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Old 05-14-2014, 03:42 PM
Araneidae Araneidae is offline
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Default On poly and having kids

I've searched extensively online for people with experience in this department, but most articles/blogs I've tracked down are about raising kids in a poly family, less about the decisions involved in having kids in a poly family.

A little background about my situation-- Last year, I went from being single to dating an amazing man, D, who was in an open relationship with his wife, S. She had a long-term outside partner, and he had begun dating for the first time ever. Soon enough our structure became a solid poly-fidelity situation. S's partner was also married and has a long history of poly relationships. So I came in as the outsider... I wasn't originally interested in poly, I was just interested in having a relationship with this one person. Since then, they have welcomed me as part of their family, and though S and I don't have an amazing relationship, we get along fine. They also have a 3-year old daughter, and I have a great relationship with her. She's not at the point of understanding what poly is yet, but she knows there are extra people around who care lots about her and we have fun times.

I'm not sure if anyone is in a similar situation, so I'd like some feedback or to hear some experiences. I'm a young woman who is interested in having children and a family some day, and I also love my partner deeply. I'm in a very rigorous career track however (starting medical school in the next year), so having children is 4-5 years down the road minimum for me, and would require a lot of support. D and I have discussed the possibility of children, and both he and his wife are open to it. They are also interested in having at least one more child themselves. We've talked about how "strange" this potentially could be, at least by typical society standards. People find polyamory odd enough, but the potential of raising half-siblings in one poly family? On the pros side, we've also discussed that it makes things potentially easier to have so many people available for childcare, and the extra income that could be combined.

I'll also point out that S's other partner is not interested in having children at all with anyone, so this hasn't been a factor.

Has anyone experienced anything like this? What are the emotional consequences of being in a poly relationship when two or more individuals are considering having children? I'm a little worried that I would have difficulty handling the process of S becoming pregnant and them having another baby together, but I've tempered these feelings with the reassurance that it's also an option for me with this family (some day).
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  #2  
Old 05-14-2014, 04:25 PM
Ariakas Ariakas is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Araneidae View Post
I've searched extensively online for people with experience in this department, but most articles/blogs I've tracked down are about raising kids in a poly family, less about the decisions involved in having kids in a poly family.
I imagine this falls into the usual success category. I think there are a lot of people who have done this type of thing, they just tend to be so busy with life, they don't hop online to respond.

Quote:
A little background about my situation-- Last year, I went from being single to dating an amazing man, D, who was in an open relationship with his wife, S. She had a long-term outside partner, and he had begun dating for the first time ever. Soon enough our structure became a solid poly-fidelity situation. S's partner was also married and has a long history of poly relationships. So I came in as the outsider... I wasn't originally interested in poly, I was just interested in having a relationship with this one person. Since then, they have welcomed me as part of their family, and though S and I don't have an amazing relationship, we get along fine. They also have a 3-year old daughter, and I have a great relationship with her. She's not at the point of understanding what poly is yet, but she knows there are extra people around who care lots about her and we have fun times.
Thats great. Letting things evolve naturally is key. In the end you are in a series of relationships, including with the child. I am involved in something similar. I got involved with a couple (I was part of a couple as well) when their oldest was 2, and they just had a newborn.

Its been an amazing experience. I am simply Uncle to them, but the relationship is very different. Its also quite nice having 4 different adults managing children since we all bring something unique to the situation. There is a lot of diversity in larger groups.

Last year we all decided there were more kids in our future. My wife wanted her own (I didn't understand as a male. I kept saying, but those are my kids.. she really wanted something from her)

9 months later we have 2 kids, 2 months apart. We are essentially raising them as twins.. although we are careful to say cousin for the purposes of public consumption.

Quote:
I'm not sure if anyone is in a similar situation, so I'd like some feedback or to hear some experiences. I'm a young woman who is interested in having children and a family some day, and I also love my partner deeply. I'm in a very rigorous career track however (starting medical school in the next year), so having children is 4-5 years down the road minimum for me, and would require a lot of support. D and I have discussed the possibility of children, and both he and his wife are open to it. They are also interested in having at least one more child themselves. We've talked about how "strange" this potentially could be, at least by typical society standards. People find polyamory odd enough, but the potential of raising half-siblings in one poly family? On the pros side, we've also discussed that it makes things potentially easier to have so many people available for childcare, and the extra income that could be combined.

I'll also point out that S's other partner is not interested in having children at all with anyone, so this hasn't been a factor.
4 or 5 years is a long time and a lot of changes, for everyone. It is great you are planning and that you are on the same page. That is key.

I will tell a simple story about how time changes people. At 22 I was going to get a vasectomy. I was confident I didn't want to raise kids in this corrupt and failing world with all of its poverty and sickness.

At 39 I have my first child.

Planning is good, understanding your options is key. But understand things change, situations change. There are a lot of opportunities out there, and child rearing is one of those massively large decisions that will always transcend relationships.

