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#1 of 50 Old 06-20-2005, 01:45 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Well, I wanted to start a thread to talk about issues related to parenting as a lesbian and I understand that some other folks want that too.

Let's go! :

Me, I would like to talk about the issue of name changing and creating of family names. Hyphenation was not an option in our family (trust me, my last name is 12 letters) so, I am in the process of changing my name to match my partner's and daughter's. It is what I want but it is also weird to me to give up my name without any fanfare or ceremony of some sort. Okay, so this is a lightweight issue to start this thread - but it is about family identity for me. Any thoughts?

This thread is about any other issues that come up for lesbian parents too - male role models, legal rights, "who's the real mom?", SAHM vs WOHM, day care being gay-friendly...bring it on!
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#2 of 50 Old 06-20-2005, 03:35 PM
 
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I'm not in your position as I don't have a partner, but I'll try to contribute to the thread with what perhaps I would do if in your position

I kinda like the idea of coming up with a completely new last name for the family, either a mixture of both last names or something that holds meaning. I hate hyphenated last names and would never do it.

And I think you should do some sort of fanfare or ceremony

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#3 of 50 Old 06-20-2005, 04:11 PM
 
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I completely understand your desire to have all names in the family match. DP and I actually had this conversation last night. While we do not have children yet, we both know we want to have the same last name. I really do not care to hyphenate our last names...I am not sure how to explain my feelings. Whle I am very liberal and progressive, a huge part of me is conservative. I always looked forward to taking on my husband's last name when I go married (while pretending to be straight ). I know I would personally be honored to use DP's last name. Some of my friends who are lesbian have taken on their DP's last name, but their relationships have been butch-femme. Neither DP nor I identify as butch or femme, so our decision has nothing to do with traditional sex roles and expectations. I simply would be honored to use her last name.

I am not sure how my family will react, but I know it is my decision. There will be some members who are supportive and some who are not.
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#4 of 50 Old 06-20-2005, 04:31 PM
 
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I'll chime in here. I took my DW last name because when we have a child we want to all share the same name. I personally wanted us to use *my* last name, but you can't win 'em all you know. :LOL Since I will be the bio mom we felt like it was only fair that we use DW's last name, plus it was just really important for her to keep her last name. We weren't into the idea of creating our own last name, and I hate hyphenation.

Btw, we are not butch femme either. My family was almost all supportive except my grandparents (who are supportive of me as a lesbian) really wanted me to keep my last name, but they wanted my sister who is straight and got married to keep her last name too. can't please everyone I guess.

The name change process here in MN was expensive and annoying. We had to go to court, pay almost $400 in fees, but what really me off was that after the $400 check I had to send *another* $50 check for an FBI background check. People who get married don't have to have that. So ridiculous.
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#5 of 50 Old 06-20-2005, 05:55 PM
 
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Before our daughter was born, DP and I talked about last names. Neither of us were really keen on hyphenation. And honestly, neither of us wanted to take the other's name. But we knew that when we DID have children, we wanted ONE last name. So, we created our own last name. We took the first two letters of my last name (Jones) and the first four letters of her last name (Heimbaugh) and came up with Joheim.

We celebrated it, but nothing big. Just a recognition that we were committed to each other. When DD was born, it was easy to just write in those six letters. It also makes it easy when DP has to take DD somewhere without me (I carried DD). No one questions if she is her mother because they have the same last name.

[Thank you for starting this tread.]
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#6 of 50 Old 06-20-2005, 06:42 PM
 
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#7 of 50 Old 06-20-2005, 06:56 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for responding about names - I am taking my dp name for two reasons; hers is easier to spell and I carried our dd. Basically we all want the same name - it does suck to have to go through the legal crazy part of it. Here, in CA, I will have to post my intention to change my name in the newspaper!

Just restating: This thread isn't just about my name, (although I am loving the responses). Anyone can take this in any lesbian parenting direction that you would like so if there is something on your mind feel free to bring it up here. I am looking forward to hearing more from other lesbian moms.
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#8 of 50 Old 06-20-2005, 10:39 PM
 
