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What dumb things have people said to you about your family?

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 

Recently I seem to be getting a lot of questions about our two mama family, and I'm wondering what dumb things other people have experienced with that and how you respond. I have had THREE people ask me "So...who is the real mom" in the past month, so I think I need to start coming up with a good response. I want to convey to people that they are being offensive without being too snarkey, because for the most part they seem to be asking out of polite stupidity. I had a conversation like this the other day: "So, who is her real mom?" "Um, she has two moms" "I know, but who is the REAL mom?" "Do you mean who gave birth to her?" "Yes that's right, who is the real mom?" *sigh*  

Also the other things I hear a lot are "But who is her dad?" and "What will you tell her when she asks why she doesn't have a dad?" Also, everyone wants to know how we got pregnant. Sometimes I don't mind that one, but don't have it be the first thing you say to me when you're introduced! I feel like sometimes people are just dumb and think they are making polite conversation, other times there is a little bit of an edge to the question, like they are about to start giving me a "family values" lecture. 

post #2 of 20

Yeah, my DP is trans (and thus, is my DD's dad, not her mom), but we still get annoying variations of this question. Lately, as I'm pregnant again, it's been lots of "Will the twins have the same father as DD?" My answer is always, "Yes, DP is their father." Sometimes its hard to keep the annoyance and snark out of my voice. I try to follow up with something like, "Are you asking about the donor?", though I don't usually tell them much information about our donor choices.


It can be really exhausting to walk the line between wanting to educate well-meaning people and just wanting to live your life.

post #3 of 20

I haven't had many of these questions yet, but I've been thinking about it a lot. I've got some anxiety because later this week we plan to give our parents the green light to start telling our extended families that I am pregnant, and we're kind of the queer trailblazers on both sides of our families... I expect a lot of well intentioned inappropriate questions like the ones you've experienced from both them and my coworkers. First off, :hugs: to you for what you've had to deal with. I will say that I tend to consider myself a very patient and polite queer most days, in that I've usually managed not to be snarky in the face of ignorance and play more of an educator's role. But imagining the questions about our little nugget is getting me cranky, and I think at least some of it is some protectiveness kicking in, and maybe just some fatigue about the prejudice/ignorance in general. I don't know if I can be as polite as I have been in the past when it was just about me and DW. We have already told our close friends and immediate families that we will not be disclosing any details about our donor because we think that should be private information for our child to share as they see fit. Those people have been really respectful but I know the extended family won't be. I also told my mom the other day that even though she is aware of the finer details of the mechanics of our TTC efforts, I don't want any of that shared with the extended family, and she was fine with that. But I know the questions will come, and the anticipation is wearing on me. Sorry to offer more venting than advice...

post #4 of 20

Yeah, it's complicated stuff. I think in some ways the person I actually feel most protective of is my DP, because many (most?) of the questions subtly imply that only one of us is DD's parent, and that person is obviously me (as the gestational parent with the bio connection).

post #5 of 20
When asked by strangers in front of my children I answer differently than, say, at work.

In front of the kids I talk politely to the stranger but word it for my kids' ears, knowing they need the words to use for themselves one day.

"Is his daddy excited?"
We're all excited.

Does he look like his daddy?
I never met his donor, but most people say he looks just like me.

Did his dad have blue eyes?
His donor has blue eyes.

He's tall, how tall is his dad?
His donor is 6'1".

Frequent conversation that is probably more unique to our family:

Are they all yours?
How old are the little ones?
16 months and 10 months.
How does that work?
Two moms.

At work I have had sincere questions about the process from a co-worker whose husband had had a vasectomy. I've had curiosity about the medical aspects as well as the social. Only one co-worker brought homophobia into it. I'm totally willing to get snarky when someone is telling my why my family is inferior.

The most obnoxious question seems to be, why not just pick up a guy at a bar? That was my ex FIL. We explained the health screenings and the point of WTBK donors.

The question that surprised me the most was when the local police officer (we had two) asked when I was due and if I knew who the dad was. I think I said, um, I went to a bank.

