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Yet, if you really think about it, some comparisons are obvious. Like women having children after 40, Drill is no stranger to the whip-end of social bigotry.
He legally married his same-sex partner—commercial litigation lawyer, Stewart Wallace—in Canada in 2008, and became a Stay-At-Home-Dad through surrogacy last year.
Drill says gay dads and older moms often get the same raw deal from critics.
“Some people believe that women over 40 who are having children with the help of medical technology are going against Mother Nature and thumbing their noses at God,” says Drill, whose son, Max, is now 8 months old.
The same label, he attests, is slapped on to gay dads when the “Mother Nature” argument comes into play.
“Gay men who create their families via surrogacy, and necessarily use fertility treatments, are also obviously ‘going against nature.’”
“Yet”, argues Drill, “people take advantage of all sorts of medical technology in their lives outside of fertility, and never think they are interfering with God’s plan.”
He believes that those who take medication to cure a disease, yet treat fertility as a separate issue, are pitching a double standard.
The 37-year-old—who pens the blog, Gaddy Daddy: Confessions of a Stay-At-Home Gay Daddy (http://www NULL.gaddydaddy NULL.blogspot NULL.com/)—adds that the buck of social prejudice doesn’t stop there.
A regular commentator on topics related to surrogacy, gay parenting and parenting as a stay at home father, Drill believes that women who delay motherhood until their 40’s are again unfairly judged.
“Many people frown on the idea of “career women”—women over 40 who waited to have children because they decided to establish themselves first in their chosen profession.”
“But no one blinks an eye at older men having children,” he continues, citing public acceptance of Elton John becoming a father at 62 as a prime example of the double standard.
“It’s plain sexist to apply a different standard to women,” he continues.
Drill highlights a tendency in gay fathers to be older—one that can be linked back to underlying fears about social prejudice.
“Gay men start out later as dads because, often, they don’t ‘come out’ until adulthood—therefore, they have their ‘adolescence’ late and aren’t ready to settle down until middle age.”
What’ s more, says Drill—like older career women juggling the roles of work and motherhood—many gay parents, who also run two-career families, are subjected to the scowling face of stigma.
And, if Drill is supportive of older mothers, it’s because the sensitive gestalt of his perspective is grounded firmly in personal experience.
“My mother had me when she was 41 and my dad 46,” he recalls, talking of an era when motherhood after 40 was the exception.
“They are both still very with-it parents and involved in my life.”
Perhaps it was his parents’ little frisson of individuality that gave him the confidence to be the SAHGD (Stay-At-Home-Gay-Dad) and husband—committed to sharing his journey as a gay parent with the world—he is today.
Drill, who was a Big Brother during 4 years of college, says: “My husband and I have always loved kids and our 14 nieces and nephews—becoming parents was more of a ‘when’ than an ‘if,’” he says.
After nearly 10 years of togetherness, “we knew we were committed for life”, Drill says.
The couple “thoroughly researched the different ways to have a kid, including adoption and surrogacy.”
According to Drill, the available research on same-sex parents suggests that gay parents tend to be more attentive and nurturing (than straight parents), and that having two parents was more important than their gender.
They also joined a surrogacy group for gay, want-to-be dads in New York City which featured talks from many gay parents from whom they could learn, and gain support.
In the end, they chose a more personal approach—a traditional surrogacy arrangement in which the gestational carrier is also the child’s biological mother.
They met Christy, their surrogate mother from Atlanta, GA, through an online independent surrogacy resource.
“We all hit it off tremendously and agreed to match,” says Drill, who is his son’s genetic father.
“We wanted a surrogate who was interested in staying in our lives after the child was born,” he continues.
With Max now 8 months old, Drill and Wallace have discovered an upbeat way for handling the inquiries of bemused onlookers.
“There are times—especially when one of us is alone with Max—when strangers will innocently ask where ‘mommy’ is,” he says.
“We simply tell them that we are a two-daddy household and that Max’s surrogate mommy lives with her own family down in Atlanta—our confidence is usually infectious!”
But, the real erosion of procreational prejudice—whether against gay, same-sex parents or mothers over 40—is being driven by advances in ART and celebrity role modeling—which, in turn, empowers parenthood for both demographic groups.
“Whenever gay celebrities whom straight people look up to—like Elton John, Rosie O’Donnell, or Ricky Martin—have children, it makes it harder for them to react with social bigotry against the rest of us who are doing it,” says Drill.
Well, that and the vast information highway—through social media like Twitter and Facebook—that has launched us instantaneously into the tender realities each other’s private lives.
“It can bring strangers together, providing the encouragement’, says Jacob Drill, “for those who need a little push (in the words of Thoreau), to ‘live the life they imagined.’”
Notes for this blog:
Angel La Liberte is the founder of the website Flower Power Mom—The Truth About Motherhood After 40 (www.flowerpowermom.com), a regular blog featuring news, commentary, real mom stories and expert advice about motherhood after 40.
Jacob Drill’s blog: www.gaddydaddy.blogspot.com (http://www NULL.gaddydaddy NULL.blogspot NULL.com/)
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