Ah, modern love.
These days relationships come in all forms, colors and orientations, and along with that comes uniquely modern relationship problems.
For one interracial same-sex couple, the decision to have a child was complicated by the decision of what race the sperm donor should be and it led to serious tension.
u/Dreamer199x wanted some advice on this, so she turned to the Relationship Advice subReddit for guidance.
“‘Our’ Baby Won’t Really Be Our Baby”
The trouble began when our original poster, or OP, and her wife began discussing children:
“I’m currently in an interracial, same sex marriage and all is well. Until me and my wife begin discussing children. I won’t be the one to carry our children but instead she will be. I am right behind her 100%. I’m also very involved in choosing a donor.”
“The issue we’re having is, she doesn’t want ‘our’ baby to have any traits or genes that resembles mine. I’m black, brown eyes, black hair. She is biracial with curly brown hair, green eyes and lighter skin.”
Her wife’s reasoning behind this seemed somewhat selfish:
“I suggested that maybe we should choose a donor that has any sort of features that resembles mine, since ‘our’ baby would have her genes regardless. A brown skin donor would be cool in my opinion. So that way, at least ‘our’ baby would have the same complexion as a baby that we both actually conceived together.”
“But she told me that she feels like a black donor would drown out her biracial features and she doesn’t want to do that. So I asked what would the difference be if I were a black male and she had a child with me? Would she feel that my black features ‘drown out’ her biracial ones?”
And then our OP really began to feel left out:
“Then I began to think that she hasn’t considered me at all during this process. If it were me I’d do my best to make her feel involved; especially while deciding on a donor.”
“I made a comment today about her not wanting darker skinned children and she responded with ‘well have some.’ It really made me feel like I wasn’t a part of this journey. It really hurt me.”
And now OP wonders where to go from here:
“I know how badly I want children but this made me reconsider having any with her. It’s supposed to be a beautiful experience that a couple shares together. But in our case this wouldn’t be ‘our’ experience. It’s hers. And it just so happens that I’m here to see it. I’m not sure if I’m simply overreacting or if my feelings are justified…”
Redditors had a variety of ideas and opinions for how OP could approach her wife and this situation:
“Your feelings are 1,000% justified! Your opinion and suggestions should be heard, she won’t be a single parent when the time comes so you should both be able to make the choice. Please talk to her, don’t let this put a grudge between the two and this baby. You might feel resentment towards the baby if it’s something you didn’t chose from the start.”~xpoisonferns
“Why doesn’t she want the child to look like you too? Doesn’t she want a ‘little you’ running around? Doesn’t she want to be reminded of you when she looks at the baby? I would point this out to her.”
“Maybe she is getting caught up in the excitement of baby planning and failing to realize shes being selfish, hurting the other parent of the baby, and also racist. Seriously, bloodline planning? She is interracial… she would not be here if one of her parents acted this way to fruition.”
“If I were you I would explain that you feel just the same as her – wanting to see some of your own traits in your child – and that she should want to also see some of your traits in the child. Her traits will be there regardless. This made me really sad. What a way to take the light out of something so meaningful.”~ev1490
“The sounds really painful. I’m married to another woman too, and relate to the sadness of feeling like your kids won’t look like you. My wife and I had a donor picked out whose characteristics were like mine.”
“At the last minute when that donor wasn’t available, she went and picked a donor who looked like her. I was really upset. I wanted a baby that was a part ‘me’ too. And I’ll admit I was angry, and hurt, and I cried more than once.”
“The thing is, now that they’re here, they couldn’t be more ‘mine’ if I’d birthed them myself. My kids look nothing like me- they’re giant blonde Vikings. But the little one quirks her eyebrow just like me. The big one has my walk and my ridiculous sense of humour. And I couldn’t love them more.”~EastLeastCoast
“Genetics are a weird thing. She could choose a very dark donor and a ‘hidden European’ ancestor combined with her non-black ancestry could result in a pale white child.”
“Alternatively she could go for a light-skinned mixed race donor, and her black genes could express along with his, and the child could be darker than either of you.”
“It also might not look like her at all, even if it has 50% of her DNA. My kid is a clone of her father. I almost needed a maternity test when she was born!”
“It’s a dice roll. BOTH of you need to stress less about skin colour and focus on having a happy, healthy child.”
