Parenting: The 'Other' Daddy

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    Jul 02, 2010 6:15 AM GMT
    Today I went on a run with a girlfriend who I've known for over 10 years.

    When we were on our run she initiated our first conversation about potentially have a child together. I tried with another friend many years ago, an unfruitful 10 month process of inseminations, but I withdrew from the efforts because she started getting cuckoo pants. I had also relinquished all parental rights because I thought it was the closest to being a parent as I thought I could ever get.

    THIS girlfriend actually wants a co-parent... I wouldn't be just a sperm donor... I could be a "daddy"... a real life, child on my hip, daddy.

    I've always known I wanted to be a parent but I thought it would never happen because I know I could never do it alone. I'm finally in a place where I'm financially and emotionally secure and capable of taking the leap... I'm SOOOO excited!

    I'm so excited by the possibility that I could pee my pants! So scared, excited, elated, frightened and totally emo... I never thought I would ever have the chance to hold my own child.

    I've always had these feelings but I've tried to suppress them because they just weren't practical, has anyone else had these strong paternal feelings? Do they go away if you don't have a child or do you regret not having them?

    (totally unfair... I'm exhausted from the gym and am going to bed, I just had to get that out of my system)
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    Jul 02, 2010 8:10 AM GMT
    I had always said I wanted to be a young dad, having two kids by the time I was 30 so that by the time they graduated from high school,I would still be the "young, cool, hip" dad. When that didn't happen, I said I didn't kids because I would be an old dad not able to do things with them the way their friends' dads would do. Today, if God smiles upon with the husband of my dreams, I would hope that he and I are on the same page with this and we would gladly babysit, but not raise kids. And, no, I have no regrets, even after turning down 3 couples who wanted me to be a sperm donor (two wanted me to relinquish parental rights & the 3rd would have allowed the child to know I was it's father, but not parent).

    If you go through with it. Many congratulations!!!!
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    Jul 02, 2010 10:15 AM GMT
    remember, raising a child is not like raising bread, you don't stick them in an oiled bowl and leave them there until twice the size and you certainly don't punch them down again!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Apparently, with modern day child rearing, its not allowed!
  • Space_Cowboy_...

    Posts: 3738

    Jul 02, 2010 10:20 AM GMT
    YAY


    I want a little Space_cowboy_2011 running around icon_biggrin.gif
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    Jul 02, 2010 10:42 AM GMT
    Is this like "The other white meat" kinda thing?

    I'm sorry, I'm getting tired, I'm punning myself silly here reading the title!
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    Jul 02, 2010 11:50 AM GMT
    Your first reaction.. of profound happiness is the one to go with.

    I have a son from a previous marriage and he is the light of my life. If I could have had a woman propose that to me I'd be 'donating' that same month

    Good luck to you...you'll be a great dad

    IMG_0624.JPG
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    Jul 02, 2010 12:13 PM GMT
    i think its amazing! i've always wanted kids and still plan on it. I am 26 and not rushing into it, but I'd like to have a few by the time I'm 35. I know that my life would not be complete with children. I come from a big traditional family and it is super important to me!

    Congrats for you!
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    Jul 02, 2010 12:30 PM GMT
    I'm still having a hard time talking my partner into getting a dog and I can't imagine how long it would take to talk him into a child!

    I always wanted to have children and never had the opportunity. I wouldn't rule it out, but the older I get the more difficult I think it would be (I get tired much easier these days!).

    However, I absolutely love being an uncle and a great-uncle. I have three nephews, two nieces, two great-nieces, and three great-nephews and my partner's brother and wife had twins six months ago (they are adorable!!!!).

    I only have one uncle and he was never really a part of my life, so I strive to be a better uncle. I'm out to my entire family, so the kids have grown up being comfortable around gay people. The twins will be raised the same way.
  • DCEric

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    Jul 02, 2010 2:23 PM GMT
    We want children. We are planning to have them ~when he turns 40. We think we will be fiscally stable enough then. Two kids.
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    Jul 02, 2010 2:37 PM GMT

    Kids...so wonderful and innocent and cute. icon_biggrin.gif
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    Jul 02, 2010 3:02 PM GMT
    EasilyDistracted saidI've always known I wanted to be a parent but I thought it would never happen because I know I could never do it alone. I'm finally in a place where I'm financially and emotionally secure and capable of taking the leap... I'm SOOOO excited!

    I'm so excited by the possibility that I could pee my pants! So scared, excited, elated, frightened and totally emo... I never thought I would ever have the chance to hold my own child.

    I've always had these feelings but I've tried to suppress them because they just weren't practical, has anyone else had these strong paternal feelings? Do they go away if you don't have a child or do you regret not having them?

    My advice: DON'T MISS THIS CHANCE; it may not come again. You seem like a guy who really wants to raise children, and not someone who just intellectually enjoys the *idea* of having kids. If you still have these feelings a week from now, do it.

    Ten years ago, I was in the same situation as you are now. Like you, I always had strong paternal feelings but never thought I would ever have the opportunity to be a parent. In my case I was the one who "proposed." We took the plunge, and today I share a household with my Non Romantic Life Partner. Best decision I ever made, incredibly fulfilling, can't imagine a life without our two boys, etc. Sing along with me: Our house is a very very very fine house, with two kids in the yard, life used to be so hard, now everything is easy.....
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    Jul 02, 2010 3:35 PM GMT
    lilTanker saidremember, raising a child is not like raising bread, you don't stick them in an oiled bowl and leave them there until twice the size and you certainly don't punch them down again!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Apparently, with modern day child rearing, its not allowed!


