It’s November 2017, and I am about to do one of the strangest things of my life: I’m going on a baby-daddy speed date.
I signed up as soon as I heard about this event from Meerdangewenst (a Dutch organisation connecting queer people interested in co-parenting). But somehow that all seemed a lot more idyllic from behind a computer screen than actually meeting these men. In person.
Jo is in Liverpool, so I’m on my own. I’m wearing her Nana’s ring she gave me so that she’ll be here in some way tonight, and I catch myself playing with it nervously as I walk into the building.
The location – somewhat anticlimactically – is similar to a school cafeteria. It smells like it, too, like watery soup and damp. There are cheap tables and chairs, and an assortment of people already seated and waiting. Some are in couples. Most came alone, like I did.
The nerves are clear in the room. So are mine. Looking around, I realise that I might not look like any of these people’s idea of an acceptable mother. Is my hair too much? Are my clothes too bright? Should I have worn makeup?
And then it starts.
Most posts here will be made by my amazing partner, Nele, but every now and again I’ll pop up to share my perspective on things. I’m Jo and I’m the other half of Meemamas.
I’m really a quite laid back, go-with-the-flow type of person. So while I was daydreaming about our future and making a family in terms of ‘wouldn’t it be nice if that happens someday’, I hadn’t thought any further. And then we were in Portugal and Spain, celebrating my 32nd birthday in the height of summer with days full of blue skies and sunshine, and it happened…
It’s June 2017.
Jo and I are travelling from Faro to Seville. We’ve just reached our one year anniversary of being a couple, preceded by four-and-a-half years of being in various degrees of love with each other. Through some miracle we have managed years of long distance friendship and travel, and then, finally, a relationship.
It’s been a year, but it doesn’t feel like it. Brexit happened only weeks after we got together and it shook us both. We haven’t figured out yet which country to live in, let alone everything else. I moved to Liverpool, then moved back. I feel the aching sense that I want to be with her, but it’s hard, so hard. We are stuck, turning circles around each other and our relationship.
We talk about everything and nothing, wandering through bright blue Faro, then the sand-coloured squares of Seville. It’s in a restaurant there, tucked away in some small street, that I say it.
“After I have my degree, I plan on having a baby.”