LGBT History Month – Featured Families: Hound Mamas

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.

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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?

Match.com. Seriously.

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. 

Identity

Ever since I realised I was gay, I always felt I had a strong “identity”.

Before I came out, I liked gaming, comics, and gadgets to name a few things. I enjoyed cooking, walking, and reading. That was me.

After I came out, I still liked those things. That was just me. The icing on the cake was that I finally realised what the extra feelings I had inside me meant. I liked women now in addition to gaming, comics, and gadgets.

On the outside, my short hair, “masculine”clothing, and general boyish attitude made me who I was. I may have already looked like a typical lesbian (not to mention in addition to my typical boyish hobbies) but it wasn’t because I was gay that I wore those clothes, it’s just how I felt comfortable.

I was confident in who I was. What I liked. I wasn’t particularly fond of being put into a pigeonhole because of how I looked, but I had a hole (pardon) nonetheless. I had an identity.

Since becoming a mum, however, I’ve had several conflicts with my identity. It’s been blurred somewhat. I’m still a lesbian. I still like dressing the same. I still like the same things. But because I don’t get to enjoy them as much, because I don’t often look like the K from before motherhood, I don’t often feel like me anymore. I’m T’s mum now.

I go to baby groups, soft play, baby swim, the lot, and although I’m made to feel very welcome, I’m still very alone. I don’t feel like me. Maybe it’s the area I live in, maybe my gaydar is off, but I can honestly say that I haven’t met another same sex parent (in person) since Gay Pride. I feel I’m no longer this comic loving, gaming lesbian. I’m mum. All the time. Making my identity feel very blurred.

On face value this sounds ridiculous; of course lesbians can be mums! Our past has made this possible. Of course mums can be gamers. But what I’m referring to is my identity. Is it still as strong now that I’m a mum? Or has it simply evolved? I guess this post doesn’t have a difinitive answer.

I’m often wondering whether I can be both. I was able to “come out” and keep my hobbies without any conflict, why can’t I seem to do this now I’m a mum?

Does that sound strange? Can you relate?

K

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. 

*picture credit: hybridtales.wordpress.com

This Time Last Year

This time last year we saw our baby boy for the first time. Our son. 

Of course we didn’t know he was a he, but he was our baby nonetheless.

Two years in the making, we knew we wanted him more than anything, but what he brought along with him was unexpected but extra special. 

Little did we know that he would complete us.  

 

Little did we know that he would make us who we are today. 

Little did we know that he would bring us such undescribable joy. 

Little did we know that at 5 months he already has character and a massive personality. 

  
We’re not naive to say it’s been easy, or that we thought it would be, but raising him has given us a daily feeling of achievement. That ‘we made this’ feeling. That ‘we’re doing this!’ feeling. It’s unique and incomparable, and we had no idea we would feel like this a year ago. 

We can’t believe we’re in this place most days, can’t believe that our tiny beansprout is here, that he’s the same beansprout from the picture. We thought the day would never come, but here’s definitely well and truly here. So much so, we can’t remember what life was life before him.

K

Days Out – Our First Family Gay Pride. 

The wife and I have been going to Pride on and off for the last few years. Whenever we do go, we always have a good time. The atmosphere is always buzzing with joy, especially if the weather is good, and attendees are always in good spirits.

This year was our first year attending as a family, and we couldn’t be prouder.
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I’ve been an LGBT child since the age of ten so going to Pride with my mum(s) as an LGBT family wasn’t a new thing for me but going with MY wife and MY son was something extra special. I know S felt the same.

The festivities began when we met another same-sex family from a local rainbow family group at the gates whilst we waited for the parade to reach the park. Their son was the same age as T so we had plenty to talk about, it was also the ladies’ first Pride! After the parade facing several delays we finally saw it and then made our way into the park.

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For the second year in a row there was a family area within the park that had a main tent; which housed children’s entertainment, and arts and crafts. There was also a small fun fair area outside that housed games likes a coconut shire. This was perfect for us (although T was a little bit too young for crafts and a face paint) as it was quiet and out of the way of the main park where all the bar and club tents were. We still walked around the park later on to view the stalls, but this is where we stayed for the majority of the day.

Our fondest memories were meeting other rainbow families, being able to chat with the ladies of Pride Angel, and meeting fellow bloggers (a very surreal moment!). It was a wonderful day.

After spending the afternoon with some friends and their children we decided to make our way home. Making our way through the park was probably when I felt most proud. We were surrounded by hundreds of people from all walks of life, all sharing the same belief that we are all equal; and it felt great.

I’ve never taken for granted how lucky I am that I can freely walk hand in hand with my wife, and I certainly don’t take for granted how lucky we are when we can also walk together as a family, especially when we know difficult it is for others in other countries.

