The headline touted a fairly controversial message—that
children with homosexual parents are “happier and healthier” than their peers
with a heterosexual mom and dad. It grazed my screen as I browsed The
Huffington Post, prompting me to delve into this new research; the largest of
While I am personally a big supporter of equal rights, I can
say that I don’t typically put a lot of thought into most studies. They are all
flawed and lacking in their own ways, and this research was no different. I realized
as I read through that pitting these two populations against each other wasn’t
even a fair comparison to make, because the general population of homosexual
parents have to make a concerted effort to become parents. It isn’t a role they are able to take on
lightly, or happen into by chance. They have to truly want it—to make that
choice to bring children into their lives.
In contrast, the general population of heterosexual parents
is littered with unwanted pregnancies and unforeseen circumstances that may
occasionally lead to a lack of commitment. I began to wonder how the results
may have varied, if the comparison groups were instead people who had needed to
fight with an equal ferocity to become parents—those who had battled infertility, for instance. Or, to a similar extent, single mothers by choice.
I have fallen into both categories, first facing infertility and now braving the world of motherhood on my own. If someone would have told me five years ago that this would become my path, I never would have believed them. I was set on building a traditional family, with love and marriage coming long before the baby in the baby carriage. But life had other plans, and when I was faced with an illness that stripped me of my fertility at a young age, the only thing left was the realization that I was ready to become a mom. Even if my Prince Charming was still far out of sight.
I have to believe that all parents have the potential to become great parents, no matter how they entered into their roles as mothers or fathers to begin with.
Reading the studies on single mothers, the outlook is bleak.
But most of those studies are looking at women who have been thrust into a
position they never wanted to fill in the first place. Rarely do researchers
look at the growing population of women—usually educated and successful—who
have decided to give up on waiting for Mr. Right and pursue motherhood on their
own terms. The few studies that have separated them out from the crowd are
seeing similar results to the research on homosexual parenting. There is
something to be said for making that choice, regardless of what your family
makeup is otherwise.
I have to believe that all parents have the potential to
become great parents, no matter how they entered into their roles as mothers or
fathers to begin with. But not all parents would make the same choice if given
the opportunity, and I think that is where some of these studies fail. Because
they aren’t looking at populations with an equal desire to be parents.
When I adopted my daughter, I became a single mother by
choice. I made the decision to take full responsibility for her on my own,
understanding that no one else would be there through the sleepless nights and
terrible twos. I made a choice, because I knew I was ready. And, so far, it has
been the most worthwhile decision of my life. She has been the best thing to
ever happen to me.
I can only hope that I am a better parent
because of that choice.