“I do remember a Mothercraft nurse telling me that the most successful lesbian families she had worked with was where one partner donated the ova, and the other carried the pregnancy. Obviously that requires IVF and is much more expensive, but it might be worth considering.”~istara
While it is definitely a dice roll, still others are sympathetic to OP’s plight and feeling like she’s not being heard, as well as calling out OP’s wife for serious colorism:
“This really sounds like she has some internalized racism. I’d recommend couples therapy before proceeding in this endeavor to have a child. Y’all need to be on the same page and frankly, if it is internalized racism, she needs to deal without before hand so she doesn’t unintentionally pass that on to your child.”~outlsbn
“Your wife has issues with dark skinned (Black) babies regardless of her biracial identity. She wants to have ‘whiter’ traits. Besides her not wanting to include you in this process realize that she has issues with colorism and as a Black female you should be disgusted by her behaviour and attitude to people who look like you.”~willfully_hopeful
“I believe your feelings are justified. I’m getting the impression that your partner is being quite selfish in this whole process, and it really should be a collaborative effort.”
“I don’t see the issue with your baby having traits that resemble you, as having a donor that shares similar traits to you will ensure the child does not question themselves or you two as the child gets older (example: ‘Why do I only look like one of my parents?’). I think she needs to consider where you’re coming from, or maybe you should reconsider this journey with her…”~leviernst
“Honestly it kinda sounds like she puts a lot of her value in her skin tone, like… there’s an internalized racism thing going on that she’s insecure about, and she wants her kids to have the social benefits of being light skinned.”~bgbtyma
Some are even urging OP to reconsider having children with her wife altogether:
“I know I’m a little bit late to the party, but she sounds colorist and this is something you need to think about.”
“I don’t know if you heard of the prince family, but they had a little scandal where the lighter skinned mom with green eyes gave birth to her daughter that came out with big beautiful brown eyes and one of the first things that the mom said was ‘aww I was hoping that she had pretty eyes’ or something along the lines of this.”
“Usually colorist people want their children to have the ‘exotic’ (I hate using that word, but whatever) traits so they have an advantage in society. They grew up with people complimenting them on their ‘good hair’ and their ‘beautiful eyes’ and probably noticed that their darker-skinned friends/family members didn’t get the same treatment.”
“Honestly just trust your gut on this, but I wanted to give you something to think about.”~jainoodles
“It sounds like she’s a bit possessive of the process and just may not be 100% considering your feelings. I’m not going to comment on racism etc, bc you’d know that if it was really the issue. However, considering how much you both want children, is the prospect of you carrying a child out of the question?”
“I only ask as a friend’s mother and her wife both decided to have kids, they fell pregnant to the same donor, and had the girls very close in time. They decided on doing it this way so that their kids would be blood related. I know that may not be the way you are comfortable with, but it is how they chose to have their family.”
“Whatever you decide, best of luck, I hope it all goes ok. Xoxo”~Jennyjenny78
“Your feelings are very much legitimate. I would be as hurt or even more as you I think. Worrying that her ‘biracial features’ drown because of a black donor is incredibly selfish in my opinion. You should discuss if she fully measures the extent of what she’s saying and how inconsiderate it is. I hope you’ll work it out!”~broomhilda19_
“This may be a deal-breaker. If the child or children aren’t yours when you’re together, in the best of times, they certainly won’t be yours if and when things go soar. A lot of regrets hinge on our lack of foresight and prudence.”
“You both need professional assistance because this isn’t an issue that will just resolve itself without someone qualified weighing in. If there’s no mutual give and take going in, it will only get harder once you’ve fully committed to a decision that hurts you.”
“The degree of preference the courts put on paternal mothers should be enough to sober-up even the most love drunk among us. Really consider the downside and outcome of all this when the love is set aside and facts are left. Love your partner and child enough to think everything through meticulously.”~LoneWolfCactus
Our OP had an update for us:
“Update: She told me that she now wants to use a black donor. But for some reason, that doesn’t make me feel any better. I know she’d only be doing it because I was visibly upset and not because she genuinely wants to.”
Oddly enough, she feels less in a confident position.
Relationships are hard and are a lot of work. A conversation always needs to happen at every step of the way.
Hopefully OP and her wife can have the needed conversations to move past this roadblock.