‘We’ll give Quinn all the love he needs’

Amiee and Kerry Gillespie, and their son Quinn.
Amiee and Kerry Gillespie, and their son Quinn.

There are people who believe that same sex couples shouldn’t be raising a child.

None of those people will have sat in the sitting room of Derry couple Amiee and Kerry Gillespie and their beautiful son Quinn, all of whom are about as happy as happy gets.

Amiee give birth to Quinn five months ago – she’s currently on maternity leave from her job in Altnagelvin hospital, where she works in the kitchen.

Amiee – Kerry’s partner – claimed her paternity leave but is now back at work.

Quinn may only be five months old, but he’s been a thought in his new parents’ heads for much longer than that.

“We’d been planning Quinn for about three years,” says 27-year-old Amiee.

Planning a child in a same sex marriage is obviously different from the norm, but the one thing that the Derry couple were sure of is that they wanted their own baby.

“I think when Kerry and I first started going out, we knew that we both wanted children, but as most couples know, you don’t want to bring that kind of thing up too soon!” she laughs.

However, long into their relationship and having tied the knot in a civil ceremony in 2012, Amiee and Kerry decided that it was the right time to plan their baby.

“Obviously for us, it was different, so we did what most people do when you want to find out about something and we went to Google,” says Amiee.

“We researched as much as we could and looked at the different options, but we knew we wanted to have our own baby, and we discovered there was a private clinic in Belfast where, with the help of a donor, we could do that.

“From the moment when we first approached the clinic, they were fantastic, and they took care of everything.

“It was a very simple process and they handled it brilliantly – in fact, it was a lot more straightforward than we thought.”

Clearly besotted with their new son, Kerry and Amiee are frank about the fact that they both thought at one point in their lives that it might not be possible.

“We both knew as individuals, and as a couple, that we would love children, but growing up, when you think about it as someone who is gay, it’s not something that you take for granted will happen.”

Amiee agrees that growing up as a gay young person in Derry is something which has changed significantly over the course of the past ten years.

“Things have definitely changed, even since Kerry and myself have grown up, and it’s great to see young gay couples in town now holding hands and just being comfortable enough to be able to do that. “I suppose for a lot of people coming out is a big enough deal and when you’re 15 or 16 you’re not thinking about having children – but then as you get older and you want to get into a relationship think about it, you do wonder if it’ll be possible.

“But, I suppose it is,” she smiles, looking down at her baby son.

Both Kerry and Amiee know that there are many people who would argue that they shouldn’t be celebrating the arrival of their beautiful baby boy.

“As far as we’re concerned, every child deserves a loving home. And as Quinn’s parents, we can give him all the love he needs.

“In my mind, if you can provide a stable home and a loving environment for a child, it shouldn’t matter whether it’s a man and a woman, two women, two men or a single parent. It’s about loving that child for their whole life.

“There are so many children being brought up in single parent families, and in many cases, where the father isn’t around for one reason or another. That doesn’t mean that they aren’t loved.”

Amiee adds that having their son was a decision which she and her partner took very seriously indeed.

“We planned and researched for so long, and we had to invest a lot of money to go down the road of the private clinic and it was a decision we took very seriously.

“In a lot of cases, children are conceived in situations which aren’t planned to that level at all. So we were committed to doing this from the very beginning.”

Both Kerry and Amiee are quick to add that Quinn won’t be short of a male influence in his life either.

“He has loads of uncles,” smiles Kerry.

“He’s so spoiled already, and that’s something that we know will continue.”

The couple also have a great family support network, who had no idea they were planning a baby until Amiee announced that she was pregnant.

“They were over the moon for us,” says Kerry. “Both our families have been so supportive, and everyone just loves Quinn.”

Like most parents, Amiee and Kerry counted the fingers and toes when their son was born. Amiee admits that she has some concerns about questions Quinn might be asked at school, but says he’ll always have his two mammies and a big family behind him.

“I suppose I do think about the questions he’ll be asked, and we know sometimes that children can just come out and say things, but I think the world is changing so quickly that it matters less and less. “There are all kinds of families out there, and we’re just one of them.

“Anyone, regardless of the kind of relationship they’re in, who wants children should get out there and find out more. I’m so glad we did, and the process was a lot easier than we expected.”

And as for any more babies in the Gillespie household, the couple say they’re not ruling anything out.

“But for now, we just want to be able to enjoy Quinn,” smiles Kerry.