What Happens When You’re Missing a Father – But Have 2 Mothers


Heather Barwick is a courageous Gen Y woman who recently has written an open letter to the Gay community about her experience with being raised by two parents of the same-sex.  In a world that tries to say (repeatedly) that we are the same – one unisex gender – without realistic and crucial innate differences between the sexes, her VOICE reveals the truth that a father truly is needed.  That beautiful, purposeful masculinity is needed, and that when it is absent, something dire is missing.

Read her Open Letter found on The Federalist:

“Gay community, I am your daughter. My mom raised me with her same-sex partner back in the ’80s and ’90s. She and my dad were married for a little while. She knew she was gay before they got married, but things were different back then. That’s how I got here. It was complicated as you can imagine. She left him when I was two or three because she wanted a chance to be happy with someone she really loved: a woman.

My dad wasn’t a great guy, and after she left him he didn’t bother coming around anymore.

Do you remember that book, “Heather Has Two Mommies”? That was my life. My mom, her partner, and I lived in a cozy little house in the ‘burbs of a very liberal and open-minded area. Her partner treated me as if I was her own daughter. Along with my mom’s partner, I also inherited her tight-knit community of gay and lesbian friends. Or maybe they inherited me?

Either way, I still feel like gay people are mypeople. I’ve learned so much from you. You taught me how to be brave, especially when it is hard. You taught me empathy. You taught me how to listen. And how to dance. You taught me not be afraid of things that are different. And you taught me how to stand up for myself, even if that means I stand alone.

I’m writing to you because I’m letting myself out of the closet: I don’t support gay marriage. But it might not be for the reasons that you think.

Children Need a Mother and Father

It’s not because you’re gay. I love you, so much. It’s because of the nature of the same-sex relationship itself.

It’s only now, as I watch my children loving and being loved by their father each day, that I can see the beauty and wisdom in traditional marriage and parenting.

Growing up, and even into my 20s, I supported and advocated for gay marriage. It’s only with some time and distance from my childhood that I’m able to reflect on my experiences and recognize the long-term consequences that same-sex parenting had on me. And it’s only now, as I watch my children loving and being loved by their father each day, that I can see the beauty and wisdom in traditional marriage and parenting.

Same-sex marriage and parenting withholds either a mother or father from a child while telling him or her that it doesn’t matter. That it’s all the same. But it’s not. A lot of us, a lot of your kids, are hurting. My father’s absence created a huge hole in me, and I ached every day for a dad. I loved my mom’s partner, but another mom could never have replaced the father I lost.

I grew up surrounded by women who said they didn’t need or want a man. Yet, as a little girl, I so desperately wanted a daddy. It is a strange and confusing thing to walk around with this deep-down unquenchable ache for a father, for a man, in a community that says that men are unnecessary. There were times I felt so angry with my dad for not being there for me, and then times I felt angry with myself for even wanting a father to begin with. There are parts of me that still grieve over that loss today.

I’m not saying that you can’t be good parents. You can. I had one of the best. I’m also not saying that being raised by straight parents means everything will turn out okay. We know there are so many different ways that the family unit can break down and cause kids to suffer: divorce, abandonment, infidelity, abuse, death, etc. But by and large, the best and most successful family structure is one in which kids are being raised by both their mother and father.

Why Can’t Gay People’s Kids Be Honest?

Gay marriage doesn’t just redefine marriage, but also parenting. It promotes and normalizes a family structure that necessarily denies us something precious and foundational. It denies us something we need and long for, while at the same time tells us that we don’t need what we naturally crave. That we will be okay. But we’re not. We’re hurting.

If anyone can talk about hard things, it’s us.

Kids of divorced parents are allowed to say, “Hey, mom and dad, I love you, but the divorce crushed me and has been so hard. It shattered my trust and made me feel like it was my fault. It is so hard living in two different houses.” Kids of adoption are allowed to say, “Hey, adoptive parents, I love you. But this is really hard for me. I suffer because my relationship with my first parents was broken. I’m confused and I miss them even though I’ve never met them.”

But children of same-sex parents haven’t been given the same voice. It’s not just me. There are so many of us. Many of us are too scared to speak up and tell you about our hurt and pain, because for whatever reason it feels like you’re not listening. That you don’t want to hear. If we say we are hurting because we were raised by same-sex parents, we are either ignored or labeled a hater.

This isn’t about hate at all. I know you understand the pain of a label that doesn’t fit and the pain of a label that is used to malign or silence you. And I know that you reallyhave been hated and that you really have been hurt. I was there, at the marches, when they held up signs that said, “God hates fags” and “AIDS cures homosexuality.” I cried and turned hot with anger right there in the street with you. But that’s not me. That’s not us.

I know this is a hard conversation. But we need to talk about it. If anyone can talk about hard things, it’s us. You taught me that.

