Geerts, A., & Evertsson, M. (2022). Who carries the baby? How lesbian couples in the Netherlands choose birth motherhood.

The purpose of the study is to contribute to an understandingof the cultural and normative meaning of birth motherhood and how lesbiancouples decide who carries the child. Background: The decision of who carriesthe child is central in lesbian family‐making, carrying consequences for lifeafter birth. Even so, it has been relatively overlooked in research. Drawingfrom the sociology of personal life and Park’s (2013) conceptualization ofmonomaternalism, we study how informants consider and decide birthmotherhood. Method: Semistructured interviews with both partners in 21pregnant lesbian couples in the Netherlands were thematically analyzed.Results: The meaning of birth motherhood was ambivalent, linked tofemininity, socially recognized motherhood, and biogenetic imaginaries. Incouples where both wanted to carry, age, which carried different symbolicmeanings, was a powerful tiebreaker. Conclusion: Our study shows how themonomaternalist norm shapes conceptualizations of birth motherhood. Desiresto experience pregnancy are strong for many. Referring to age can be a wayfor couples to defuse tension, but it can also be a resource drawn upon toclose further negotiations. Implications: Our study carries implications forpolicy makers, health care workers, and mothers‐to‐be. Scholarly, itilluminates the ways in which motherhood, in its various forms, is perceivedand recognized.