For Grammy-winning singer-songwriter Brandi Carlile, raising two daughters, Evangeline, 6, and Elijah, 3, is anxiety-producing, especially now that her kids are getting older. Some of her concerns are the usual mom-worries, while others stem from the privileged life she and their other mom, Catherine Shepherd, are able to give them.
“I hesitate to say things like, ‘We all worry all the time — that’s what moms do,'” Carlile tells People magazine in this week’s issue, on newsstands Friday. “Because some moms are like, ‘Oh, am I s—ty because I don’t worry?’ But no, I worry all the time that I’m doing it wrong or that I’m depriving them of something or that they’re getting too much or that they won’t have the life skills that I have because they’re not poor or because they’ve only ever lived in one house or because they don’t understand that things are hard in the world. We don’t know how to tell them that yet.”
Married in 2012, Carlile and Shepherd knew they wanted to have kids right away, conceiving Evangeline through IVF by harvesting Carlile’s eggs for Shepherd to carry because Carlile would be working and touring. At first, Carlile “struggled” with the fact that she wasn’t the one to carry their first child, writing in her memoir Broken Horses that she was “really confused about what my role even was” but eventually “made peace with not being pregnant.”
“I made peace with knowing that there was some pioneering involved in what we were doing, to the point where there wasn’t even a two mother template on a birth certificate yet,” Carlile told People of how LGBTQ+ parents have had to blaze their own path. “There is now, but psychologically, all these things are really hard. And the high dive into parenting is a complicated leap to take anyway.”
When Elijah was conceived by artificial insemination in 2017, Carlile felt much more confident in her role as a parent despite not being the one to carry again. (Both girls share “baby daddy David,” as Carlile calls her childhood friend who donated his sperm.)
“I’m hoping people see through my story that there’s no right or wrong way to evolve into a parenting role in either heterosexual or same-sex relationships,” Carlile told the magazine, adding that the more people discuss and normalize it, “the easier it is to understand that your parenting journey is custom. It really is your own.”
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