This, as well as because it’s fun, is one of the many MANY reasons I will be making sure that every year we take T to Pride (with Pride).
K

Alone For The First Time

For the first time in 3 months me and S were alone. Albeit in a barbers, and I was getting ragey because there was only one barber working because the other barbers decided to go out the previous night and drink far too much, and there were two kids in front of us getting their hair cuts and telling god awful knock-knock jokes, but we were alone. It felt weird.

We had dropped T off at his nanas, my mum’s, because last time we went to get our hair cuts it was hit and miss whether T would wake up and need a feed, and I didn’t fancy feeding him underneath a hairdressing cloak or on top of the cloak with tons of hair dropping on him. It was also a good opportunity for a practise run (for us, not mum) of mum having T. It also meant we could have a morning to ourselves where we could do coupley stuff like drink coffee in booths that weren’t pram friendly, hold hands whilst walking side by side, and visit shops that don’t have ramps! It was amazing.


I think my biggest worry was the feeding. Although I had left 2 x 5oz feeds with mum I was worried it wouldn’t be enough or T suddenly wouldn’t take the bottle. But it was fine.

The biggest hiccup (although not really) was when a comical (for us) accident happened down below despite telling his nanas that it wasn’t due until Monday. That’ll teach me to drink orange juice! Thank god we packed him extra clothes!

In total we were gone a total of 4 hours. I probably would have gone back sooner if a) we didn’t live so far from the barbers meaning a wasted journey if we left and b) I didn’t desperately need a haircut.

After our haircuts we couldn’t resist popping into the local bookshop and getting a book (or two). They always have books I remember reading as a child, and they always stock ‘alternative family’ books which is always nice to see. The children’s section is in the basement of the shop and is a lovely cozy place with cushions everywhere to sit and read – I can’t wait to take T there.


I thought I would be upset or at least bothered at the thought of leaving T, as this was the first time I would have left him, or at least longer than the 20 minutes I usually take to walk the dog, but I wasn’t. Not at all. I know I wasn’t completely relaxed, as I was worried T would be bothered with me leaving and cry the whole time but he didn’t give a monkeys, not one bit – charming!

K

 

3 Month Update

T is now 3 months old. 3 MONTHS!!

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Time is going way too quickly for my liking, although I’m still very guilty of saying to myself “ooo I can’t wait until T is doing this…”. I’m forever looking for the next milestone that I’m forgetting that I can’t then rewind once the milestone has been reached! I can’t wait until T is sitting up or grabbing toys – we have so many of them – but I’m also enjoying how he’s still small enough to lay on my chest after a feed, or how he doesn’t protest when we lay him down.

Milestones-wise we are in full smile mode, and not a day goes by that we haven’t had genuine smiling and sometimes something that looks like a lead onto a laugh.

T is also self-soothing with his fingers or a whole fist, and often sticks a few digits in his mouth after a feed but before going to sleep.
It’s very cute hearing him suck and slurp away on his porky fingers, but it’s not so cute when said finger is wiped across your face accidentally or after a 30 minute feed when someone doesn’t know how to remove said finger from the back of their throat and throws up the whole feed. Yeah. That.

Speaking of feeding, or certainly thanks to feeding, T is now comfortably fitting 3-6 month clothing. No more newborn or even 0-3 month clothing. Although T is obviously still a baby, he doesn’t feel like a baby-baby. You know?


He’s a big, fudgey baby now and no longer a teeny, tiny baby that can be scooped up and cradled. He has to sit over my shoulder so he can have a look around like the nosey Parker he is. With this, he’s now also awake for longer periods during the day, which is great as it means I get to play with him more.

Because of the longer awake periods, we’re now in a really nice bedtime routine and T is sleeping through from 8:30pm to 6:30am. He’s put himself in that routine and often starts demand feeding from 7:30pm until he falls asleep at 8:30. When he wakes at 6:30am he then has a 30-40 minute feed and is off to sleep until 9:00. Not bad! This gives me a good excuse to sit in bed with a coffee and express/tweet/blog/nap/all of the above.

And finally, and probably my favourite milestone, T has found his voice and is often heard cooing and chatting on the changing mat, in his Moses basket, in the pram, in the car, or when he’s just being carried around the house. It’s adorable and I find myself copying the noises or pretending we’re having an intellectual conversation about the economy. I’ve also been known to tell family members off if they haven’t heard the fact that T is talking to them. Cue incessant babbling from nanas, aunties, and uncles.

I’m loving this stage at the moment, and not just because T is only pooping once a week, but because he’s really interacting. He smiles and chats to most people and is quite happy being left looking at the fish tank or by the window. He’s a genuinely lovely little boy and I am so proud of his developments and achievements. I couldn’t be happier right now.

K