Allie and Sam got married in 2019. They live in Nova Scotia with their twin boys, two cats, and three dogs. They also make a pretty incredible parenting team. Allie and Sam were even able to share some of the physical responsibilities of having a baby. Allie carried the twins and Sam was able to breastfeed them. They spoke with us about finding balance in their life, motherhood, and their journey with reciprocal IVF and induced lactation. Their story expands and alters the traditional perceptions and expectations surrounding motherhood, and we’re so excited to share it with you. It’s time you got to know Allie and Sam.
Your story is so unique and special. Allie carried the pregnancy and then Sam breastfed through induced lactation. Could you tell us a little bit about that experience, and what it was like to share these responsibilities that typically fall to one person?
When we started our fertility journey, the plan was for Sam's eggs to be used and for Sam to carry our kids. However, after a few losses, we decided Sam's body needed a break and I thought I would try carrying. So, we put in two embryos and were in complete shock when they both stuck!
I never wanted to breastfeed, but Sam wanted that experience. So, when she heard about induced lactation, she thought she would give it a shot. It worked out, and she's been breastfeeding our boys since they were born. It’s really nice to be able to share the responsibility because I had a really hard pregnancy and after that I needed to recover and have my body as my own again.
Photo Credit: Makenna Reid
Has motherhood changed your relationship with each other in any way?
With twins it was really challenging to adjust from zero kids to two. It was hard to navigate, but now we’re definitely in a rhythm. We've adapted and now it feels like we have a lot more time to spend with each other! We're still "us" and I'm very glad.
You answer a lot of questions from curious people on your social media. Are there questions you love answering? Or ones that you get a bit tired of? Have you received any funny questions or comments?
We do love to answer questions and we do get some repeat ones like, “Are you sisters?” - I don't see it, but we get that a lot. I love answering questions about coming out and the fertility process because I think those are topics that can be hard to talk about. We're really open about sharing our journeys, and I hope that helps others feel less alone.
"We're really open about sharing our journeys, and I hope that helps others feel less alone."
What aspects of parenting do you see each other being good at as your twins get older?
Something really unique about becoming parents together is that we actually nannied together. We were au pairs in separate homes, and then au pairs in the same house. So, we've had childcare experience together. We knew each other’s strengths and weaknesses going in. For instance, Sam is eternally patient, which is such an amazing quality. Whereas I think I’m strong at multitasking, which comes in handy for things like cooking and cleaning.
Photo Credit: Makenna Reid
Was there anyone that you looked to for non-traditional motherhood advice? How did you go about finding information on reciprocal IVF, sperm donation, and induced lactation?
We followed a lot of different accounts where people were going through IVF, or reciprocal IVF, and learned a lot that way. But we also did a lot of research and talked to many different fertility clinics.
You’re very open and transparent on social media. How do you draw boundaries for what you will and will not share?
As much as we share online, there's so much more that we don't share. For example, we don't share our boys’ faces or names anywhere to respect their privacy. We have hard boundaries within our own relationship of what we will not share. We always laugh that people say: “Oh my god she's sharing so much.” But in reality you're probably only seeing like 5% of our lives. There's so much more that goes on behind the scenes, and it's so nice to have some things that are just for us.
What excites each of you most about your future as mothers?
We're excited for everything—travelling with the boys, watching them become friends with the animals, just doing everyday things, holidays, and just watching them be kids. I really hope they will share my love of music. But mainly, I just can't wait to see who they become.
"I just can't wait to see who they become."
In addition to your twin babies, you also have 5 pets. What’s it like being moms to seven little beings all at once? What helps you manage your own, and everyone else’s, needs?
It's actually so much fun! We often joke that—since we already had five pets—what’s two more? Obviously, fur babies and human babies are very different, but it's been a pretty seamless transition overall. I definitely often feel like there are not enough hours in the day to attend to everyone, but we always make a point to give all the animals snuggles and get them out for walks. We’re always trying to take the boys out for things, too. We try our best to make sure everybody's needs are met and that we still have time for each other at the end of the day.
"We try our best to make sure everybody's needs are met and that we still have time for each other at the end of the day."
It’s rare for two people in a relationship to be able to share some of the physical and biological processes of becoming a mother. How has this experience brought you closer?
It's such a unique thing for us to share the load when it comes to pregnancy and feeding our kids. It's been really cool to both feel like we contributed, especially as a same sex couple. Usually, one person in the couple does all the pregnancy-related stuff, so for us, it's cool that we’re both part of the process.