Being Mama: Josie Bouchier
Mother of two and Colorado based Women’s Health and Fertility Acupuncturist, Josie Bouchier L.Ac., opens up about what it’s been like to come out as a lesbian while in a heterosexual relationship with two kids just before her 40th birthday.
On any given day in Colorado, Josie Bouchier drops off her kids off at school and then heads to her clinic, Immortal Palace, to treat patients. Some days she drives to a fertility clinic to do before and after embryo transfer acupuncture treatments. As an advocate and champion for natural women’s health, Josie loves hearing different stories from the women she works with while she helps them to conceive. Currently, she is working on a book proposal based on her most popular online program, Fertile Woman, where she teaches women how to become their own fertility expert and naturally boost their fertility in 21 days. Beloved for her online programs, educational videos and one on one sessions, Josie isn’t just known for her miracle working ways. She’s also an inspiration to many in the LGBTQ community.
Two years ago, Josie Bouchier, came out as a lesbian. First to herself, then to her therapist, then to her family and friends and then – publicly.
Josie explains, “I dated and had feelings for women in college for a brief time, but I don’t remember if I identified as a lesbian back then. I was so young, just 20 (I’m 40 now), and didn’t have a firm grasp on my sexual identity or sexuality in general. I’m a bit of a late bloomer in that regard. Sometimes I wish I could go back in time and tell my lesbian-curious self to stay on that path. But I’ve learned that you can’t stop someone from walking through their fire. No doubt about it, my marriage was a crucible, and I came out transformed. And of course, I wouldn’t have my daughters. They are my deepest source of joy and my most challenging teachers. I like to refer to the last few years of coming out and motherhood as Personal Development Bootcamp.”
As a married mother of two in a heterosexual relationship, Josie was afraid of what the repercussions would be of coming out. When asked how she prepared to broach the subject with her kids, Josie says that she read books upon books and soaked up numerous queer podcasts.
“I also talked to my therapist at length, I sought out Meet Up groups and met with women in person who came out later in life. I consulted my closest girlfriends who are all so thoughtful and emotionally intelligent. I bought children’s books for my girls that taught them about all kinds of different families, including LGBTQ and divorced families, and I took them to events like Pride Fest and Drag Queen Story Time at our local children’s bookstore, which allowed for perfect segues into important conversations, especially with my inquisitive six-year-old.”
Even though she was afraid to come out, Josie received very little outright criticism. “My biggest critic BY FAR was myself. I struggled with shame and depression during the entire process. Anti-depressant Chinese herbal remedies, journaling, Bach Flower remedies, quality time with people who loved me deeply, and talk therapy helped tremendously. According to Chinese medicine, women go through a powerful transition in their late 30s to mid-40s, also known as Perimenopause. We are more familiar with the physical symptoms of this time of a woman’s life, like irregular periods, but the emotional / spiritual expressions can be life-changing forces. As mine were.”
Today, Josie and her ex-husband share 50/50 custody of their daughters and are admittedly smoothing out the wrinkles of co-parenting.
“The two most unexpected things about co-parenting with my ex-husband have been the fact that we need to get along better now, more than ever. Ironically. And that I ache for my daughters when they aren’t with me. Ache. That has been the hardest part of co-parenting—not being with them every day.”
Josie is also in a committed relationship with her girlfriend, Melissa. Curious about how Melissa, who doesn’t have kids of her own, has adjusted to parent life, we asked Josie about what her natural role has been.
“Melissa mostly plays a supportive role in my parenting, we joke that she is a ‘mom-in-training’. When we have the girls, she is wonderful at anticipating what I need before I need it, and paying attention to the planning and details of our day. Since she doesn’t have her own children, she is taking parenting cues from me and following the girls’ lead in regards to how emotionally and physically close they want to be to her. More and more, she is taking them on her own for hours at a time, and it’s so cool to watch her become more comfortable with them and vice versa.”
“At first, Melissa would feel overwhelmed after spending a short amount of time with them, but now she looks forward to seeing them and doesn’t seem fazed with meltdowns and (ahem) bathroom assistance requests. Melissa is also incredibly athletic, which has turned out to be a wonderful role model for my daughters. (I am the opposite of athletic.) She has taught the girls how to rock climb, and, for their birthdays, bought them their very own chalk bags. They were thrilled. After climbing, the girls always request to watch Melissa lift weights while they sip on their protein smoothies. It’s been amazing to watch the girls’ athletic ability bloom and develop, along with their new-found self-confidence. The most unexpected thing about parenting with a new partner is that love knows no familial bounds. Watching my daughters form bonds with Melissa and vice versa has made me feel hopeful and inspired by the human heart.”
One of Josie’s favorite quotes is, “Just do the next right thing” by Glennon Doyle.
“That piece of advice is what kept me going. At the beginning of my coming out journey and divorce process, the amount of things I needed to figure out and do, and the amount of pain that would inevitably follow, seemed insurmountable. Just putting one metaphorical foot in front of the other was the only way I eventually made it through.”
While one’s sexuality can be a private matter for many, Josie hopes her story helps even one person know that they are not alone.
“As I became more aware of my own power and strength, my sexuality, my deep desires, and my potential for integrating my whole self in this lifetime, I often compared this massive shift to the feeling of turning into a werewolf howling at the full moon—it felt unstoppable and bestial. This other quote by Mary Oliver kept coming to my mind, “You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves.”
Since nobody in Josie’s family or friend circle had been through what she was going through, she looked to wise female writers. She devoured poetry books by Rupi Kaur, Nayyirah Waheed, and Warsan Shire, and soaked up sage advice from Glennon Doyle, Elizabeth Gilbert, Brene Brown, and Cheryl Strayed.
“These women are my spirit animals, and I aspire to be like each of them. Oddly, both Glennon and Elizabeth Gilbert left their husbands and then married women at the same time that this was happening to me. And even more mysterious, was that I had pictures of them on my vision board that I had made years ago under this label: “You become like the 5 people you spend the most time with.” So strange!
With so much love, positivity and truth coursing through her veins, it’s clear why so many people look up to Josie Bouchier. Her girls are very lucky to have her as a mama. To finish our interview, we asked Josie what advice she likes to give her kids. Josie answered passionately, “Don’t lose sight of who you are at your core. Even though our culture and society will try to force it out of you at every turn. Stay strong. Be brave. Be YOU no matter what.”
- Visit Josie’s website: josiebouchier.com
- Follow Josie on Instagram: @josiebouchier
- Like Josie on Facebook: facebook.com/josiebouchierlac
Images via lisarundall.com