Romper caught up with the Liz-Decuir family, who shared their co-breastfeeding journey with us last year. An update on their successful breastfeeding journey can be found here. Orion is 9 months old now, and Glenis Liz-Decuir talked with Romper about what being able to both nourish their child meant for their family. As told to Meg St-Esprit.
Our journey has been beautiful thus far, and so empowering. Both my wife and I continue to successfully breastfeed Orion and we plan to do so well beyond a year. He is happy and thriving, as we all are. Our older kids are so supportive of our journey and have kept me company during many pumping sessions. It makes me happy to live my truth, and really that is the most important thing. We all have a voice, and what we use it for depends on the individual. I never wanted to keep our story to myself. That is why I have been so eager and willing to share what we’ve learned. All of it — our marriage, Orion, our breastfeeding journey — can empower and affect so many people. Not just in the LGBTQ+ community, but also those who are using a surrogate, adopting, or even want to wet-nurse. I’ve been working with an aunt who is inducing lactation so that she can nurse her sister’s baby. Her sister had a mastectomy due to breast cancer. There are so many different ways our story can affect others and so many reasons that others would need this information. I am honored to be able to share it.
Our older children are in middle school and high school now. We know that kids talk, and they are having these conversations at home with their peers. We want to normalize these conversations in our house so that they aren’t left to navigate these waters alone. Thankfully, it is very normal today to be open about topics related to same-sex families, breastfeeding, and the LGBTQ+ community. Families like ours are more in the public eye — it has been so affirming to see families like ours on commercials and in media. So we take any opportunities that arise to have different conversations about how they feel, what things are happening in school, and making sure that we are equipping them to be advocates for same-sex parents with pride. They were older when we came together as a same-sex couple, so it’s an evolving conversation with them.
With Orion, though, he was conceived by two moms and so his education starts now. We love to buy him books featuring LGBTQ+ families and stories about breastfeeding. We like to just make these topics a part of his typical day. It is a beautiful thing to show him that the reality is not all families look the same.
It definitely fills me with happiness to know that I can openly be who I am. There are so many people within my community and family that support us, that it hasn’t really mattered to me what others say. There are always signs at Pride that say “Jesus hates Gays” and similar sentiments. I could care less about what those strangers think or feel about who I am as a person. The most important thing is what our parents, aunts and uncles, and our children think and feel. We’ve been so fortunate to be supported and loved through our journey. They’ve supported our relationship, our marriage, and our co-breastfeeding journey without wavering. While my wife came out as a teenager, I came out later in life. When I found Tiffany and knew I would spend my life with her, I was 30. My parents simply said, “OK, when can we meet her?”
He doesn’t know one of us carried him and the other didn’t. He can depend on both of his moms.
When I think about pride month 10 years down the road, I just hope that Orion is proud of the family he comes from. I hope he sees the love in how we nurtured him and fed him together as his mothers. I hope that things get better in terms of acceptance. If I look back ten years, we’ve made so many strides. I think the current administration won’t move us backwards — we will get a new president and things will continue to march on. It can only get better. Things will progress no matter what. When I was young, you were either lesbian or gay. There were only two ways to look at it. Now there are so many different ways people identify themselves, and a lot of things have become recognized since I was a kid. People look at Tiffany and I now, and being a lesbian couple is just normal and not that big of a deal anymore.
We have so many things to focus on in the next 10 years, so many areas we need to make strides. There are so many different genders and ways that people identify themselves and it is going to take a little time. Just like it took time for people to see a lesbian couple together. There are so many other issues in the world to focus on, I can’t really see why anyone cares who I am sleeping with. My dad always said when I was a kid, “You don’t have to agree with how people live or what they believe. You just have to respect those people and move on.”
Pride month looks differently this year for our family than it has in the past, since we welcomed baby Orion last summer. We live in Atlanta, which as a city is very supportive of the LGBTQ+ community. Before that, I lived in New York City, which is just as welcoming and open to families like ours. I have been fortunate to only really live in diverse and accepting cities. I have walked in our pride parade and celebrated with my city, and it feels like a safe and welcoming event. I promise that we will be out there next year with my family. This year, though, we will be staying home to avoid large crowds with our infant son. It’s not the same as previous years, but that doesn’t mean we won’t be celebrating and educating as a family.
More than anything, when I reflect back on the past year and our journey together as a couple we just want Orion to be proud of his family. People ask us if he loves one of us more than the other. No, he doesn’t. He doesn’t know one of us carried him and the other didn’t. He can depend on both of his moms. That is what truly matters, and what we are choosing to focus on.