Image description: Two women facing each other. Their eyes are closed and their noses are touching. The woman on the left has long blonde hair and the woman on the right has long black hair. They are draped in fairy lights. (Image from Unsplash)
Falling in love with my wife was the easiest thing I have ever done, it was as easy and as natural as falling asleep. With time I find new things about her that I love. Small quirks and eccentricities to appreciate in small but profound ways. The list grows with each day, month and year. We have built this love together through happiness laughter, trials and tribulations. It is complex, beautiful, comforting and it is all ours.
There comes a time though in which we talk about how to spread this love and grow our family. The want for children is like a deep yearning, a persistent ache that never dies. Unfortunately, neither of us were gifted with sperm at birth so growing our family cannot happen organically.
Creating a family for us will always have to be intentional. In that there is beauty. Our child will always be deeply craved and wished for. I hope this will manifest into a being that is loved beyond all measure and always knows how wanted they are. However, the practicalities of this are different and painful.
I always thought a child I had would be part of me and part of someone I loved. I imagined examining their features and remarking over where their characteristics came from. Of being able to pass to them the stories of my family and of their heritage but this will never happen for me.
I fear our child will grow up not knowing their roots or background. Mourning a part of themselves that they don't know, experiencing pain due to this. If creating our child is intentional and they are at risk of experiencing this pain, am I intentionally creating pain by trying to grow a family? There are additional complexities that come not only with identity but also medical problems, epigenetic trauma that we're unaware of.
There is so much heart ache in these questions that are unanswerable but additionally in the way we are viewed. The healthcare system where I live seems to infer that a family for a gay couple is a privilege and not a right. We were both assigned female at birth. Therefore, we cannot access any assistance for fertility treatment from our healthcare system until we have proved that we have self funded fertility treatment 6 times and failed. You need to prove you have tried and failed 6 times, and so the only way to get receipts is from paying through a clinic. On average artificial insemination costs approximately £2000. That means we have to pay £12000 and either be unsuccessful or miscarry 6 times before our healthcare system help us. Whereas if one of us was born with testes and no sperm we would not have to do so.
Falling in love with my wife was simple, but the prospects of expanding our love onto a further generation is fraught with complexity, uncertainty and pain. There is a strange mourning for the experience of having a small person that is half of both of us, of hunting for the quirks and attributes we've come to love so furiously in one another in a small being. Of finding my eyes and her dimples in a sleeping face. I am forever grateful for the opportunities and options that we have. Our child is so loved in advance of its existence on this planet but alongside this deep love, there is deep worry of potentially creating pain amongst it all.