Two Mummy’s: Same-sex Parenting


unnamed-1I put a shout-out on Instagram a few weeks ago looking for some same-sex parenting lists. I loved this one the @UnlikelyDad wrote about his and his partners adoption journey and was keen to hear more stories. Lots of people got in touch (and I’ll be sharing them in due course) but Rowan’s came through first so am delighted to share her insight into parenting as two Mummy’s:

  • We decided 20 years ago to have babies with our best friend, when the time was right. It was too hard, too complicated and we lost each other & the friendship through the process, which still hurts. I do know people for whom this approach has worked. However, sailing into that ilk of arrangement, it is prudent to understand that it may not happen within a month, 3 months, 6, or even two years. You may encounter hurdles and perhaps even devastation along the way.

  • In the end, we had to choose a donor and medical assistance. I have no regrets. Ultimately, we had to move on quickly despite our sadness. Women have limited windows etc, etc

  • We had three miscarriages on our journey to have children. It was sincerely the worst time of our lives. An isolating, horribly sad, desperate black hole. Later, IVF was successful for us, first time. We are thankful every day for that.

  • Having a male father type figure seemed far less important to me once I realised we were a mighty family unit. My partner and I are more than enough for our child. She has everything she needs. There are positive male role models in her life, which I value, of course.

  • Choosing a sperm donor is singularly the most bizarre/hilarious thing I have ever done. We had an American Clinic who included photos from childhood and adulthood, huge quantities of information and an essay from the Donor himself.

  • In the end, it came down to instinct. We agreed instantly on the same person. We have not looked back. Once decided, it was a desperate race to secure units. I remember phoning America in a Marks & Spencer’s car park talking about availability of sperm. I’m glad that I was efficient, because all the units were gone by the end of that weekend.

  • It is a very odd thing, to arrange a transaction of sperm for money. Even if it was formally through a clinic.

  • At no point throughout the process was my partner concerned about not sharing biology with our child. It was never an issue for her, she just knew it didn’t matter. I think it is a concern for some. Had my partner been the birth mother, honestly, I might have been worried about it, but I know now, ultimately, it is of no consequence.

  • It can be slightly disconcerting to watch somebody else’s features develop on your child, even if it is just a toe or an ear shape. An unknown. I grew up without a father, owning only three faded, awkwardly positioned photographs of him. It concerned me that this would be our child’s experience. However, the information we have, both visual and written, for our donor is amazing. More than I will ever have about my own biology. One day she can choose to meet him if she wants to. We purposefully decided on someone willing to be in contact one day, should she decide that path. That was my only prerequisite in a donor.

  • We try to raise her to consider kindness, compassion and empathy before all other things.

  • It seems there are quite a few same sex family groups in our city; it is our hope that she will encounter this as she goes through school, and have it be an integrated part of her culture.

  • My partner identifies as female but dresses as a boy. Has done since childhood. Boy’s hair etc. it seems less confusing a gender issue to our child and her friends than it is for adults.unnamed-4

  • Our families never had a problem with our decisions about having children. Ever. We were actively encouraged and financially supported by both sides which is so fortunate because it was costly and we had absolutely no money. I feel for people without support. Hard enough to have kids, harder still if you’re unsupported or indeed ostrisized by your family.

  • I am sure some people have differing, less fortunate experiences with their families’ opinions about their chosen lifestyles. But things are changing and quite different to when I was coming out 20 plus years ago.

  • When we found out we were pregnant, after a tense two-week wait, we were utterly over joyed. That joy was tempered by abject fear that we would lose our baby. We had scans frequently. I hired a doppler (not for everyone) which reassured us on a daily basis that all was ok. My partner lost a stone over the nine months because she was so deeply anxious.

  • The clinic we chose was recommended to us. They were amazing, very inclusive and we felt valued and supported by them. Especially as we came with extreme feelings of failure, anxiety and also, importantly, traumatized by losses.

  • When I went into labour, I drove myself to the hospital, sans bag or anything useful. COMPLETE denial. The car stacked up three days of parking fees, in absence of another driver. We had to have a friend pick it up eventually.

  • The nurses, midwives & consultants were amazing. They included my partner in all decisions.

  • We chose very carefully, where we now live. It took months of searching for the right area. We did not want to be out with the city, we wanted to be in an inclusive, broad, liberal environment with absolutely no homophobia etc. we nailed it. I hope that our child will face zero bullying, however if she does, we will fight it head on.

  • It no longer even occurs to me that we are in a non-hetero normative relationship and family group. I do attribute that to where we decided to live. We have sacrificed a larger house and space to live centrally.

  • I teach secondary level students part-time. I have seen more and more same-sex parent groups coming through in past ten years. These teenagers are incredibly comfortable and open about their family contexts. This is very encouraging for us.

  • I am openly gay at work, the students probably all know that I am married to my partner and that we have a family. They don’t even blink.

  • We have not had a recent negative experience concerning other people’s opinions. Most parents don’t care and want to be around a family group like ours, I suppose it reminds younger children that the world is populated by all different kinds of people.

  • Nurseries and schools have been amazing. We were concerned that traditions like Father’s Day might be an issue. However, with such diverse modern family constructs they are very inclusive. Father’s day becomes uncles/grandfather’s day. We receive two cards from her on mother’s day.

  • Despite our best efforts to make sure that all her toys and clothes are non-gender specific, she is a massive princess and loves all things pink. Of course.

  • We spent a great deal of time trying to figure out how we should be addressed by our daughter. Very naturally, on her own, she pretty much decided Mummy and Muma. Later, it will change no doubt. That’s ok too.

  • Our daughter has approximately 15 donor siblings. Or ‘diblings’ (donor/sibling) as they are popularly termed.

  • Those family groups seem to be mainly same-sex couples. Some are single Mum’s deciding to have children on their own. Heterosexual couples utilising sperm donation are the minority. This is not the case for the egg donation field.

  • We have a closed social media group for the parents of these siblings. We can see physical likenesses, personality development, likes & dislikes developing now. However, generally, all the kids look more like their birth mothers than the donor. Another set of genes and that could have been entirely the opposite.unnamed-5

  • We wanted to have siblings for our child. It felt important at the time, so we went back to the clinic and proceeded with our two frozen embryos. We also felt strongly about leaving no man behind. Unfortunately, they didn’t t make it. We were sad but also felt enormously blessed, given the struggle we overcame to have one baby.

  • She has the possibility of half brothers and sisters in America, UK, Australia and Canada. She can choose to make contact later on and form relationships and kindred experiences with them. This makes me feel better about her being an only child, but it will be up to her.

  • Some of the UK family groups have already met up socially, the young siblings being introduced.

  • I am a believer in the idea of an urban family, not being from a large, close traditional one myself. I feel strongly you ‘make’ your family and that shared biology is of little or any importance. Friends with children around us are as important in a familial sense, as ‘blood’ family members. We have many cousins, aunts & uncles in our family, in no way related to us.

  • We made our daughter a book detailing simply how she came about. She has enjoyed learning about it now she is a little older. We are very open with her; she will always have truth about her background. We will hide nothing. Research has shown that this is categorically the right approach for donor-conceived children. So far, it is working out. She is a happy contented child, I mean, she has noticed other people have dads, but understands all families are different. We work hard to normalise that.

  • I am the birth mother for our child, but the bond between our daughter and her other parent is incredible. I would say that it might even have been stronger than mine at the beginning. She was the first to hold her after she was born. That was the very definition of love at first sight. I watched it happen.


Previous Post Next Post

You Might Also Like

No Comments

Leave a Reply