On being Same-Sex Parents: Your questions answered


Today’s post is a little different – It’s Brighton Pride this weekend and whilst everyone is planning their vibrant outfits and stocking up on rainbow flags, feather boas, glitter and booze, I’m at home with a sleeping baby, reflecting on our first Pride weekend as a same-sex family and what that means to us. This is certainly different to my usual Pride plans, thats for sure! So, I thought this might be a good time to share a window into our lives and our dynamic as a same-sex family.

I recently posted on Twitter inviting my followers to ask any questions they had about same-sex parenting to see what the internet wondered about our family. Well, it turns out a lot of people are quite curious about our family and our daily lives together so I’m writing this post is to hopefully clear some things up. So, onto the questions – you asked it – so here are the answers!


This is such a popular question that we get asked a LOT! At the moment, we are both ‘Mummy’ but I think when Violet can speak I’ll be ‘Mummy’ and V potentially ‘Mum’ but we’ll just let it evolve over time. Violet will find what she wants to call us and we’ll roll with that. To be fair, her nickname is ‘Pig’ or ‘Piglet’ so I’m fearing the worst!

Actually, I think if anything it’s helped with how the outside world has viewed our relationship. I’m not sure people always take same-sex couples seriously, thinking it’s just a phase or that it’s not a valid relationship in comparison to a heterosexual couple – even buying a house together didn’t seem to convince some people that were in it for the long term – however the arrival of Violet seems to have shown the doubters that we are a strong, family unit and plan to stay that way. If they think any differently, that’s their problem.

Best: Just any form of acceptance without being questioned – for example at Waterbabies when we swapped over in the pool, our teacher referred to both of us as ‘Mum’ without even asking – it’s the little things!

Worst: ‘Doesn’t she look like Daddy’ – I’m sorry, who? And… no, she’s a spitting image of me as a baby. Using the term ‘Daddy’, ‘Dad’ or ‘Father’ can cause offence in (female) same-sex relationships, we certainly find it a lack of respect here.

Honestly, no I don’t, especially where we live in Brighton. She’ll be one of many, many children who come from modern families at her school – Love makes a family, not it’s make-up. There are single mums, single dads, two-mum families, two-dad families, transgender mums or dads, families with 3 parents or more – the list goes on and a new modern family evolves into our society every day, so she’ll be right at home. Also, just to ensure she has lots of friends from similar familes we are part of the Brighton Rainbow Families group for LGBT parents, so she’ll make a lot of friends there too.

Sadly, if you want to go down the clinic route it’s amazingly expensive and the NHS do not offer any support to same-sex families at the moment. We funded ourselves completely through a private clinic to conceive Violet, which cost a rather large sum of money which makes me wince to even think of (she’s worth it). Luckily, we have an amazing clinic locally, which lots of our friends had been to so we had that in our favour. We just need to win the lottery now to pay it all back!

If you are looking into clinics, there are lots of online forums that provide excellent support, reviews and experiences – I was on the Babycentre IVF board which provided an amazing amount of support as I found people using the same clinic as me, at the same time as me, so although we didn’t meet in person we followed each others journies and kept each other going through the tough times!

There are other methods to try if you can’t afford the medical route – the Pride Angels website can help with this, but be cautious if you chose this route as there may be further legalities to look into for aspects like the birth certificate and equal rights etc.

 

Honestly, we haven’t had any bad public reactions (thankfully) so not yet and hopefully not at all!

‘Which one of you is the Dad’ – this question always confuses me, we are both Mums, there isn’t a Dad, or a ‘Dad figure’ and if people then continue to pry with ‘What about Dad activities’ I ask ‘what are Dad-activities?’ to us there are just activities and we’ll cover them all, I’m sure!

 


I think the care I received was equal to that of any Mum – in the hospital when I was giving birth I received the same care as my other Mummy friends and V was included as any parent would be. I also have a friend who is a trans father who gave birth in Brighton (the same hospital as we used). He was treated with great care and respect, given a private room and all notes changed to ‘Father’ rather than ‘Mother’. It’s really great to see the NHS being so progressive and accepting of families in all situations! (Also – you can read Scott’s blog about his journey into fatherhood here – he’s just started blogging and is so lovely, so I’d love if you headed over there to give it a read)


It’s hard to know as most of the families I know are two-mum families, but our friends Scott and Ron (as mentioned in the last Q) are both Dads and from what I’ve heard they’ve had a fabulous welcome to Brighton as a new family.

