Sara Coster: From longing for children to becoming a rainbow-family coach
I had always thought “by the time I’m 34, I’ll surely be the mother of two children”. However, taking stock the day after my 35th birthday, I saw a lot of empty wine bottles, some stale crisps and the odd hung-over guest, but no children, no partner either…
I decided that it was time for some serious thinking. Before long I knew that my desire for children was strong enough to explore plan B: a child but no partner. I did not want to go it alone, I wished for the child to have an involved father, and this gave me the idea to see whether I could find a homosexual couple willing to enter into a co-parenting arrangement with me. I wanted an agreement on a 50/50 basis – in other words, I wanted to share time, care and decisions equally.
The search was not easy, but in the end, I found Simon and Luca via an ad in the classifieds on the website of Meer dan Gewenst (More than Wished for), the Dutch foundation for LGTB parenting. We spent an intensive six months getting to know each other, and then we said yes to one another. We were going to try having children together! It took two and a half years and three (bad) miscarriages before I finally held our son Lorenzo in my arms. He was premature, tiny and weighed too little, but here he was! However, my entire body and soul were telling me: “You are mine, and I won’t share you with anyone.” Co-parenting suddenly seemed my worst idea ever.
Thankfully the cloud of postnatal hormones gradually lifted, and we slowly worked our way towards sharing equally. Ten months later, when we had completely settled into a 50/50 schedule, and when I was about able to think clearly again, I asked the fathers whether they were willing to try to give Lorenzo a brother or sister together with me. They loved the idea, and this time Luca wanted to be the biological father. We got cracking straight away, for there might just be some more miscarriages lurking ahead. However, we succeeded at the first attempt, and everything went without a hitch from the word go. This time it was much easier for me to share the baby, partly because the days during which I was looking after two small children on my own were quite tough.
When the children were one and two years old, I moved to a house diagonally across the street from the fathers. The children spend one half of the week with their fathers and the other one with me. Sometimes all of us go on holiday together, other times separately. We usually get together on Christmas and New Year’s Eve, and we always celebrate birthdays together. The children are 11 and 13 years old by now, and they reckon that it is totally normal to live in two houses – one house seems extremely boring to them. To the other kids at school it is completely unremarkable that Lorenzo and Claudio have two dads and one mum.
I decided to write a book about my experiences, so other people could benefit from it. I hoped it would inspire others and further acceptance. I felt that if only one involuntarily childless homosexual couple were to see their dream come true because of the book, all the work would have been worth it. Once my book de wens en de vaders (The Desire and the Dads) had been published, my mailbox overflowed with messages from people who would like to talk to me about their desire for children. “I thought I would remain involuntarily childless, but when I read your book, it opened up a whole new world to me. I was laughing and crying all at once!” Every evening, my couch was full of people, and I received one bottle of wine after the other. I do not drink, and I ran out of cupboard space.
I had been working in ICT for 25 years and decided to change course: I became a Rainbow family coach. Now I organise workshops, give lectures and support single, lesbian, homosexual and bisexual people longing to have children. These people are facing major decisions: “Am I going to try to fulfil my deepest wish, and if so, in what manner and with whom?” I do not offer people advice, but try to help them along on their own path by asking exploratory questions, always keeping the interest of the children in mind.
I am also a member of the board of Meer dan Gewenst now. On their behalf, I organise, among other things, info meetings and speed dating sessions where homosexual and lesbian couples and (heterosexual and LGTB) singles longing for children can meet each other, obviously not to speedily make children, but to exchange email addresses and start the process of getting to know each other, if they so wish.
I am deeply satisfied with our co-parenting family. We are one family, living in two houses. I still feel blessed every single day to have succeeded. We have two healthy boys, and all is well. Even when I find a kneaded eraser and three pebbles in the washing machine and a pen in the tumble dryer (yes…), I count myself lucky for getting to experience this part of motherhood too.
– Rainbow family coach
– Author of de wens en de vaders
– Co-parenting with a homosexual couple
– Member of the board of Meer dan Gewenst
– Partner in Expertisecentrum Single en Kinderwens (Centre of Excellence Single and Longing for Children)
– Durf registrated (Dutch RainbowFamily Professionals)