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Thirteen: The Other Mother - perspectives from the non biological parent

Updated: Aug 16, 2023

I thankfully had the chance to interview my wonderful parenting partner, our children’s other mother for #Divamagazine as part of DIVA’s July Parenting Special. The following is told by her as we embarked on our parenting journey.

The Other Mother

I always liked the name the Other Mother. I think people struggled more with that reference than I did. Maybe they thought it undermined my role as a parent. I thought it funny!

From being a child, I never wanted to be pregnant, the thought repulsed me. It was described to me as a parasite and that image stuck. Being a primary school teacher, I always liked children and knew they would be in my life. If my circumstances had been different, there were several children I knew I could have adopted and loved as my own.  

While on a second date I was asked if I wanted children. Following assurances she wasn’t a bunny boiler, but a biologically ticking wannabe mother, I knew I wanted to be a parent regardless of how that happened.

She thankfully wasn’t a psychopath. Instead, she become my wife and our parenting journey began. She would be the biological parent and I would do all I could to contribute to the parenting process and minimise any stress on my wife. I researched fertility clinics, donor conception and attended the introductory seminars. We agreed I would listen, take notes, chat with the nurses and take control of the finances. At home I injected her with hormones, attended to cravings and smiled my way through the mood swings.

It took a while, but we fell pregnant. I never cared when others would innocently assume I was a friend, ask about the donor or embarrassingly skirt over questions about genetics. I was just excited that I was going to be a parent.

Excited and petrified. Babies scared me and I don’t think I had ever held one as an adult.

Following a traumatic 24-hour labour, our daughter was born. While the healthcare team tended to my wife, I was alone with this tiny baby. I desperately wanted help as she started to cry but knew it was only me.

I told her mummy would be back soon, and at the sound of my voice she stopped crying. Her big dark eyes stared up at me. She knew my voice. It was a magical moment we shared and one I will treasure forever as she taught me in that moment, I was her mum.

Fast forward to present day and we have two beautiful daughters aged eleven and eight. We are transparent with our children about their origins from a petri dish, that my wife carried them and that they have a donor.

As they get older, more questions arise particularly as they learn about genetics and reproduction. Occasionally I worry that the biological connection will matter to them, or they may feel they’ve missed out on having a father. Then I pick their clothes up from the floor, nag about homework, love them with every ounce of my being and know I am 100% their parent.  

Let’s get the conversation going. Please share in comments. The more we talk about LGBTQ+ parenting from all perspectives, the more we will fill the gap.

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