Non-bio mum's feelings about motherhood

(28 Posts)
ellabella2 Tue 07-Jul-09 17:39:40

Hi everyone,
As a brand new MN my DP and I were reading other threads and it started a discussion about what we would call ourselves if I get PG. We are just starting out on TTC.

My DP said she would want to be called by her name as she would see me as the Mummy and herself as a 'carer / guardian'. This was hard to hear for me as I would see us as being very much an equal parenting team. She feels I can't understand how she would feel not having a biological connection to the child.

I'd really value hearing other couples experinces around this. Have things changed once the baby arrives and you can start to bond and develop that parenting role? Should I be worried about she's feeling or is this common?

Any comments, experiences and advice welcome.

Can I also just say how excited I am to have found MN xx

kayjayel Wed 08-Jul-09 12:18:11

We went for just our names. It feels a bit guardian liberalish, but DS (nearly 4) now calls either of us mum when referring to us in conversation with his friends, teachers etc. It seems interchangeable, and he sometimes says I want 'a mum' to do this with me. I sometimes regret not being called mummy in that special way, but it felt more important to us that the labels our kids used for us didn't exclude DP.

I know other people who have one mummy and one different name parents, and that seems to work fine, it was just in our case the most important thing was not excluding DP more than society already did a bit.

In the end, the kids know who you are, and the words you use don't make that much difference to them - they'll still choose to cuddle you over other people, choose to save their best tantrums for you both, choose to sit next to you when they're anxious and be happiest when you're proud of them.

Good luck ttc.

DottyDot Wed 08-Jul-09 12:25:15

Hi there - are you going to take it in turns to TTC or are just you having a go?

Dp and I have 2 ds's now - carried one each. From the word go we've both been "Mummy" and then our initials after it. So i'd be Mummy D (for Dottydot).

Ds1 chose from the minute he could speak to call neither of us "Mummy" - he just uses our initials.

Ds2 chose from the minute he could speak to call both of us "Mummy" and never uses our initials.

Not that we have stubborn children or anything... hmm

So, I think they find their own way and regardless of who carries the child, they see you both as their parents and you'll both fall in and out of favour as they go through various phases!

Good luck and hope you can find words for yourselves that you both like.

it's strange the name thing - I am non-bio mum and am Momma D (my initial), DP is mummy. DD is only 6mo but when talking to her I refer to myself as 'mummy' as well. Only family and close friends at the moment know what I am called in relation to DD - it hasn't arisen. If your DP is anything like me the desire not to be called 'mummy' was a phase in my getting my head around what we were doing and wanting to be respectful of what my partner was doing for our family. All totally gone out the window now - it's pretty low on the list when looking after a baby.

Good luck with TTC and hope you are lucky soon!

I just realised that you didn't ask about names at all! Too tired now, but will post tomorrow (you might have read my moany ranty non-bio mum thread - don't worry it really does get better)

It's not quite what you were asking but here is a poem (I have no idea who it's by, my mum put it in my autograph book years ago) for non-bio mums.
"Not flesh of my flesh
Nor bone of my bone
But still miraculously my own
Never forget for a single minute
You didn't grow under my heart
But in it."

SGB that's lovely - brought a tear to my eye (well in between supervising DD as she plays in her jumperoo).

To the OP: the non-bio role is at least theoretically tricky because there aren't any role models and it can be hard to explain your role to the ignorant. Make sure that everyone who is close to you understands - and sometimes explaining this is something that the bio mum can do. It really helped me that DP was so eloquent on my behalf.

I won't deny that I've sometimes found it difficult but as DD gets bigger and I can play more of a role it's much easier. Part of it was that I felt so awful for DP that I couldn't help very much when things weren't going well, other than to make sure that she didn't have to worry about cooking, cleaning, laundry etc. I think it depends a bit on what your personality is like - I'm very driven and goal oriented and have found it sometimes difficult adjusting to the reality of life with a small baby (little buggers just won't do what you want them to!) - I don't think this is really to do with being a non-bio mum.

Once the baby gets here you really just have to get on with it. IN the end you can only speculate about what it would feel like to have a biological connection and I suspect that in the end it's only as important as you allow it to be (although my mother's pronouncements that DD is 'not your child' are distinctly unhelpful). I wish you luck and can tell you from experience that there will be difficult days, but that you will work through them.