Heather Barwick was raised by her mother and her mother’s same-sex partner. She is a former gay-marriage advocate turned children’s rights activist. She is a wife and mother of four rambunctious kids.


  1. Wasn’t that a lovely letter? I had to share it on my blog, too. Fathers are incredibly important, mothers too, it’s just that in our modern culture there is a tendency to dismiss fathers and often I think men don’t realize how important they are, what a significant role they play in the equation. It’s huge! When you read the words of daughters and that ache they can feel long into adulthood when they are deprived of their fathers, it’s profound.

  2. This is ridiculous. I have read her original article and others reporting on it and everyone writer included make this out to be, “i didn’t have a dad, my life was ruined, gay parenting is awful” even though she clearly states her dad was the one who didn’t want her and walked out of her life completely.
    She still could of had a dad but didn’t for whatever reason he chose;that has nothing to do with her mom or her mom being a lesbian. Her personal experience honestly has nothing to do with being denied a father, unless she comes out and clearly states her mom would not allow her to see or be with her dad that is the bottom line of her story. But every conservative and christian is latching onto this story as being see she was raised by two moms she doesnt support gay marriage or parenting. People need to stop trying to find other explanations or people to blame when it is obvious that she was raised right, in a good home, two loving parents, enjoyed her childhood, but her dad didn’t care or want to be in her life. That’s a reality of life. That happens to straight kids where their mom or dad walked out from when they were a baby or a kid. Sometimes a parent, a biological parent, does not want to be one and refuses to be a parent and walks out….that’s life.

  3. Her personal experience honestly has nothing to do with being denied a father, unless she comes out and clearly states her mom would not allow her to see or be with her dad

    Its interesting that you think you can intimately know and say anything about “her personal experience.” You are not her, you did not experience her life growing up, and you close yourself off to what she says was her own experience. Even if her father was allowed to stay in her life, she still would have been denied having a father figure in the home, and she points out how it is just as devastating as having gone through a divorce (even though the father is still there, he is not really there anymore in the traditional way of an intact marriage). The issue she pointed out (that you completely and utterly miss) is that with divorce, its acceptable for kids to be upset at the lack of a normal family experience – upset at losing a masculine influence, however, in the gay community, it is akin to betrayal to express hurt… harm… or even discontent at being denied that other sex… because it hurts their cause for making it out to seem normal and “good” for children. It isn’t. Just like divorce isn’t.

    I read an account of a child being denied a mother – she was being raised with two dads – and they themselves wrote an article describing how horrible it was. The mother was still in the child’s life, but OMG did this little girl miss her terribly – it affected her entire little world after the mother would have to leave and go back to her own home. She is also going to grow up and more than likely reflect on the mom figure she missed out for all those moments that are irreplaceable, the day-in-day-out moments of mother and daughter. The most interesting part is that the dads themselves wanted people to know and understand how hard it was on their child not having a mother in the home – it hurt THEM to watch the turmoil, depression, anxiety, anger going on inside her – just the same as a divorce probably would.

    You can choose to have that callous attitude that its just life, but for these kids, they are a product of their parent’s selfish choice to deny them the other sex in the home.

    And be prepared… there will be more (many more) stories like this coming out. There will probably be others saying the opposite, too, like the author said, she was in denial for many years until she married a man herself, and watched herself how her kids just adored him. Many probably won’t get to that deep reflection point in their lives – denial is easier to handle. But believe me, this is not the last account like this you are going to read.

  4. Yep and every straight person, straight marriage, or straight couple who have kids are perfectly capable of being parents…what a joke. I grew up with countless examples that completely disprove this but what i have to say will not make the headlines or be propped up by the religious right or liberals.
    Stability and love should be more of an importance. My fiancé had straight parents they were divorced, her mom constantly brought men in and out of their homes and lives for years, (yes not serious boyfriends, boyfriends, broken engagements) even leaving her kids alone for the weekend to go out and have sex because that’s what she wanted. Her dad didnt want to be a dad and didnt realize that until after his kids were born. Plenty of.stories out there as well of straight parents molesting kids, abusing kids, killing their own kids but thats considered rare and as something that doesn’t really happen….
    but a mom and dad are neccessary in a home yet plenty of people chose not to be apart of their bio kids lives because they dont care…but somehow thats not selfish only when gay people parent kids is it “selfish”

    And yes it is important that SHE STATES her dad LEFT and was not in her life……yet “the problem” is supposed to be that she was “denied” a father and her mom being a lesbian completely shattered her life….
    Its easy being straight and righteous in a world that supports heterosexuality and preaches it in every aspect of life as being normal, good, and right

  5. My fiancé had straight parents they were divorced, her mom constantly brought men in and out of their homes and lives for years

    Yes, that is another example of selfishness. Only thinking of her own sexual pleasure above her daughter’s best interest, needs, or well-being.