Quote:
Has anyone experienced anything like this? What are the emotional consequences of being in a poly relationship when two or more individuals are considering having children?
Lots of ups and downs. The typical competition can occur too. Who will be first, will I get the time I need to raise my kid, if they are having kids too. Will me or my child be "part" of the family. There are a tonne of potential thoughts that can be mitigated by discussion.. but in the end are proven in actions.

Quote:
I'm a little worried that I would have difficulty handling the process of S becoming pregnant and them having another baby together, but I've tempered these feelings with the reassurance that it's also an option for me with this family (some day).
hmmm.. you are in the relationship too. My wife sometimes falls back into coupling mode. That new child is your child too. Not just theirs.

Good luck and feel free to ask any questions. We have a 4 month and 2 month old in a quad. Lots of variables to discuss haha
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Old 05-14-2014, 04:33 PM
PolyinPractice PolyinPractice is offline
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I've had extensive talks with my partner on this one, so feel free to PM me!
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Old 05-15-2014, 06:33 AM
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LovingRadiance LovingRadiance is offline
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I have a daughter from before marriage, and my husband has a son from before we married.
We have a son together.
My bf and I have a daughter.

**however, the daughter is the youngest and being raised in a houseful of kids (there were 7 at one point due to extra kids we took custody of) who all refer to me as mom and my husband as dad; she picked up on that and does it as well.
This works well for all of us. She (and everyone else) is WELL aware of her biology. But she refers to her bio-father by a nickname of her choosing and refers to my husband as daddy.

Also-due to the legal requirements that the child of a married woman automatically has her husband listed as the father, my husband is listed on her birth certificate as her father.
But as I said-we are open about her biology with everyone, doctors included.
We are also open about our dynamic. So it's really somewhat moot.
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Old 05-15-2014, 12:51 PM
sparklepop sparklepop is offline
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Hi Araneidae,

I think this is an interesting topic.

Firstly, it's great that you are all actually open to the possibility of more children. Secondly, it's great that you have a few years to think and talk about it!

Quote:
We've talked about how "strange" this potentially could be, at least by typical society standards. People find polyamory odd enough, but the potential of raising half-siblings in one poly family?
Honestly, it's good to consider it. However, I truly don't subscribe to societal norms and, for the most part, I genuinely could not give a damn what other people think. Something is only a norm until enough people create a new norm: for example, women's right to vote, and homosexuality (getting there). I've certainly had to face disapproval about raising children in a poly environment (and of course, being poly in the first place), and I say this with no venom, but pure, genuine indifference - it doesn't matter what anybody else thinks.

I actually don't find poly parenting to be a whole lot different to step-parenting. Some divorced parents are still extremely close and take holidays with their children and new partners, etc. I really see poly as an extension of that, and all that matters is whether the adults and children in the family (or extended family) are happy.

In terms of your situation, co-parenting could take many forms. Since you mention joint finances, I'm assuming you'd all want to live together under one roof? In terms of the siblings and half-siblings, I honestly feel that this is no different to people who have multiple children from different mothers or fathers living under one roof.

Quote:
On the pros side, we've also discussed that it makes things potentially easier to have so many people available for childcare, and the extra income that could be combined.
This is definitely a benefit!

Quote:
What are the emotional consequences of being in a poly relationship when two or more individuals are considering having children? I'm a little worried that I would have difficulty handling the process of S becoming pregnant and them having another baby together, but I've tempered these feelings with the reassurance that it's also an option for me with this family (some day).
I think this is an entirely natural concern and the best way to deal with it would be to identify the specific root cause of the issue. For instance, if you struggle with envy, the difficulty could be in not being a physical part of the pregnancy. If you struggle with needing to be someone's main priority (or one of), the difficulty could be in priority being given to the new baby, or to the pregnant mother. If you struggle with security, the difficulty could be in feeling that D and S are more solid, while you and D's commitment is lessened. These could be useful things to think about and tackle over the coming years.

Quote:
Since then, they have welcomed me as part of their family, and though S and I don't have an amazing relationship, we get along fine.
This would be one of the main considerations of what kind of family/parenting unit you want to create. It's important to consider whether your parenting styles match up and whether you want to share parenting with S or only with D. I do feel that all living under one roof but parenting separately could be tricky and could create segregation between the children. If you wanted a separate parenting relationship with D, it might be better to not live under the same roof, and to plan how D is going to split his time.

Quote:
Has anyone experienced anything like this?
Yes! This is my experience:

I met my GF 3 years ago - she was already married and they had a 2 year old daughter together. Nowadays, we all live under one roof and I am a third and equal parent to their (now 'our') daughter. We have talked about having more children.

We talked at length, and still talk, about the issue of raising children in a poly family. So far, our daughter is happy as a clam. At 5 years old, she doesn't understand everything yet, but seems to accept it all quite happily. Our policy is to answer any questions she asks with honesty. We haven't used the term 'polyamorous' with her, just simply explained things from a relationship and love angle.

