“When it came time to give birth, Charlie and I each had a leg: I had the left and he had the right,” remembers Adam.“Later, when they wheeled her and the baby into the recovery room, I just completely went to tears. I am already so in love with this little child and so bonded to her, it’s unbelievable,” he says.And Charlie usually stays home with the baby on Fridays to give Jenny a night off.
Liane, Ryan, Sean and Sue all live together in a big, cozy house, filled with books and musical instruments.
It’s 9 p.m., and the babies—Fionn, and Sue’s daughter, Parker—have finally gone down for the night.
Photo: Carmen Cheung It was supposed to be a simple induction. Later, Fionn would receive his birth certificate, printed with each of his parents’ names—all four of them.
Toronto’s Sue Wilson Munro was a week past her due date with her first child when she headed into the hospital with her husband, Sean Munro, at her side. Liane, Ryan, Sean and Sue are among the growing number of Canadian parents who identify as polyamorous or “poly”—that is, openly and responsibly non-monogamous and receptive to multiple relationships at a time.
Adam doesn’t work—he retired early—so he’s been able to chauffeur Jenny around to postpartum appointments, and Jenny heads to Adam’s condo, just up the street, one or two nights a week, alone or with the baby.
If Charlie needs a night off to get some sleep, he’ll sometimes bunk at Adam’s.
“[They] can benefit from having multiple loving parents who can offer not only more quality time, but a greater range of interests and energy levels to match the child’s own unique and growing personality,” says a 2013 study, Children of Polyamorous Families: A First Empirical Look. For example, the report points out that whereas a single adult or even two adults with little or no time to themselves can burn out, multiple adults can meet children’s endless needs without becoming frustrated or insensitive.
Families with this non-traditional set-up do encounter their own unique challenges and difficulties.
Children in Polyamorous Families: Stigma, Myths, and Realities, four to five percent of Canadians identify as poly—and half of them are parents.
While this family style may seem odd or even scandalous to some, the available research suggests that being raised by multiple parents or parents with multiple partners can, in fact, enrich the lives of these children.
If you look at other societies or at ancient cultures, a village would raise the kids,” says Sheila Migneron.