Makin’ Babies: Getting Pregnant On a Whim

feature image via Crystal Jensen with permission

Welcome to Autostraddle’s ongoing series, Makin’ Babies, where real queer parents tell you all about how they created their precious little weirdos! While every new life is created in essentially the same way — egg meets sperm, makes baby — every queer conception story is truly unique. We’ll be sharing a wide variety of experiences here, so get ready to laugh, flinch, cry, high five, and be amazed. Let’s meet some brand new people!

“We haven’t figured any of this out yet,” I told my partner Kellie.

We were barreling along the highway towards Walla Walla, traveling in the shadow of giant outcroppings, while the Columbia River stretched below us. Our three-year-old son slept in the backseat. We were only fifty miles from the home of our sperm donor and his family, and we were trying to decide — before we arrived — if we wanted to conceive a second child.

“If we think too hard, we’ll never do it,” Kellie said. She was right. A cost-benefit analysis would yield no practical reason to grow our family. The only reason to make a new baby was that we felt like it, and we could.

Originally, we’d planned this trip as nothing more than a friendly visit to our donor family. Zac and his wife Erin had a son who was also three. Our boys were too young to understand their biological connection, but when we got them together they played like cousins, splashing each other in an old metal washbasin, and chasing each other naked around the yard while the rest of us shared beers and took in the sun.

We hadn’t visited since last summer. It was spring now, and we were ready for a break from the Olympia rain. But also, we’d just learned that Erin was pregnant with their second child. Their news came with an offer: did we want to try for another as well?

Up until now, I had never dreamed it possible that two lesbians could make a baby on a whim.

The Wallula Gap, Washington

The Wallula Gap, Washington


I had entered adulthood knowing that I was queer and also knowing that I wanted a child. I understood that getting pregnant would require some money, and some sourcing of anonymous sperm. This struck me as a small obstacle, a hurdle I might easily clear. But I hadn’t anticipated the months I would spend in weekly debates with my partner trying to convince her to have kids.

Nearly all of our arguments took place where straight couples would normally conceive a child: in the bed we shared. We’d wake on a Sunday morning and drink coffee together while propped against pillows, a ritual we had observed since our relationship began. Years earlier, when we were newly in love, we required no entertainment but each other. We talked, we sipped, we looked out the window, we made love. Over time, once the novelty of waking up together had faded, we turned our attention to books. In this era, I might laugh at something I read, and Kellie would ask me “What?” and I would read to her for a spell.

But increasingly, we did none of these things. Every Sunday morning, after the first sip of coffee, I’d raise the topic we’d been avoiding all week. “Any new thoughts?” I’d ask, as if by some miracle she might have decided she was ready to be a parent, but forgot to mention it during bustle of the workweek.

“Not really,” was her typical response, and I would reply by recycling all my arguments. I was convinced that any child we conceived would be angelic, the sweet-tempered composite of any child I’d ever loved; Kellie thought it likely that we would have a monster, a sociopath, a screamer who tortured animals and refused to eat vegetables.

“What’s wrong with us the way we are?” Kellie asked me all the time. She felt betrayed that I needed to change us, that my desire for motherhood competed with my loyalty to her.

There was nothing wrong with the way that we were, nothing wrong with Sunday coffee, except that I had grown bored of it. I wanted to trade in my coffee for fetal kicks, for newborn squeals, for small bodies climbing into bed between us. I wanted to lose the privilege of quiet Sunday coffee for a while, so that I might enjoy it anew ten years later, both of us softened by age.

“Come on,” I pushed her. “If we were straight, you’d do it.”

“If we were straight, we’d have three kids already,” she admitted.

I knew that Kellie was right. If we could conceive children the way most straight couples did, Kellie would have the same fears, but they would be easily overcome. We’d be one of those couples who, through recklessness rather than decision, got pregnant early on. For us it might have happened on one of those Sunday mornings in the early years of our courtship.

What’s more, I understood that the fears themselves connected to the fact of our biology. Since I would carry the child, our baby would share my DNA but not hers. Her fear of a monster child was a stand-in for another, truer fear: that she might not love whatever child I bore.