In terms of navigating good old society, we exercise discretion when picking her up from school together and don't hold hands. We aren't 'out' (I hate that word) to her teachers, or to many of her friends' parents. This is not because *we* care what other people think, but because we genuinely believe our daughter has the right to choose what she wants to tell her friends. Our daughter is also completely able to call me what she likes, and we don't enforce the concept of two mommies. She goes through phases of calling me Mommy, and as she gets older, she will still be able to choose what she wants to call me!

So, in your situation, my overall advice would be to think about what kind of parenting setup you all want and see where you stand 4 years from now. It's also worth talking about where you all currently stand in each other's lives and if D and S had another baby, where you would stand in that situation.
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Last edited by sparklepop; 05-15-2014 at 12:58 PM.
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  #6  
Old 05-29-2014, 01:23 PM
Araneidae Araneidae is offline
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Default Things have jumped ahead...

Thank you all so much for your feedback. I like hearing about successful stories of poly families merging.

I'm back on here because I'm really struggling with something right now. I had mentioned before that the idea of more kids for D & S was a possibility, but I honestly has thought this was a while down the road. Or maybe I just convinced myself/hoped that it was. D told me a couple of days ago that they had decided to move forward a month ago, and S is already pregnant.

There are a few reasons that I couldn't be excited about this news. To be completely honest, I was crushed and terrified. We have had some problems in the past with communication in our arrangement, and me feeling sort of like an outsider, even though I know that I am equally important to D as the rest of his family is to him. I still feel, well, secondary. And in this situation it seems like they made this giant decision that will absolutely have an impact on my life, and D's and my relationship, without me.

Sparklepop, I've tried to break this down into exactly what is bothering me like you said. Really, it's a combination of all of those things. Maybe primarily insecurity in my position, in that I feel like they are a complete family and
I just take what I can get or have to ask permission. I'm also (selfishly, I know) concerned about time and attention commitments if the person I love is married with a toddler and an infant. It's not like I demand a lot, but I don't want to feel like I'm taking away from all that. And yes, envy, there is that too. Feeling like this is the closest thing you can do with another person is produce a child, and even though I've been told I could do this with him some day, it wouldn't be for years and doesn't feel real to me. This whole thing just makes it feel like no matter what, S is bound to him, and now pregnant with his child. I wish I could be excited and happy for them but it really just makes me nauseous and I can hardly articulate why.

We are all trying to talk about the situation, and I don't think it's something irreparable. I just have the feeling this is going to be really, really hard. Any advice welcome.
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Old 05-29-2014, 03:02 PM
LadyLigeia LadyLigeia is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Araneidae View Post
We've talked about how "strange" this potentially could be, at least by typical society standards. People find polyamory odd enough, but the potential of raising half-siblings in one poly family? On the pros side, we've also discussed that it makes things potentially easier to have so many people available for childcare, and the extra income that could be combined.

I'll also point out that S's other partner is not interested in having children at all with anyone, so this hasn't been a factor.

Has anyone experienced anything like this? What are the emotional consequences of being in a poly relationship when two or more individuals are considering having children? I'm a little worried that I would have difficulty handling the process of S becoming pregnant and them having another baby together, but I've tempered these feelings with the reassurance that it's also an option for me with this family (some day).
This isn't something that I know firsthand, but something I've repeatedly heard over and over.

I'm trying to find the actual internet source where I heard this, but I heard a rather outspoken poly-activist got her children taken away solely on the basis of her being polyamorous. Obviously, I think this is completely ludicrous because children are often exposed to MUCH worse dating and sexual habits. One of the things that she urged is to remain under the radar about the matter if you have children. I wouldn't say that you'd have to remain entirely closeted, but a lot of people think that non-monogamy itself isn't healthy for children to be exposed to, let alone a solid poly structure.

It really gets to me how children with solid, loving families are often taken away while the children who are actually suffering from abuse aren't always rescued from the situation, often for arbitrary reasons. When I was in high school, the social workers and legal authorities were well aware of the fact that my friend's mother had recurrently beat her and even once stabbed her, but they did nothing. Fast-forward into our early twenties, my friend is in a custody battle with another person we knew from high school. Unfortunately, she became pregnant with her lovely daughter because he raped her, something he's admitted on many occasions (while others have witnessed it ) but still doesn't get it. When he started talking about how my friend asked for it because she slept naked and they were dating (so it's obviously that justifies forcing himself onto her, both asleep and awake), my friend's lawyer told him that if he could have him locked away in prison for a very substantial amount of time if he'd said that on tape. Despite more solid evidence, my friend doesn't want to put her ex-lover in prison for her child's well-being, although she'd be living states away from him. Nonetheless, she's had to be very careful about revealing even the slightest bit of affiliation with any alternative communities (notably, kink and polyamory) because his family is very eager to use it against her. I've heard stories like this more times than I can begin to recount.

With that said, I wish you the absolute best of luck for you, your poly-partners, and your future children. I'll keep looking for the internet source to back my claim up and when I do, I'll post it here.

Last edited by LadyLigeia; 05-29-2014 at 03:10 PM. Reason: **Had to add another important detail to my friend's account
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