Another semi-common remark I get are people's guesses about who gave birth to who. It's rare for anyone to get them all right.

I do think a lot more about families that are obviously non-traditional and all the questions they must get. Older parents, younger parents, mixed race families, families with special needs children or parents, children being raised by grandparents or siblings, families formed by adoption. Shoot, hardly any are traditional anymore. And everyone is so darn curious.
Edited by seraf - 3/14/13 at 5:06pm
post #6 of 20

I feel so fortunate to live in a city that is so accepting and progressive. We haven't really had any problems with this. I've thought at times, however, that it would be nice to live closer to my family in the midwest, but imagine life would be VERY different for our family there. Of course, things ARE changing, even in my little hometown of Holland, Michigan, but it would be more of a struggle, whereas here, it is almost not an issue. People often say that me and my 10 year old daughter (whom my wife gave birth to, six years before we were together) look alike, and I love that :) haha. When my daughter went to a new school and her teacher said something about her mom and dad, I corrected her saying she had two moms, the elderly teacher's reaction was, "Oh, you have TWO moms! How very lucky!" and she went on about how amazing it must be to have two moms. Seriously, I love this town.

post #7 of 20
Cocobird--You are from Holland? So funny, I went to Hope (ha, crazy, right? wink1.gif) and grew up about an hour north of there.
post #8 of 20

That is funny! Yes, I was born and raised in Holland, MI. Now I live in Eugene, OR. Quite different places! But I love Holland too, in a way. They are doing some cool things right now, a lot more activism focused on equality. http://hollandisready.org/

post #9 of 20

We haven't had too many questions at all.  When we announced that we were pregnant only one person asked which one of us was pregnant, and her question was "which one of you is going to be doing the heavy lifting for the next nine months?" To which, I believe, I said "well, I'll keep lifting heavy boxes, and H will be carrying the baby around".  Oh, wait, now I do remember one thoughtless friend. Someone we hadn't seen for years, to whom we used to be very close. We sent a pregnancy announcement (with a drawing of an obviously pregnant woman on it) and she responded with "oh, wow! You guys are getting a baby! Where from?"  We clarified that H was pregnant.. and then haven't really talked to her at all since.  


When E was born the nurses in the hospital were in shock at how much she looked like me and a few more forward ones asked if we had used my eggs.. then asked again "are you sure you didn't use your eggs?"  Um, I think I would remember that!  As a small baby she looked a lot like me, except for her blue eyes, and people would continuously comment about her looking like me, or like her grandparents or other extended family members.  As she's gotten older she has lighter hair and looks exactly identical to H. So, people haven't really asked anything more recently.  People will ask about her height in general ways and I'll generally just say "oh, she has really tall people on every side of her family" which is true.  


There are a lot of two-mom families around us, so I think it's not really something novel to most people we meet.  Maybe we just live a sheltered life.. that's possible.  

post #10 of 20

I'm really appreciating reading all of your responses here! I especially value seraf's comment regarding modeling your answers to questions with your kids in mind: Very wise and inspiring.


As I've barely told anyone we're expecting, we haven't run into much yet... The one thing that has come up repeatedly throughout our TTC process, though, is people repeatedly referring to the donor as "the dad" or "the father". This will happen in conversation with close friends and family, conversations in which I've exclusively used the term "donor" when discussing our source of genetic material! It's already driving me nuts, which may not be a good sign for how I'll feel about annoying comments/questions in the future... eyesroll.gif


My current technique is to say, "Oh, you mean the DONOR..." and then continue with whatever we were talking about. I've ear-marked a couple folks who may require a more pointed correction in the future, but I'm an optimist and hoping that my persistent refusal to accept dad/father will eventually get through.

post #11 of 20

I have gotten a lot of questions over the years about who gave birth to our older kid (he is 14 years younger than me, so that's kind of hilarious every time). Since I have been pregnant, I have gotten some stupid questions about the donor. I don't prefer to answer them and I think it's nosy and kind of rude. "Is it a friend of yours?" "is it someone you know?" etc. I just say we used a sperm bank and that's pretty much that. 


