Queer Woman Shares Her Path to Parenthood: “Being Queer Wasn’t Going to Stop Me from Being a Mother.”

by Rachel Reyes

I want queer people to know that there are options for us to build our families and make them look how we want them to look.

My name is Rachel Reyes. I’m from Sicklerville, New Jersey.

I’ve known since I was a kid, maybe 16, that I wanted to be a mother. I always used to say that I wanted seven kids, 12 kids, a bunch of kids. And I tend to get what I want. And I knew that being queer, being gay, wasn’t going to stop me from being a mother.

I was young when I got married, 23. Once I got married, I wanted to start right away having kids, starting a family, but my wife at the time wasn’t ready. So we waited a few years.

And then it was December of 2017. I just remember coming home from work one day. I went upstairs and I see a gift bag on the bed and I look in the gift bag and I see all these baby things. I see pacifiers and baby bottles, and I think pregnancy tests and bibs and things like that. And that was her way of telling me she was ready to have kids.

We talked to her best friend, Luis, and he was our roommate at the time. So we sat down and we asked if he would help us. We knew that we didn’t want to go the route of an anonymous sperm donor or a sperm bank. We knew that for our family it would be better for us if our kids knew their biological father and had a relationship with him. He was willing to help us and he was willing to have a relationship as the father of our children or our child. And so we decided to start a family.

Once we decided that we were going to start a family, I went ahead and I bought us some T-shirts. Mine said Mama Bear, my wife’s said Mama Bear, and our friend’s said Papa Bear. And I just put it away. I didn’t tell them I bought it. I was going to give it to them as soon as I found out I was pregnant just as a surprise.

We tried various at-home methods and they didn’t end up working. Every month I would take a pregnancy test and every month it would be negative and I would get my period. And we tried at home different methods for a year and finally decided to just go to a fertility clinic. Now, when you go to a fertility clinic and you’re using a known donor who’s not your partner, there’s a lot of red tape involved, so we had to navigate that. We did a procedure called IUI. They give you some medication to stimulate ovulation, and then they do the procedure in hopes that you get pregnant.

We did it the first month and I took my monthly pregnancy tests and it was negative. I got my period. It was disappointing, but we decided to try again. And the second month I felt a little bit different, but I didn’t really think anything of it. I didn’t want to get my hopes up. They give you an ultrasound before they do the procedure, and the person doing my ultrasound did tell me that I was releasing two eggs.

She told me, “You could have twins. Chances of twins is 10%.”

And I said, “That would be great.”

About 10 days after the procedure I wanted to know. At this point we had been trying for over a year and it was just negative pregnancy test after negative pregnancy test, so I didn’t expect anything to be positive, but I still wanted that definitive answer. One morning, about 10 days after our second IUI, I went downstairs, but everybody in the house was sleeping. I went downstairs by myself and decided to take a pregnancy test.

Right away I saw a faint line and I couldn’t even believe it. I was in shock. I could feel my heart beating out of my chest. I was anxious and overwhelmed and excited, and I took another one just to be sure, and that one was also positive, a faint line. The first thing I did was ran upstairs and wake my wife up and show her the pregnancy tests. She was completely in shock and super excited, and we both got up and ran to Luis’s room down the hallway and woke him up and shared the good news with him. All three of us were just hugging and crying and excited and emotional, and that’s when I got the shirts out that I had bought a year prior when we first started trying, and I gave them our shirts and that’s when we knew we were going to be parents.

About 14 days after the procedure, they have you come in and do blood work to confirm whether or not you’re pregnant. Our blood work came back positive and our numbers were pretty high. And then they have you come in again to repeat the blood work, just to make sure that your hormones are doubling how they’re supposed to. And mine were not doubling – they were like quadrupling. So I go in for the ultrasound and I just remember laying there and the ultrasound technician is confirming that I’m pregnant.

And she asked me, “How many eggs did they say you were ovulating?”

And I said, “Two.”

And she was like, “Yeah, well I see two heartbeats.” I didn’t know what to say. I had no words. I don’t think I even responded to the ultrasound technician, but I remember just calling my wife and telling her, and she just kept saying, “No.” And then we told their father and he was also just overwhelmed and in shock, and he was going around telling everybody at work that he’s going to be the father of twins.

In October of that same year I gave birth by C-section to these two beautiful little baby girls. They were both four pounds, 15 ounces, and they were born on my birthday. On the day of my birthday.

The three of us decided to give them some godparents just to create a village and a community of people who loved them. I picked three people in my life to be their godparents, and each of them picked two people. So they ended up with seven godparents. So our girls have three queer parents. They have at least three queer godparents, seven godparents overall, and they just have a big village and community of people who are guiding them and loving on them.

So as a teenager, I was correct. I love being a mom. I feel like it’s one of the best things that I’ve decided to do with my life. My kids are amazing. They’re almost three and they’re bilingual and they speak Spanish and they understand English, and they are just sassy and talkative and playful and a little bit bossy, just like how I was as a kid. I just love to see them grow every day and to see how they interact with the world and how they interact with me. And I love them.

You can make your life how you want to make it. Your sexual orientation, being queer or any other identity shouldn’t hinder you from creating a life that you want creating, if that looks like a family for you or if it doesn’t. But I particularly want queer people to know that there are options for us to build our families and make them look how we want them to look.

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