A New Generation of Gay Dads
We’re the first generation of gays who can get married and have biological children in this way – and we don’t have to do everything exactly like the straight couples are doing. We can find our own way.
Until I had children, every time I saw someone else’s – either in pictures or in person – I felt obligated to say they were cute. It’s an automatic thing that you do, you know, like answering your partner’s question, “do I look fat?” (Answer: NO, you look like a god!)
“Hell is other people’s children,” someone once said, and I could definitely relate to that, especially when I met a proud mom interminably flipping through pictures of her babies smiling, playing, eating, barfing. It always looked the same to me. You’ve seen one- you’ve seen ‘em all. Maybe it’s just me, but I’m getting the sense that I’m not the only one.
I’ve been a parent for less than a year and a half and still wake up in the middle of the night and go to check if it’s real. Who would’ve believed that technology would now allow a gay couple to have kids this way: two boys, one biologically Alex’s, the other biologically mine, born through IVF with the same egg donor, so they are genetically and biologically connected – which also has the beautiful effect of connecting Alex and me biologically as well. They were born together like twins with the help of our wonderful surrogate, Carli. She, by the way, introduced us to the newly found term for this: Twiblings. They are twins, but not really, but they are siblings.
Out that way, it all sounds very romantic, right?! I think it took us about 72 hours to realize that taking care of two babies at the same time is best defined as hell. I have no idea what it’s like to have only one baby so I’ll try very hard not to judge, but after about a week I began hiding all of those people on social media who gush about their babies: “Oh, here’s my beautiful baby who brings me only the greatest joy!!” “Greatest joy”?!?! These blobs that poop and squirm – that occasionally sleep – and if they don’t get that 1 ounce of formula every 2 hours they emit shrieks that physics dictates cannot come out of a body so small. Precious? G-d’s gift?! WTF?!
Yet here we are. And we are somewhere so new. The first generation of gays who can get married and have biological children in this way. It is truly amazing. And there is a temptation to think that because we can finally do these things that until now have been the exclusive province of straight couples, we should take it all the way and pattern the rest of our lives after those straight folk. But as my husband and I have suffered, celebrated, struggled, and learned through the first 3 years of our marriage and the first 1.5 years of our children’s lives, we’re realizing that we have an incredible opportunity to learn from thousands of years of straight families without being bound to anything in particular. We can invent new things. Embrace what has always worked well but try new things pretty much anywhere.
Will we fuck up our children? Well of course we will. Who hasn’t fucked up their kids? But we are learning so much, together with them, with love, laughter, and a pretty healthy dose of weeping (some of it even from the kids!).
As the months have passed, the kids have changed and, possibly even more, we have changed. And this craziness is starting to becomes something very special. Still incredibly difficult, exhausting, confusing. But some of the more powerful days (and nights) of our lives).
As we go, I would love to share with you what we’re doing. What’s working, what’s not. From an emotional level all the way to an incredibly practical one. We are not experts, but I’m beginning to believe nobody is, so here we go…
My name is Yan, father of Ben and Adam (16 months), and I’m an imperfect half of daddy2.