One of the nurses at our fertility clinic said our fetuses were tall, and it was probably because my wife is tall. DW was like, "Uh, I didn't contribute any genes to them?" and the nurse went on to say she thought we did reciprocal IVF and she can't ever remember which couple used which eggs. (I still cackle at this exchange; it has brought me so much entertainment value) 


One of my coworkers recently asked me if my pregnancy was "On purpose." I said, "I'm gay, so 'on purpose' is kind of the only way." She tried to justify her question by saying, "Well, you never know, Jesus happened." which is like, so unbelievable. I have gotten a lot of mileage out of that story. Rude and ignorant people make for great cocktail hour fodder.

post #12 of 20

An immaculate conception would be pretty darn cool and a hell of a lot cheaper!  I'm gonna try for that next time. 

post #13 of 20
Omg - I literally spit out my coffee at "Jesus happened". orngbiggrin.gif
post #14 of 20

When I got pregnant, there were definitely some people who asked HOW I got pregnant--"how does that work?"--acquaintances would ask and that was kind of awkward. I don't want to explain the entire process of at-home insemination but a lot of people don't know what that is. I wanted to just tell people to google search it and leave me alone! I wouldn't ask how they got pregnant...lol. A friend of mine actually had someone say, "But you don't like dick!" when she found out she was pregnant.

there's a lot of emoticons here...where's the one that says that's so annoying?! haha.

post #15 of 20

coco, i think the emoticon you are looking for is somewhere between these:

 shake.gif and banghead.gif and puke.gif

post #16 of 20

hahaha, thanks!

post #17 of 20

The most common question that we get is about DS's bright red hair (DP and I are both brunette). People literally walk up to us out of the blue in stores or on the street and say "Where did he get that gorgeous hair? Does his father have red hair?"  I used to always just say "It seems to have just popped up" or "My mother says she thinks my great aunt may have had strawberry blonde hair". Both of those statements are essentially true -- since red hair is recessive. I carried DS and nobody that I was aware of in my entire extended family has red hair, so it is a little strange that I must have passed on some aspect of that too. Recently I've decided that probably sounds to DS like I'm hiding something though. Sure, we want to protect our kids from people's stupid reactions but he can spot a lie (or squirming omission) a mile away. I don't ever want him to feel like he has something to be ashamed of or embarrassed about. If someone else is an idiot, I still think that isn't going to hurt him as much as feeling like he has to hide aspects of his family. 


A few weeks ago, my mom took DS (4 yrs old) to the post office. While waiting in line, an elderly gentleman approached them. 
Man: Where did you get that red hair? 
DS: My sperm donor had red hair. 
Man: what?
DS: [very loud and VERY clearly] MY... SPERM... DONOR... HAD... RED... HAIR
I guess the man just kind of glanced around awkwardly and walked away. Nothing like a 4-yr-old yelling the word SPERM at the top of his lungs in a public place to make a situation awkward. 



Another 4 yr old donor-conceived child I know learned that a heterosexual couple was expecting a baby and immediately asked the woman "So, did John give you his sperm?"  

Of course, we expect 4-yr-olds to ask awkward questions but when you think about how absurd that was, it really is no different from strangers asking queer couples the same sorts of questions. 

post #18 of 20
Originally Posted by LindseyW View Post

Another 4 yr old donor-conceived child I know learned that a heterosexual couple was expecting a baby and immediately asked the woman "So, did John give you his sperm?"  

Of course, we expect 4-yr-olds to ask awkward questions but when you think about how absurd that was, it really is no different from strangers asking queer couples the same sorts of questions. 

I LOVE IT! A very valid question!

post #19 of 20
I think the sperm donor question is funny. ., though lindsey. . both my sister and I have red hair and aside from a cousin no one on either side seems to have red hair yet it is clearly there.  Our parents used to say the "mailman"  when asked.   In our house, it's actually funny bc my sister, her partner, and I all used known sperm donors and did DIY at home so we were joking that my brothers kids would totally be in the minority to NOT have a sperm donor.  .
post #20 of 20

lindsey, your kiddo sounds like quite the spitfire. so cute! 

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