Swelling With Pride

Queer Conception and Adoption Stories

Edited by Sara Graefe

Categories: Anthology, LGBTQ+
Imprint: Dagger Editions
Paperback : 9781987915846, 240 pages, September 2018

First-of-its-kind, very long-awaited, and bursting with rich storytelling, Swelling With Pride compiles the successes and setbacks of Canadian, queer parenthood, past and present.


There's no straightforward path to LGBTQ2 parenthood and just as every queer person has their own coming out story, every LGBTQ2 family has a unique conception or adoption story.

In Swelling With Pride: Queer Conception and Adoption Stories, creative non-fiction writers celebrate LGBTQ2 families and the myriad of ways we embark upon our parenting journeys. These honest, heartfelt, unabashedly queer stories cover a gamut of issues and experiences, including the varied paths to queer conception--from DIY methods at home with the so-called "turkey baster" to pricey medical interventions at the fertility clinic--and the daunting task of choosing a sperm donor. This groundbreaking anthology portrays the journeys to LGBTQ2 parenthood that start or end with adoption and the countless hurdles that go along with it: from surviving the home study process and dealing with systemic homophobia to transitioning an adopted child into a new home. There are tales of shared nursing, blended families, communal parenting and non-binary pregnancy. There are also stories of grief, all too often suffered in silence, such as coping with infertility, pregnancy loss, stillbirth and adoption breakdown. These are the journeys of the early mavericks that formed families under the radar when fertility clinics were not open to singles and lesbians, as well as the Gen X and Millennial queers who've become parents during the current "gayby" boom.

Editor and proud queer mom Sara Graefe has assembled more than twenty-five creative non-fiction LGBTQ2 authors from across North America, both well-known and up-and-coming, including Andrea Bennett, Marusya Bociurkiw, Jane Byers, Susan G. Cole, Caitlin Crawshaw, Rachel Epstein, Terrie Hamazaki, Nicola Harwood, Natalie Meisner and many more. Together, their candid, moving, thought-provoking stories celebrate what it is to be queer and give voice to both the challenges and joys of building a LGBTQ2 family in a predominantly straight, cis-gendered world.


  • Long-listed, American Library Association Over the Rainbow 2020 Nonfiction category 2020


“Diverse, powerful, and moving. Swelling with Pride is a collection whose time has come.”

—Ann-Marie MacDonald

Swelling with Pride is an anthology filled with powerful truths and generous insight, as queer parent pioneers share the stories of the creation of their families. Including the most intimate details and the decisions that went into becoming parents, Swelling with Pride is also a useful guide for anyone considering parenting in a queer context. There is heartache in these pages, as children are yearned for, lost, mourned; as adoptions are disrupted and families separate—but there is also joy, as carefully planned and passionately desired dream children are welcomed home. Despite the odds against them, many writers approach their quest with refreshing humour. Readers will find themselves cheering these families on, astonished by their determination and inspired by the triumph of love over homophobia, technological barriers and infertility.”

—Rachel Rose, author of The Dog Lover Unit

“I love this book! So many ways to make a family. So much love. Heartache, too. Every story drew me in; more than a few left me in tears.”

—Anne Fleming, author of poemw

Swelling with Pride gives voice to the new generation of lesbian, trans and gender non-conforming folks transforming parenthood. Whether they create their families through pregnancy, adoption or fostering, are single, partnered or creating ever new configurations of parenthood, this anthology’s contributors offer their truths with courage, commitment and compassion. Infused with a uniquely queer perspective, Swelling with Pride will be reassuring to both prospective parents, those grappling with the nitty gritty of complications in donor choices, twin pregnancies, adoption or miscarriage, and even for those who’ve wished for parenthood, but found it heartbreakingly elusive. Swelling with Pride will be a valuable resource in the growing cannon of queer parenting literature, tangible comfort for readers during one of life’s most difficult, yet joyous, journeys.”

—Rachel Pepper, author of The Ultimate Guide to Pregnancy for Lesbians

“This collection is a valuable and illuminating addition to the literature about queer families, whose contributors are generous with their insight and experiences.”

—Bruce Gillespie, editor of A Family by Any Other Name