April 16, 2013

IconNo, I didn’t have sex with a man to get pregnant – lesbian parenting demystified

I happen to be a mother of two fantastic children and I can definitely, 100% guarantee that I did not have sex with any men in order to have either child, not even for the baby that I carried and gave birth to! So why is it that when you are pregnant and decide to tell people your wonderful news, they want to make the baby’s conception about men or sex?

The role of ‘the man’

My wife and I recently had a baby and yes we are very aware of the fact that without a man our baby could not have been conceived (at least not at the moment but apparently science is working on that for us) and we will be eternally grateful to the selfless man who gave up his little (but very effective) swimmers so that people like us could have a baby together.

However, this selfless act does not make it all about him. Or even about him just a little bit. The fact of the matter is that our baby is nothing to do with him or any other man. I know that people enter into different types of relationships or arrangements and some may include the man in the child’s life. I respect anyone’s choice to raise their child how they see fit. For us this was to use donor sperm and for the donor to have no parental rights or responsibilities.

This baby is came into the world because my wife and I are in a loving and committed relationship and wanted to add to our family by having and raising a baby together, not because a man donated some sperm. It would be fantastic if we could have conceived without needing outside help but that’s not reality. The fact that people seem to have this innate desire to want to focus on the role of the man in the conception of our child I find a bit insensitive and disrespectful.

Unfortunately I lost count of the amount of times people referred to the donor as the child’s father. It may seem like a petty distinction but when you have chosen to have a baby with a woman you don’t really want to focus on the fact that you couldn’t conceive the child together.

The role of sex

With regards to sex – I love sex, it’s one of my most favourite pastimes but it has absolutely nothing to do with the conception of our baby. It may come as a shock but we did not conceive by having sex. In fact, if I am honest I have to say that lying on a bed with my feet in stirrups while a middle aged nurse shoved a tube through my cervix while my wife sat holding a tube of pink coloured sperm is not high in my list of most erotic experiences. Straight couples (I’m assuming) get to have fun while they conceive, for lesbians it’s hard work!

The far too common reaction of men to suggest that they would have ‘helped us out’ or we ‘just had to ask’ demonstrates that people find it difficult to differentiate between the conception of our baby and sex. It would have been great if any one of them had ‘helped us out’ as it would have saved us about a grand on donor sperm but after mentioning that their only contribution would be with a plastic cup, their jokes about helping seem to lose their appeal.

Separating the role of men and sex from having a baby does not seem to be something that is going to happen any time soon. My only advice to people in my situation is to practice your fake smile and polite laugh. Alternatively, scream, shout and tell everyone exactly what you think of them (then blame it on the hormones – it’s amazing what you can get away with!

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