Two days ago I attended a conference at which the topic was surrogacy. I got a call from Australia, it was the founder of the organisation, asking me to sit on a panel at this conference. Without hesitation I agreed to help him out. Anything I can do to offer hope, help and support to others who are going through similar turmoil that I experienced, I will do. In brief, my family was completed with the help of a gestational surrogate. I am in a heterosexual relationship and my reason for telling you this will soon become apparent.
In front of me sat around a hundred people who had come to listen to myself and other parents sharing our very different experiences. But we all had one thing in common. We had all wanted a family. Out of the five of us, three were in a heterosexual relationship, two were gay.
Later that day I was recounting the event and the response I got saddened me and spurred me on to write this. Of course I had support and was encouraged that what I had done was positive, yet there was a clear confliction of views when I mentioned how many couples there were in attendance who were in same sex relationships.
Just because it's not what they are used to, it's not the 'norm'. Nowadays more and more people are openly gay. In their day, their generation, people were still gay, they just weren't necessarily so open about it. There is a greater acceptance of relationships which do not follow the traditional heterosexual route, yet there is still such a lack of acceptance, knowledge and understanding when it comes to same sex marriages and then subject of them having their own family.
A very interesting point can be made which might make people think twice before passing comment. Biologically, babies are made by a man and woman when they have sex. This can happen whether planned or not. Granted it is much easier for some couples than others and some men and women are infertile, but allow me to generalise for now, in order to make this point.
When a gay couple, be it two men or two women, decide to have a baby it is very much planned, it has to be, they have no choice, nature has determined this. They have to consider the process they will have to go through in order to achieve their family. Not only is it lengthy but there are many hurdles to overcome. Their desire to do this despite knowing how tough it will be to get their baby demonstrates how loved this baby will be once it enters the world and how greatly it is desired. Compare this to the number of babies that are, pardon the expression, but 'accidentally' conceived.
Why shouldn't a gay couple be allowed to have a family of their own? Surely a child with gay parents is better than a child with straight parents who argue constantly and end up getting divorced. I've had the good fortune recently to meet a number of fantastic dads, who are incredibly capable and looked so natural with their children. And why shouldn't they? The babies looked happy and well cared for, and why wouldn't they? Allow me to add that the same applies to gay women.
The thing all these people had in common is that they are fighters. They want something, something that is by no means easy for them to achieve. Something that they couldn't decide they wanted and then just get. For these people, having a baby is something they desperately want, but have to work hard at. Many stages are involved in the process of creating their family. The process is intense, time-consuming and complex. Problems can arise at any step along the way. Yet sheer determination and a reluctance to give up drives them to carry on, be strong and fight for their chance to be parents. I believe the characteristics it takes to be that person who wants something so badly they will do almost anything to achieve it is what makes them be the amazing parents they turn out to be.
So why am I passionate about offering my support, about helping as many people as I can and who want my help and advice? Because there is too much negativity in the world. People are too quick to judge others. Enough bad goes on all around us. We should unite and stick together. Help others feel complete, achieve their dreams, reach their happy ending.
Maybe I sound naïve, maybe I am naïve. But I do believe it's easier to be a shoulder to cry on, be a helping hand to others, than to look down your noses. Than to criticise and judge. What gives people the right to do this anyway? Who in the world is perfect? I have more respect for people who are true to themselves and fight against old fashioned ideologies. Who live their lives as they want to and know are happier to. Who are real. It is those people who are the fighters, who have so much love to give. I say let them. Let them spread the love they have so ready to give. The positive energy they have outweighs any negativity thrown in their direction.
Times are changing and peoples' attitudes need to change with the times too.