parents

"I’m one of the increasing number of lesbians becoming mums."

Kirsty Hunter is an Australian resident living abroad. Here she writes for Mamamia about her experiences becoming pregnant as a lesbian woman.

I have never felt more straight than walking around with my bump. Suddenly cute girls’ eyes slide past me in disinterest and the rest of the world looks at me like I am joining their very large club.

Why is this so strange?  I suppose because I’m one of the increasing number of lesbians becoming mums. When I came out at the somewhat advanced age of 28, the gay world felt like a secret place where you didn’t have to adhere to the rules.  Full of hedonistic nights out running around Soho, holidaying at villas in Ibiza with fabulous gay boys and stumbling out of bars tipsy on life.  A world where your coming out story was your bond, an entree into Never Never Land where you never had to grown up.

This was a magical place where you could be with someone and not have to worry about being asked constantly when you were going to get married.  Once married, all my straight friends were then bombarded with the kids question.

In the gay world we revelled in not being “breeders”, in being outsiders.

I came out, ran away to New York, dated lots of girls and routinely slept under my desk at lunch exhausted from dingy clubs and big nights.  I once tried to deny sleeping at lunch but the carpet imprint on my cheek gave me away.  Children were the last thing on my mind.

My sister called me from Perth one snowy New York night and told me she had given birth to my second niece.  I ran back into my neighbourhood dive bar in Brooklyn, stood on top of the bar and announced to hundreds of gay boys “I’m an AAAAAAunty” and was promptly inundated with celebratory cocktails until dawn.

Life was flitting from L Word Screenings and Friendster blind dates to Burlesque shows on the Lower East Side and recovery brunches the next day.

And then, like all good love stories, I met the one.  She was what I had been looking for. We fell in love, settled down, and had the big wedding day.

Read more: Straight teen asks his gay friend to prom. Reminds us people are good.

But after spending most of our 30s doing whatever we fancied – working on location on desert islands, ridiculous holidays, huge nights out, bingeing on box sets, building our careers, buying a house – we knew we wanted more out of life.

We wanted to be a family.  But what sort? Did we want to co-parent? Adopt? Have our own?  Who carries?  Who stays at home?  Who’s the father?

Wedding photo courtesy of Jay Rowden.

We decided we didn’t want to share our children, that we would try to have our own first but if not would give a child a home who needed one.  We decided that one of us was built for carrying, the other wasn’t.  That the one who stayed at home would be decided purely on earning ability and that there is no father, just a donor.  We want our children to have the option of knowing their donor, so we opted – as is the law in the UK – for a known donor.

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When our child is born, we will receive a letter the donor has written about himself.  At 18 the child receives the donor’s details and they also can find out about their biological siblings from the 10 families each donor is allowed.

We had to really think about being parents.  It wasn’t going to just happen by accident.  We had to really want it.  We had to spend thousands to do what some people take for granted.  We had to be prepared to fail trying to do what some people think we should never do.  We were acutely aware that some people think we don’t have the right to be parents.

Same sex marriage opponents say; “think of the children”.  And we did.  We thought of the love and care and opportunities we could give children.  And we decided to try.

Some heartbreak ensured, failed inseminations and a lot of soul searching.  This was hard, you feel like your very self is being dismantled as hope drains away.  We waited a few years and tried again prepared to fail.

Read more: “Why don’t women talk about having IVF.”

Against all odds, IVF worked first time.  It shouldn’t have.  I had a lot of fertility issues and didn’t respond well to the treatment.  But our fertility doctor said to us, it only takes one egg.  And she was right.

As a generation of gay people we have benefited from hard fought advances in tolerance, legal recognition and science.  We know how lucky we are to live in this place, at this time.  To be able to be ‘breeders’, where we are both listed on the birth certificate and our child will know we are recognised as married and a family in the eyes of the law.

As an Australian in the UK I feel privileged to have the rights we do and feel sorry that we would not have those same rights in my own country.

But right now I am focusing on the fact that in a few short months we will get to meet our little boy (yes it’s a boy!) and be a family.

Like other expectant Mums all we can hope for is that he is healthy and happy.

The rest we are going to have to build… together.

Have you had a similar experience to Kirsty?

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