Kelly, Sam and two year old Charlotte live in Perth, Western Australia. You can read more of their story at their warm and clever blog, The Muriels.

Who’s in your family?

Kelly: Immediate family is Sam, Charlotte, my mum and step dad, three dogs and a cat. Wider family also includes step grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles.

Extended family includes Charlotte’s donor dad, mum and sister and we have some close friends whom I would consider to be part of our extended family as well. Then of course we have our “internet family”.

Sam: Because we decided to be very public about our journey, sometimes it feels like half the population of Perth is our family!!

Where do you live?

Both: In the kennel zone of Southern River, Perth, Western Australia, but we’re trying to sell our house as we speak because one acre is too much to look after.  We’ve been there 16 years or so.


How did you create your family?
Kelly:
Our daughter Charlotte came to us after many years of IVF and infertility.  In the end, she was created with Sam’s egg, our known donor’s sperm and a lot of wishing and hoping.

Sam: We mixed a little bit of cute, with a little bit of funny.  A lot of smiles with some style, and a big fat happy on top!!  Okay, we did IVF!

Do you have a relationship with your donor?
Both:
We do have an ongoing relationship with Charlotte’s donor dad, his mum, sister and wider family in Tasmania.  Because they’re in Tasmania and we’re in Western Australia, the face-to-face visits are not as often as we’d like, but we treasure our time with them when we visit.  We are also in regular contact by phone and email.  Creating a child for us was always about providing her with the opportunity to develop a relationship with her donor, so we are very fortunate that our donor is willing to be part of Charlotte’s life and even more blessed that his wider family have also been embracing of us.

Give us three words to describe each member of the family.

    Kelly: really, only three? Sam: insightful, nurturing, smart (and funny).  Charlotte: bright, loving, hilarious.
    Sam: 3 words is virtually impossible!! Kelly: Beautiful, complex, hysterical!!! Charlotte: awesome, (delightfully) exhausting, precious!
What’s Charlotte’s current favourite activity? Reading, dancing and singing, animals
What’s your favourite thing to do together as a family?
    Kelly: Heaps!  The zoo, museum, wildlife parks, playgrounds, dancing, singing, etc, but the best fun we all have is spending time with Nanny and Pop at their property every weekend and just hanging out and relaxing together.
    Sam: It’s a toss up between lying in bed together on a Saturday or Sunday morning just enjoying being near each other, and the three of us dancing to the Wiggles which inevitably ends in all on the floor giggling our heads off!

What are some great kids’ activities where you live? Kindy dance time, swimming, Armadale Reptile Park, Perth Zoo, Perth Museum, King’s Park Ivy Watson Playground

How would you describe your parenting style?

Kelly: I’m a bit of a pushover actually.  She only need look at me with her big brown eyes and I’m done for.  We like to negotiate with her, we don’t like to physically maneuver her to do things we want her to do, we don’t smack and we don’t use time out (not to say we never will, just for now, it’s not what we want to do).  We’re hoping to raise a free-thinking, independent, creative person who knows right from wrong, not because we’ve ingrained it into her, but because she has developed her own sense of justice and has come to her own conclusions about the world in which she lives and how she behaves within it.

Sam: Lazy… I mean laid back!!

How do you feel being a ‘rainbow family’ influences your parenting?

Kelly: I think we’re both more hands-on than we might otherwise be if we were an opposite sex couple.  We are not restrained by the expectations of our genders.

Sam: We’ve seen enough “ugly” in the world to ensure that we’re fair, just and open to all possibilities – unless of course we’re in the middle of a two-year-old’s tantrum, then it’s a case of ‘whatever works’.

How has your relationship with your partner changed after children?

Kelly: I have gained so much respect for Sam as a parent – she truly rocks at this parenting gig and we have learnt and are continuing to learn how to approach parenting as a team, with a united front!  I suspect this will be even more important as Charlotte gets older.

Sam: We had a wonderful relationship before, now it’s wondrous as well!!

Anything about rainbow parenting you didn’t expect?

Kelly: I tend not to differentiate between rainbow parenting and just plain parenting.  I mean, really, at the end of the day, what’s different?  We all change nappies and wipe noses and read bedtime stories and work out how to deal with things for which there are no instructions.  We’re actually all in this together and I fail to see how separating us by some imaginary rainbow divider helps anyone.

Sam: Just how darn accepting people would be, we expected a few more “pregnant pauses”.

How has your extended family responded to the creation of your family?

Kelly: No issues at all with my family.  They have been supportive and brilliant from the beginning and I’m grateful for that every day.


How do you respond when people assume you’re part of a straight family?

We don’t often have people asking us about our family – I suspect because we’re so up front about who we are that there’s nothing left for them to ask. We are always out to everyone – there’s no pride in shame and we don’t want to raise Charlotte to think there is something to hide, because there isn’t as far as we’re concerned.  We always correct people if they assume heterosexuality. Occasionally, I’ll need to say, Charlotte has two mums, but the response has always been positive. I can’t really think of any situation that we wouldn’t – unless it involved an immediate threat to our physical safety.

How do you model pride in rainbow families to Charlotte?

Both: By being open and honest about our family structure.  By never hiding that we are a two-mum family – which is not to say that we shout it from the rooftops at every given opportunity, it just means that we explain who we are to people when we’re asked.

Have you experienced any difficulties as a rainbow family?

Kelly: None.  With hand on heart, we have had nothing but positive experiences as a family with two mums.  That’s not to say that people don’t say things behind our back, but what we don’t know doesn’t hurt us and any such bigotry is not our problem.

Sam: Well, besides the need for medical intervention to actually get pregnant, no, none that stick in my mind.

What advice would you give someone embarking on a rainbow parenting journey?

Kelly: Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.  Be completely certain it’s what you want and if you are partnered, be absolutely positive that you have all your “partner” stuff sorted before bringing a child into the world.  It’s the most awesome thing you will ever do, but nobody should do it without an enormous amount of care and thought beforehand.  It will absolutely turn your life upside down, but if you are ready for it, those changes will be for the better and you won’t be able to imagine your life pre-child(ren).

Sam: Given the nature of the journey it’s a very taxing and difficult time.  Keep a sense of humour!!  Be kind to each other and remember why you’re doing it.


What supports (rainbow or straight) do you recommend?

Both: Our family and friends provide us with any support we need.


You can find Kelly, Sam and Charlotte at  http://themuriels.blogspot.com

Your browser may not support display of this image.

Advertisements