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From lifelong friends to “co-parents”

My name is Julie. I never expected to be single and childless at 40. I always expected that I’d meet the man of my dreams and kids would come soon afterwards. Unfortunately life hasn’t ended up that way. Don’t get me wrong – I love my life and all the opportunities that I’ve had. But now that I’m settled in my career, and most of my friends and siblings are having babies, I feel like it’s the right time for me too.

I never wanted to be a single parent by choice. After dad died when I was 8, my mom ended up raising us on her own. I saw how much she struggled to make ends meet and to spread her attention between my 3 siblings and me. I couldn’t imagine actually choosing to become a parent on my own. So without a partner in my life, my hopes of becoming a mom weren’t looking very good. Enter my friend Tom… we have known each other for about 30 years and have been really good friends since our early 20s. Tom grew up on the street over from ours and hung out with my brothers when they were younger, so I knew who he was. We ended up going to the same college out of state, and struck up a friendship that has grown stronger over the years. We are living proof that men and women really can be friends without being attracted to each other.  Our relationship has always been completely platonic. We’re best friends, without benefits. To be honest, Tom kind of feels more like one of my brothers. Since college, we’ve been able to talk about just about anything. He was a shoulder for me through countless boyfriends, one engagement and several break ups and heart-breaks. And I was there for him when he struggled with the ending of a long-term relationship with the woman of his dreams who cheated on him with one of his best friends.

Although we both always talked about wanting to have kids, somehow life didn’t work out that way for either of us. We were lamenting our fates over drinks a few months ago, when Tom told me about an article he recently read about people like us who want to have kids but haven’t found the right partner. The people in the article said they believe kids need two parents, so they’re choosing to have kids together even though they aren’t in a committed or romantic relationship with each other. He wondered if I’d be interested in this kind of “co-parenting” arrangement with him. He said that he couldn’t imagine a better mother than me, and hoped that I’d feel the same about him. I have to admit that it took me by surprise! But the more that I thought about it, the more it seemed like a good option. Tom is someone that I’ve known almost my entire life. We know each other’s families, we grew up together, we have similar ideas about parenting, and we seem to have the same values when it comes to family. I talked to my family and friends. Most thought it was a great idea. But some offered words of caution. One of my friends suggested that we see a lawyer to draw up a clear contract detailing our parental and financial responsibilities, our child’s custody and living arrangements, and all those important details. I hate the thought of reducing the creation of a child’s life to legal details, but I guess in the long run, this is similar to the custody arrangements that need to be made whenever two parents live in different homes and share responsibility for a child. My mom also suggested that we see a counsellor to talk about some of the “what-ifs” – like what if one of us eventually finds and settles down with a new partner, or gets a job transfer to a different city? So we’re taking their advice and seeing a counsellor. We’re also drawing up a legal agreement. Once we have those details out of the way, we can focus on the excitement of getting pregnant and parenting! I’m not sure what’s going to happen in the future, but I’m thrilled that I have the possibility of co-parenting with a friend I love and trust – a guy I just know will be a fantastic dad.

Share your thoughts on Julie’s story in the comments section below, or submit your own fertility story here

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One Response to “From lifelong friends to “co-parents””

  1. Jodie says:

    Hi Julie,

    I’m a journalist who makes documentaries for radio.
    I’d really love to chat with you about your story.
    Would you please contact me at jodie.martinson@gmail.com?
    No obligation…I’d just love to talk briefly. I posted my website link below.

    Thank you,
    Jodie
    http://www.jodiemartinson.com

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