Advice Needed: Kids, Catholicism, and more.

MsCurious

New member
Hello! I'm hoping for 3 different pieces of advice...

*1) Suggestions on how to handle the topic of being pregnant with another man's kid with curious and possibly conservative friends and family, hurting as few feelings as possible.

*2) Please help me make a list of conversation topics/questions for both my husband and secondary. I'm sure there is a lot to ask that I haven't thought of as I'm new to this idea!

*3) If you have premonitions on unexpected issues, I'd love to hear them.


Background: My husband and I have been together for 8 years and have a young child together. My Secondary and I dated briefly more than a dozen years ago, continued as friends for a decade, and then he took Secondary lover position again a while back. Hubby and I are a couple of years into being inclusive and now I would like advice on taking things to the next level... of maybe to Intentional Family?

The Change: My hubby and I recently decided to not have another child together. He isn't interested in adoption but I'd really like my son to experience life with a sibling. He is still young, wants a sibling and is so easy going. Neither hubby or I are 100% on having another one so I'm ok with his reluctance to commit to a new baby. However, my secondary and friend for many years has always wanted a child but has never found the right open-minded girl. We are talking about possibly having his baby but I'm worried about the social issues we'd have to deal with and disruptions in the relationship with my husband's family. :-(

Both men are awesome in completely different ways, 110% love our child and have been around regularly his whole life. I plan to continue living most of the year with my hubby and my Second would likely move to our town. I already casually mentioned the idea to hubby in a brief conversation (no indicative reaction back) so my main concern with him is how we'd handle with the issue with his very Catholic family and preventing any discomfort for my child.

Don't Want: It's easy to just think 'do what makes you happy and forget everyone else' but I love and respect my inlaws. I know that this would be impossible for them to understand and may 'out' our lifestyle to everyone immediately or in years to come. In addition, the extended family is so conservative, they'd likely never speak to us again.

Any and all advice and similar stories are appreciated.
I appreciate blunt thoughts so no need to sugarcoat it. :D

I feel so lucky to have found this place in life but trapped by society expectations and hurting the outside, religious family I love.

An early thanks to you. I know this is a lengthy post... :eek:
 
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bookbug

New member
I am a bit confused as to why your husband does not want another child, but is okay with you and your bf having one. Given that you live with your husband, he would still have to contend with all of the things having a baby brings to the household.

As to your questions concerning your husband's family, I would venture that it is going to be completely impossible to get them to come to terms with a situation they will no doubt regard as immoral, given their conservatism. Usually staunch conservatives feel righteous about their views on life and have no compunction to try to reach mutual understanding.

That said, I don't know if you could utilize the idea of being a surrogate. Really tricky since there is only a father waiting in the wings, and you would be the mother, and the child would continue to live with you.

In all likelihood, if you take this step, you need to be prepared to lose them completely.
 

graviton

New member
I would strongly urge you NOT to have his baby. This will needlessly complicate your existing family in ways you can't prepare for. You and your husband along with your child stand the the chance of being ostracized. I would strongly urge you to look into a surrogate. Maybe you could then "adopt" the child and have a "close relationship" with the "biological father". Just an idea, it would make introducing him to your family a lot easier.
 

GalaGirl

Well-known member
my main concern with him is how we'd handle with the issue with his very Catholic family and preventing any discomfort for my child.

Would they sue you for custody of the existing child if they find out you are pregnant out of wedlock and decide their son (your dh) must be mental to go along with this? How much hell can they make your life? Are they local? Or live far away?

Before you go down that path I suggest you get very familiar with the laws in your state. And come out to them as poly now so they can have a cow and get over now so you know what you deal in. Rather than have it along with the reaction to you being pregnant and have it come at you like double load.

Was to his planned to be a secret or child passed as husband's? Or like you guys had infertility problems and the friend/BF donated sperm?

I also suggest you plan for total family cut off. Hope it doesn't come to that, but plan anyway for sake of thoroughness. Can y'all be ok with that? Or will husband/you/BF/son come to resent the new child/you for "costing me my family of origin?"

What would be the arrangements if you and BF break up? What would support/custody look like in that event?

There is a lot to map out.

I would not attempt something like that myself. If you want companionship for your young child? To me it almost sounds easier to get a pet like a cat or dog -- way less stressy. It isn't like having a sibling means the kids will get along in childhood or adulthood either. I am not tight with mine, my parents are only tight with 1 or 2 of theirs and not the rest.

I don't think "I want my kid to have a sibling experience" is worth the potential upheaval. Providing a stable steady home for the existing child takes priority to me than risking his home life turned into a circus with Grandparent Wars. Ensure you do not serve your want of another baby ahead of your child's need for stable home life.

