Queer YouTubers Rose and Rosie on the ‘extreme’ challenges of starting a family during the pandemic
Queer YouTubers Rose and Rosie have revealed the struggles – and benefits – of starting a family during a global pandemic.
The couple began the physical process of having a baby in January, 2020, just as the very first case of COVID-19 was detected in the UK, when Rose was inseminated.
Tragically, although Rose became pregnant, she later lost the baby.
“Disaster struck, and I had a miscarriage during the height of the first wave,” she said.
“That was a lot to deal with. That was scary. It was really scary.”
She added: “Having a miscarriage and going to hospital and not being able to see my mum, and Rosie not being there… it was all a lot. Our experiences have been pretty extreme, it’s been really up and down.”
Following their experience of pregnancy loss and with the pandemic now in full swing, Rose and Rosie could have been nervous to try again.
But with no “end in sight” for the pandemic, and not knowing how long it would take them to conceive, the couple decided to just “go for it”.
Rosie said: “Some people said, ‘Is it right to bring a child into the world in the pandemic?’
“And I totally understand why they asked that. But equally, people can’t put their lives on hold.”
The couple decided that Rosie would be inseminated, and they managed to book an appointment “just before the clinics closed”.
The couple are now set to become first-time parents next month, and the pandemic has made their pregnancy journey even more of a rollercoaster, especially because of restrictions placed on hospital appointments.
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“As the non-carrier,” Rose said, “that’s been one of the hardest parts about this pandemic, not being able to attend the scans.
“Not necessarily because I felt I was really missing out but because of what I went through last year… If anything went slightly wrong or not as planned, I couldn’t be there to emotionally support my wife.
“That was difficult, not knowing and just waiting in the car, and seeing her reaction when she came up to the car.”
“Because I have had some difficult appointments,” Rosie added. “I had a midwifery appointment where they thought I had diabetes, everything’s fine now, but I came out quite upset.
“And so for Rose to see me leaving an appointment crying, you think the worst, don’t you?”
For Rose and Rosie, the pandemic has put up obstacles on their journey to to starting a family, as it has done for many queer parents. But it’s also come with some unexpected benefits.
“It was actually really good to be in lockdown during my first trimester,” Rosie said.
“I was so ill and we didn’t have to go to London, we didn’t have to do any interviews in person, or do anything. That was so good because I was so ill.”
When the baby arrives, coronavirus will also give a bit more peace and quiet to settle into life as new parents.
As things start to open up in the UK, Rose said: “In a sense, it will be nice to have people around.
“But on the other hand, it’s also going to be nice to have an excuse not to have everybody come round… It’s quite overwhelming because as new parents, you don’t really know what you’re doing, you don’t need everybody telling you what to do.”
“There are some benefits, you got to look on the bright side,” added Rosie.
Rose and Rosie’s podcast Parental Guidance is helping their fans navigate queer parenthood
The queer YouTube stars launched their podcast – Rose and Rosie: Parental Guidance – at the very start of their journey to parenthood.
They have been using their experiences, both good and bad, to help others, after realising how little information was accessible to them when they began planning their family.
“I think it was shocking, the lack of anything for queer couples starting a journey. There was no website, there were no steps,” Rosie said, and Rose chimed in: “If there was, I missed them all!”
Describing her first visit to her GP, Rosie said: “I asked my doctor like, ‘I want to have a baby, where should should I go?’ And they were like, ‘I don’t know.’ So that’s what I got from my doctor.”
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When they began to research fertility clinics and enquired about intrauterine insemination (IUI), otherwise known as artificial insemination, they faced questions on how they knew they needed it. Rose said: “The assumption was, you are straight and you’re having infertility.”
They eventually found a “gay-friendly, inclusive” clinic which made them feel “looked after”, but they realise that many of their followers are not so lucky.
“The lack of stuff out there for people is why we started the podcast,” Rosie said.
“It’s ridiculous. And then on top of that you have the pandemic, clinics are closing, sperm is scarce. It’s already difficult journey, pregnancy doesn’t just happen like that. It’s an emotional rollercoaster.”
You can listen to Rose and Rosie’s podcast Parental Guidance on Spotify now.