During those months, I began to notice them everywhere: the young by-accident mothers. There was my friend’s housemate whose boyfriend wore leather pants. The way they clung to each other, no one was surprised when she started to show. There was the student in the class I taught with straight red hair and cat-eye glasses, one hand always on her belly. And there was an endless stream of them at the café I frequented, long-haired women who wore skirts with boots and toted clear-eyed babies around in slings.

They were all in their twenties and gorgeous. Perhaps behind closed doors they nursed fears and regrets, but in public they smiled. I wanted to shrink them with my eyes, and then squash them like ants.

In all of my adult life, I had never once wished I was straight, but I found myself pining for the advantage that heterosexuality offered. It seemed that straight people didn’t need to be certain. To them, babies were often apparently a thing that just happened.


It took nearly two years of discussions, two years of arguing, of cajoling, of pretending we might break up, before we agreed that Kellie’s certainty was impossible, but that we would make a child in spite of this. Together we selected an anonymous donor, and purchased a dozen vials of sperm.

Twelve months later we were still childless, and my jealousy had spread to include anyone with children. When friends announced they were pregnant, I offered a hollow “Congratulations.” I could not get my voice to sound anything but somber.

So far, our journey towards parenthood had been a relentless upward trek. Our efforts had cost us in money, time, and joy. The story finally shifted when Erin and Zac, introduced by a friend, entered our lives. Without hesitation, they offered the very thing we needed: sperm, for free, every month. This blessing from the straight world was powerful medicine. Five months later I was pregnant.

As my own belly grew, as the baby took shape, I walked down the street with one hand on my belly. I nodded at all the young mothers. I didn’t hate them after all.

On the afternoon that our first son was born, I lay on the hospital bed waiting to greet him. Kellie was holding him already, trying to offer him comfort as the nurses cleaned him and cut his cord. As she handed him to me, she leaned in and whispered, “He’s really cute,” surprise and wonder in her voice, and in that moment I knew that we were in the clear.

March 2015

March 2015

It was Kellie who insisted on a second child.

Some months earlier, while I was traveling, she had told me on the phone, “I think we should start trying as soon as you come home.” I hadn’t said no, but I had put her off until now. I had only just begun to recover from the sleep I’d lost in my first years as a parent, and to enjoy my free time, which was returning in bits and pieces. But when Erin offered the chance for another child, I was excited by the prospect of a pregnancy that wasn’t fraught with the weight of years of planning.

That weekend in Walla Walla, we stayed in a hotel one mile from Erin and Zac, in a dark room with two beds, thick drapes and old carpets. It overlooked the parking lot, a soda machine, and a tiny pool. Kellie woke just after six and left the motel in search of coffee; I took over her warm spot and went back to sleep. When she returned forty minutes later she carried more than coffee. “I got a text while I was out,” she explained.

After ten minutes outside the body, sperm begin to die. We turned the television on to distract our son, and headed into the bathroom, beige and bright and windowless. Commercials for new toys and sugared cereals blared in the background.

Every time we had tried to conceive our first son, I’d felt a flutter of hope followed by the fear of another failure. But this time, lying on the bathroom floor, I was surprised by the feeling that surfaced: ambivalence. I considered telling Kellie that I needed more time. But she’d already loaded the semen into the needleless syringe, and stopping her just wasn’t in me. Our family was heading towards four.

I took a pregnancy test only ten days later, left the test on the back of the toilet, and turned over an egg timer. A friend knocked on our door before the sand had run out. I greeted her and chatted for a minute before excusing myself to check on the test. When I returned, I made us tea and pretended all was normal. In a way, it was. It was my second pregnancy, but this time I had become something I had never dreamed possible: a lesbian who’d managed to get pregnant on a whim.

It struck me that of the gifts that Erin and Zac had offered us, this one was substantial. They’d given Kellie and me the luxury of conceiving in the midst of ambivalence without endless deliberation. I found, and continued to find a joyous sense of abundance in this: that I was able to make a baby without having to feel desperate for him first.

