Wins and Woes from our LGBTQIA+ Community

Emily Oster

8 min Read Emily Oster

Emily Oster

Wins and Woes from our LGBTQIA+ Community

Your stories for the week

Emily Oster

8 min Read

Wins and Woes is our community newsletter — a place for your stories and questions, where you can connect directly with other ParentData readers. 


In honor of Pride Month, we asked our LGBTQIA+ readers to share their parenting wins and woes with us. 

We know that people in this community may face medical hurdles, social stigma, and a lack of understanding or support along their parenting journey. Despite these challenges, so many of you find strength in your resilience and are committed to raising happy, healthy children who embrace love and acceptance for all. 

We also have a question from a parent who would like your suggestions on LGBTQIA+ and family-friendly countries — share your thoughts or ideas! As always, this is your space, so please submit a story for next week or leave a comment for any of your fellow readers.

Mary says:

One thing that I think is so important for hetero families to understand is that education about LGBTQIA+ families starts at home and is so important if you consider yourself an ally. I’ll never forget when my daughter came home from school and said her classmate told her, “Only a mom and dad can get married.” Now, we don’t know for certain if her parents told her that, but what we do know is if her parents told her, “Anyone can be a family and get married — two moms, two dads, etc. — and families are made up of all different types of parents,” that may have been avoided. It doesn’t have to be extensive education, just help your kids understand that families are made up of other things besides a mom and dad.  Also, joke’s on her, because me and my wife are married, so she is spitting lies 😉 

We’ve been lucky and didn’t have a ton of struggles getting pregnant with IUI, as I know that’s not always the case — we had friends who did 13 rounds of IUI between the two of them and now are moving on to IVF. So my heart goes out to those who are trying to conceive and having a hard time, as with any sexual orientation it can be disheartening and a tough journey!

Mia says:

We’re two moms to five-month-old twins and a 3-year-old toddler. We’re South African, which makes us lucky in the sense that our country’s constitution is fairly liberal, so we are legally married and had access to IVF to grow our family.

A parenting win for us: I think we have a pretty equal distribution of household labour, which can’t always be said for heterosexual couples, even nowadays. And a woe: One gripe related to LGBTQIA+ is that people keep referring to our sperm donor as the “father,” which is a bit infuriating, but it’s probably just out of ignorance and it’s too much schlep to keep correcting.

DJ says:

I had Carter through IUI in 2021 and have just finished an IVF cycle (had surgery this past Saturday). My wife has had a couple miscarriages and an unsuccessful IVF cycle. The hope is that I’ll have enough good embryos for us to try for another kiddo — Marjorie will carry this time … fingers crossed, cuz this kiddo needs a sibling! Lol.

Happy Pride Month!

Jess says:

My wife and I have been trying to conceive for going on two years, and it has been a very tough road. By the numbers: we’ve done six IUI cycles (and counting), had several canceled cycles due to premature ovulation, and did one egg retrieval, which resulted in two embryos that were chromosomally abnormal and therefore incompatible with life. 

I feel like the whole process is simultaneously a win and a woe: We are so fortunate to be privileged enough to pursue fertility treatment at all, to live in a time when fertility treatment has advanced significantly, to have each other to lean on, and to be surrounded by the support of family and friends. At the same time, we have agonized about money every step of the way, driven hundreds of miles to and from clinics, lost hours of sleep for early-morning monitoring appointments, wept with other hopeful parents in a support group, and felt the deep and unrelenting pain of watching many friends successfully conceive (usually for free). Our fate as hopefully future parents is completely tied to the inhumanity of a privatized health-care system, and despite living in a relatively progressive state, we are now facing a cultural climate that is openly hostile to queer people as we continue to try to bring a child into the world. 

All of this is to say: I’ve learned that queer parenting begins long before there is a child to care for. 

Vanessa says:

My wife and I always knew we wanted to start a family. Navigating this has been quite the journey. As part of our wedding registry when we got married in 2021, we provided the option of monetary gifting toward our future family. We received around $1,200 (we had a small wedding), and this definitely helped. Then we started navigating our fertility benefits with our employers, which turned out to be non-existent.

My family means a lot to me, especially after my mother passed away in a car accident. I am 38 and my partner is 32. My partner was actually conceived with a sperm donor since her parents had fertility issues, so she was indifferent as to what route we chose. We decided that her odds of conceiving going the IUI route were higher than mine. In November of last year, we began all the genetic and blood testing at a fertility center. 

