Lesbian mums talk Father's Day plans and normalising LGBTQ+ parenting
Millie tells me that she has always been "fiercely maternal". The 33-year-old runs an Instagram account with her wife, Jessi, where they speak candidly about their experience as foster mums, and their pregnancy journey.
The couple were long-term foster parents to one child, who came to them when she was 14-years-old, and left when she was 16. After she left their home, they embarked on their fertility journey. Today, Millie is in her second trimester with their first child, who was conceived via a known sperm donor.
For two mothers-to-be, their experience of Father's Day isn't what society has come to expect — but they are working out some sweet ways to make it very much their own. As Millie tells VT, one of the most special things about her relationship is that she and her partner didn't quite fit into either gender role.
"[Our foster daughter] actually used to call Jessi 'Dam' and me 'Mud'," Millie reveals. "Because Jessi was like a dad with a tiny bit of mum, and I was a mum with a tiny bit of dad. She saw me as a motherly figure, but then again, I was quite tomboyish, so we'd go surfing and mountain biking — and those would be what you'd describe as my 'dad' traits. It's funny what kids can pick up."
Previously, the couple celebrated Father's Day with their foster daughter's biological dad. But Millie's partner Jessi was also given a quintessential Father's Day present: a power drill. "[Our foster daughter] had lived in a lot of different homes, and all of them had had a male and a female, so it was interesting for her to come and see our family unit," Millie explains.
For Father's Day going forward, Millie and Jessi are of the mentality that it takes a village to raise a child, and are keen to get involved as proud LGBTQ parents. "We've actually had a few discussions about it," she admits. "We've considered letting Jessi have Father's Day and I have Mother's Day, so that we both have our own special weekend.
"I've also got some other lesbian friends with kids, and one of them takes the Saturday, and the other the Sunday. Then, I've got cousins and friends who are single mums, and they'll use that day to celebrate the other important men in their life – or their grandparents.
"The thing that people are often so negative about with same-sex parents is they think that kids need a male role model, but I don't think they realise that children grow up with so many role models. Our kid is going to have grandparents, uncles, and all of these other important male figures in their life. So, perhaps on Father's Day, we'll use it to celebrate all of the important men in our lives."
But understandably, the couple are incredibly excited for their first Mother's Day with their baby — who is due in November.
"I wonder who will surprise who – like who gets to make the breakfast in bed," Millie laughs. "But we've always managed to find our own rhythm. That's why it's so wonderful being in a same-sex relationship, because there aren't these traditional gender stereotypes that you have to live up to."
This is something that they're conscious to impart onto their unborn child, and society writ large. Millie tells me that one of her pet peeves when it comes to parenting is how often we gender children's relationships from such a young age.
"We have to normalise LGBTQ relationships as much as possible, because we see a toddler and say 'oh, he's going to be such a heartbreaker, or 'he's making eyes at the waitress' – I'm guilty of this too. But people will see a little boy or girl holding hands and be like 'they'll get married one day". Whereas, if it were two little girls, people would never say that. It's crazy that we're making assumptions about a toddler's sexuality."
In the same vein, Millie stresses that it's never too early to speak to children about same-sex relationships. "There's a negative connotation that it's a sexual thing – but it's not," she states. "It's about relationships. When you're playing with kids and you have dolls out, you could casually be like, oh, this is mummy and mummy, and this is their baby.
"These things can be very casually dropped into conversation — you can just naturally show children that families like ours do exist."