Life

Mommy's Grounded

‘Co-mommas’ make legal history and prove that love is what a child needs most

By Bianca Bujan

Natasha Bakht and Lynda Collins are co-parents to Elaan, 7. (Screengrab)

Natasha Bakht and Lynda Collins are co-parents to Elaan, 7. (Screengrab)

Co-parenting with your BFF. A concept that has crossed the minds of many struggling parents - especially those who are parenting without a partner.

Thanks to Natasha Bakht and Lynda Collins, this fantasy has now become a reality in Canada, making it legal for two people to co-parent while being in a non-conjugal relationship.

Seven-year-old Elaan was born to Bakht by way of sperm donor and Collins was by her friend’s side every step of the way. Acting as Bakht’s birth coach, Collins was the first to hold the baby, and in that moment, she knew that she would be a part of the boy’s life forever.

Elaan’s birth came with many complications, and after a series of tests it was determined that he had spastic quadriplegia, a form of cerebral palsy that causes severe neurological damage and has robbed him of any independent use of his limbs.

His needs were high, and his biological mother wasn’t sure if she could go it alone.

Best friends, neighbours, and colleagues, Bakht and Collins cared for Elaan as a team, eventually sharing meals on a regular basis, splitting grocery-shopping duties and working together to look after his health, and meet his physical and emotional needs.

Collins had always wanted to become a mother herself and had considered adoption, but soon realized that adopting a stranger just didn’t make sense when she already had Elaan in her life. She had already become an integral part of his family.

The friends - both lawyers, agreed to make their parenting partnership official, and after a two-year-long battle, their unique union was formalized on paper.

Naysayers believe that this latest legality further contributes to the ‘destruction of the traditional family’, detracting from the biological creation of a family by a woman and a man. But parenting has very little to do with the conception of a baby and the romantic relationship between partners, and everything to do with how that child is raised.

These women have decided to share the responsibility of parenting wholeheartedly, and have agreed to make room for more family members should they find romantic partners along the way - with the caveat that their family comes as a package.

In a recent interview with BBC, Collins says, “The family law cases are full of parents who don’t want to take responsibility for their children, so when you have somebody that does want to take responsibility, the legal and societal infrastructure should support that.”

As an adoptee myself, I agree. Becoming a parent isn’t always a choice, but for those who have made the conscious decision to love and support a child through adoption, the process can be next to impossible - especially in non-traditional cases like this one.

This pair epitomizes love and inclusion, and prove that a romantic relationship between partners does not a perfect parent make. I applaud their decision to break down the barriers of traditional families, and am sure that while they are the first set of friends to legally co-parent, they won’t be the last.

Bianca Bujan is a mom of three, freelance writer, and content marketing Queen Bee. She tweets at @bitsofbee and blogs at www.bitsofbee.com. Comments: bitsofbee@yahoo.ca.