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My partner and I had a committment ceremony several years ago and were "pronounced" at the end of the ceremony using our new last name-- a surprise to our family and friends. It was actually very funny because folks knew that we were changing our last names, and they knew that we were creating a new name with the letters from our last name, so people kept trying to guess what it would be. Someone in our family thought that she had seen something with the name written on it before we were pronounced and thought we had changed our name to Oxen. Ha! :LOL The word spread throughout all of our wedding guests and what a surprise when it was Oryn instead! My mother-in-law was so relieved (no offense meant to anyone who might have Oxen as their last name)!
Anyway, I gave birth to our daughter in 3/04... she was very sick when she was born and was rushed to the NICU... and then transported to another NICU... and then another... and throughout this entire time, no one ever questioned my partner being Eva's mother. She was able to go down to the NICU while I was still in the delivery room and be with her-- no questions asked. I truly believe that having the same last name played a HUGE role in this. We started the adoption process a week after she was born but it took forever including a home study and 2 court hearings. The final adoption hearing didn't happen until Eva was 6 months old. During the entire time between her birth and my partner legally adopting her (second parent adoption), we had tons of medical follow-up from her time spent in the NICU and still, not one single person questioned my partner as being Eva's mother.
Just my 2 cents... I think it was one of the best things we ever did. I also feel like it really helped to create a family identity for us. And it helped to reinforce to our families that we are in this for the long haul...
Anyway, have a great night and thanks for starting this thread!

~westchestermom
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#9 of 50 Old 06-20-2005, 11:49 PM
 
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wow westchestermom, i'm so glad you shared your experience! those are exactly the type of reasons we decided to have the same last name!
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#10 of 50 Old 06-21-2005, 09:21 AM
 
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Just checking in as a lesbian mom. I have no input on the name issue (great story westchester).

I don't totally meet the criteria (what else is new) as my children do have a father in thier life. However, they do still have an "out" lesbian mom, and very well may have a lesbian step mom some day.
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#11 of 50 Old 06-21-2005, 11:04 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A&L+1
Just restating: This thread isn't just about my name, (although I am loving the responses). Anyone can take this in any lesbian parenting direction that you would like so if there is something on your mind feel free to bring it up here. I am looking forward to hearing more from other lesbian moms.
Okay, mind if I change the subject? :LOL

DD was conceived with an unknown donor with no ID release. The bank we went with didn't offer it and at the time we were TTC, we didn't think much about it. But since dd's birth, we've been rethinking that and wondering if we should go with ID release with future kids (we want 4 total). So my question is: Have we set the president with dd? Do you think we should use non-ID release donors for future kids? Or is there some kind of explanation that we can use that will satisfy dd's questions if we decide to use ID release for the others?

It's been a tough one. We never could have guessed we would feel this way because at the time we were making decisions, we didn't have a connection to a child like we do now, kwim? Is it unfair to dd to use ID release donors inthe future because we feel differently after having HER or is it unfair to future kids to not use ID release donors because we didn't with her?

Am I making sense?
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#12 of 50 Old 06-21-2005, 11:58 AM
 
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On the name change subject, my DW and I have discussed it, and decided to keep our last names.

The hyphenation thing would never have worked because our names together would make a 12 letter last name (our child would get writer's cramp when first learning to write it!). In addition, both of our last names are common words that just don't go together well.

We discussed whether we wanted the same last name so that our child (we'll start TTC in May) will have the same name as both of us. After much thought, we decided that there are so many families who have different last names from each other (as in step parent situations where the mother remarries and the kids still have their biological father's last name), that it won't be that traumatic for our child to have a different last name than DW (I'll be carrying).
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#13 of 50 Old 06-21-2005, 01:23 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by quiltpucks
Okay, mind if I change the subject? Is it unfair to dd to use ID release donors inthe future because we feel differently after having HER or is it unfair to future kids to not use ID release donors because we didn't with her?

Am I making sense?
Hi QP,

Yah, that makes total sense to me. I think it's impossible to say whether choosing and ID release donor for future little ones is unfair to your daughter; it all depends on how she eventually feels about that, and also, to a certain extent, how you and your partner present the information to her (ie, with or without underlying guilt, for example). That might be something worth working out with a counsellor or therapist, just to get your own feelings sorted out about it.

That said, even though your daughter may not be able to find out who her donor was, there are lots of people looking to see if there donors produced other offspring and an increasing number of web sites that exist to facilitate such searches. I haven't been on one but my partner has; apparently, all you need is to enter your sperm bank's name and your donor's number. I mention this only because if your daughter eventually really wants to make some kind of connection and can't do it by finding out the identity of the donor, that is something else you/she could look into.

The other thing to consider is that even an ID release donor can change his mind about meeting offspring; there are no guarantees, and as far as I know, they are not under any obligation. 18 years is a long time...

BTW, we have a baby boy conceived via an ID release unknown donor.

I really don't have a final word of advice or bottom line on this; it's a really delicate issue that only you and your family will ultimately work out. I would say, however, to just do what you feel is right for the entire family, whatever that is.

I hope this helped!
Good luck!

