A post in the ChicagoPhoenix online from a LGBT family counselor gives some honest insights — both good and bad — on the realities of gay parenting. Gay parenting has come into fashion, and we seem to get invitations to gay weddings on a weekly basis. And just as the childhood rhyme says: “first comes love and then comes marriage, and then comes… the baby carriage. Newly minted gay married couples are codifying their vows with a real life family.

Among the items of value…

    • If you think parenting, in general, is hard, multiply that by at least two when you’re talking about adoption.

 

    • If you think a child will bring you together with your partner, and help shore up a relationship that has some problems, think again.

 

    • If the people around you are nothing but positive as you talk about adoption, surrogacy or childbirth, find someone who will tell you the truth, good and bad, and who is sharing from experience rather than from opinion.

 

The author of the post, who is a counselor in the region, is quick to deny accusations that LGBT couples are not qualified to raise kids. In fact, he says the exact opposite. “Our understanding of struggle, desire for love and acceptance, and our perseverance all put us a step ahead!”

But those of us with children (heaven help those of us blessed with TWINS) know all too well that the rigors of parenting can be surprising. This is especially true in my opinion for gay couples of a certain age who grew up assuming that parenting was an impossibility. Hetero couples may have spent decades considering the possibilities of family life and preparing themselves for the workload. But gay couples can face their mid-lives with only a cursory understanding of what’s involved, with rosy pictures presented by the media and smiling friends. But you don’t often see the effort those friends have invested, and how parenting has left them drained emotionally and physically.

For all the wonder and beauty and excitement of being a parent, it’s a tough job. Really tough.

As the author of the post says: “In my counseling practice I’ve sat with many parents in the throes of chaos, who’ve drained themselves and simply had nothing left in them. These parents wish someone had prepared them for what was truly in store when it came to being adoptive parents. These parents were thankful for honesty in relation to raising children as a lesbian or gay couple. Even if the situation was going to continue, to know what was “normal,” to know what ‘not failing’ was like, encouraged them to give what was needed to their children.”

For those parents, I have this to say… Good luck and God speed. Parenting is tougher than you can imagine, and so much better than you could expect.