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The fourth in our ‘Journeys into Motherhood’ series, in support of our Selfish Mother collaboration which raises money for Refugee Support Europe, this time we talk to Amber Wilde of parenting blog Meet The Wildes.
Amber and Kirsty Wilde live in London with their two sets of twins, Balthazar and Lysander, and Embla and Olympia. Their award-winning blog tells their modern love story about raising children as a same-sex couple.
Find out more below…
HELLO AMBER AND KIRSTY, THANK YOU FOR TALKING TO US ABOUT YOUR MOTHERHOOD JOURNIES. COULD YOU TELL US A LITTLE BIT HOW YOU TWO MET?
Hi! Thank you for having us today. Kirsty and I were childhood sweethearts; we met for the first time when we were eleven or so. Our friendship was all-consuming and we would spend hours on the phone to each other every evening, hanging up and calling back every fifty-five minutes because our parents both had telephone contracts that dictated that calls lasting up to an hour were free! When we weren’t chatting we would write to each other in our diaries, post letters, and meet up at the weekends (we lived on opposite sides of London so I would have to take an overland train and an Underground train in order to see her!). We didn’t decide to date so much as fall into bed together one evening when we were both fifteen. I was devastated, primarily because I knew that the statistics for teenage relationships lasting until marriage were astonishingly low and I was petrified to death that I would lose my best friend! And yet somehow, here we are. Thirteen years later and we’re still wildly in love, with four beautiful babies and a little dog!
WHEN DID YOU DECIDE YOU WANTED TO START A FAMILY TOGETHER?
Oh I always wanted a family with Kirsty, and had a lot of fun as a teenager experimenting with the various ways in which I might find myself pregnant – much to her horror! We actually broke up over it for a period of time when we were twenty-one and both spent two years dating other people, before admitting that we were still completely and utterly one hundred per cent still in love with each other, and that we were both ready to explore the idea of having a baby together.
AND HOW DID YOU CHOOSE THE IVF PATH?
As a same-sex couple we knew that it wouldn’t just be a case of ‘have sex and make a baby’ – at least, not with each other! IVF is probably the most physically intensive route to making a baby, and certainly the costliest, but there was something so reassuring about handing my fertility to the experts and saying, “There, you do it! You make the baby.” I think they did good!
WHAT WAS THAT LIKE FOR YOU BOTH THE FIRST TIME AROUND?
We have been so incredibly fortunate in that we’ve done two full rounds of IVF and conceived twins on both occasions.
HOW DID YOU FEEL WHEN YOU DISCOVERED YOU WERE HAVING TWIN BOYS?
I knew that I was having twin boys almost from the moment of conception – I just knew. Incidentally, I knew that I was having girls the second time round as well, and nicknamed them the ‘blastosisters’! It was quite odd as I have fractionally less intuition than the average garden spade aside from, apparently, when I’m gestating babies! So we had a private scan at eighteen weeks with the boys and when their sexes were announced, I just thought ‘of course’.
DID YOU EVER THINK YOU WOULD HAVE A SECOND SET OF TWINS? OR WAS IT A COMPLETE SURPRISE?
Actually, we planned for a second set of twins, and both times that we did IVF, due to my age, we had to sign a disclaimer to say that we accepted the possibility of a multiple pregnancy before they would use two embryos. I was absolutely thrilled to see two beautiful flickering heartbeats on the screen at my first ultrasound.
WAS IVF DIFFERENT THE SECOND TIME AROUND? WAS IT EASIER AS YOU KNEW WHAT TO EXPECT?
I think that I found the second time around to be more nerve-wracking, if such a thing is even possible. We were just so lucky to conceive on the first cycle with our sons, I had this strange superstition that we had used up all of our good fortune; that we would face inevitable disappointment. Luckily, the good thing about IVF is that with every cycle, the doctors understand your body that little bit better in order to refine the next cycle a bit more. My second round of IVF actually went better than the cycle that conceived the boys, and we were elated to have two blastocysts to use and a few more to freeze for later.
HOW DID YOU FEEL WHEN YOU DISCOVERED THE GIRLS WERE ON THE WAY
Elated! I had taken a test because it was a rainy Saturday and we were bored. It was far too early for a reliable negative and I had peed on the stick before reading the instructions, so I was frantically flipping through this little leaflet to see if I had ruined the test completely when the word ‘Pregnant’ popped up on the screen! I knew at that point it was twins; it was the most likely reason for my urine to already hold enough pregnancy hormone to yield a positive test. I couldn’t stop laughing all day, and every time I looked at the boys, who had turned one a few days previously, I burst into giggles once more.
WHAT’S IT LIKE TO HAVE TWO SETS OF TWINS SO CLOSE IN AGE?
It can be intense. When their needs conflict, they are too young to understand that sometimes they need to be patient. Sometimes they don’t know the force of their own strength and accidentally hurt their siblings. Sometimes we feel more like referees than mothers, or like whomever triages patients in Accident and Emergency. But it is also magical. We have our own tiny little tribe, who play so nicely together most of the time and genuinely care about each other. I adore watching their individual relationships develop; their sibling allegiances are fascinating to observe.
AND HOW DO YOU MAKE IT ALL WORK?
We don’t sleep much.
In all honesty, we make it work because we have to make it work, and because sharing motherhood with each other and being parents to these four in particular is a privilege. We never forget how tremendously lucky we are!
There may or may not be a lot of coffee and chocolate involved too.
AND FINALLY, WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO OTHER PARENTS WHO HAVE FOLLOWED A SIMILAR JOURNEY?
I think – just to appreciate it. To take the time to sit down and look at them and marvel at them for a bit, because it’s so easy to be swallowed up in the enormity of motherhood and to forget to just breathe them in and love them and feel grateful.
Also, a cleaner helps. Outsource as much of the drudgery as you can afford, and the truly important bits will become easier.
Kirsty & Amber are wearing sweaters from our charity collaboration with Selfish Mother to help raise awareness for Refugee Support and the amazing work they do. If you would like to get a sweater for yourself and help us raise funds for this brilliant cause, you can shop the collection here >
If you don't fancy a sweater but would still like to donate, please head straight to the charity's website here >