What do you get when you take one man's sperm and impregnate two women on the same exact day ... then let nature take its course? Technically, you've got twins, born almost three weeks apart. And the making of an incredible memoir.
Sarah Kate Ellis and Kristen Henderson are the married couple from Long Island, New York sharing their crazy conception story in their new book, Times Two: Two Women in Love and the Happy Family They Made. They each sat down to talk with The Stir about a book that's equal parts lesbian memoir and journey from infertility to motherhood ... times two.
Although they started out writing a story about their beautiful family because, as Kristen says, "As a same-sex couple, the more positive that's out in the media, every little bit shifts society, shifts perspective," the result was a pregnancy story that's markedly similar to the average everyday woman without a same-sex partner or a crazy twin story.
The couple wanted to become moms, and they figured Sarah would have no problem getting pregnant. but after more than a year of fertility clinics, Clomid, miscarriage, and more, Kristen decided to step into the fray. Only to find out she couldn't get pregnant either. Fast forward to two women trying, at the same time, in the hopes that one pregnancy would take. The women conceived on the same day in the same clinic, albeit in two different ways. Lightning struck. Kristen and Sarah were both expecting babies.
"A lot of people feel like they're alone [going through infertility]," Kristen explained. "And so do a lot of partners; you're on the sidelines, you don't know what to do."
In one book, the couple has revealed what it's like to play both roles. To be that partner feeling helpless and to be the woman unable to get pregnant. And they show what Kristen hopes will be a take home for every woman going through infertility out there. "It seems like more often than not, the story ends happily, even if it's a realllllllly long story. Whether they get pregnant, whether they adopt, whether they decide to stop trying ... "
In the case of Kristen and Sarah, the result was double pregnancies, a story that's at once joyful and somewhat hilarious. "You can imagine what we looked like when we went out!" Sarah says with a laugh. Turning serious, she summed up every woman's dream pregnancy: "It's like being pregnant with your best friend, someone DOES actually know how you feel."
After all of that, despite getting pregnant on the same day, they welcomed Thomas on February 1, 2009 and Kate on February 24 -- essentially twins born almost three weeks apart. "Twins are the new singletons," Sarah says, "we run into them everywhere, but of course our twins are double their size because they didn't have to share the same uterus ... they're not 'real' twins."
And yet, the moms are raising two 2-year-olds just a few weeks apart, in the same house. They share toys, at one time even shared a bed. They're twins all right, but like their family as a whole, they just got theirs in a slightly unusual way.
Do you know anyone raising this kind of "twins"?
Image via Kristen Henderson
Disclosure: I received an advance readers copy of Times Two to facilitate this interview.