The Only Type Of Parent People Ever Need To Be…

The Only Type Of Parent People Ever Need To Be

About a year ago, I joined a group for prospective adopters. Before you get alarmed and think I’m going to become a mother right now, it was for people at any stage of the process, from ‘questioning’ and ‘information-gathering’ to ‘confirmed’ ‘ready’. There is a two-year process for adopters at least, and they do all sorts of rigorous tests on you to see whether you’ll be a fit parent. I am not a parent, so I have no advice on all of the trial-and-errors of the journey, nor can I present any lived experience of parenting methods.

But I do have a vivid memory of attending an adoption evening. Perhaps the people in there had not had the easiest of journeys. Before the lock-down came into place, I attended an event and listened to some of their tales, which were mostly hetero. They were sometimes murmuring about divorces, and/or partners who had realised too late that they didn’t really have the emotional capacity to adopt, or even any interest in children.

All the women were saying, ‘Yes, it would be nice to meet someone new…’

And I didn’t realise then how much stigma there still is, surrounding certain types of parents. How they judged their own divorces so harshly. But later, when I tentatively asked a question about being a single mother by choice, I realised that there were still stigmas.

It strikes me as upsetting that some people think a role model of each ‘gender’ is needed to raise a baby. People have all sorts of opinions on who can be a ‘good parent’.

They can’t be too ‘single’ (mainly, in case the children grew up to think single-parenting was acceptable for them too), too ‘resentful’ of the patriarchy (because a feminist son or daughter would be too radical), too poor (because how can you love your child if you can’t prove it with money?), too trans (surely the child would get bullied?), too young (‘Must have been a mistake’), too in debt (certain to be an irresponsible parent), too ‘mortgage-less’ (‘How can they paint the child’s room?’), too Depressed (post-natal Depression is seen as a lack of maternal instinct), or too gay (just no).

You know what would be a really disappointing parent to have?

A parent who did not love their child.

That’s it.

Yet, some people would rather have any role model like that for a child at all, except a trans couple living in a council house, or a single mum on Benefits.

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Elizabeth Renée-Noelle

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    Elizabeth, or Elle, is a twenty-something writer and trainee teacher. In her spare time, she is often found jogging by…

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