Could invite cousins or friend kids to stay for the summer or something and send them back to try it on for size. Those are "sibling experiences" that don't have to be permanent.

I am not sharing this cannot work out... Just that it is very challenging and worth thinking it out really well first.

Galagirl
 
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SlowPoly

Member
Does the secondary want to be the legal father of the hypothetical child? Because chances are he won't be, depending on the state you're in. In my state, the child of a married woman is presumed to be the child of the husband, and his name goes on the birth certificate without any other option, period. The biological father can be added later with a court order after a court-acceptable paternity test. If this isn't a problem for anyone, at least make sure everyone is aware of your legal restrictions and options, and the legal duty to support the child/allow visitation that goes along with legal paternity.

I don't know how much my situation will translate to elements of yours, but here's a bit of a summary:

I divorced my partner Woof (with whom I have three children) before becoming pregnant with Mitch (this will be our first and possibly only child). For now, the story to the outside world (including Mitch's and Woof's parents) is that Woof and I are divorced (true) but still committed to co-parenting together and caring for each other (also true). We don't go into the details of our remaining connection. We're adults and no one gets to tell us where to sleep. The idea is that Woof and I are family as much as the kids are to each of us, and new partners will have to accept that or they won't be new partners.

I live half the time with Woof and our kids (we're calling it "bird nest co-parenting", but he never leaves the nest), and half the time with Mitch, and we expect that to continue when the baby comes. No one has been nosy enough to ask whether Woof and I still sleep together, and no one has disowned either of us over not doing divorce right.

Meanwhile our kids and my family of origin and some of Woof's know the whole story. We don't ask anyone to lie about it, so it trickles out, and we haven't had fireworks. While some of my siblings are quite conservative, they have taken it all in stride and been accepting. Woof's siblings still treat me like a sister, and I don't see that changing, whether they see us as happily and cooperatively divorced, or weirdly polyamorous. No one has reacted as badly as I feared before telling them.


Think and plan - the presumptive paternity thing is a legal hurdle specific to your situation (married, with another man fathering the child), on top of all the social stuff you're trying to anticipate. You definitely want to discuss a parenting (custody) plan for the very possible eventuality of either relationship ending at any point (sorry, but it's a likely eventuality that you should plan for, that's just life). You want to be in agreement about things like prenatal testing, termination for medical reasons, circumcision, who will be at the birth, where you and baby will live, how dad will get time with baby, whether the siblings will have different names for the two dads, it goes on and on. If you can't discuss and agree about that stuff now, imagine how difficult a time you'll have if a breakup occurs.

There's a book, available in paperback and on Amazon kindle (you can read it on any desktop of kindle app). Maybe you and your partners could read it together:

http://www.amazon.com/Polyamory-Pregnancy-Purpose-Guides-Book-ebook/dp/B00BQ027KO/

Good luck!
 

jenlou

New member
While hubby’s family might "come around,” it seems highly unlikely, so I second Bookbug that you have to be prepared to lose them. What is certain is that it will be a major disruption for everyone, and you risk losing your, your child's, your husband's and Secondary's close relationships with them altogether. From what you say you will almost certainly lose the extended family.

Given your love for them, this sounds like an huge loss. Is it worth it? Can you spend some time imagining what that would be like, for you, for your child? Discuss with hubby & Secondary? A loving extended family is a wonderful thing.

OTOH, maybe it’s an opportunity to look at the costs of hiding your true selves and your love from hubby’s family. You could reexamine together those in-law relationships, and assess how they do & don't contribute to your family's growth & happiness, and support your deepest values. Keeping your in-law relationships as-is also involves a loss. It’s a valid choice, but good to be aware you’re choosing.

I would not let having another child be the catalyst for “coming out” though. That could be a huge guilt legacy for the new child if things go south…they could even be blamed for a schism. Yikes. Deal with coming out first.

I agree with Galagirl that siblings can dislike each other and there's no guaranty. There are ways to foster close sibling-like friendships for your son. Also second what she said re your child’s stability; the adults’ desires to have more kids come after the child’s happiness. I don’t think a sibling is worth losing the family by any stretch.

Re “being a surrogate”--personally, I don’t see how this will help. The cat will be probably be out of the bag at some point once you & hubby & Secondary are raising the child.

Hopefully it goes without saying, but just to be sure I’ll say it anyway: any deception of any sort about blood ties is damaging. I grew up in a family where that was the case, and it caused so, so much pain, for everyone.

I wish you the best of luck with building your family, in whatever way it happens. It’s a tough situation. I’m happy for you that you have the loving relationships you do!
 

MsCurious

New member
Thank-you all for your comments. I love the points of view and hope to get more.