Jennifer Berney is a queer mama, writer, teacher, and believer in the beauty of imperfection. Her essays have appeared in Brain, Child, Brevity, Nailed, and Mutha Magazine, among other places. She is working on a memoir about her quest to build a family out of donor sperm, mason jars, and needleless syringes. She lives in Olympia, Washington, and blogs at goodnightalready.com. You can find her on Twitter.

Jennifer has written 1 articles for us.

45 Comments

  1. “Come on,” I pushed her. “If we were straight, you’d do it.”

    “If we were straight, we’d have three kids already,” she admitted.

    I find this really interesting. I gather from the article that this statement is more about ‘getting pregnant on a whim’ (by ‘accident’, as in a lot of times for straight couples there is no planning for children, it just happens) but if you two were a straight couple, would Kellie’s desire to have/not have children be that different?

    It’s wonderful that you were able to find a donor who seems to work with you and your family and still want some kind of connection and contact. To me that’s really an ideal situation.

  2. I’m sorry, but the way you relentlessly pressured your partner into acquiescing to becoming a parent is highly disconcerting. Regardless of the reasons for her reluctance, she had the right to be uncertain and the right to put off becoming a parent until she was ready (if ever). No one should be forced, pressured or manipulated into parenting a child. Clearly it all worked out in the end and both you and your partner are happy and content with the family you created, but “two years of discussions, two years of arguing, of cajoling, of pretending we might break up” sounds a lot like emotional manipulation and abuse.

    • Yeah, arguing and cajoling? She was surprised to like her child? Relentless sales tactics every Sunday morning when she’s trying to relax and be vulnerable? I’m glad the family is apparently happy now, but… yeesh.

    • absolutely agree with this. even if she admitted that if they were straight and reckless they would have had kids by then, having kids by surprise and warming up to the idea is different than being pushed into it by your partner.

    • THIS KIND OF COMMENTING IS ENTIRELY OUT OF LINE, not to mention dangerous, completely uninformed and purposefully rude. the author is relaying a time in her rship when she and her partner had a giant decision to make and they weren’t on the same page. it’s ABSURD to claim that one person trying to convince her partner to have a baby is emotional manipulation.

      stop.

      • that’s a big mouthful. uh, exactly. relationships are complicated. i don’t get why you’re so upset for people expressing their opinions and telling people who’ve potentially had negative experiences to not comment. nobody is attacking the writer – it’s great that it worked out for her. but there have been many partners who Were pressured and did not share that experience.

      • Laneia,

        It is not absurd to suggest (not claim, no one is claiming they know the writer and her partner to speak with confidence about the ratio of how much one partner wanted the child compared to how much the other partner wanted a child)that people are manipulative with their partners in wanting to conceive, carry, and care for after birth, a child.

        I am not saying here that manipulation happened in this experience, but manipulation by one partner for a child happens frequently in the conception securing stage. In a lot of situations, one partner does (initially and maybe permanently), want a child more or less than the other partner.

        Straight women who are childless and desperately want to become parents can avoid taking contraception to enable conception, all the while failing to tell the father of their baby the same information. Deceit and manipulation for a baby happens and will continue to happen. I am not judging the author here for her experience. Her experience was fortunate in that the child was wanted and is loved and cherished, by both parents. In many parenting situations, it is unfortunate but real that one parent wanted the child more than another, and in the worst case scenario, once both partners are aware that a baby is being gestated, one partner will ditch and leave the other over not wanting the baby.

        Shit happens unfortunately. It is naïve to suggest all babies are equally desired between both caretaking/biological parents. I am speaking generally of a situation of manipulation, and not at all specifically to the writers’ situation. Manipulation happens, for anything that has a value.

        • This is all true; these are all true and insightful things you say. I do agree with Laneia that it’s dangerous, or at least, extremely rude, to suggest – well, imply, and strongly – that what happened here was emotional manipulation. It’s not an absurd claim. But them’s fighting words, you know? And not in the sense that offense or anger would be the main takeaway for the author of this piece upon reading a comment like iva’s, but in the sense that those words could wound. Would most likely wound.

