By SAMUEL LEIGHTON-DORE
I’ve wanted to be a parent since I was five years old. I remember stuffing cushions under my t-shirt and announcing to the entire household that I was expecting, before, minutes later, sitting on the toilet and screaming to my parents that I was in a long and incredibly painful labour.
They’d ask whether it was a boy or girl. It was always a boy. I’m not quite sure why, I guess because I was. They’d then ask, with amused curiosity, the name I’d chosen for the surprise new addition to our family.
Oscar. I always named my toilet babies Oscar.
Ten years later, as I grew into an almost fully functioning teenager (with numerous false- alarm pregnancies under my belt) I felt well equipped to start babysitting three real-life, fighting, poo-ing, shrieking children, all under the age of four: Violet, Ben and Angelica.
I looked after them two nights a week for several years. I saw them take their first steps, I fed them messy dinners, I changed their dirty nappies, I bathed them, I read them bed- time stories – and I loved it. I loved it more than I loved watching Charmed or Australian Idol, I loved it more than I loved binge-drinking on Bacardi Breezers in the local park with friends and I loved it more than I loved Jesse McCartney. Beautiful Soul days – Big call.
I guess it just felt natural. I’ve simply always safely assumed that, at some point, when financially able, I would have a child of my own – A son, Kale, named after the nutritious, bitter tasting, wild cabbage.
And, being a perpetually single, romantically pessimistic, gay male- I always assumed it would be through a planned surrogacy and with the possible assistance of a qualified Nanny.
Obviously. Right? Apparently not.
Recently I was at an overpriced, swanky dinner soiree with a group of female friends in their early-30s. They were talking about their young children, respective pregnancies, various struggles with fertility and IVF success stories. I listened on keenly until one of the women turned and shot me the standard “Do you think you’ll ever adopt?” to which I quipped, as usual, “I think I’d rather surrogacy.”
My response was met with some foreign looks of confusion, concern and even judgement. Had I missed something? I wanted to use a surrogate, a perfectly common and acceptable form of modern-day, Twenty-First Century conception. As narcissistic as it may sound on paper, I want to recognise myself in my child. I want to see my dad’s hazel eyes and gentle nature, my mum’s olive skin and stubborn determination. I want a child that is mine.
“But there are so many children who need homes already…” “Why bring another child into the World when…”
“Don’t you think a Child needs a female presence?…”