I always wanted children. From a very early age I was role playing with my dolls, attempting to breastfeed them which my Mum loves telling people! I’ve been broody for as long as I can remember, and I had my life mapped out. Buy a house, get married and have babies. That plan was in place by the time I was 21 when I bought a house. I got engaged, got married at 23 and was planning to have children; and then it all went wrong. Fast forward three years to 2013 and I was divorced, and all my plans went out of the window, I found this year particularly hard. Not only had all my plans gone out of the window, I had started a relationship with Kelly (my now Wife) which wasn’t at all in my life plan. I didn’t know where I fit in anymore, my friends were getting married and having babies. I was happy in my relationship, but I was anxious and had panic attacks often thinking about where my life was going, it was hard to start all over again in a totally different kind of relationship.
Kelly never saw herself having children and this was obviously a deal breaker for me; to be honest it nearly ended our relationship before it really began. Kelly came out in the late 90’s and she had faced prejudice for being gay which gave her a different view on having children. Kelly’s issue with having children wasn’t that she didn’t want one, but the effects on the child of having gay parents. If we did have a child, it would get bullied and how could we bring a child into the world knowing that it would get bullied. We talked a lot about this, and the sad fact is, children get bullied for many different reasons. LGBT families are becoming more common and we hoped it wouldn’t be so much of an issue when our child got to school age. Kelly also felt that there were so many children that needed adopting and as she had no desire to have her own biological child maybe we should look into adopting. I had a desire to have my own biological child, I wanted to experience pregnancy and birth and I knew it wasn’t something that was going to go away. So here we are, 6 years later and we have a three year old called Amelia. We have a house, we’re married, and we have a child so I have everything I hoped to have but it’s nothing like I thought it would be back in 2010!
Recently we’ve had a couple of children the same age as Amelia ask why she has two mummies. Children this age are so inquisitive, they are noticing differences and to them this is a big difference. They have a Mummy and Daddy so why does Amelia not? In my opinion children aren’t born with prejudices, they notice differences. Children who don’t look like them, children who don’t have mummies or daddies or both. What I think creates prejudices is their caregivers’ reactions. I don’t think anyone is born homophobic, racist or a bully; it is a learnt behaviour. We were once told by (ex)friends that ‘when you decide to be gay you give up your right to have children’. I won’t go into the ‘when you decide to be gay’ part (that’s for another day!). Their reason for this way of thinking was because children of gay people will get bullied. How about people teach their children not to be bullies? Children are so impressionable, and they pick up on every little thing. If we show prejudice against others, they will learn that behaviour.
The first person to ask why Amelia had two mummies was a girl at Amelia’s nursery. Her nursery is fantastic, and the nursery worker said, ‘It’s just like you having a Mummy and a Daddy, Amelia just has two Mummies’. Do you know what the little girl said? ‘Oh, OK’. That was it; no funny expressions, no more questions, just acceptance. The second question came from another little girl that we’ve known since Bumps & Babies group. She asked the same question and I gave the same answer as the nursery worker. Our other friend said, ‘Amelia’s very lucky isn’t she’. The girl nodded her head and went off to play. Neither of the girls were asking in a prejudice way, they were just curious and wanted to know why. Wouldn’t it be lovely if all children were given an answer in this manner, unfortunately I don’t think that is the case.
Unfortunately, prejudice will always be a part of all our lives in some form. Social media has its negatives and positive but I’m hoping that social media can be a good platform to show families like ours as becoming more ‘normal’ in society and that children grow up with less prejudice towards people that are different than them.