          I’m frustrated with constant “tone policing” but sometimes it needs to be said, that there are shades of grey, nuances, and they are really important. Real people’s feelings are involved here, their lives, huge decisions, fraught moments in a relationship – and honestly, I think most, if not all, relationships have some elements of abusive or emotional manipulative behavior some of the time. Humans are beautiful and good and loving, but even the most beautiful, best, most loving humans sometimes do things that are cruel or selfish or ugly, because humans are also cruel and selfish and ugly. No one is beyond reproach, but I would argue that it is thoughtlessly unkind to imply that the writer of this piece acted abusively in this situation. It’s not outside the realm of possibility. But it seems to me to be presumptuous, and unkind.

          I want to clarify that I don’t think it’s inappropriate to call out abusive behavior when you see it. I’ve done it. I think it should be done. And it shouldn’t have to be a gentle calling out. But honestly, there is just not enough context here to imply such a loaded accusation.

          I noticed the same things iva did, I think, and they made me a little uncomfortable. But … I see manipulation in pretty much every relationship. It’s upsetting, because I’ve been on the shitty side of emotional abuse, and my best friend in the world, her father – well. I’ve got abuse on the brain, is what I’m saying, I guess. I see manipulation in pretty much every relationship, to some degree, at some times, but that doesn’t mean that relationship is inherently and unforgivably dysfunctional. Which is what I hear when I hear “abuse.” I hear “cut them out of your life” – “set boundaries” – “leave” – when I hear the word abuse. I don’t think I’m alone in that. And that’s why I think it’s unkind. It’s irresponsible.

          I call abuse when I see it because of compassion for the person I see being hurt. Compassion, empathy, sorrow, rage, kindness – the foundation of my whole ethical system, my politics, everything. I can’t channel my rage and sorrow at abuse at the expense of my compassion and empathy though. And calling this abuse seems to me to be preemptive rage at the expense of empathy. And it seems damaging. And unkind.

    • I think it’s difficult (impossible?) to comment on the inner workings of a relationship, particularly with regard to such a huge life altering decision between two people, without knowing the context or dynamics that took place during these conversations. The way we write or retell stories (sometimes with embellishment for effect? Not saying that is the case here, but it’s entirely possible that things got lost in translation from thought process to screen) can often come across one way and in reality be completely different.

    • I agree that this article had some unfortunate wording, but “arguing,” to me sounds like both partners were a part of the conversation. “Pretending we might break up” sounds like they were both considering it but didn’t really want to, hence the ‘we.’ No one partner was saying “my way or the highway.” Also, consider the fact that the author was the one who wanted to get pregnant– she wasn’t trying to get her partner to carry a baby for her.

      Every relationship requires some degree of compromise. Providing that both partners are on equal footing, that isn’t abuse. It’s just life.

  3. Great read. I really enjoyed this piece and Jennifer’s writing. And while this column isn’t directly applicable to me (I don’t want to have children), I’m thoroughly enjoying reading all the different experiences and meeting all the different writers.

  4. Thank you for sharing your story, Jennifer! Relationships are often hard and seeing eye-to-eye on everything doesn’t always come easy, thank you for being open about the often flawed and difficult process to consensus. Your family is lovely!

  5. thank you so much for sharing this story. reading this column is so great, and i don’t even want kids! here’s to gay people having what straight people have forever and ever, if they so choose.

  6. I think you’re over-estimating a little the number of hetero couples who have children on a whim. Yes, accidental pregnancies are fairly common, but I think for most slightly older people in long term committed relationships having children is usually a conscious choice, something that partners talk about and plan out in a way that works with other stuff going on i their lives (finances, careers etc), it doesn’t just happen without people actually wanting to become parents.

    • I don’t think she quite means “accidental pregnancy” by “on a whim” she means more of the “let’s stop using birth control and see what happens” type of pregnancy. Maybe the couple want to become parents, but there isn’t the overwhelming need to make this the *exact right time* and *plan it all out* that I think a lot of queer couples run up against.

