*You are not alone. Our blog series, Motherhood Untold, tells the stories of real moms navigating the real challenges and struggles of motherhood.
Motherhood Untold: PRIDE in Motherhood
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We had the pleasure of chatting with Cecilia and hearing her experience as a gay woman navigating the experience of becoming a mother.
If you feel comfortable, can you tell me about your coming out story?
Oh God, I didn't really get to come out. My mom took me into the garage and asked me if I was gay, and at that time I wasn't sure, but I did have a crush on a girl. So I said yes, but I was worried about how my family would take it.
How did you meet your wife and how long have you guys been together?
I met Ashley in high school, but we didn't really know each other. We had the same friends and I was actually friends with her sister before I was friends with her. Ashley actually use to make fun of her sister saying she had a crush (Ironic). But we officially reconnected at a friend's party. And we’ve been together for almost 13 years.
Have you always wanted to be a mom? When did you know it was time to embark on motherhood?
Yes, I have always wanted to be a mom. I practiced being a mommy to animals first. At the very beginning of my relationship, I told Ashley I wanted to have kids with her because of the person she is and we started looking into it but got discouraged because of the cost. Especially when insurance denied our fertility treatments. Our OBGYN submitted a request for us, but we were told that insurance would only cover the treatments if we “tried” so many times. Even a heterosexual couple, they have to try 12 times naturally before coverage, but if you are a same-sex couple or single parent, you have to pay for 12 cycles of Intrauterine insemination (IUI) before anything can be covered.
Tell us about your motherhood journey.
We only officially tried 2 times, but it was over a span of 2 years.
At first, we were trying to have a good friend be a doner. We talked about this for years with him because it was such a huge decision. He would have to sign over his parental rights in order for my wife to adopt the baby. And he agreed to these terms. However, a day before we were going to start the process he said via text that he was unable to do it because of the way his family felt. But overall, we do think it’s for the best to secure our parental rights. We were very upset at the time. We still love him and he’ll still be considered our baby’s uncle.
We tried once without a doctor's help. We used The Mosie Kit at home and were able to get the sperm delivered. At the time, this was the ideal route for us because the cost comes to cost. We paid about $900 for the first vial which comes with the tank that looks like it's from Monsters, nc.
The insemination (ICI) didn't take, we were both bummed and were trying to figure out if we should try again at home again or with a fertility doctor. We couldn't see how it was feasible to try with a doctor but we knew it was a better option than blindly trying.
We ultimately went the fertility doctor route, and she was amazing from the very beginning. Her name is Dr. Wendy Shelly, from the Fertility Specialist Medical Group. Because of COVID all of our appointments were on a video call. She was very realistic but incredibly optimistic. She didn’t leave any blind spots and made us feel safer. Personally, because I am overweight it caused concern for me but she didn't make me feel like I couldn't get pregnant because of my weight nor did she shame me.
We were very blessed. We did the ultrasounds to see if my follicles were ready to start the process and I was. We had to do a hormone injection called OVIDREL, luckily our insurance was able to cover that. The injection was the scariest part for me and my wife had it for me. Two days later, we went to the doctor for our insemination. Unfortunately, because of COVID, my wife was unable to come in with me. I had to confirm the donor number multiple times to ensure it is the correct sperm. Although it was a very “medical” process, it was still so special.
We had to wait the longest two weeks that I have ever experienced to go back to the doctor for blood work. We went back on Friday and then waited for an even longer 8 hours for the results. We went to the beach to pass the time. On the way home from the beach we got a call from the doctor saying that we were pregnant!
Because we’re going through a pandemic, I was unable to go in for everything. I really wanted to be more involved especially since the baby isn't biologically mine. Although I was there for every appointment, I couldn't be by her side in the actual doctor's office, which sucked but it’s understandable. I was feeling a little disconnected, and I felt like I should have been feeling more emotional even though I already was.
How have your family and your wife's family reacted to the news of you being pregnant?
My sister is pretty reserved as far as excitement but she talks about being an aunt. I held off on telling my mom because we were going through things and we still are. But I did tell her that she’s going to be a grandma. But I’m not sure how involved I want her to be in our baby’s life. As far as my wife’s family, my mother-in-law would ask every time we called her if I was, so she was very excited. My sister-in-law cried in a store when we told her, and I'm pretty sure she thinks this is her baby.
Are you worried about how other parents will treat you or your kids?
No, I don't think that’s a big worry for me. We’re just hoping that we’re able to prepare our child for the world being cruel. Our child will be Black and Mexican so there are a lot of things that we have to prepare our child for. We know we won't always be there and we want to make sure we have the necessary talks. I do think that living in San Diego is a little different from living anywhere else as far as inclusivity. We do think that our child would have to deal with more possible racism than discrimination for having two moms.
What's something you wish people knew when it comes to the journey of parenthood for the LGBTQIA+ community?
It’s not as easy to adopt as people think. I always wanted to adopt but it’s so hard. You pretty much have to be perfect and it’s very expensive. I don't know if there's anything specific to LGBTQIA+ that I feel people should know. But overall, I feel like we got better care going to a fertility clinic than we would have at a normal doctor. They test for so many markers and they really catered to us as women. If there are any women having a hard time conceiving, we definitely recommend a fertility clinic. But overall, every journey is different and we were very blessed.