...aargh...I just realized I still haven't changed my sucky sig! Must do that...
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#14 of 50 Old 06-21-2005, 10:43 PM
 
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Lisa,
My partner and I have (and will keep) our own last names. I lost my father several years ago and we were very close, so I want to hold on to his last name. Julie is keeping hers for the same reason. It is important to us for sentimental reasons. I wish there was a way we could all "match" (especially with baby/babies) but there was no way for that unless one of us backed down and we decided it wasn't something we wanted to do.


Mere,
About the donor issue. I understand your frustration and stress. I would tend to want the continuity among the children. However, your non-realease donor could change his status as time progresses (Are you a member of donorsiblingregistry.com? This is THE site that does matches on donor siblings as well as donors and offspring) More donors are coming forward with their information, and I am sure this will continue to increase as the population of donors ages. You can also place a message yourself on the DSR and it be there for the donor to see so even if they don't sign up they can see your registration and contact you privately. This registry was on Oprah and so far it has matched a LOT of siblings as well as donors with families.


Right now our biggest problem (problem?) is baby's first words. He is saying DADA. DADADADADADA. DaDa! Loud. In the supermarket. And there we are, two lesbians pushing him in the shopping cart and I know people are thinking the joke's on us.
So my partner has started letting him call her Dada. : We are so against this in theory it boggles the mind that we are doing it right now. He wants to call someone dada because he can freaken say it! And she is home with him all day, so it's her (she is also less feminine than me ) He is just so proud he can get sounds out and have us respond. But we are embarassed in public : The whole mommy/momma thing went out the window fast... dada is evidently an easier sound to call both of us.
My women's studies classes never warned me about that.
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#15 of 50 Old 06-22-2005, 12:22 AM
 
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Okay, well I'm a lesbian. I'm co-parenting with a man (a fag) so I won't identify with some of the stuff you are talking about. But I'm here...

And my daughter calls my ex girlfriend (who we live with) "Uncle." And it stuck, so now a lot of our friends are callign her uncle too.
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#16 of 50 Old 06-22-2005, 12:44 AM
 
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Hi y'all. Just checking in. Dp has a different last name from me and the kids. Hyphenation was out for us as well (my last name has all the vowels except u in it.) We hyphenated their middle names to include dp's last name.

Too tired to type much. Happy summer solstice to you.
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#17 of 50 Old 06-22-2005, 10:44 AM
 
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I never thought of hyphenating the middle name. That's a really interesting concept. Very creative
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#18 of 50 Old 06-22-2005, 10:48 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kincaid
Lisa,
Right now our biggest problem (problem?) is baby's first words. He is saying DADA. DADADADADADA. DaDa! Loud. In the supermarket. And there we are, two lesbians pushing him in the shopping cart and I know people are thinking the joke's on us.
So my partner has started letting him call her Dada.
This was our daughter's first "word" too! We had the same feelings as you, but our friend helped us out with a solution - she said, "maybe she's trying to say 'dog'!" So we managed to attach "da" to "dog." (Do you have dogs in your life?) Also, before long she was also saying "ma ma ma" and "ba ba ba" etc. so the problem took care of itself.

If your partner is ok being called "Dada" that's great - I just wanted to share another solution to the "problem"...and it's great to hear we weren't the only ones with this little issue!
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#19 of 50 Old 06-22-2005, 04:24 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Kincaid, we are ignoring "dada" here and because my daughter doesn't seem to understand that things have names yet it hasn't been an issue. We aren't counting dada as a word, just a sound. to you though for taking your son's lead.

Mere, We used a anon donor and we will again in the future, but I think that it would be fine to switch to a known donor if you think that you would feel better about it. I believe that the best I can ever do is make the best decision with the information I have at the time. You made the best decision that you could when you selected your donor, now that you feel you would like more info and access to any future donors, it make sense to do it without regrets.

As the OP, I just want to say that there is no criteria for this thread, so if you are a lesbian and you parent (including TTC) then, : welcome home.
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#20 of 50 Old 06-23-2005, 07:37 AM
 
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i would agree with the poster who says the da da da does not last long- consider not having your partner get saddled with a name she is not so interested in when in about a week he will be calling her something else. we have a dog named etta, so we decided that must be what the baby was saying.

is anyone going to family week in provincetown? we have been every year since my daughter was born (she is three, we have been four times) and it is one of the most amazing affirming things we have done as a family. i highly recommend it (people come from all over the country). i think that there is one in michigan but i have never been there.

laura
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#21 of 50 Old 06-23-2005, 04:24 PM
 
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I have been trying to prepare financially for our TTC adventure, and find it very difficult to even guess how much this whole thing will cost us.

