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Sydney couple Jessi and Millie fostered children before they decided to become mums.
Like so many other Sydney couples, Millie and Jessi met at a pub, in Manly.
Fast forward six years, unlike other couples, they now live off-grid on the Central Coast and are mums to a miracle IVF/donor baby, Tide.
And nothing but the determination to fulfill their dreams got them here.
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Jessi, with partner Millie, always wanted to be a mum. Source: supplied
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“We knew we wanted to live a sustainable life, so we moved in lockdown,” Millie tells Kidspot.
“We now live in an amazing off-grid eco-village, with solar power and rainwater.”
Referring to themselves as ‘wild wives’ on their Instagram with near 60,000 followers, the couple’s environment and where they settled as a family was important to them.
Moving while she was pregnant, Millie says their dreams became complete when much-longed-for baby Tide Koha Opus Poutama was born on 15 November.
“I was an almond milk drinker, but while I was pregnant, I craved a litre of cow’s milk every day,” Millie recalls with a laugh.
“Milk and olives, I craved. You just surrender to what your body needs.”
Becoming a mum was always important to Millie.
“We were foster parents for a while, and I always wanted to be pregnant at some stage,” Millie explains.
“Jessi would do it for us, but luckily, I very much wanted to carry a child, so that was a simple decision.”
Millie and Jessi after Tide was born. Source: supplied
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It would take two years of trying, a miscarriage and some at-home insemination to lead the couple to an IVF clinic.
“We used my egg and a known donor from Jessi’s family,” Millie says.
“We felt it may be important to the child to be able to access their history and biology at some stage.”
But Millie insists a connection or link of some sort isn’t “the be-all and end-all”.
“Having been involved with foster kids, I know you can love a child not related to you,” she shares.
“Jessi is just as much Tide’s mum as I am, with or without having a connection with the donor.”
Millie says her and Jessi’s situation does attract comments and questions, but they don’t mind.
“If people are genuinely interested, these discussions are important,” Millie says.
“We always honour those questions. We’re also used to fielding negative comments like, ‘a child can’t have two mothers’.”
Welcoming these conversations is one of the reasons why the couple has been so open about their IVF journey, which is documented in detail on their social media.
“I don’t think of myself as brave, I just want to normalise what we’re doing,” Millie explains.
“In my teenage years, there was no representation – not on TV, didn’t see lesbian mothers – except for on Friends, and still, Carol had a heterosexual marriage first.”
The happiest of families. Source: supplied
Millie believes that the IVF process can be “longer, more expensive and more difficult for same-sex couples to become parents.”
“This is why the first and only clinic we attended was Rainbow Fertility, a placed designed specifically for families like ours.”
Millie believes it was one of their best decisions.
“They confirmed pronouns, made us feel totally safe. It was such a great experience, we were actually shocked to go into the healthcare system during the pregnancy, where Jessi was often confused for a friend or my sister – not also a mum-to-be.”
But Millie also caveats that with knowing she’s been privileged.
“We know it’s hard and that not everyone can afford fertility treatment. Having said that, Rainbow Fertility has many options.”
Millie fell pregnant on the first cycle; her first implanted embryo became Tide.
The couple is very thoughtful in their parenting.
“Biologically, his sex is male, so we refer to him as he/him or they/them,” Millie explains.
“We want to leave room for that conversation about gender identity in the future.”
Millie says Tide will be raised with an awareness that should they choose their gender identity later, they will be supported.
“That will come with the types of people we know; the types of storybooks we will read to them. We want them to understand race and gender and self-determination.
“I’m English, Jessi is Australian, and the donor is Maori. We are multi-racial and it will be Tide’s decision to identify as he wants.”
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