Kat Je Hempel
Jen always knew she wanted to be a mom, but I was on the fence. I had decided that if my partner wanted kids, I'd be cool with that. When we began trying to get pregnant with IUI [intrauterine insemination], there was no question that Jen would carry the baby -- I never had a desire to be pregnant.
Some women use sperm from friends or family, but we didn't feel right asking someone we knew to create a child with us, and then having them sign away all their rights to that child. Plus, we wanted our child to have two moms, without a third person in the father role.
When we started searching for a donor, we tried to find someone who resembled me so our child would look like a blend of the two of us. The moment we saw the donor, we knew he was the one for us. He met our physical and ethnic criteria (blue eyes, light hair, Irish), and we loved the thoughtfulness he put into answering the questions in his profile.
I'd heard that it can take a long time to get pregnant, but we were lucky: It took us only two tries.
It hasn't all been easy, though. As a lesbian couple, we've had unique challenges. For one thing, Jen had to surrender her maternal rights to Patrick and we had to adopt him. Otherwise, I could lose my right to see him if anything happened to Jen.
I've been surprised by how naturally motherhood has come to me. I love that I'm now part of a family, and there's no one I'd rather do this with than Jen. I want our life to be full of adventure and shared memories as simple as decorating the Christmas tree and as big as a visit to the Grand Canyon. I think it's those things that create a child's foundation. Everything we do feels exciting. It's so much fun!
In the photo: Bernadette Coveney Smith, 35, with Jennifer, 36, and Patrick, 16 months, in New York City