"I can't be a parent if I'm not there": Investigating how leave shapes parental identity experience among female same‐sex parents
This research explores how leave affected ten female same-sex parents’ experience of their parental identity. Semi-structured interviews with all participants and semi-structured two-week diaries (diary-interview method (DIM)) with four participants who were currently within their leave arrangements at the time of data collection shed light on parental identity experiences within the settings of shared parental leave, maternity leave, adoption leave, and ineligibility for leave. The data was analysed via in vivo coding.
Findings suggest that leave affected participants’ parental identity experience in providing focus, physical presence, and time. These leave characteristics benefited participants’ visibility as parents to others and themselves. Participants’ shared parental identification as mothers highlighted the importance of equality within their parental identity experience. While equal leave arrangements facilitated an equal parental identity experience, the experience of ineligibility for leave was especially detrimental for one participant.