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Eleven: Help is on its way - the importance of community

My first week back at work from maternity leave and it was time for the staff Christmas party. I’m going to suggest a child free evening out with limitless alcohol and colleagues you haven’t seen for a year is probably not the best combination. My last memory was trying to locate my phone as it sped down the M4 in the taxi without me.

 

I woke to the worst hangover. Nothing was going to alleviate the hideous nausea, not even Lucozade through an intravenous drip. What was even more distressing was we were due at the ‘Pink Parents’ Christmas family soirée. I had about an hour to get myself together enough to meet a group of strangers at an LGBTQ parents’ events.

 

Arriving at the hosts home, an hour later than my family. I was greeted by a festively dressed women who hugged me then sympathetically laughed as had heard I may be feeling worse for wear. Led into a noisy lounge full of adults and excited children I was immediately handed the much-needed full fat Coke and plate of carbs.

 

Over the next few hours the room of LGBTQ strangers laughed, talked, shared experiences, and became a support network. We all had one thing in common, that are sexuality had resulted in alternative roots to parenting. We learnt when and how to tell our children about the donor, how to communicate to schools and normalise our families within the communities we lived.


Despite the nausea, I could also feel the unity. I was around my community and my children, in that moment, were not alone in their uniquely alternative family.

 

The positive impact of LGBTQ+ parenting networks


We see the importance of community connection across all aspects of life. Sexuality, race, gender, age, healthcare, hobbies, addiction to name just a few. Safe spaces to be our authentic self, learn from shared experiences and laugh inappropriately at personal situations without fear of repercussion. 



Over the years the needs of the group changed. The meet ups became less frequent as families moved and the children grew. We became more settled as LGBTQ parents and secure within the communities we lived.


The legacy of the Pink Parent group may evolve within our children. As they grow they may become their own support group. A safe space where they can figure out the world, complain about their parents, how unfair it is to have two mums or dads and how no one understands them. For us we know we have people we can always call on to laugh inappropriately with, when that teenage angst kicks in!

 

Finding community support:


I found the informal Pink Parents group via a friend of a friend. Others were there through word of mouth via their midwives, birthing groups (NCT), nurseries and some found the community on social media.


I hope the equivalent of Pink Parents groups have popped up all over the country. If there isn’t one in your area and you would like that community support then why not start one yourself?


Festive rainbow hats are not a prerequisite. All you need is a space to meet up like a park, a house, a local café and then start spreading the word. Your support network is out their and they'll be so grateful to have found you.


Have you a support group in your area? How important is any type of community group to you, regardless of sexuality or gender? Please leave your thoughts in comments below ❤️

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