“We don’t know who the father is,” the midwife told me as I showed up to assist her at the birth.
I didn’t know what she meant…who doesn’t know the father of their baby?
I had some difficulty finding the place as I drove down the dirt road. The family lived on a peninsula in Washington in a yurt.
When I arrived, I was not sure what to expect.
They all lived together in a commune. Two young children ran naked, happy and content in their freedom while their mother labored noisily in her birth pool.
I soon learned that the father of the baby was unknown because the mother had both a husband and a boyfriend.
They were polyamorous.
As a practicing, but closeted-non believing mormon woman, I was fascinated by this family.
All of them were former mormons, more than one were disowned by their family for accepting and embracing their bisexuality and polyamory.
They had a family bed for the threesome, a large community-tended garden, and a trail that led down to the water.
They had created their own safe haven away from a society and world that rejected and hated them for what they were.
Lost and confused about my own beliefs, I was envious of their freedom and carefree ways and I spent hours listening to the birthing mother’s friends and adopted family tell of the rejection, the pain, and the hurt that they had suffered from their own family members for embracing their authenticity and being honest about who they were. More than one family in the commune had been disowned by their parents and their children had no contact with grandparents, as they were being punished for seeking to live in a way that was not socially acceptable.
That night, I took the mother’s blood pressure, measured her pulse, and listened to her baby’s heart tones while I kept chart notes, watching in awe at the beauty of the scene before me: her husband on one side and her boyfriend on the other, each loving and caring for her, without malice or hatred or jealousy.
I witnessed this beautiful baby boy slide into the world and his mother’s arms as both men cried in unabashed joy and delight.
I wept as the husband held the baby and kissed his cheeks with wet tear-stained lips and then handed the baby to the boyfriend—it was clear that this baby came from him. They were mirror images of each another.
I smiled in my heart as the boyfriend pranced around the room cradling his first-born proudly, tears streaming down his face without shame.
My heart filled with joy as both men carefully tended to the children, the baby, and their love—peace filling the room.
I had never before witnessed such caring and compassion, and it made me wonder about everything I had ever been taught about life, love, and relationships.
If loving one person makes a heart full…could loving another just expand your heart even more?
Is love something to be reserved for just one person? Why did it feel to me that the love in the room just grew with the sharing of it?
I thought of the love I had for my own children and how it did not stop with just one child—there was always room for me to love one more.
Maybe this family had discovered something special—that love was not something to be hoarded…for it was infinite and expanding.
It wasn’t about labels or living a certain lifestyle.
It wasn’t about gender or sexuality or religion.
It was all about love. For the more love one gives to others, the more love one has to give.
Author: Stephanie Parry
Editor: Emily Bartran
Photo: Iloveart Iloveart/Flickr