The only thing that people have mentioned is that they worry Violet will get bullied in school, which I’m really not worried about. Not that I’m not worried about bullies, of course I am! But I honestly think in Brighton where we live she will not be alone and will be in with a mix of families from all backgrounds, races and ethnicities. There will always be school bullies whatever we do but I don’t feel like she’ll be any more vulnerable than the next child in her class, if anything she’ll have two strong, independent supportive Mummies that will teach her how to hold her own and stand up for herself anyway.

Thats the end of our questions! Every family, regardless of it’s setup should be allowed to flourish and expand, regardless of the setup. Love, science and determination created our family – we are just like you and one day we will live in a world where we won’t be considered different at all, here is hoping.

If you are in a same-sex relationship and thinking of starting of starting a family yourself, I’m always around for a chat, so please do get in touch!

 

Image Credit – Kitty Wheeler Shaw (to see the rest of our gorgeous family photoshoot, see this link)

 

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  • Sarah Sullivan

    Awesome post! I’m glad you talk about this sort of thing because everyone is curious and want to ask all sorts of questions but are afraid of offending! x

  • Áine Danger Gumery

    Excellent answers. Hooray for living in a more accepting world – well particularly in Brighton anyway! Such a cute wee bubs. I’m going to have to come visit soon, I need some baby squishes.

  • Amy

    Love this! I love how you are so open. I think where you live does have an impact because like you say Brighton has lots of modern families but where I live the norm is a two up two down family 😊 I just hope my girls to grow up to know that there is no such things as “the norm” and as you say love makes a family ox

  • It’s such an interesting topic. Some of the things you said apply to my family too. My husband and I heard a few times that we are not a family because we don’t have children. I was also asked if I’m going “home” – my mother’s house, as if the house we bought and lived as husband and wife for years is not a home for us. So, the idea of a family can be tricky for heterosexual couple too. I always get annoyed by these questions, we’ve been married for 10 years.

    As for the “Doesn’t she look like Daddy”, it might be something else. I’ve read in a book (Survival of the prettiest, I would recommend it) that humans tend to think babies look like their fathers as a way to make them think they are the real fathers of the child, so they should take care and protect him/her. Unlike with the mothers, the fathers aren’t 100% sure, so a little bit of reassurance is helpful. 🙂

  • Thank you for answering my question 🙂 It’s really lovely that you’re both open to answering questions that people have, it helps break any stigma that’s still unfortunately left xx

    http://www.gollymissholly.uk

  • Thank you so much for posting this – a really insightful look into an aspect of life I didn’t know much about, or if I’m honest, think much about beforehand. You’re already both amazing parents and I’m so excited to see Violet grow and hear all about your family adventures 🙂 x

  • I loved reading this. I see several same sex couples at our clinic who are doing IVF and I’m so happy they have that support where I live.

  • This is a brilliant post! And I’d love to point out that kids will often just choose how they call you, even if you try insisting on a certain version of “mum” or “Mummy”… In the past few years I have been “darling” (so funny hearing that shouted from his bedroom!), “mama”, “Mummy”, “mum”, “Amanda” (yes, he likes occasionally calling me by my actual name, he thinks it’s funny and I do too!), and most recently, “mother” which probably cracks me up the most as it’s so formal! So I love the fact your answer to the first question is that you’ll just see how it goes 🙂

  • I love this post, i really hope i can have this one day it would be really nice! its so cute to see people happy! <3

    http://www.beautyandtheboy.com

  • Great post darling. That thing about “Pig” and “Piglet” made me giggle 😉
    xo

  • Gee

    I have so much love for this post. Im so happy that you live in such an accepting place. Violet is incredibly blessed to have such wonderful mummies.

  • Love this post, I’m so glad you’ve been having such positive experiences. Such beautiful photos xx

  • Ah she’s such a cutie! And I’m very glad that the NHS are becoming more progressive, this was super interesting as someone who may end up as a same sex parent in the future, I’m glad that you’ve had such positive responses too!

    The Quirky Queer

  • Ahh I loved this Q&A, it’s a great format for a post. Also so brilliant to be open and let people ask you questions!

    foodieeshe.com x