Lucy shares her journey and some of the challenges she’s faced being part of a two-mum family.
I’m a 37 year old mum to two beautiful children and, whilst there’s nothing unusual about that, I often get looked at differently and receive questions and opinions about my home circumstances. The reason being that I am gay and my children have two mums. In the majority of ways, we are no different to other parents, but before and during our journey to become parents, my partner and I were met with additional challenges.
Was I Selfish?
I always wanted children and, even when I realised who I was, I hoped it was still something I would be able to have. My early pregnant days weren’t necessarily met with excitement, but rather with concern. My thought processes were different due to the decisions I had to make and these held me back.
We had to do research, consider our treatment options and make practical decisions, whilst all the time questioning whether we were doing the ‘right’ thing. We were considering our future responsibility in more depth than perhaps many parents would. I was concerned about my children and the life they would have, and whether the desire to have treatment in order to continue my family tree was a selfish one on my part. These weren’t my thoughts alone, but were also aired by family members.
Assumptions and Difficult Conversations
There were, and sometimes still are, times when we faced challenges and sometimes awkward situations due to being same-sex parents. During our first scan the sonographer asked my partner whether she was my sister or mother – I understand that this might happen to heterosexual couples, where one might look older than the other maybe, but it shifted the focus.
Another thing we have noticed since becoming parents is that almost all the forms, including the birth registration and our nursery enrolment form, asked for the mother’s name and father’s name, so we would often find ourselves scribbling on them to correct it. These may seem small things, perhaps insignificant, and not something many parents would necessarily notice, but they made us feel different and stand out from what is ‘normal’.
“Why Don’t I Have a Daddy?”
Our five year old has been through different stages about not having a dad and as a toddler would ask regularly, “why don’t I have a daddy?” But, as toddlers are curious and do often ask a lot of questions, it would often be followed by a question like, “how are babies made in your tummy?” As she grew up she always just accepted the answers we gave her, and now if a stranger talks to her about her mummy and daddy, she is just straightforward and confidently says, “I don’t have a daddy, I have two mummies,” which does confuse some people!
Our two year old is currently going through the stage where he says, “that’s my daddy” about random strangers, which I consider to be ‘normal’ considering that many books, cartoons and the majority of children around them mostly have mummies and daddies.
Acceptance of Who I Am
The biggest thing for me is that I have to face my fear of telling people about my sexuality, as to most, at face value, I look heterosexual. When I was on maternity leave and going to baby groups, other mums would always assume and talk about ‘he’ and ‘my husband’. When our children were babies I would go along with it, lie and conjure up a husband because my sexuality isn’t something I’ve always felt comfortable about. But now our daughter is older and is proud of her mummies, I find myself correcting people and am more comfortable in my own skin - if she couldn’t care less what other people think, why should I?
Every Family is Unique
Since our eldest started school I have realised that there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all family - single parent families, blended families, fostered, adopted, same-sex parented families, children living with grandparents, the list goes on. No matter what shape and form family comes in, what’s important is that the children are loved, are being brought up to have true values and are happy human beings. We are all good enough, and as with all things, shouldn’t compare ourselves to others.
Having children has been the hardest, but best rollercoaster I have ever been on and I no longer feel selfish for bringing my children in to the world. So, as a mum, the best piece of advice I would give you about bringing up your children, is to enjoy it and not guilt yourself about what you are not doing right. Please don’t take other people’s opinions or views to heart, because that’s what they are: opinions, not facts or statements. If your children are happy and you are united as a family then that’s all you need.