Ever since I was a child myself I knew that one day I would be a mother. In the same way that many people instinctively know that they do not want children, I instinctively knew that it was something I would do. At that time, however, I did not realise that I would be having a child in a same-sex relationship. See, whilst I knew from a relatively young age (13) I knew that I was not straight, I engaged in a couple of long term (and damaging) relationships with men, in the belief that marrying a guy and having children would be the ‘right’ way to go about things, despite not being entirely happy. Fast forward to the age of 26, when I met the woman who would later become my wife. It was love at first sight, in the very true sense of the phrase. We went on our first date two days after meeting and she moved in with me that very night. Six weeks on I proposed to her and she thankfully accepted. In October 2014 she made me the happiest woman alive and we married in a beautiful ceremony surrounded by all of our favourite people.
Soon after we married we began discussing having children, with thoughts of ‘well, let’s just leave it another couple of years’. By March 2016 the broodiness had become too much and we started the process of trying for a baby. My wife and I have been immensely blessed. There was no financial cost, no clinics, no medical interventions. Just me and her at home (with a small amount of help from a supremely generous man, who acted as our donor). In addition to this, we have the most incredibly supportive family and friends who have shared in our joy right from the start.
In approximately twelve weeks’ time I’m going to become a mother. My wife is 7 months and one day pregnant as I write this. I’m unsure what I expected the pregnancy to be like, but at times it has been difficult, for both of us. I’m going to be writing about my experiences, as opposed to speaking for my wife.
Prior to finding out that we had successfully conceived, I had what I assume to be ‘normal’ worries. You know, the ‘how will we afford to have a baby?’, ‘what will we do about childcare?’, ‘will I be able to cope with being a parent?’ and ‘will I ever sleep again?!’ Since getting our two pink lines, I’ve experienced some feelings and worries much more specific to being a same sex parent and a non-bio mother…..
- Telling people that I’m going to become a mother in January and seeing their confused expression as they look me up and down and note the absence of a bump. This will always be difficult, however, as someone who is about as ‘out and proud’ as one can get, I have no concerns about telling them the facts.
- Similar to the above, having people glance at my stomach in confusion when I go into a shop to purchase maternity clothing for my wife. For some odd reason, I often feel the need to explain myself, despite it not being anyone else’s business.
- Having people ask ‘who the father is’. He doesn’t have a father; he has a donor and his identity isn’t in the slightest bit relevant to anyone besides us.
- Explaining to professionals that we come into contact with that I am NOT her sister and I am NOT her ‘friend’. I am her wife and he is my child too.
- Wondering exactly how it feels for her when our baby boy kicks. Whilst I’ve managed to experience lots of his kicks from the outside, I can’t help but think about this, particularly as I’ve always wanted to experience pregnancy and hope to carry our next child myself.
- Worrying that he won’t feel connected to me as I am not biologically his mother. This is utterly ridiculous, I know it is. I’m going to be there for him every step of the way, doing everything that a mother should do. Blood and biology does not make a parent. Being there and loving unconditionally makes you a parent.
- It is five years away, but I already worry that our boy will be bullied for having two mummies, or that parent’s evening will be a minefield when two of us turn up.
- What will he call us?! Mummy and Mummy is too plain confusing for my liking. We’ve currently settled on Mummy for my wife and Mama for me, since that is what I call my own mother.
- The thing that makes me most sad is that two weeks after my baby boy arrives I’ll be required to return to full time work, as I am only entitled to statutory Paternity leave. This is gutting and I genuinely don’t know how I’m actually going to cope going back to work full time two weeks after becoming a mother. I have a huge amount of empathy for new fathers who experience the same.
Despite all of the above, I know it’s going to be okay. I already feel a fierce and maternal love for a human I have never met. It doesn’t matter that he has no biological connection to me. It doesn’t matter that I won’t have those ‘he has your nose’ moments. It doesn’t matter that he doesn’t have a ‘father’. I am going to do my absolute best for him, my son, my world. Come January, my life is going to change in the most amazing way. Watching my wife carry our child and seeing her body change for the past seven months has made me love her more than I ever imagined I could, in a way I didn’t think possible.
I cannot wait to meet him….