Communication Studies, Department of


Date of this Version



Published in Journal of Family Communication (2016); doi 10.1080/15267431.2016.1184150


Copyright © 2016 Taylor & Francis. Used by permission.


This study examined co-mother family of origin stories. Origin stories, representing the formation of a family, are culturally understood within a master narrative of heterosexual love and biological childbearing. Beginnings of co-mother families rupture this dominant, gendered, boy-meets-girl script. Investigating whether or not co-mother stories reify the normative master narrative or if instead their narrations resist and/or possibly transform conventional understandings, analysis identified three co-mother origin story themes: Becoming a Family (1) as Normal, (2) as Negotiation, and (3) as Normalization. Themes differ in terms of depiction of co-mother family formation as congruent with current norms, as something that needs to be made to seem normal (i.e., in need of normalization), or as something between normal and normalization—to be negotiated internally within the couple. Study results are discussed within a broader framework of family coming-together stories.