    You can still stick them in the oven and spread butter on them....right???
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    Jul 02, 2010 3:44 PM GMT
    Follow your heart and your gut. Both my partner and I were in "traditional" marriages and each brought 2 young children to the table. We're known to our friends as the "gay" Brady Bunch! Our kids are now 12- 16 and spend at least 50% of their time with us.

    The one piece of (unsolicited) advice I will give you is this: both the rewards and work are 10 times what you can imagine. I would never trade being a father - its provided me with so many enriching experiences and has forever altered my outlook on life. The work and patience required is also huge, from sleepless nights as babies to rude rebellion as teenagers. Hopefully the love you have for the kids (and a loving partner or helpful coparent) will see you through the more trying times.

    Best of luck to you!

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    Jul 02, 2010 7:58 PM GMT
    I always thought I would be a parent but never thought I would be able to do it. I had actually given up hope on it. I recently changed my lifestyle to so I could pay off my debt and concurrently travel the world as my consolation for not being able to have a family.

    My potential co-parent is amazing and a friend of 10 years, we've seen each other through a lot. She's a patient, loving, easy going and ridiculously smart, Pediatric NP from a great family who I have so much fun with even when we've had to work through hard stuff. I can't imagine having a better partner.

    My family and her family makes a very clear distinction between 'having a child' and 'parenting'. We both see caring for dependents as very deliberate acts which we've each witnessed each other do.

    The one variable is my boyfriend of 6 months.
    We've talked about kids, he knows I've always wanted them but had given up hope of having them. He has ambivalently thought about having them but never thought about the actual rearing of them, which I've interpreted as the equivalent to many people's ideology of having a dog, 'get a back yard, let them run around, teach them not to piss on the flowers, pick up their shit when you feel like it, try not to step in it the rest of the time'.

    I don't think I can pass up this opportunity... I'm more afraid of losing the opportunity than I am of losing him, I feel guilty about that, no matter how much it makes sense in my own head.
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    Jul 02, 2010 8:20 PM GMT
    I very much understand this drive. My partner and I are starting to talk seriously now about our options. Congrats to you!
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    Jul 02, 2010 8:21 PM GMT

    It sounds like you're in a very good position. Nevertheless, it goes without saying that this is a huge decision. You and your girlfriend will be confronted with all of the decisions that any co-parents face. And the more of those that you can discuss ahead of time, the better. You will never be able to anticipate everything. Plus both you and your girlfriend and the world will change over time. And the child will eventually be ready to have a say in some elements of his or her upbringing. But some things that come immediately to mind are:

    -do you and the mother see eye to eye on prenatal care? do you have an understanding in place in case any serious birth defect is detected in early pregnancy? birth plans? breast feeding? healthcare arrangements? who will insure the child and/or pay uninsured medical expenses?

    -where will the child be raised? what would you do in the event that you or the child's mother wants to move away? will you be stay at home parents? use daycare? hire help? rely on relatives or friends? what kind of schools do you and your co-parent prefer?

    -what kind of schooling do you anticipate? if it's private, how will you split fees, etc? what about boarding school and/or college planning?

    -how do you and your co-parent feel about arrangements for the child to spend time with each of your parents and members of your extended families?

    -what, if any, financial arrangements need to be made between you and the child's mother ?

    -what about religious upbringing?

    -what arrangements can you make in case of the early death or disability of you or the child's mother?

    I'm sure that books have been written about just this kind of situation and there are probably lawyers or advisors out there who coach people through this. These are just the ad hoc things that occur to me.

    Nothing will change your life more than parenting a child. I commend you for even thinking about it and I hope you will keep us posted on this.
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    Jul 02, 2010 9:28 PM GMT
    Flies has good advice in his posting. I highly recommend getting everything in a contract and work with a lawyer. Crazy things can happen no matter how wonderful each party is. A friend of mine went through Hell with a friend who was having his baby. They had agreed on a lot of things verbally, but then she changed her mind. It came very close to him not being able to see the child at all.
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    Jul 02, 2010 9:34 PM GMT
    I find it really cool! Good luck icon_smile.gif
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    Jul 02, 2010 10:42 PM GMT
    Beagle's caveats are spot on. Co-parenting isn't all rainbows and fuzzy bunnies, even more so if the parents aren't romantically linked. There will be rough patches and sacrifices made. And some decisions need to be more than verbally agreed. You do need to talk through the details and contingencies before taking the plunge.

    In my situation we each set up trusts to hold our individual financial assets. We have a house with separate sleeping quarters, and we split the ownership costs 50-50. The agreements are verbal, though, to stay together at least till the kids are adults, and to split child-raising/household costs down the line (not every last transaction, but by maintaining a ledger with the expectation of long-term parity). It helps that we see eye to eye on many matters, including both being heathen atheists.
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    Jul 04, 2010 6:28 PM GMT
    I went through the process with another friend a while back and it went awry when I separated from my partner of 6 years. In my mind the divorce didn't change anything but to her it did and she wigged out... I had noted a few red flags prior that I overlooked, but I had never seen her crack so completely before so I backed out after that.

    She and I had a lawyer draw up paternity contracts which positioned me more as a sperm donor than a parent. What I learned from that process was, that even with paternity contracts in place there are inalienable paternal rights that even if you give away initially, you can retract and fight later, at least in the state of California.

    That was 4 months of contract negotiating then 10 months of attempts at insemination with ongoing discussions of visitation and such.

    I'm familiar with the front end logistics of such an arrangement and negotiating the post pregnancy situation, I just want to make sure that I am mitigating the potential for major conflict through choosing the mother wisely.

    To me it is marriage but of a different type which has long term implications not just for me and the child but for me and the mother of my child. We are going to be inextricably connected from that point on... to me it's more vital that I choose her wisely than I do my boyfriend. I can always trade in my boyfriend for a different model, once the baby is conceived there is no turning back.