I go between my home with my co-parent (W) and our children, and the home I share (more and more) with M. M has never met W and the children, and hasn't particularly wanted to, but knows it will probably eventually happen. They all know a lot about each other - they are all my family, so I talk about them freely to each other. And we all talk about relationships and the shapes of our lives.
My kids know it isn't normal, but they say they think it's good. People should live the way that feels good and works for them, even if that's not the way third parties are comfortable with. I'm so glad they see the world that way.
So that's the flip side of Dagferi's situation - I leave the kids (who aren't little babies) in their home with their other parent, instead of moving them back and forth as she does. It's working well.
After years of consideration and communication (and this includes communication between me and W), M and I have decided to have a baby, if nature cooperates.
We all understand that I (as birth mother, food source, and primary caregiver) will be logistically attached to the child for the first five years or so. The child will live part of the time with me in the W-and-kids family unit, so that I can still have plenty of time with my older children and W, and so that the entire sibling group can be together regularly. It's also understood that M will want as much time as possible with the baby, so my time with W and kids will be reduced, though still significant. We will probably shift from slightly more than half of my family time with W and kids to slightly less than half of my family time with W and kids. (It works out better than you'd think, since everyone has other obligations on their time, so time "away" from each other isn't always time we could have spent together, anyway.)
M will likely meet W's and my kids during the pregnancy. No rush, but it will probably happen. And we are considering logistics for allowing one older child at a time to stay in M's home with me, as the weight of my time shifts from one household to the other. That would increase my time with each of my older kids (as they desire), and broaden their individual relationships with the baby and with M. All that said, I don't expect M and W to ever spend a significant amount of time together. They will probably meet when M meets the kids, and then see each other incidentally and communicate rarely. I see no reason to impose a rule about how close they should be, and I'm not going to turn my back on a life with either of them because it looks funny to some outsider that they remain acquainted primarily through me.
I'd say the most important things are that everyone commits to prioritizing the mother-baby dyad, and to actively supporting each of the relationships between the child and the other adults significant in its life. Talking through the hard logistics *and* the mushy feelings ahead of time is important.
Does everyone feel their needs are understood?
Who feels strongly about certain labels?
Does anyone need together time on certain special days?
Will what we intend to tell outsiders about our relationships change?
How will it feel to be walking around as a "pregnant couple" when one of us isn't intended to be an official parent to the child?
Where will the baby-then-child sleep?
Which items (for mother and for baby) will need to be duplicated in both homes, which will travel between, which are even necessary?
Honestly, you never know how having a baby is going to play out. That's true in a (purposefully or accidentally) single life, in a monogamous relationship, and in every form of non-monogamy. Willingness to seek solutions in a dynamic reality matters a lot more than perfect plans. Plans are nice . . . and usually temporary.
I don't think you're selfish to give your child a different shape of family. No more selfish than choosing anything else about your life, including whether or not to have children at all. For each choice there are many who believe it is the selfish option.
I'm sorry for the long reply, but I have put *so* much thought and communication into my similar situation, I thought it worth elaborating on.
Enjoy the journey, and I hope to hear how things go.
SlowPoly • vee hinge • living between two homes
Mitch ('M') • life partner • expectant co-parent • former LDR
Woof ('W') • life partner • co-parent • former spouse
Last edited by SlowPoly; 06-06-2014 at 05:41 PM.