Mel, Teresa and baby Florence are a beautiful, loving family.
But due to a petty legal hurdle, Mel can’t be listed as Florence’s ‘Other Mother’ on her birth certificate.
Mel and Teresa have been fighting for Mel to be recognised as Florence’s mum, but they feel like they are banging their heads against bureaucratic brick walls.
In Mel’s own words, this is the story of their ongoing battle to have her parental role and their loving family legally recognised…
I am Florence’s mother.
It was an incredible experience to be the first to hold and feed her, and I was overwhelmed with happiness to welcome our gorgeous bundle of joy into our life.
But, what causes me immense sadness is that I am not listed on her birth certificate as her ‘Other Mother’ and legally I am not recognized as her family in Victoria. I can’t even adopt her as my own –Victoria’s State law makes it illegal.
I am constantly reminded that I am not viewed as her mum: when I take her for anything medical and I need to show Medicare details – I’m not on the same card; Maternal and Child Health appointments do not have me as the other mother; and I can’t include Florence on my Health Insurance.
These are things most parents take for granted – but I cannot.
Teresa, my partner and I met through ‘Pink Sofa’, an online dating site for gay women in 2011. We hit it off straight away due to the silly sense of humour that we both share. We continuously argue about who is the funniest out of the two of us – which of course is me!
We had only been dating a few weeks when I invited Teresa down to the beach to stay at my parent’s caravan.
Straight away I could tell something was worrying Teresa. Eventually, she sat down and quietly said to me, “before we go anywhere, I’ve got something to tell you….”
She hesitated. “I’ve been worried about telling you as I’ve been enjoying our time together….”
She stopped again, took a breath and then restarted: “I’m worried it will ruin the weekend and you’ll want to pack up and leave…”
Naturally, these comments sent my heart racing and my mind into overdrive: Have I just met someone who is dying? Has she got cancer? Has she got AIDS? Is she a mass-murderer?
Then she spoke again…and confessed to wanting a baby and starting IVF.
My first reaction was “Is that all?! I thought you were going to tell me you were dying!”
Teresa said she wasn’t expecting anything from me and was happy just to see how things developed. But, we quickly realised that we wanted to be together and the decision to embark on the IVF was made together.