Karen and Janice are lesbian parents of five living in Salt Lake City. They biologically conceived after a long journey of TTC.
First Name: Karen
Partner’s First Name: Janice
Age: mid 30’s
Hometown/City: Salt Lake City
Number of Children: 5
Names of Children: Sydney (7) Spencer (5) Cameron (5) Nathan (3) Ryan (3)
When did you decide you wanted children?
I’ve always loved and wanted children. Together as a couple…..mmm. I’m pretty sure it was maybe our 2nd date when I announced that we WOULD have children. ☺
How did you decide to either biologically have a child or adopt a child?
I’ve always wanted to experience pregnancy and all that comes with it. It was a strong and sometimes overwhelming feeling. Janice never wanted pregnancy. And to quote her quoting Ellen, I want a big screen TV, but I don’t want to push it out of my vagina. (or something like that)
Did you share your journey with your family and friends? If so, have they been supportive?
Our journey took MUCH longer than we had originally hoped and expected. I think our friends excitement and support kind of fizzled out. We told my parents and no. no they were not supportive. at all. After telling them we followed the conversation up with “the talk” that we had never really talked out loud about. It wasn’t pretty. There were a lot of tears and we left with hurt feelings and broken relationships.
What are some of the challenges you’ve faced raising children as a gay couple? How have you overcome those challenges and what advice would you give new parents in a similar situation?
There haven’t really been any challenges. Our kids feel different from other kids. They recognize that they have 2 moms and no dad. They call Janice daddy. They will say, “this is my dad, her name is mommy J” ☺ It’s really quite comical.
What do you wish you would have known before you started?
That I would end up having children. I wish I could go back to that early me who would beat herself up for the unexplained infertility and all of the tears and worry. It all worked out and I hate that I wasted so much time stressing out.
What was your biggest setback in the process?
Utah’s laws. Although now it is again for the best. After 6 years of trying with several unknown donors and 1 known donor, we went out of state for our sperm. I’m so glad we did.
What was the funniest thing that happened along the way?
I had a (lesbian) midwife once tell us that it helps to orgasm after inseminating. Trying was SO NOT SEXY for us. It became as cold and clinical as it gets and getting that loving feeling didn’t seem possible. We did it. Once. And I’m not sure HOW IN THE HELL I was able to relax enough to orgasm….but I did ☺
Did you ever consider giving up?
How has your life changed during this process? Before having kids and after having kids?
I’ve really learned that there is a time for everything and that time can’t be rushed. It will just come. I had to learn patience. Both before and after.
How much did you budget for the process? How much has the process cost so far? What were the actual costs and how were they different from what was planned?
Between all of the tests and samples and insems and IVF and storage and doctors and midwife’s etc. approx. 45,000.00. I know people who have spent that much on a car though. And well….my kids are worth more than any ol piece of metal. At least that’s what I tell myself so that I don’t hyperventilate when typing forty fucking five thousand dollars. Damn.
How/Did/Will you prepare your children to answer questions about their donor/biological parent(s)?
We have been open and honest about having 2 moms. We plan to, age appropriately, be open and honest about their donor as well.
The most important thing I do feel is that if you want your children to feel accepted and ok with who they are and where they come from….you yourself have to feel accepted and be open. If someone asks about your family in front of your child(ren) you have to be able to answer with all of the honesty and pride you have for your family. Otherwise your child(ren) will also feel that embarrassment. That secret. You have to have “the talk” with your family and friends….even work. Make sure that you are comfortable with who you are before bringing those little people in the world. It will make it all easier. I promise.
Any other advice, comments, or misc. wisdom about the gay parenting process?
Commitment. Having a child seems to be in tow behind the u-haul anymore. I’ve seen so many couples break up…and what used to be, just another lesbian break up, now involves children. It kills me to see these little people put through this.
I want to say that being a mom, be it gay or straight, is the most rewarding and challenging role I’ve EVER done. Ever and I wouldn’t do it any other way. Good luck !
Karen writes about life with her wife and kids at her blog Role Playing with Kids, where you’ll also find an excellent list of lesbian movie ratings and a lot of humor.