A resource to inspire, inform and empower parents.

Two Women and Their Little Bean

By Bekah

“So, I mean, how…” and he pauses as I interrupt, “Are you trying to ask me how we got pregnant?” He admitted he was and little did I know this was only the beginning of the onslaught of information seekers. “So, which one of you carried her?” a random stranger asks. I think, “Well, currently Shan is, but I might be carrying her by the time we leave.” “Oh, she is just so cute! She looks just like you. Are you her biological mom?” As I chuckle from inside a dressing room while my partner is wearing our 4 month old in a sling, patiently waiting for me to find an outfit for her brother’s wedding. But my favorite question of all time, posed to my partner by a coworker, “So, um, do like both of you breastfeed the baby?” The real answer to this last question is, I wish!

I have realized that I have similar questions about families that are different than mine. And maybe it isn’t so strange for people to be curious about how two women made a baby. Or wonder who does what, when, and how. Or, how our family just works in general. You might be surprised at how things are split or how gender roles are blurred. Maybe you would be interested in how we fall into stereotypical gender roles sometimes. Or how cool it is to have a partner who understands PMS, cramps, and emotions in general. But the baby, that is what people want to know about first.

Yes, there was sperm involved in the creation of our little Bean. A good friend was kind enough to offer his little guys to help us make a little guy. Yes, they have met. Yes, he held her, but only after Shan kind of plopped Bean in his arms. No, he is not her dad. Bean does not have a dad. Maybe he will be around some, but our daughter will know him and know she came from his love for her mommies. That’s it in a nutshell, the other half of her genetics. Honestly, though, this child looks like she could genetically be from Shan and me.

I grew little Bean in my belly. I am the one who breastfeeds her. I would absolutely love it if Shannon could lactate, too, but it is not going to happen. I encouraged Shan to let Bean suckle for two main reasons. The first was for comfort while I was away or trying to do stuff around the house. The second was because I wanted my other half to experience the funs and not so funs of breastfeeding. It is a lot sweet and a little weird. At least, that is what we both thought at first.

Shan did some research online and figured out that we weren’t the only people who had ever tried this. So, she did it. She offered Bean her breast. Bean accepted is and suckled. I will admit, the first few times I saw Shan nursing Bean I was somewhere between feeling like it was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen and like my position as mommy was being stolen. That nursing bond is pretty strong. Shan and I talked about it. She told me she had no idea how I could handle that vacuum clamp on my nipple so frequently and I explained my spectrum of feelings. It became normal for Bean to suckle while I worked my short shift twice a week or when it just worked for the three of us. Then one day, our brilliant little Bean realized Shan had no milk and she was no longer interested in nursing on Shan.

That was probably close to the time that Shan brought up how she wasn’t really feeling like a mommy. Which, considering she plays the role of breadwinner and works full-time so I can stay at home and be the housewife that I have truly desired to be for the past few years, it really isn’t that strange. That, and I have always been the more motherly of the two of us. We had discussed her having our second baby when Bean was about two. That way I could help with breastfeeding. However, she has conceded mommyhood to me and that is perfectly fine. I have always wondered how we would dress her in the third trimester. She said she respected breastfeeding, co-sleeping, the up and down during the night, and everything else that goes with motherhood and admitted that it wasn’t for her; she really felt more like a dad. Talk about a compliment and honesty all rolled into one. Shan searched for a title for herself and decided to use a term for dad from a more Irish perspective, which is her heritage. She is Doddie and I am Momma, but little Bean still definitely has two women for parents.

Here we are, two women and a beautiful baby who breastfeed, babywear, don’t use a high chair or stroller, don’t vaccinate, make all of the baby’s solid food from local produce, can our own food, cloth diaper, co-sleep, practice gentle parenting, grow vegetables in front of our townhouse, use homemade and natural cleaners, don’t own a TV, gladly participate in the art of hand-me-downs, but above all else love each other immensely and truly love being a family. Completely normal, just like everybody else.

Bekah

Comments

  1. Confirms what I have always thought: a babe needs a loving family, regardless of its structure. Wonderful!

  2. Lovely testament. great baby. Good family. Love. Gigi

  3. I love!!!!

  4. What a fantastic window into a unique family dynamic that seems much more different from the outside than it really is where it counts! The last paragraph really paints a beautiful image.

  5. Wow! I love this. It is absolutely wonderful to read. My partner is currently pregnant with our second child, our oldest is 3 and I carried him. I was unable to nurse with him and it was pretty upsetting at the time. Now with baby number two on the way and everyone around us asking the critical, are you going to breast feed questions, I have felt very put down and almost as if I had failed our oldest. It has been hard to grasp that I am not at fault and at least I tried. I don’t think it would have ever crossed my mind to do as the two of you do, having our new little one attempt to latch onto me. I don’t know how she would feel about this but it may be something I’d bring up. The name thing was another area that baby number two had us struggling. With our oldest I am mommy and she is momma. We were unsure how to go about this with baby 2 calling her mommy and me momma and not confuse the boys so we decided that we would leave it as is, I being mommy and she momma with both boys and that no feelings would be hurt. I am very glad that a friend directed me to this post as it has opened my eyes to a few things that hadn’t even crossed my mind!

  6. I love this so much. I love reading about 2 women raising a child that is so simular as to how my “Husbian” and I raise our little guy. It is nice to know we are not the only ones out here!

  7. Candee Murphy says

    This is beautiful and pure. Bean is so fortunate to have a Moomy and Doodle to love her. You remind me I’d my daughter Sara and her hubby Zac!

  8. As a lesbian currently planning a wedding and then kids, this is what I needed to hear. My future wife and I have discussed everything when it comes to having children right down to the fact, like Shan, I won’t be the one to carry the child(ren) it’s not something I could ever do. We’ve settled on Mama and Maddie as the names our kids will call us by and it fits us. I can’t wait to step into the crazy foray of parenthood and your post has given me hope 🙂

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