      • That’s a pretty misleading statistic to bring up because most unintended pregnancies in the US are not committed partners joyfully throwing caution to the wind and having reckless sex but poor, especially latina and black women who become pregnant because they don’t have proper access to contraception. There’s a reason why the % of unintended pregnancies in the UK is only 16% and it’s because contraception is freely available and sex ed is taught in most schools.

  7. I loved this article!

    Since I would carry the child, our baby would share my DNA but not hers. Her fear of a monster child was a stand-in for another, truer fear: that she might not love whatever child I bore.

    I really relate to Kellie here. Though, I’m not a parent (yet?!) I’ve expressed the same feelings to my partner, I’ve had the same fears, and I’ve never desired a child. But the more we talk about future parenting and her desire to be a mother, the more I come around and I am totally beginning to get it now. Feelings can change. And It feels good. (I guess ‘the more you know’, you know?)

  8. Congrats. 🙂 …. Baby making is something LGBT need to talk about more – especially when one wants a baby but our partner doesn’t – or they are full of fear over the bonding issue.

    As someone who just found out they left it too late, I’ll tell anyone who will listen that you have to take control of your own fertility. If having a baby is something you know (deep down) that you want in life, it needs to be addressed in the relationship. You need to have a plan…. Getting pregnant can be a surprisingly long, complex procedure and therefore time is not on our side. Unless you are one of the lucky ones.

    I see lesbians who have that biological drive, denying it for the sake of their relationship – or mostly their partner’s view on children. As we approach 40 it all comes to the surface. As much as we like to think we’re in control and nonchalant about babies, I can honestly say I was taken aback by how strongly I realised I wanted this when it came to the crunch. But by age 35, I now know (thanks to a few simple blood tests) that it was already too late. My eggs had left the basket. Wtf, nature??

    We make a lot of ‘jokes’ about turkey basters and sperm donors, but when you actually go down this path you realise how brave it is to throw genetic caution to the wind and use a donor. FOR REAL. It’s so scary and brave.

    The pain of *needing* a baby and wishing to see your own bio family tree carry on, but not being able to do that is not something I would wish on anyone. As women (with pesky biological clocks) we have to be proactive.

    I’m so glad that happened for you both 🙂

  9. Wow. This was so great to read. Jennifer, I feel exactly the same way when I see people my age or a little bit older having babies left and right. I know I want to have kids, and have them fairly young, but it’s hard to get over feeling like I might be judged for not choosing to wait until I’m older, have more money, have a house, or whatever life milestone you’re “supposed” to pass before having kids.

  10. There is nothing that makes me resent straight people more than thinking about how easy it is for them to get pregnant, seeing them get pregnant by accident or terrible parenting. I’m glad I’m not the only one.

  11. This article is inspiring and amazing. I would say if you know you want a baby DO IT NOW! When I finally wanted a baby alone it was not possible but I went for it and it was, I guess, too late as others commented. I may still try again if a donor surfaces but it is very hard to find one but that is unlikely and I am past that age I would want to try now – hey who knows. The author is very lucky to have found a donor!

    The comments are also great, except for those who are being critical and judgemental, who just really need to stop – adults can choose their relationships and handle the ones they are in or they can leave those relationships. People who have disagreements and differences of opinion are human and working it out and its their life. I admire people who stick with longer term relationships, takes compromise, patience, respect, lots of communication.

  12. Gah, these awesome baby-related articles have been making me feel all the feelings lately. I’m solidly in camp “irrationally angry at straight people for being able to make babies without tons of money or legal issues.” Doesn’t help that my little sister is having her fifth unplanned child right now and I’m trying to figure out some way I can possibly make a child happen on a tiny budget and limited resources. The only thing I’ve always known about myself is I want to be a mom. It kind of breaks my heart that this amazing gift of being a queer woman is going to make that dream so much harder.

    Still, it makes me delightfully happy to read articles about happy queer families who have been able to make it happen. Thank you for your writing, and thank you Autostraddle for publishing so many awesome baby-related articles lately! It may have plunged me into a quarter-life crisis, but hopefully that crisis will turn into a catalyst.

