It’s taken a couple weeks but tonight we finally told our immediate families about our plans for a family. We probably didn’t have to; straight couples don’t tell their parents “just wanted to let you know we’re going to start trying to have kids, just so you know”. But in our case, our families aren’t expecting us to have kids, so it would have been weird for us to come home one day and say “Surprise! You’re Grandparents!” And it definitely felt like we were 21 again and coming out to the family!
My partner’s family were pretty easy. We’d worded them up a bit a while ago, and they’re what you’d probably call ‘progressive contemporaries’ who are great with us and get the idea of Surrogacy. My family have been great as well, though have needed a little more work.
I come from a fairly traditional Italian family. Mum and Dad still make the sausages, sauce and wine, and have a vegetable patch in the back yard that astronauts often spot from space to get their bearings. They migrated to Australia because of the terrible conditions in the south of Italy in the late 1940′s, hoping to find more opportunities and create a family. They’re wonderful parents but expecting them to be au fait about same sex relationships and completely comfortable with surrogacy is probably a little too much to ask straight away. I’ve been thinking about this for ten years, so I couldn’t expect them to be on board the first night I told them.
We went to mum and dads today for lunch, and after we ate (homemade pasta) it was time to start the conversation. I was surprised at how much of a wreck I was, completely cold and shivering – I’d like to say it was weather, but in retrospect, it was certainly the nerves. I grabbed a cup of tea and said that we had “to talk”. Mum knew something was up and replied “Oh no …”. I basically started by explaining that after six years we wanted to be clear that we were committed to each other and we were a couple. That we were no longer just boyfriends, and that we wanted everyone to see that as well.
Mum didn’t skip a beat. She said “well that’s fine, but that doen’t mean anything, what are you trying to say?”. So of course I had to continue and come clean about the idea of children. They had lots of questions about what the options were, what surrogacy was and how it would work. We explained everything from the trouble with adoption and the options within surrogacy itself.
And in the end … mum and dad were great. Mum said that she knew something was up for a couple weeks (especially since I asked her for my birth certificate a few weeks back), and I think she had a hunch it was about this. Dad said that it was hard for him to fully understand, but that he was supportive. Mum said that she was glad we’d have a family cos she couldn’t imagine anyone growing old without kids. Mum had a little tear, we all had a little hug, and that was that.
In the end it was a pretty straight forward, and I honestly think the hard part is behind us. They’re probably doing some research tonight on surrogacy to get up to speed. There might be some odd moments ahead, such as when we jet off overseas, but I’m hopeful that the realisation that they’re going to be grandparents again will kick in the paternal feelings in the both… I’m sure it will.