I am the main bread winner in the relationship (and over planner), so I'm in charge of planning/budgeting for the baby. My DW's only responsibilty (financially) is to get her debt paid off before the baby arrives (she was strapped with debt due to her divorce and moving to CA to be with me).

As it stands now, I plan to save about $10,000 to hopefully cover everything (TTC attempts, pregnancy, delivery, setting up the nursery and getting all of the baby gear).

I know that there's no way to plan because there are just too many variables: it could take several attempts to concieve, the insurance may or may not pay for some things, etc.).

But, I'd like to think that I'm at least in the ballpark, if things go smoothly.

I switched to Kaiser HMO insurance during my last open enrollment because I have heard that they tend to cover more than other companies (I'm concerned this will vary from what others have experienced though, as plans within Kaiser could be different). I'm happy with the decision nonetheless because my cousin had 1 baby with Kaiser insurance (although she didn't have infertiility treatment to think about) and 1 baby with Aetna and said her experience with Kaiser was by far less stressful. She found that dealing with Aetna was difficult because she would call on almost a weekly basis asking how much she would have to pay for the delivery and they never gave her a straight answer (in fact they billed her for things they shouldn't have - they tried to bill her for something the day BEFORE she was even in the hospital).

Anyway, in my mind, the breakdown goes like this:

$5,000 for TTC, prenatal care, and delivery
$3,000 for supplemental income when I'm on disability (after the baby is born)
$2,000 for a modestly stocked nursery (including car seat, crib, etc.)

Does this sound absurdly low?

I know that a lot of you already have children and if any of you kept track of your expenses, I'd love to hear from you.

Thanks,

Greer
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#22 of 50 Old 06-23-2005, 06:22 PM
 
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Greer,

Unfortunately, I really do not have any answers for you. However, my situation is very similar to yours. My partner is the main bread winner (actually, the only one working!). My only responsibility is to finish graduate school and pay off student loans before the baby comes! However, I am the extreme planner...I want to know exactly every little step and have everything planner for! We have around 15K saved for this little one. While we are not going to start TTC for two years, we are not sure about realistic expectations as they pertain to cost.

Some questions to consider before figuring our finances and the 'breakdown'.....How do you plan to TTC? IVF is devestatingly high. AI at the doctor's office is a little more reasonable. AI at home seems to have few costs involved. Buy the sperm and you should be on your way. This may be the most cost-effective way, at least for the first few attempts. Hopefully only one attempt would be necessary. Wouldn't that be a dream? You mentioned the amount for the actual birth. Doesn't insurance cover almost all of the actual birth?

I do not have any answers, but I could relate to your thought process and apparent desire to have as much planned as possible.
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#23 of 50 Old 06-23-2005, 07:20 PM
 
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jd_kl ,

Thanks for the reply.

Yes, I would assume that the insurance should cover most if not all of the actual birth.

We have actually decided to try at home for a couple of cycles first in the hope that we might get lucky. If it works out, that's great. If not, we'll move on to IUI in a doctor's office. From what I've read, you can have it done at a fertiilty clinic for a couple hundred dollars plus the cost of the sperm.

So, given those facts, I THINK that $5K is enough for that aspect.

The money to supplemt my income was easier to figure out because the information on what formula our state uses for that benefit was pretty straightforward. And I'm erring on the side of caution by planning for only state disability (I'll probably have some short term disability of my own too, but won't count that).

As for all of the gear for the baby (crib, car seat, etc., etc.) I think that can be done economically if I don't go nuts buying stuff. There are some things that are good to splurge on and others really don't matter much. I just hope that I've factored in enough money for this part.

In the end I guess it all comes down to: save as much as you can before the birth and see where you land. If there's leftover, it makes for a nice addition to the emergency fund.

Eh, all of this analysis and I come up with that. Blah!
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#24 of 50 Old 06-24-2005, 05:15 AM
 
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well it's nice to see a dyke thread! I am in New Zealand, yes we have lesbian mummies here too!!

My partner and I have been together 10 years and have a 4 1/2 year old ds and a 18 month old ds. We are going to have one more. We used a known donor (private arrangement) with no future involvement but the kids can meet him later if they want.

There are some interesting topics coming up........ I would be interested to know about what names our children call us... we are both muma (we haven't made any distinction) and I love it that way. We also don't answer questions about who gave birth, we just answer that "we don't place a lot of emphasis on that in our family".