I'm sorry I should have explained a little more history in the last post seemed so long! My young child and I live with hubby 2/3 of the year and with secondary 1/3 of the year already. If we had a child, secondary would move to our town and probably keep our child at his house with him, with my existing child and I going back and forth between houses. As I've been together with both of these men close to or more than 10 years, I don't see relationship status changing with either... but we'll plan legally for that possibility in case it happens.

Do you think it's possible to keep the triad we have under wraps? I was leaning towards the idea of simply explaining that I'm a surrogate for my friend but plan to have a very active role in the child's life. My 2nd will be the father and that would be figured out legally in advance. My two men don't look anything alike so there would be no question on paternity.

Even with a surrogacy explanation, we still expect some backlash from the very religious side of the family. They did not even support us thinking about adopting, do not believe in birth control, etc. I'm still hoping to find a way to do this in a way that does not lose or embarrass my inlaws. I will not do it if there is not a way to avoid that. Ultimately, I feel that everything is about marketing the idea right. (lol) I just need to come up with a way to present it that puts everyone at ease.

Oh, bookbug - my hubby doesn't welcome the financial responsibility of extra college tuition. lol Silly but, he's very financially motivated. We are more than secure but he's always thinking ahead, I guess. In his mind, a bigger family needs a bigger car, bigger house, etc.
 
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Dagferi

Active member
In many states your husband would be on the hook financially for any child you bore while married. Even if paternity is known.

You also have to accept that your other child is going to slip up and out you to family. That will definitely happen if there is a baby involved. What child isn't going to be happy about a sibling?
 

GalaGirl

Well-known member
I'm still hoping to find a way to do this in a way that does not lose or embarrass my inlaws.

I am not sure there is one because that is not under your control. Who they associate with or not is their choice, under their control. You can try to guess, but you can't know til it is done. And this isn't something that can be taken back and undone. Can you live with the consequences of them finding out and alienating you guys?

You could probably keep 1st trimester under wraps, and if they live far away, manage the other two without them seeing your changing body. I am not sure what you will do re: breastfeeding, the child calling you mom, etc. though. That's why I suggested coming out to them first before TTC to get it over with.

Since you want it to remain quiet rather than "out" -- Could you adopt with your other guy? That would remove the physicality of pregnancy outing you.

I will not do it if there is not a way to avoid that.

So far I think that's the simpler way to go. NOT have another baby.

Galagirl
 
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Memorandum

New member
Aside from me thinking that is up in the top 10 senseless reasons for having another kid in general, I have to say don't do it. First you say you want your child to experience having a sibling. Then you say they would like a sibling. Can't have it both ways.

-You say you both decided to not have another kid and that he is not interested in adoption. If he's not interested in an adoption, what makes you think that another kid that isn't his is going to be fine? Queue the above justification after the "but". Doesn't matter who loves who and how good it is.

-You also say you both aren't 100% on having another kid. Again which is it? I get undecided (seems you would want another kid more than your husband does) but honestly if it's not a 100% yes coming from both, I wouldn't be half-ass planning something as serious as adding another kid.

Unless you want to create a shit-storm, because that's what's going to happen.
 

graviton

New member
Aside from me thinking that is up in the top 10 senseless reasons for having another kid in general, I have to say don't do it. First you say you want your child to experience having a sibling. Then you say they would like a sibling. Can't have it both ways.

-You say you both decided to not have another kid and that he is not interested in adoption. If he's not interested in an adoption, what makes you think that another kid that isn't his is going to be fine? Queue the above justification after the "but". Doesn't matter who loves who and how good it is.

-You also say you both aren't 100% on having another kid. Again which is it? I get undecided (seems you would want another kid more than your husband does) but honestly if it's not a 100% yes coming from both, I wouldn't be half-ass planning something as serious as adding another kid.

Unless you want to create a shit-storm, because that's what's going to happen.

THIS times 1000!!!! Never have a kid unless it is with joy in the heart from ALL involved. Traditionally this means the mom and dad but I think that should include your husband.
 

jenlou

New member
Do you think it's possible to keep the triad we have under wraps? I was leaning towards the idea of simply explaining that I'm a surrogate for my friend but plan to have a very active role in the child's life.

My main concern is for the kid. I'm assuming that you're going to be honest with the children about you being the biological mother. This puts them in the position of having to lie to hubby's family. And maybe others, too? How far does the secret have to extend to "keep it under wraps"? It's one thing for adults to choose this; I'm gonna be honest, I think it's messed up to make a child do this (it was done to me). It can be stressful for kids to keep secrets. And if they slip up, which I agree they may? And it implodes?

It can also be deeply painful to have to lie about your own blood tie, and to witness it being lied about to others. It can really fuck you up. For me, it was a heartbreak and sadness that is with me to this day. Of course kids respond differently and there's no way of knowing how your kids would handle it, but please consider this possibility and ask yourself if you want to risk the potential hurt to your child.
 