In January, when my HSA was funded by my employer, we purchased the donor sperm. Yes, you can use HSA funds to purchase donor sperm. I had to do some research on this, since I was afraid the claim would get denied. We were told by the fertility center to purchase between two and three vials. We only purchased two based on the cash we had accessible to us at that time. The donor search proved quite a few things. Purchasing sperm is an extreme privilege to begin with. The donor backgrounds in terms of people of color were very limited. I am Mexican and my partner is white, so we wanted to find someone of Latinx descent. The one we found ran out of vials. But we were not deterred. We knew it was a privilege, so we branched out. I have really curly hair, and a lot of my African American friends have always thought I was mixed. So we decided to look into African American donors. We found our donor and had it shipped to start our first cycle attempt in March. 

Unfortunately, the first cycle was not a success. During this time, we thought about the last remaining vial. My wife did a few things differently this time around, since this was it or we would have to drop at least another $7,000 to ensure we had at least three more attempts. She had acupuncture. She saw on TikTok a few women leaving out a jar of water with a pregnancy test under a full moon, “Moon Water,” and manifested and drank the water. She got a cold and took Mucinex. We like to think these things helped, because after the 14 long days of waiting to test, we found out we were expecting our firstborn. Shortly thereafter, I purchased Expecting Better after a few friends recommended it. I really enjoyed the data-backed information since it allows us to make our decisions based on facts. It has really helped me advocate for my wife and understand everything during our OB appointments. 

While there is still more navigating to do, like the fact that I have to go to the courthouse to adopt our own kid, I’m grateful for the privilege to be able to start a family.

Jay says: 

As a nonbinary, queer parent working in mental health with (primarily) queer and trans people (including trans kids), this Pride Month feels so heavy. Some of you may be aware of the unprecedented, coordinated movement to ban access to gender-affirming care — which has been successful in 20 states (and counting). For me, it’s not only a daily fixture of my work but of my life. 

When I see my almost-2-year-old pointing out airplanes in the sky or naming objects and colors around our house, I feel baffled — and heartsick — to remember that there are people actively trying to destroy families like mine. There are people out there who think my gender expression and my use of multiple pronouns for my child (including they/them) make me unfit to be a parent, and would like to see me reported to child protective services and my child taken from me. When I look at my vibrant, silly, happy, intelligent kid, I know they are an amazing child, and that I am an amazing parent. Plenty of woes here, but also a big giant win. We’re here! We’re (a) queer (family)! We will persist!

This week’s reader question:

If we were to consider emigrating, what would be the most LGBTQIA+ and family-friendly country to choose as a destination? We live in South Africa, which currently faces many challenges related to infrastructure, the education system, etc. We feel our kids don’t have a future here. 

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The AAP’s guidelines recommend sleeping in the same room as your baby “ideally for the first six months.” However, the risk of SIDS is dramatically lower after four months, and the evidence in favor of the protective effect of room sharing is quite weak (both overall and even more so after four months). There is also growing evidence that infants who sleep in their own room by four months sleep better at four months, better at nine months, and even better at 30 months.

With this in mind, it’s worth asking why this recommendation continues at all — or at least why the AAP doesn’t push it back to four months. They say decreased arousals from sleep are linked to SIDS, which could mean that babies sleeping in their own room is risky. But this link is extremely indirect, and they do not show direct evidence to support it.

According to the data we have, parents should sleep in the same room as a baby for as long as it works for them! Sharing a room with a child may have negative impacts on both child and adult sleep. We should give families more help in navigating these trade-offs and making the decisions that work best for them.

#emilyoster #parentdata #roomsharing #sids #parentingguide

The AAP’s guidelines recommend sleeping in the same room as your baby “ideally for the first six months.” However, the risk of SIDS is dramatically lower after four months, and the evidence in favor of the protective effect of room sharing is quite weak (both overall and even more so after four months). There is also growing evidence that infants who sleep in their own room by four months sleep better at four months, better at nine months, and even better at 30 months.

With this in mind, it’s worth asking why this recommendation continues at all — or at least why the AAP doesn’t push it back to four months. They say decreased arousals from sleep are linked to SIDS, which could mean that babies sleeping in their own room is risky. But this link is extremely indirect, and they do not show direct evidence to support it.

According to the data we have, parents should sleep in the same room as a baby for as long as it works for them! Sharing a room with a child may have negative impacts on both child and adult sleep. We should give families more help in navigating these trade-offs and making the decisions that work best for them.

#emilyoster #parentdata #roomsharing #sids #parentingguide
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It was an absolute pleasure to be featured on the @tamronhallshow! We talked about all things data-driven parenting and, in this clip, what I call the plague of secret parenting. To balance having a career and having a family, we can’t hide the fact that we’re parents. If mothers and fathers at the top can speak more openly about child-care obligations, it will help us all set a new precedent.