LeninGrad Thu 09-Jul-09 15:02:30

Bloody hell SGB, welling up at that here, pesky pg hormones!

We are Mum and Mummy, very imp, not least so we know who has to respond to DS when he calls us smile

I think DP (non-bio Mum) did have concerns about her relationship and how others would perceive it but that poem sums up exactly what happened for us. There is no question they are bound together and that's how everyone else sees it too.

It was actually pretty important to us that her relationship was concrete so I couldn't bugger off with the kids, not that I'd want to, DP is a SAHM and I work FT. We are in a CP and she has adopted DS and he has her surname.

Everyone does it slightly differently and whatever you decide, the kids often come up with their own thing.

Good luck!

LeninGrad Thu 09-Jul-09 15:06:16

Oh, and DP has been absolutely included and treated equally every step of the way by everyone we've met along the way. It's all gone really well, so much so, DC2 is due in a few weeks.

LeninGrad Thu 09-Jul-09 15:07:00

(Took years to conceive though, unexplained, grr.)

ellabella2 Thu 09-Jul-09 17:31:25

Thank you so much everyone for sharing your expereinces. Some really sound and touching advice. It's really reassuring to know that how my DP is feeling is 'normal'.

I'm just getting loads of reassurance from hearing from other same sex couples that have already trodden the parenthood path. It is a huge dream but also a scary one. I don't need to say how many hours/months/years the whole decision has been debated over and analysed. Now that we are on the brink of TTC (again - long and probably familiar story!)it is so exciting to hear from couples that have achieved that dream and are now living the reality.

What you said, drivingmisscrazy, is so true about lack of role models. That definitely makes it all much more daunting. Have to say that we have had nothing but really positive and excited responses about our plans from the the family, friends and close work colleagues that we have shared with. So although support is not lacking at all, it is not the same as having role models. That's why I am fast getting hooked on MN

ellabella2 Thu 09-Jul-09 17:49:59

Reading all your messages has made me realise that it doesn't actually matter what we decide to call ourselves. As long as we are comfortable in ourselves, our child would just use whatever term works for them anyway. It's about being there for the child and for each other and things have a way of naturally evolving don't they. It's easy to forget that though when getting obsessed focused on the whole TTC and baby plans

If I am lucky enough to get PG then we are also lucky enough to benefit from the recent change in legislation so that we will both be named on the birth certificate and have parental responsibiity. That has been a huge thing for DP, as she was really struggling with not having equal legal rights, even though we are in a civil partnership. Equality is gradually getting there!!

hester Thu 09-Jul-09 23:19:00

Hi ellabella. We're Mummy and Mama, though as you say that's not nearly as important as you both feeling comfortable and confident in your roles. I think it's really common that one partner is more committed to becoming PG than the other. It's also common that the non-biological mother can struggle a bit to work out what her relationship is and how it is recognised by the outside world. My partner certainly really struggled with this - and still does sometimes.

The good news is that, as our dd has got older (now 3) her love for her non-biological mum has allowed all of us to relax and get much more confident in our family. My dp is completely besotted with our daughter, and is very very happy I pushed so hard to get her!

Best of luck getting PG.

ellabella2 Fri 10-Jul-09 12:48:11

Hester, that is absolute music to my ears. How your DP felt sounds just like mine, it's my dream that she is supporting me 100% to follow. I am going on the hope that if we have a baby then her feelings will change and a real bond would develop naturally over time. She is beautiful with friends babies and children so I know she can do it. It does feel like a huge gamble sometimes though but my urge to be PG and have a baby is so strong.

Thanks for your message

Lucifera Fri 10-Jul-09 13:32:24

Ellabella, do you know about the Gingerbeer messageboards, they have a Rainbow Families board which is full of lesbians TTC and with children. Seems to be generally very supportive. Wishing you good luck with everything.

