t forget to check out some complementary meditations on the Expectful app as you go along.
We understand that growing your family while having a healthy and happy pregnancy and baby is probably a top priority for you right now.
We created Expectful to help you harness the power of your mind to have a healthy, happy pregnancy and baby.
All of our meditation content is based on interviews with many soon-to-be and new parents just like you, and is created with the help of licensed psychologists, hypnotherapists, and meditation experts. You can practice in just 5 minutes a day.