Watch the full segment at the link in my bio 🔗

#tamronhall #tamronhallshow #emilyoster #parentingsupport #workingparents

It was an absolute pleasure to be featured on the @tamronhallshow! We talked about all things data-driven parenting and, in this clip, what I call the plague of secret parenting. To balance having a career and having a family, we can’t hide the fact that we’re parents. If mothers and fathers at the top can speak more openly about child-care obligations, it will help us all set a new precedent.

Watch the full segment at the link in my bio 🔗

#tamronhall #tamronhallshow #emilyoster #parentingsupport #workingparents
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Invisible labor. It’s the work — in our households especially — that has to happen but that no one sees. It’s making the doctor’s appointment, ensuring birthday cards are purchased, remembering the milk.

My guest on this episode, @everodsky, has come up with a solution here, or at least a way for us to recognize the problem and make our own solutions. I’ve wanted to speak with Eve for ages, since I read her book Fair Play. We had a great conversation about the division of household labor, one I think you’ll get a lot out of!

Listen and subscribe to ParentData with Emily Oster in your favorite podcast app 🎧

#emilyoster #parentdata #parentdatapodcast #parentingpodcast #householdtips #fairplay #invisiblelabor

Invisible labor. It’s the work — in our households especially — that has to happen but that no one sees. It’s making the doctor’s appointment, ensuring birthday cards are purchased, remembering the milk.

My guest on this episode, @everodsky, has come up with a solution here, or at least a way for us to recognize the problem and make our own solutions. I’ve wanted to speak with Eve for ages, since I read her book Fair Play. We had a great conversation about the division of household labor, one I think you’ll get a lot out of!

Listen and subscribe to ParentData with Emily Oster in your favorite podcast app 🎧

#emilyoster #parentdata #parentdatapodcast #parentingpodcast #householdtips #fairplay #invisiblelabor
...

Prenatal vitamins 💊 If there is any product that seems designed to prey on our fears, it’s this one. You’re newly pregnant and you want to do it right. Everyone agrees you need prenatal vitamins, so you get them. But do you want to be that person who just… buys the generic prenatal vitamins?

Good news: fancier vitamins are not better.  Folic acid is the most important prenatal ingredient. Iron (with vitamin C) and DHA are also nice to have. Other included ingredients have only weak or no evidence to support their use. (If you do not consume animal products, add B12, plus a few others depending on your diet.)

Vitamins are just vitamins. Any prenatal vitamin that contains these is enough. 

Comment “Link” for a DM to an article with everything you need to know about prenatal vitamins.

#emilyoster #parentdata #prenatalvitamins #pregnancydiet #pregnancytips

Prenatal vitamins 💊 If there is any product that seems designed to prey on our fears, it’s this one. You’re newly pregnant and you want to do it right. Everyone agrees you need prenatal vitamins, so you get them. But do you want to be that person who just… buys the generic prenatal vitamins?

Good news: fancier vitamins are not better. Folic acid is the most important prenatal ingredient. Iron (with vitamin C) and DHA are also nice to have. Other included ingredients have only weak or no evidence to support their use. (If you do not consume animal products, add B12, plus a few others depending on your diet.)

Vitamins are just vitamins. Any prenatal vitamin that contains these is enough.

Comment “Link” for a DM to an article with everything you need to know about prenatal vitamins.

#emilyoster #parentdata #prenatalvitamins #pregnancydiet #pregnancytips
...

When it comes to introducing your newborn to the world, timing matters. It’s a good idea to minimize germ exposure in the first 6-8 weeks; after that, it’s inevitable and, very likely, a good idea! This doesn’t mean you need to be trapped inside. The most significant exposure risks are from seeing other people at home — family, etc. These interactions are not infinitely risky, but they do pose more risk than a walk or a trip to the grocery store, since they involve closer interaction. Think simple and make sure everyone is washing their hands before holding the baby. 💛

#parentdata #emilyoster #newborncare #parentingadvice #parentingtips

When it comes to introducing your newborn to the world, timing matters. It’s a good idea to minimize germ exposure in the first 6-8 weeks; after that, it’s inevitable and, very likely, a good idea! This doesn’t mean you need to be trapped inside. The most significant exposure risks are from seeing other people at home — family, etc. These interactions are not infinitely risky, but they do pose more risk than a walk or a trip to the grocery store, since they involve closer interaction. Think simple and make sure everyone is washing their hands before holding the baby. 💛

#parentdata #emilyoster #newborncare #parentingadvice #parentingtips
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The first edition of Hot Flash is out now! Comment “Link” for a DM to learn more about the late-reproductive stage.