LeninGrad Mon 13-Jul-09 10:15:01

I know one couple in a similar situation; one very keen, one most definitely not - to the point of saying having a baby would end the relationship of many, many years. Partner was adamant she would not do any childcare etc

Baby arrived and all is well. I think it's prob not 50/50, maybe far from it, but the family is happy. Personally, I'd be very worried about it going the other way and it leading to the end of the relationship or lots of bitterness and resentment, but only you know the situation well enough to gauge and there is so much we don't know about how it's going to be once a baby arrives.

Best of luck!

ellabella2 Mon 13-Jul-09 21:12:55

LeninGrad.Luckily my situation is not the same as your friends. I would agree that it would be too much of a risk to take if your partner was clearly saying that is not what they wanted. My DP is totally supporting me in TTC and even admits to feelings of excitement about us having a baby, just is not driven to be PG like me!! I think she is just understandably anxious about the whole thing, including her role as non-bio parent.

Initial consultation at Fertility Clinic this Thursday (excited/nervous )

LeninGrad Mon 13-Jul-09 22:27:30

Oh, fair enough, sorry misunderstood. Best of luck, it's a very exciting time!

LeninGrad Mon 13-Jul-09 22:35:48

Oh, and for the record, most of the lesbian couples I know with more than one child end up with just one of the couple being pg/giving birth for one reason or another.

hi

me again grin I just wanted to say a big thank you for all the posts and advice - DD is now 6 months and whilst she's not sleeping through she is sleeping better and I think she is the sun, moon and stars...

I just wanted to post and say that it really does get better and that you were all right - particularly as I know this is the kind of thread that would-be TTCers will come across and I wouldn't want them to be put off. It is tough (hey, it's parenthood) but I can assure any hesitaters out there that it really is worth every minute.

Love and hugs to all
xxx

beeuk Wed 21-Nov-12 18:16:51

I know this post is a few years old but wanted to post as a non bio mum who just had a baby girl 3 weeks ago. I must admitt i was scared ppl would say im not the mother/mum but i never once felt like i wasnt going to be the childs mum/parent. I am my DKP mother regardless of bein non bio, it never occured to me the non bio part, I always knew id be my DKP mummy. My wife is very supportive an she always said if anyone ever said i wasnt DKP mum she'd have a few choice words with them.

My wife I was gonna call each other mummy an mama b4 baby arrived but now we just say mummy for both, the children will eventully call us what they want, mummy s or mummy b but we are both parents we are both mothers to our children equally, an again i stress i never once felt like i wasnt gonna be a parent while my wife was pregnant. My dkp is my child an if anyone tried tellin me different id have a few word with them. I know ppl arent going to agree an we accept that but both sides of our families love our baby an call us both mummy so were lucky.

Now since sept 2009, lesbians in civil partnerships who used ivf or AI can be both named on the birth certificate. Which I am named as Parent an my wife as mother. I have just as much legal rights as my wife does. Its a beautiful thing living in england.

Mandilinki Fri 08-Feb-13 06:34:31

I love this!

MeanAndMeaslyMiddleAges Tue 12-Feb-13 00:05:58

I wonder how the OP is doing.

kandle Sun 24-Feb-13 19:27:11

Love this too. As a non bio mum named on my daughter's birth certificate I don't see any difference in how my wife and I parent her, and more importantly I don't think DD does either.

It has been really interesting though to see how she will go to one or either of use depending on what she is wanting ie if she hurts herself she only wants mummy L, if she wants help with something it is mummy K. Sometimes she will won't "allow" one of us to do something for her eg change her nappy and will demand only the other. It works out about 50/50 though. I guess she's just testing us out? Anyone else notice this??

beeuk Thu 14-Mar-13 02:30:29

Hello, my now 4 month old doesnt mind who changes her diapers (yet) but we noticed she likes me for comfort me like if shes tired or ratty she wants me, probably bc i work nights so im home all day with her an my wife works days. Also she likes it when i sing to her to sooth her more than when my wife tries singing to her. But its stil 50/50 shes to young to notice much really. It makes me feel good bein on my babys birth cert. its really inportant not that id love my baby any less but for family equality and i have same parentsl rights as my wife whos bio mum, and if anything ever happened to my wife (knock on wood) im safe, my inlaws couldnt get custody bc im birth parent. And if we ever separated id have rights. Plus i hated the idea if adopting my own baby. Ya know?

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