Bennett and family

Raising Gaybies: Out Of The Closet
Into Full-time Fatherhood

It all began where my mind and body once lived – in “the closet.” Really, my boyfriend at the time (now my legal husband) said to me, “Bennett, (basically) let’s have kids.” It was something we both wanted but the reality and mechanics were an enigma and bizarre. This journey would take us through a maze of life and death – from rolling the proverbial dice to falling into despair. We had failure, our faith was challenged and along the way – we fell in love with one another so deeply – it created an intoxicating aurora in our minds, bodies and souls.

Maybe it’s different for us since we can’t just kick up our heels and say, “Hey honey – let’s try for a baby tonight.” Our experience required 3 lawyers, an egg donor, a surrogate,  doing the “do” into a  cup several times and handing it over to someone who looked like a lunch lady from my school cafeteria, FDA blood tests, nucleic acid tests for all sorts of diseases and syndromes, about a dozen airline tickets, a legal fight with the state of Connecticut, multiple court hearings, and, oh yeah, a slim chance of success. After a lot of blood, sweat, tears and money – we did it. Gregory and Liliana were both born into this world ; they are four-years-old.

More: Ask Rene: Is My Son Gay?

So I thought the hard battle was fought; I forgot, or rather didn’t pay attention to what happens when you have to “raise” your kids. I was an only child raised primarily by my mother so I had not a clue. After working for a while, I quit my job and became a full-time father to our kids. It seemed like the right thing to do. We worked so hard on creating a family, if we cannot enjoy it, then what is the purpose, right? A nanny worked for a few years – but for us – we wanted and needed to be our “kids’ parents.”

And that is now my full time job.

More: Raisin’ In Minnesota: Just One In The Village

One day around Christmas 2012, I snapped. I don’t know why or what or who hit me with a runaway freight train or how I ended up on the track, but as quickly as I got up every morning with a smile on my face, is as fast as I plunged into a despondent state of sadness. I cried and cried – uncontrollably and was inconsolable. My husband comforted me but it became apparent that I couldn’t be a parent to my kids in this state of mind. So I reached out to my former psychologist – to get a grip – quickly. Two days later I was in a psychiatrist’s office and a physiologist’s office talking it out.

Why do I feel like I am sinking?

Was my life being taken away?

I was a successful television investigative reporter – a successful bankruptcy lawyer – where did my courage and confidence go – and how do I get it back?

It took seven months to get to a place – a peaceful place – where I am back in control of me and healthy to raise our kids.

I have tons of stories that as a same-sex parent, may be different from a “traditional” family… especially with 1 girl and 3 guys in the house. From temperament to behavior – and discipline – I hope you glean something from the blog entries that either inspire you or make you feel like, “Hey , that happened to me too. I am not alone. “

What about you? Have you ever felt this way? Did you stop working to stay at home? How did you feel? And what tips do you have for me as a stay-at-home parent? I’m listening!

More from GEM:

Ask Rene: Will Our Friendship End Over FEET?

Ask The Good Enough Guys: What Lessons Are You Teaching Your Children?

Smack In The Middle: That’s ME! Alexis Trass Walker

Bennett and family

Bennett Cunningham is a Bankruptcy Attorney licensed in Texas and is a former Investigative Reporter for the CBS Television Station in Dallas. Mr. Cunningham has garnered 7 Regional Emmy Awards, including the Best Investigative Reporter in Texas 2 years in a row, as well as several National Awards for his exposés into the mismanagement of taxpayer dollars and government waste. Mr. Cunningham is also admitted to practice in the US Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Texas and the US Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Texas.  He is a member of the State Bar of Texas, The National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorney’s and the American Bar Association – and most importantly, a stay-at-home dad.