As part of LGBT History month I asked several rainbow families whether they would be happy to talk to me about being a same sex family and what LGBT history has done for them.
In the first of our Featured Families segment I’m letting Molly from Hound Mamas talk to you about her family. I’ve followed this blog for a long time and have enjoyed reading about their journey through sad times and good times.
1) Who are you?
I’m Molly and my wife’s blog name is Catch. We’re both 34 years old and we live in Los Angeles, USA.
2) How long have you been together?
It’s been 10 years since our first date and 7 years since we were legally married. (I never get tired of saying that!)
3) Where did you meet?
4) How many children do you have? How old are they?
We have a 6-month old daughter. She’s our one and only.
5) What’s the best thing about being a parent?
For me, motherhood has been absolutely exhausting but no matter how rough things are, it all melts away when our baby girl reaches out to me and smiles. Her smile makes the exhaustion fade away.
6) What challenges, if any, have you faced as a same-sex family?
We’ve only been parents for 6 months, and we’re fortunate enough to live in a big city where we haven’t had many public challenges as a same-sex family. Even our health care providers have been wonderfully accepting of our family unit. Our struggle was a bit closer to home, actually: My in-laws.
Catch’s parents made numerous comments over the years about how they would never be grandparents. It was like they couldn’t even fathom that Catch and I would or could ever have a baby together. When we decided to start trying to conceive, we agreed to keep them in the dark about our plans because they are very Catholic and conservative, and we worried how they would react to our use of a sperm donor and artificial reproductive technology.
When we got our positive pregnancy test, we told them over the most awkward dinner I have ever experienced—and I’ve been on some very awkward dates, so that’s saying something. They really had no idea what to say to us.
We gave them time to process things. My mother in law was actually the one who came around first. She slowly found her voice and started asking questions about the process and the donor. She would chat with me about pregnancy, and commiserated with me about her own miscarriage experience.
My father in law rarely said anything to me throughout my pregnancy. He remained awkward and uncomfortable until the very end. We had no idea what to expect once our baby girl was born.
That day in the hospital, everything changed. From the moment my father in law laid eyes upon our daughter, he was head over heels in love with her. He actually wouldn’t put her down once he had her in his arms, which caused some trouble because they stayed for 4 hours and I really wanted my baby back! But after all his awkwardness and hesitation, it was such a welcome surprise to see him so smitten with her.
My in laws have had their own challenges. They run in a pretty conservative Catholic circle, and I think it’s been hard for them to find their voice with their friends. It hasn’t been easy for them to talk about their daughter and her wife, and I know it was challenging to explain to their friends that it wasn’t their daughter who carried their grandchild. They have come so far, though, and I am really proud of them. Mostly though, I’m just grateful that they love our daughter with all of the joy and passion you would hope to see from grandparents.
7) Has it been easy to teach your children about diversity? Have they encountered any problems?
Charlotte is a bit young for this, but diversity is going to be a way of life for her. I hope that we can teach her to embrace all the things that make every one of us unique. Of everything we’ll teach her throughout her life, I think that lesson is probably the most important.
8) What would be your message to a young person “coming out” today?
Leap. Do it. Break free of the closet and don’t look back. The people who truly matter will rise to the occasion, even if it takes them some time. Make sure you have a support system in place to help you pick up any broken pieces, and just leap.
9) What would be your message to a couple starting out on the TTC journey?
Have patience—with the process, with each other, and with those around you. Depending on your journey, you may find TTC to be the biggest challenge you’ve faced as a couple. (To which I say HAH—just wait for parenthood!) Remember that the only way out is through, and the only way through is patience.
9a) How about those especially worried about persecution?
You have to be totally comfortable in your own skin before you bring a baby into the world. There’s no hiding once you have a child. You can’t pretend to just be friends when it’s convenient any longer. (I married a Catholic schoolteacher, so that happened on a number of occasions throughout the years when we’d run into my wife’s students.) Having a baby means being unapologetically out. Make sure you have a network of support in place that makes you feel safe and comfortable, and be prepared to stand up for your family if you need to.
10) What does LGBT History mean to you?
Everything. It means everything to me. All of the people who struggled before me have paved the way for me to be married—Something that 15 years ago, I honestly never thought would happen in my lifetime. Even better, our daughter is truly ours. Both of our names are on her birth certificate. I will never take that for granted. We have come so far and I am so proud of our community and its history.
11) Where can we find you?
We blog over at http://houndmamas.wordpress.com/
Thanks to Molly for sharing, it was really interesting to read about the conflict she faced from her family and how she dealt with that. I can’t imagine what it must have been like.
This post is part of a month long celebration for LGBT history month. If you’d like to get involved, tweet using the hashtag #LGBTHM or find one of your local LGBT groups on Facebook and find out how they’re celebrating LGBT History Month.