A lesbian couple who gave birth to quadruplets in two pairs in Florida is struggling to make their family all legal. Though each carried two of the babies conceived from one mother's eggs, each mom is legally the mother of two babies (the ones she carried), but is facing a legal battle for the other two since gay adoption is banned in Florida.
If it seems confusing, that's probably because it is. How on Earth can any state say what makes a family and if these babies do belong to each mom? It's absurd, but beyond the political, this story is compelling for another reason: the amazing sharing.
As unlucky as they are to be in Florida and facing this battle, they are so very lucky in another way. We straight mothers can scarcely begin to imagine what it must be like to share the physical burden of the first year of a baby's life.
From the day my daughter was conceived in April 2006, she was my love and world and, yes, my burden, too. I stayed in bed, too nauseous to get up during the first trimester. I carried the weight on my cervix the whole second half of my pregnancy and I pushed her out of my vagina with no drugs, requiring a couple stitches and weeks of pain every time I sat down.
That's not all. Once she was here, I nursed until my nipples cracked and bled. I lived with mastitis and used a breast pump with too-small nipple shields until I had bruises and I sat for hours on end nursing my baby girl for a full year.
Then, a year later, I did it all again.
I am not complaining. I love the physical side of motherhood. But it would have been lovely to share the load just a little, to have another mother in the house who understood what I was going though. My husband was lovely and supportive and brought me water while I nursed and counted each poop so we could keep track and changed every diaper. But there are things men simply can't do.
I feel for this couple in so many ways and I believe strongly in their right to have their family however they want. But even in their darkest struggles, they do have some huge blessings. They are lucky to have such a unique and special family.
Love is always what makes a family, and my guess is, given the extra amount of sharing that these two moms have done, there is that in abundance.
Besides, Florida is going to have an uphill battle with the notion that it's only the physical act of birthing that makes a legal parent. Because what does that say about straight dads? My husband is a wonderful, loving parent, but it was my body that paid every toll on the way to parenthood for us. If I could have shared that, I would have done so gladly.
Do you think these moms are lucky in some ways?
Image via Elsa Blaine/Flickr