SlowPoly

Member
One thing that keeps bugging me about this is the "husband" vs "2nd" terminology. The more you emphasize this, and keep your relationship with "2nd" in the closet, and let the world believe the marital relationship is the only real one, the less equitably the potential father of your second child will be treated by everyone, from you to casual acquaintances.

Think about the level of respect that each person (child, potential child, partners, you) and each relationship will have in the eyes of the people who are involved (which, by your preference, includes your in-laws). It may not be right that people will be judgmental and rejecting, but that doesn't make it easier to endure.

2nd may resent the accommodations you make for in-laws. Husband may resent any reduction in in-law involvement as truths become known (as they eventually will, we must assume).

Discuss a lot more about what is important, who is family, what family looks like to you, and what you're not willing to risk.

And I'll reiterate again, since it's been said more than once, that you really want to think about what you're asking of others in keeping secrets, and whether you want your child(ren) to grow up with the importance of keeping secrets as a central doctrine of family life.
 

ClockworkDragon

New member
One thing to remember is that living life without a sibling is NOT a prison sentence. Really. Having a child for the sake of "giving them a sibling" isn't wise. I'm not going to say that they wouldn't enjoy it, but I grew up an only child, and don't feel I missed out on anything at all. Now, I have my husband's siblings as mine, and I get all the benefits.

Have a child because you want or need one, because you have the resources and support to do so, and your partner (one or both) does, too. Not because you're providing something for an existing child. It's a person, not a plaything.
 

MsCurious

New member
Again, thanks for the feedback.

:) Ok, my posts before must be too wordy and get off track...

  • We would all be committed to the child; my hubby loves kids and wouldn't mind them around a lot, just doesn't want the responsibilities of another of his own. My 2nd wants a child very much but hasn't found a woman he trusts to have one with (except me).
  • Finances are not an issue for any of us (we are all successful professionals who live below our means).
  • The only thing we'd be hiding is the intimate relationship between 2nd and me... and all my hubby's other fun girls.
  • My 2nd has been around longer than my hubby and is not ranked in any way. He does not have issues with his part-time status, and in fact prefers it.
  • The kids would never have to lie about anything. If awkward questions come their way, they'll know to deflect them by saying that they don't understand the question and to ask mom/dad.

Maybe I'm naive about this but I was more worried about getting getting the Catholic family to understand the half-sibling surrogacy thing and making sure we'd talked about many many possible situations that could come up, all in advance.

Either way, we are no where near making a decision and are leaning towards not even continuing to discuss it as a possibility.
 

SNeacail

New member
Maybe I'm naive about this but I was more worried about getting getting the Catholic family to understand the half-sibling surrogacy thing and making sure we'd talked about many many possible situations that could come up, all in advance.

What I've seen works best when dealing with "family": You and your husband decide how your going to explain things to each family. He deals with his family, then you deal with yours, etc. It must be made clear that the extended family MUST treat the kids and anyone else you decide to incorporate into your immediately household with respect and kindness. If you decide to adopt a child, that child will be treated like any other NATURAL child or they will not be welcome. The same goes for those family members that decide to ask the kids inappropriate, nosy questions. It is important that you and your husband are on the same page on what's acceptable and what's not and are both willing to stand up to your own family to enforce it.

If you treat it as something shameful and something to be hidden, they will too. If you let it be know that these are the facts and this is what we expect, that's usually what you will get. It might take them a while to get over the shock of the unusual, and they may have to be reminded of what's acceptable behavior, but eventually they will.
 

Dagferi

Active member
If you think your child won't tell someone you secrets and will defer to you are you are sadly mistaken.

Kids will tell people what goes on in your household. From simple things like.we bought a new tv to we spent the weekend at so and so house. My 7 yo just told his teacher about being over at Murfs house for our usual weekend. His teacher knows that Butch and I are married. She asked who Murf is and Squirrel my son told her. I had to have the poly discussion last night at the meet the teacher night.
 

kdt26417

Official Greeter
Re (from MsCurious):
"Do you think it's possible to keep the triad we have under wraps? I was leaning towards the idea of simply explaining that I'm a surrogate for my friend but plan to have a very active role in the child's life. My 2nd will be the father and that would be figured out legally in advance. My two men don't look anything alike so there would be no question on paternity."

I personally think you could roll that way. It could save you a mountain of grief of coming out to a conservative Catholic family. And I guess you would basically tell your kids the same story?

It's my belief that one can never present something in such a way as to guarantee a positive reaction from the recipient. I don't think you can count on keeping/pleasing your in-laws no matter how well you present your case. But, that's just my perception of things, I could be wrong.
 
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