Hide me!

Shona

I had a good childhood in a warm stable family, so I saw it as part of my adult life to have the same. I wanted children from when I was a child myself and I started to think about it seriously when I married Robbie’s dad. At that time I would have identified as bisexual. I now identify as lesbian.

 

We were living in London and moved back to Scotland, near our parents, with a view to starting a family. I really longed for a child. I really wanted to have Robbie.

 

It was a straightforward pregnancy but after wanting a water birth, I ended up having an emergency caesarean. Robbie was very healthy from the start, which was the main thing.

 

Fairly soon after, I had quite a bad bout of postnatal depression. In retrospect, some of that was related to my sexuality. It was a hard time and it’s still quite recent. I don’t want to talk about it. I just wasn’t happy.

 

The depression lasted about two years and then, 15 months ago, I left Robbie’s dad because I knew I really wanted to be with a woman. Not a particular woman, just a woman.

 

Since then I’ve been happy.

 

If you have a young child and you’re not happy in your relationship, whatever that may be, it’s really important to make yourself happy because then the child will be happy.

 

It was quite an upheaval for a little boy to go through and that was something I had to take into account. He’s been great, quite resilient. He’s well loved. He sees his dad 50% of the time and I see him 50% of the time.

 

I respect my ex-husband. I was with him for a reason and we have a reasonably good relationship.

 

I have a girlfriend now, Caitlin. It’s been a gradual introduction to Robbie, to make sure we get it right.

 

Trying to be a parent and dating, trying to have relationships is a big challenge in itself. Trying to keep the two sides of your life apart, finding the time as much as anything! I would never introduce Robbie to anyone for at least six months.

 

I’m looking for different things in someone from the start. It has to be primarily a relationship I want but I’m also looking for someone who is responsible. They have to have a stable personality, be fun, ideally used to being around children.

 

Caitlin knew from the beginning that I have a child. Everyone I have dated has known from the start and it put some people off. It’s better to be honest about it.

 

When you meet the person you want to form a relationship with, you start to introduce them. It’s hard because Caitlin lives across the water. I’ve been there and she’s been here but it’s early days.

 

Robbie knows Caitlin is more than just a friend. I’ve tried to explain it to him in his own terms, his own language. We’re kind of feeling out what we want to be between the three of us and it’s not easy.

 

We hang out together, the three of us, doing the things I’d usually do with him like going to the park. We went to the women’s football at the weekend. It’s important not to rush things, to involve the child.

 

I found people very accepting of the situation and supportive to the LGBT family; people who I didn’t think would be, have been.

 

My parents have taken the longest to adjust to it because I’m emotionally closer to them and it has a bigger effect on them than on acquaintances. Robbie is their grandson. They have to be grandparents in an LGBT family and explain that to the world. They are gradually starting to speak to close friends about it. They met Caitlin at the weekend and they knew who she was.

 

Before I met Caitlin, I knew this was the shape of the family I wanted. I went to Rainbow Families in Edinburgh as a single mum and I found that quite helpful.

My job is being a GP so I see lots of different bits of life. I’d say to LGBT teenagers or whoever to come out as soon as possible so you can create the kind of family you want to have.

 

Wanting a family shouldn’t be a barrier to coming out. The fact that I wanted a strong, safe nuclear family is one of the reasons I didn’t come out.

 

There are people who have been through the same thing, who can relate to what you’re going through. You don’t have to stay where you are.

 

There are resources out there like Rainbow Families , the Stonewall website  and YouTube.  Look up The Real L Word and Beaver Bunch. There’s a particularly nice video of Michelle and her mum, talking about coming out.

 

I’d also recommend a book called ‘Living Two Lives: Married to a Man and In Love with a Woman.’ It’s about women who come out and it’s made up of people’s stories. They’re very honest. It’s very touching. Reading about how they acted at different stages was useful, because it’s not an easy journey.

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