A new book by South African journalist Susan Newham-Blake charts the author’s own story of two women trying to have a child in the face of adversity.
In Making Finn Newham-Blake tells the story of deciding to have child with her partner Roxi, whose conservative family are unaware she is in a relationship with a woman as the book begins.
“The way I write it makes these issues and the way we created our family very normalising,” she told the Star Observer, explaining she didn’t write the book to present her story as something exceptional or dramatic.
Newham-Blake’s pregnancy coincided with the introduction of same-sex marriage in South Africa in 2006.
“If we were married before our baby was born Roxi would have automatic legal rights and responsibilities to this child,” Newham-Blake said.
“So ten days before Finn was born we quickly went and had a little ceremony in the magistrate’s court.”
While Newham-Blake is the biological mother of the couple’s eldest child, since Finn was born Roxi has carried their second son to term using sperm from the same anonymous donor, making the two boys biological brothers.
“Even though they know we’ve got this family they talk to me as though I’m the parent of Finn,” said Newham-Blake, describing some people’s reactions to each child looking like a different mother.
Despite their story receiving significant media attention in South Africa, Newham-Blake said the family had found overwhelming acceptance:
“Finn, our oldest son is now six and our youngest son is three and a half… The entire journey from beginning to end has been incredibly positive and affirming.”