The concept of “family” mystified me in my youth. Although people always talk of traditional families, it always seemed to me that there were slight variations on what “normal” looked like. Some people had a two parent home with four grandparents; some only had two parents and one grandparent. Others still had only one parent, with no grandparent, aunt or uncle. And all too often there were homes with no birth parent at all, just a bunch of people who cared enough to mean something along the way. As an adult, I came to the conclusion that there is no “traditional” family, just the family you have (or create), know and love.
When I decided that I wanted to be a mother, it was the idea of family that scared me. I wanted my future child to have the perfect life, to grow up in the little house, with the manicured lawn, car in the driveway, playful dog and two parents who loved him or her more than life. However as life happened, nothing was happening to make my picture perfect fantasy a reality. No man, no money for the cute house and turns out I’m allergic to dogs. I started to think that motherhood would never happen for me. It was during this woe-is-me phase that my BFF Devin reminded me that I should never give up on something that means so much to me, and reminded me that just because I can’t get the “traditional” family, doesn’t mean I can’t have a family at all and in that moment, my plan to get knocked up at a sperm bank was formed.
In movies, the sperm bank seems so comical. It is anything but. There was nothing inviting about the waiting area and I was so nervous that I swore everyone that saw me was giving me the side-eye for being there, doing tha. As I looked through the book of face and nameless baby daddies, I got excited for moment at the thought of finally becoming a mom to some chubby faced little boy or girl. I imagined changing diapers and singing lullabies, riding bikes and going to school plays. Then my mood changed. What do I do when this child asks who their father is? Do I tell them that their father was Donor 153489X? What do I do when they cry because everyone else has a dad to make a Father’s Day gift for in kindergarten, but they don’t?
I couldn’t do it. As I rode home on the rain holding back tears, I just felt so empty, but before I could break all the way down my stop came and as I rushed to get off I bumped into a handsome gay couple doting over their new baby girl. I had a new plan.
I called Devin over to comfort me in my time of need and brought up the idea of him being the father of my child. At first, he laughed hysterically ("I only like my fish dead and fried, not alive and juicy!”), but once he saw the look on my face he realized I was dead serious. I knew Devin always wanted a kid and since we were both in “I ain’t never gon’ find a man” land, this scenario was a win for both of us. We talked until sunrise about all the details including our feelings, future relationships and how we would explain this “family” to our little one. It was an emotional rollercoaster of emotions that led to a decision we did not take lightly at all. Devin and I are going to have a baby.
For the most part people have been supportive of our decision, and even though it took some time for my mom to get over the fact that her first grandchild was going to not only be conceived out of wedlock and in a Petri dish, but also have a gay dad, she’s getting more excited every day. For some, what Devin and I are doing is far from traditional because it does not have the house, car and dog, but what it does have is two loving parents. Two parents who wanted a child so bad, that they broke the “rules” and created their own version of the traditional family just so they could give that child all the love they had to give. And as I sit here with Devin playing DeBarge to my belly, I’m secure in knowing that taking the non-traditional route was the best choice, because in 5 months we’ll receive the best gift ever and have the best family anyone can ask for.
~As told to Danielle Pointdujour