Illustrated by Alyssa Kiefer

When we first launched Healthline Parenthood just over a year ago, we made a commitment. Our promise to our readers was to make every single person feel included and heard no matter where they were on their parenting journey or how they chose to build their family. 

We based this mission not only on what our team personally felt was missing from current parenting websites, but we listened to other parents who shared the same concerns — so many families didn’t feel represented in the images they see or the content they read online.

There is so much beauty in the not-so-traditional makeup of families, and we wanted to make sure that we talked about them more. 

These family makeups go beyond the birds and the bees system we learned about in biology — man and woman have sex and baby is born! That’s a wonderful story, too, don’t get me wrong, but there are so many families that were built based on a different path — one that wasn’t so black and white — and we think those deserve to be celebrated. 

We’re talking about the parents who used surrogates, the same-sex couples who select an egg or sperm donor, the blended families with kids from previous marriages, the ones struggling to get pregnant and need to undergo fertility treatments, and the families who decide to adopt.

We even hear from a woman who has chosen to be an egg donor to help others build a family of their own.

There are so many stories out there that deserve to be celebrated, and in this content package, Family Is What You Make It: Not-So-Traditional Journeys to Parenthood, we do just that.

We honor the families whose journeys to parenthood weren’t so linear. We praise the families who have grown stronger because of the path they were on to become parents. 

Five years ago, my husband and I were told we would never be able to have kids naturally and would need fertility treatments to make it happen. We were at a loss. It was all supposed to fall perfectly into place — and it wasn’t. We felt isolated and alone because, to us, this wasn’t normal. 

What I’ve learned since starting that journey 5 years ago, and now as a mother to a 2 1/2-year-old with another one on the way in 2 weeks (all thanks to fertility treatments), is that we aren’t alone.

There are so many stories of strength, hope, and determination to become parents, and I’m so honored that so many parents have shared their stories with us. 

We want to say thank you to each and every one of them — the openness about deciding to use a surrogate, the mom who lived through the loss of two children but kept fighting, the single parents by choice and the ones who got pregnant unexpectedly, the parent who experienced a transgender pregnancy, the importance of celebrating adoption, and the books that help kids understand how their family journey is unique — because we know these beautiful stories will help someone else who isn’t able to rely on the birds and bees to make children happen.

We’re so proud of these articles and the people who contributed it. 

Jamie Webber
Editorial Director, Parenthood