  13. This … made me feel a lot of things. I understand how fraught the subject is. I understand the envy.

    I have really, truly begun wanting a child for the past …year? more? Yeah, more, because it started when I was working as a cashier in, wow, April 2013, and I saw all these suburban mothers with their kids coming through my checkout lane and I was just blindsided by my desire, need, to have a kid.

    UNFORTUNATELY, I am trans, and I don’t have a partner, and I have a uterus but I don’t know if it still works – two years ago I also started hormones – and more importantly my life is not a stable life, I have no job and

    Whatever, life is rough, I’ll stop whining.

    I’m glad for you and your partner (wife?). I’m so glad you could do this. I wish I could too. But I’m so glad for you. You’re so lucky. Your kids are lucky. I can’t pretend I’m not insanely jealous, but I know how much you don’t take this for granted, and I’m so glad for you.

  14. A few years ago, when I was about 20, my mum was talking about all the women in her workplace who had grandkids. Their children were around my age and they hadn’t planned their babies but they were old enough for it not ‘ruin their life’. My mum just looks at me and, all whiny, goes ‘Caitlin… Can’t you just get pregnant? All the other girls kids are having babies!’ My response was ‘Sure I can, but it’s a little more difficult to do it accidentally.’

    I kind of envy people in straight relationships in that respect. And then I remember that all it takes is a vomited up pill or a split condom and SURPRISE SURPRISE GUESS WHO’S PREGNANT THIS MONTH. Sex comes with enough pressures, not sure if I could cope with more.

  15. This piece was amazing, and incredibly comforting in a way…since coming out, I’ve resented couples who can just casually get knocked up. No third party required to provide sperm, no turkey basters, etc etc etc.
    I grew up in a family where fertility help was never really spoken about. People in my family like to procreate, and do so easily. Big families and lots, and lots, and lots of accident/surprise babies. It took my parents until I was in college to admit that I was an IVF baby, and even then, they refuse to talk about it or provide details. Drives me batty.
    So anyway, I think your ideas about procreating really change when you come out. I think all the time about, if I was straight, what would my babymaking timeline look like? Would I still be pushing for not procreating ’til I’m thirty? Or would I be pushing to be a young mother? Would I want more than just a couple of children? Etc.
    I think a lot of lesbians who would want them if they were straight resign themselves to not having kids, and it becomes a self-protective extreme of “I absolutely don’t want kids.” Which is really sad. I mean, there’s so much more involved for lesbians: you need outside help (which is gross to think about, and frustrating, as well), the idea that it won’t be the biological spawn of both of you, the idea that it’s expensive as fuck, TURKEY BASTERS, that it’ll take forever to happen, internalized homophobia (“What if I’m fucking my kid up forever by not providing them a father?”, “What if kids make fun of my kid for having two moms?” etc), etc etc etc. It’s overwhelming and enough to drive anyone mad and running away screaming from the idea of having kids.
    I don’t know. It’s a lot. But this piece gave me endless amounts of hope. So thank you.

  16. Guys, accidental pregnancy is a bad thing. One of the benefits to LGBT families is that more often than not we think about parenthood before becoming parents.

    I empathize with the problems with cost and difficulties of realizing age prevents conception. Especially since it can take half your twenties to achieve financial independence and longer if you go to graduate school.

    I know if I were straight I would have married and would have planned a baby before age 30 due to society. But that’s a bad thing guys. We need less fools making babies on a whim.

    • You know most babies are made on a whim, right? You know most are accidents? Yes, overpopulation is a massive problem. But planned or unplanned, babies are only a bad thing if they can’t be supported by love and enough food and clothing to get by. I grew up dirt poor, and I will not die that way, because of free will. I don’t resent my parents for having me because they didn’t plan for me. I’m happy to be alive!

          • I said “accidental pregnancy is a bad thing”. Not accidental babies. In fact, I wouldn’t refer to humans as accidents.

            And no it’s not semantics. Yes, babies are babies and we need to work towards supporting everyone. And it’s better for everyone if more pregnancies occur with pre-existing sources of support.

      • Money is just one piece of the planning. I’m not saying working class people can’t raise. But planning it self is a basic standard.

        My folks didn’t plan and I do resent it.