    Plenty of.stories out there as well of straight parents molesting kids, abusing kids, killing their own kids

    Yes, again, more displays of selfishness. Yes, those things seem worse (and many are for sure) than choosing to marry the same-sex and acquire children into that lifestyle (by default, denying them the opposite sex parent), but it is still choosing their own sexual happiness over the need of their child having that other sex parent in the home with them. It is still a loss, not as harsh as abuse/molestation and definitely not comparable to death, but it is still a loss there.

    plenty of people chose not to be apart of their bio kids lives because they dont care…but somehow thats not selfish only when gay people parent kids is it “selfish”

    Again, I actually do believe people choosing not to be apart of their children’s lives is usually selfish (circumstances where a woman chooses to give her child up for adoption because she cannot care for it or is not ready for taking on a child are demonstrations of extreme un-selfishness because she is looking to the child’s best interest).

    Any circumstance where an adult is actively seeking their own pleasure or best interest ahead of their child’s is at base, selfishness.

    Real love is the opposite of selfishness, because it is caring about the other person’s personal growth and well-being ahead of your own desires in life.

  6. …..i guess my bottom line was again the author made it clear and made it sound like her dad not being apart of her life was the issue, and her mom was more of the easy target for her sadness/disappointment instead of placing blame on her dad.
    And all of this is really subjective. Most people in general who have kids, that in itself can be viewed as an act of selfishness because they want to have a kid. Its just unfair to say well where for a gay person its selfish and entirely self pleasing sexually for them to be in a fulfilling relationship and the audacity to have kids, but for a straight person it is almost always ok for them to desire and have children by almost any means neccessary.
    Gay relationships aren’t rooted in sex and lust; atleast not anymore than straight ones.
    Counterpoint it wouldnt be viewed as selfish for a straight person to leave their spouse because they were unhappy for any number of reasons and to eventually find someone else…
    This is a lose lose arguement because im not going to agree that being gay and having kids is wrong and selfish and your definitely not going to agree with me

  7. Thank you for a GREAT post! It is certainly true, and very needed to be discussed today! I commend you for the way you responded to Colormeanew, that was a well thought of response, and offered in a peaceful way. You both had some good points, and I am more on your side of the coin. But, I agree with both of you, that there is a LOT of selfishness / selfish actions in marriages today, both normal and gay. Sometimes it seems like there is a lot of selfishness in our whole society today, not just about Marriage & family. I could take up 5 pages with examples of selfish actions of all types that people do today, but you know what I mean. While there is no excuse for any of the selfish things that men & women do, weather they are married or not. Committing adultery, divorce and any other selfish, evil thing that normal couples do is very harmful to the children involved, and it is not right, no matter who does it! But when same sex “couples” that have children involved, that is as bad or worse than a normal husband & wife. It is a double act of selfishness for same sex “couples”, first because they want to change the whole definition of marriage to include their own perverted sexual preferences, Then, when their are children involved, the confusion level rises so much, and the children are psychologically scarred for life! But, the SSM advocates will deny, deny, deny. That fact goes against their agenda, so it gets swept under the rug. Just like the feminists like to do with the facts that abortion does cause permanent physiological damage to any women that has one! The levels of the effect may be different from one woman to another, but they still are there!!!

    I also would like to mention a fairly new occurrence that is absolutely the epitome of selfishness- When a woman purposely decides to obtain sperm or some other way to become pregnant and have a baby without any father at all. She knowingly raises the baby by herself, and the baby grows up and does not even know that he or she is supposed to have a father!!! In my opinion, that is the most selfish thing any woman could ever do!!! Sure, sometimes a woman ends up being a single parent, by whatever means she finds herself raising the child, at least they will know there was a father there somewhere…

  8. I agree. Too bad all three of those adults could not have shared a home and raised the little girl together. Then she could have had two moms AND a dad.

    As more and more stories like this “come out” I think we’re going to see more of these blended types of families. It may look like polygyny or polyandry from the outside, but if the women and men are gay and not bisexual, and the straight parent is hetero and not bisexual, it won’t be polyandry or polygyny but just parents raising their kids together.

  9. Good to know the father is evil. Of course, had he showed up to spend time with the child, the mother would have hit herself in the nose with a frying pan, and he would be a felon.

    Alternatively, he could have cut his nuts off, as Yale Me-Me-Me suggests. And done the dishes and stuff. Before someone charged him with DV and he was a felon, etc.

  10. I can’t remember if i responded originally or not, but she stated her dad left and was not in her life. Obviously he was just done with her and her mom….I’ve known parents who divorced and they had a better friendship and coparenting relationship then when they were married. I’ve also seen more examples of divorced couples that usually had one parent who was constantly being passive aggressive,impossible, and rude making coparenting their kids impossible…

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