How do others handle that question and what names do your children call you?

cheers
Claire
(way down under in New Zealand)
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#25 of 50 Old 06-24-2005, 05:32 AM
 
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you know I have been reading some of the previous lesbian only threads and there are a lot of us here.

how great! In the past (been looking at mothering for over four years - just changed my name cos couldn't remember what it was) I didn't bother reading it because there weren't many of us.

Anyway it's great
Nice to know we are all making such darn fine babies!! And REALLY nice to have a lesbian thread thing happening




Lesbian muma to ds 10.01.01 and ds 11.12.03 and partner to Laura 12.95
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#26 of 50 Old 06-24-2005, 12:28 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mlrohde
is anyone going to family week in provincetown? we have been every year since my daughter was born (she is three, we have been four times) and it is one of the most amazing affirming things we have done as a family.
We talk about it all the time - someday we'll get up there. Last July, we went on the R Family Vacation's cruise (Rosie's cruise) and it was undescribable! We really felt so at home with all the other families. It really is an incredible feeling. My partner just started her residency so we couldn't go this year. But we've already decided, come hell or high water, next year we are going!

Quote:
Originally Posted by jgreer
I know that a lot of you already have children and if any of you kept track of your expenses, I'd love to hear from you.
I'm sorry, I would be of no help. I never kept track of how much we've spent over the last 2.5 years. I do, however, remember that it cost us about $1000 PER INSEM - we did back-to-back IUIs, so we were paying for 2 vials per month + shipping, plus the cost for the procedure to be done either in the doc's office or the supplies to do it at home (my partner had just finished her OB/gyn rotation in med school). We tried 5 times before we go preggo. I think planning is a great idea, but don't be surprised if you have to contribute more than what you planned.

Quote:
Originally Posted by witt
I would be interested to know about what names our children call us... we are both muma (we haven't made any distinction) and I love it that way. We also don't answer questions about who gave birth, we just answer that "we don't place a lot of emphasis on that in our family".
I'm Momma and dp is Mommy. She hi-hosied Mommy because she always figured it would be shortened to Mom. I always liked Momma, because that's generally what they say first as a baby. So it worked out for us. My dd will correct us if we call each other the wrong name. She KNOWS who is who. And when asked "who's the real mother" - I just HATE that! We always say, "We both are". And sometimes to be smart, I say "we are raising her together" and let them make their own conclusions. It doesn't matter to us WHO carried our daughter, so why should it matter to them. Our daughter looks more like my dp than she does like me, so let them think she carried her - the jokes on them. :LOL
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#27 of 50 Old 06-24-2005, 12:39 PM
 
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re: costs...we ended up doing an international adoption, so I'm not even going to go there!

But in terms of gear, we spent almost nothing in advance. We borrowed, went to garage sales and had one heck of a shower. We got a really nice, safe carseat, and a new Arm's Reach co-sleeper, and other than that, I don't think anything much was new. Since we were completely broke from the adoption, this was a good thing!
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#28 of 50 Old 06-24-2005, 02:08 PM
 
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Just wanted to jump in to say how happy I am to see such active threads here lately.

In terms of things mentioned:
Our whole family has the same hyphenated last name. We didn't really consider coming up with a new name -- our names seem to fit well together, even if the whole thing is then a bit long. We gave DS a one-syllable first name because of the last name.

I just want to second what the pp said about paying for baby goods -- I'd register for stuff you need, put friends and grandparents on alert for used clothing stores and yard sales, borrow clothes from friends (because they do outgrow an outfit the minute you put it on for the first time), and then spend some money on a safe carseat. Other than that, I don't think it has to be all that pricey. Our culture is SO into baby gear, but much of it is just meant to keep babes separate from us. Just my opinion, though.....

In our family, I am mommy and my wife is mamma. She's part Swedish and that's what you call a mom in Swedish. I'm glad it worked out that way because I do like mommy better. DS is an ace at the names and corrects others/us if someone gets us mixed up. He'll also look at someone strange if I'm with him and they say something unwittingly wrong, like, "There's your mamma!" I love the smarts that kids have with these names...it's so natural to them!

Hope to have more "conversations" round these parts in the near future.

take care,
megin

Mommy to an amazing 8 year old, wife to an inspiring principal, and welcoming Wylie Grace! Our July 4th babe!
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#29 of 50 Old 06-24-2005, 08:16 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Green with envy over here, Mere. I so want to go on the R Family Cruise.

Sigh...someday.
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#30 of 50 Old 06-24-2005, 08:19 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Oh yeah, in our family I am Mama and my wife is Mommy. We plan to not tell people which of us carried our daughter (although I am bfing so that's a clue). Lots of people have said that she looks so much like my wife - so yeah, jokes on them.
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