There are times when we expect hormonal shifts. Our reproductive lives are bookended by puberty and menopause. We discuss those changes often because they are definitive and dramatic — a first period is something many of us remember clearly. But between ages 13 and 53, our hormones are changing in more subtle ways. During the late-reproductive stage (in your 40s), you can expect a lot of changes in your menstrual cycle, including the length and symptoms you experience throughout. It’s an important time in our lives that is often overlooked!

🔥 Hot Flash from ParentData is a weekly newsletter on navigating your health and hormones in the post-reproductive years. Written by Dr. Gillian Goddard, Hot Flash provides all of the information you need to have a productive, evidence-based conversation about hormonal health with your doctor.

#emilyoster #parentdata #hotflash #perimenopause #womenshealth

The first edition of Hot Flash is out now! Comment “Link” for a DM to learn more about the late-reproductive stage.

There are times when we expect hormonal shifts. Our reproductive lives are bookended by puberty and menopause. We discuss those changes often because they are definitive and dramatic — a first period is something many of us remember clearly. But between ages 13 and 53, our hormones are changing in more subtle ways. During the late-reproductive stage (in your 40s), you can expect a lot of changes in your menstrual cycle, including the length and symptoms you experience throughout. It’s an important time in our lives that is often overlooked!

🔥 Hot Flash from ParentData is a weekly newsletter on navigating your health and hormones in the post-reproductive years. Written by Dr. Gillian Goddard, Hot Flash provides all of the information you need to have a productive, evidence-based conversation about hormonal health with your doctor.

#emilyoster #parentdata #hotflash #perimenopause #womenshealth
...

There are plenty of reels telling you how to parent. Plenty of panic headlines saying that “studies show” what’s best for your kid. Even good data, from a trusted source, can send us into a spiral of comparison. But I want you to remember that no one knows your kid better than you. It’s important to absorb the research, but only you will know the approach that works best for you and your child. 💙

Now tell me in the comments: what’s a parenting move you’ve made recently that feels right to you?

#parentingcommunity #parentingsupport #parentingquotes #emilyoster #parentdata

There are plenty of reels telling you how to parent. Plenty of panic headlines saying that “studies show” what’s best for your kid. Even good data, from a trusted source, can send us into a spiral of comparison. But I want you to remember that no one knows your kid better than you. It’s important to absorb the research, but only you will know the approach that works best for you and your child. 💙

Now tell me in the comments: what’s a parenting move you’ve made recently that feels right to you?

#parentingcommunity #parentingsupport #parentingquotes #emilyoster #parentdata
...

Let’s talk about sex (after) baby! Today on the podcast, I was lucky enough to speak with @enagoski about her new book on sexual connection in long-term relationships. Especially after having kids, this is something many people struggle with. Emily tells us to stop worrying about what’s “normal” and focus on pleasure in its many forms.

Listen and subscribe to ParentData with Emily Oster in your favorite podcast app 🎧

#parentdata #parentdatapodcast #emilyoster #emilynagoski #comeasyouare #cometogether #longtermrelationship #intimacy #relationships

Let’s talk about sex (after) baby! Today on the podcast, I was lucky enough to speak with @enagoski about her new book on sexual connection in long-term relationships. Especially after having kids, this is something many people struggle with. Emily tells us to stop worrying about what’s “normal” and focus on pleasure in its many forms.

Listen and subscribe to ParentData with Emily Oster in your favorite podcast app 🎧

#parentdata #parentdatapodcast #emilyoster #emilynagoski #comeasyouare #cometogether #longtermrelationship #intimacy #relationships
...

Ever wondered if you can safely use leftover baby formula? 🍼 The CDC says to throw out unused formula immediately because of the risk of bacterial growth. However, research suggests that bacterial concentrations do not appreciably increase after 3, 12, or even 24 hours at refrigerator temperatures. Good news! This means there’s not a strong data-based reason to throw out formula right away if you store it in the fridge.

Comment “Link” for a DM to an article on another common formula question: should you throw away old formula powder?

#emilyoster #parentdata #babyformula #babyfeeding #parentingstruggles

Ever wondered if you can safely use leftover baby formula? 🍼 The CDC says to throw out unused formula immediately because of the risk of bacterial growth. However, research suggests that bacterial concentrations do not appreciably increase after 3, 12, or even 24 hours at refrigerator temperatures. Good news! This means there’s not a strong data-based reason to throw out formula right away if you store it in the fridge.

Comment “Link” for a DM to an article on another common formula question: should you throw away old formula powder?

