New article in Journal of Family Studies

Taking turns: lesbian couples’ decision of (first) birth mother in Sweden.

Madeleine Eriksson Kirsch

Marie Evertsson



This article presents an analysis of how lesbian couples in Sweden negotiate birth motherhood in a context where equality is thought to be achieved by being and doing the same [Gullestad, M. (2002). Invisible fences: Egalitarianism, nationalism and racism. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, 8(1), 45–63.]. We do so by studying narratives of how 20 couples arrived at the decision of who will be the (first) birth mother, a decision unique to a small group of parents with theoretical implications for motherhood norms, kinship and within-couple decision-making extending beyond the couples themselves. Most couples interviewed planned to have two children and take turns carrying, a plan that to some extent solves the challenge of equality and sameness. Genetic links were downplayed and instead, the embodied and often desired experience of pregnancy was foregrounded. In deciding who would be the (first) birth mother, the couples’ reasoning centred on age and desire, both presented as harmless and ‘natural’ determinants that defused a potentially disruptive decision.

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