        Free will isn’t all powerful my sister and I came out fine my brother didn’t. Love isn’t enough and bringing a new human being into the world is a situation that needs planning.

  17. You know, about the relationship… I think it’s brave of you, Jennifer, to admit that it took a battle to have children. I mean, ultimately, your partner could have left. Her experience is just as interesting to me as yours, because I am most certainly in her frame of mind about it. It’s not that I don’t want them ever, it’s that I don’t need them, and I can’t see the point. So becoming pregnant as a lesbian is a lot more thought-provoking and decisive, and without sharing your partners’ experience, you couldn’t have made the point that pregnancy is rarely “accidental,” or in this case, “coincidental.” You’re getting some hard knocks here that come with sharing with an opinionated audience, so I want to thank you for taking the time to explain your family dynamics even if they weren’t flattering.

    I think what people may be missing here is that you weren’t any happier with the cajoling than your partner. Desperation drives people to do maddening things. I’ve witnessed the baby fever before in my friends, and the sadness and heartbreak with every period and miscarriage. Your spontaneous pregnancy really is a luxury, and so emotionally lighthearted in comparison, I have a lot of joy in my heart for your family.

  18. Though my personal interpretation of the dynamics described in this piece made me uncomfortable, the family is clearly happy and at peace with where they are, with both partners fully invested as parents and that’s great. Obviously a 1000 word piece (or whatever) is not going to fully convey the complexities and intricacies of a relationship, so I do think it’s jumping the gun to throw out words such as abusive and coercive.

    I’m really hoping that as these pieces continue we’ll see more from contributors who decided to adopt. I recognize that it’s an intensively difficult process often in the US, and I am also hoping to read from parents who grappled with whether or not their participation in the adoption system reinforces the ways in which state surveillance of child-rearing differs depending on race and class status. This is something I struggle with (in addition to not really being a kid person) when thinking about whether or not I’ll become a foster parent.

    I also realize I don’t have to read these pieces, and it’s individual preferences which need to be respected, but it does feel weird to me to have people reiterate over and over again the necessity and centrality of this genetic connection. I enjoy the pieces that at least grapple with the question of why this genetic connection is so important to the authors, but as I read more and more of these pieces I struggle (as a person with one genetic and two adopted siblings) to not read the message that there’s something less valid or real about a family in which a genetic connection to neither parent exists. It’s subtle, but I feel it – like the line in The Time Traveler’s Wife where Henry suggests adopting and Claire says it would be pretending. I’m struggling with whether this is my own internalized fear reading between the lines or if that message is actually being reiterated on some level – another reason I hope to read more stories from parents who chose adoption (formal or informal) to create a family.

      • thank you for the reply and i do appreciate the number of stories being shared, because many of the authors are thoughtful in at least acknowledging their own questions/struggles as to why genetic connections are so important to them individually.

  19. I am a wee queer who has only recently started to consider what makin’ babies might look like in my future. It’s vital to have pieces like this for a glimpse into the experiences of our community, and I enjoyed this read very much. Perhaps not a sugarcoated version of life, but beautiful nonetheless.

  20. Thanks for this article. My wife and I also frequently enter discussion about children. Although recently, she’s been happy with her life, now that she’s more settled and has activities she likes and fun free time. (Up until the last few years, she’s been juggling education and then finalising on-the-job qualification meaning that she’d been working 7 days a week for a long time.)

    We both want children but the when and the how is a big issue. It’s not helped by our age gap. I’m 20 and she’s 28. I’m not yet ready for kids but she very much is. Her family is full of young mums and mine generally waited until later.

    At the moment our options are that I give birth or that we adopt. I see the argument above about whether this sort of thing is abusive and I think that in our case it is not – initially she wanted to adopt and she never wants to give birth and feels strongly about adoption, but I wanted to have a genetic child. We discussed whether we’d adopted a disabled child and more recently I’ve been wanting a child but not a baby. She really wants to name our child and recently longs for a baby. So we talk about it and disagree about the way it will come and when we’ll fit in in with my career plans. But we can have this discussions without me feeling forced.

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