#emilyoster #parentdata #babyformula #babyfeeding #parentingstruggles
...

What’s the most important piece of advice for new parents? Here’s one answer, but I want to hear from you! Share your suggestions in the comments ⬇️

#emilyoster #parentdata #parentingtips #parentingadvice #newparents #parentingcommunity

What’s the most important piece of advice for new parents? Here’s one answer, but I want to hear from you! Share your suggestions in the comments ⬇️

#emilyoster #parentdata #parentingtips #parentingadvice #newparents #parentingcommunity
...

What's in the bag of a Vagina Economist? 👀 Someone please tell me this looks familiar to you.

What`s in the bag of a Vagina Economist? 👀 Someone please tell me this looks familiar to you. ...

Comment ”link” for a DM to learn more about tongue ties 🔗

Breastfeeding is often difficult, especially at the start. For babies with tongue ties, many infants (and their moms) struggle to get the hang of a good latch. This can lead to painful nipples and to inefficient feeding, and then low weight gain.

So what does the data say about the increasingly common practice of cutting tongue-ties in infants to improve breastfeeding success? Several weeks ago, @nytimes published a long and quite scary article on this topic.

After diving into the data, here is what I found. There is limited evidence that frenotomy procedures improve breastfeeding efficacy and the harms of the procedure are minimal. Many women do report that it alleviates pain and helps them with breastfeeding. However, it should not be a first-line treatment for breastfeeding problems.

#parentdata #emilyoster #tonguetie #tonguetiebabies #breastfeedingsupport

Comment ”link” for a DM to learn more about tongue ties 🔗

Breastfeeding is often difficult, especially at the start. For babies with tongue ties, many infants (and their moms) struggle to get the hang of a good latch. This can lead to painful nipples and to inefficient feeding, and then low weight gain.

So what does the data say about the increasingly common practice of cutting tongue-ties in infants to improve breastfeeding success? Several weeks ago, @nytimes published a long and quite scary article on this topic.

After diving into the data, here is what I found. There is limited evidence that frenotomy procedures improve breastfeeding efficacy and the harms of the procedure are minimal. Many women do report that it alleviates pain and helps them with breastfeeding. However, it should not be a first-line treatment for breastfeeding problems.

#parentdata #emilyoster #tonguetie #tonguetiebabies #breastfeedingsupport
...

Tag a friend who needs to hear this 💛 For many choices in parenting, there is no one right answer. We can use research and data to make informed decisions, but ultimately, it won’t tell you what to do. Only you can decide what will be best for your kids and your family.

I’m here to remind you to take a deep breath and trust yourself. I’ll be here to support you along the way. 

Thank you to everyone who submitted videos, including:
@sarah.consoli
@jess_lynn627
@nicolevandenwills
@thedrblair
@ncbenedict29
@haleycimini
@iamkellysnodgrass
@calesse_smith
@garnet__gordon
@jencoopgaiser87
@danigirl18c
@jamielundergreen
@carly_comber
@thecelebratingmama
@emilyannbynum
@eeliz413

#emilyoster #parentdata #parentingadvice #parentingsupport #parentingquotes

Tag a friend who needs to hear this 💛 For many choices in parenting, there is no one right answer. We can use research and data to make informed decisions, but ultimately, it won’t tell you what to do. Only you can decide what will be best for your kids and your family.

I’m here to remind you to take a deep breath and trust yourself. I’ll be here to support you along the way.

Thank you to everyone who submitted videos, including:
@sarah.consoli
@jess_lynn627
@nicolevandenwills
@thedrblair
@ncbenedict29
@haleycimini
@iamkellysnodgrass
@calesse_smith
@garnet__gordon
@jencoopgaiser87
@danigirl18c
@jamielundergreen
@carly_comber
@thecelebratingmama
@emilyannbynum
@eeliz413

#emilyoster #parentdata #parentingadvice #parentingsupport #parentingquotes
...

Congratulations on making it through another year of panic headlines! We’ve had some doozies this year, like aspartame causing cancer and the perils of white noise, but these headlines are very often based on poor data. Correlation does not equal causation. There will certainly be more panic headlines in 2024, but ParentData is here to debunk them for you.

#emilyoster #parentdata #happynewyear2024 #panicheadline #datadriven

Congratulations on making it through another year of panic headlines! We’ve had some doozies this year, like aspartame causing cancer and the perils of white noise, but these headlines are very often based on poor data. Correlation does not equal causation. There will certainly be more panic headlines in 2024, but ParentData is here to debunk them for you.

#emilyoster #parentdata #happynewyear2024 #panicheadline #datadriven
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