Meet some of the families that inspired our colorful new cover design
We’re honoring every family and their beautiful beginning with Kindred, a special edition DockATot design. A blend of color and love of every kind, we’re painting the world and celebrating your unique story one DockATot at a time. Here are some of the stories from our amazing families.
Meet Natasha Walker
Natasha is a single mom by choice to Zaria (8), Lennox (5), and Holden (8mo)
What was your pull to create a family?
I was 28 and had just finished business school. I wanted to be a CEO with no kids and white furniture! I had two surgeries and the doctor told me if I wanted kids, I needed to do it now. After trying for four years, I got pregnant with my daughter and she was high risk. After that, I was told not to have any other kids. At that point I went on the path for adoption and that’s how I got my second baby. This last baby was a surprise—at 40 I got pregnant again!
Let’s talk about the plan and how it felt to create the family you have today
It is incredibly frustrating when you’re trying to go after something that should be easy, but isn’t. When the media portrays it as very easy, it can feel very isolating. It’s also unimaginably gratifying in ways. It’s a cliché about your kids reflecting you, but they do push you to grow and to be better people.
Let’s talk about being “the parent”
Single parenthood has its pluses and minuses. I don’t have to consult with anyone and there is a lot of autonomy that you have as a single parent. I believe our relationship is really solid because we spend a lot of time together. The downside is I’m concerned they don’t have a countering perspective and I want them to see other ways to do things, so I try to use my community. Some of the best advice I received early on is that you need a support group. As much as you think you’ve got it, there are days you need help. I surround myself with people who help and show my kids a different way.
What would your advice be to a single parent?
I think most people don’t decide to be a single parent, they usually arrive at that. I don’t feel like my children are at a loss. I do have a great job and it helps that I can provide. I do make sure they have good male role models. I think where you arrive at is not a deficit or something you did wrong—it can be a strong place and you can overcome it.
How do you teach your kids that you are the parent and that things are normal?
Your kids are going to accept you for good and bad because you are the single source of truth in their life. If you act like it’s normal, they will go with it.
How would you define family?
I think family is who you feel invested in and who invests in you. That can look a lot of different ways. We go visit the birth mom once a year and she is a part of our family—it’s a shared investment in our future and my son loves her and has concerns for her. We’re in this together and it’s an important piece to keep in mind.
How would you define love?
I would define love as wanting something for someone even better than you want it for yourself.
What are some new joys of parenthood?
There is a lot of peace that I’ve found. A lot of things in the world are really concerning. Coming back to family, I realize it will be ok. It gives me hope and I think my children will be good people and it brings me peace. My kids are funny little people, they surprise me, and they stop and smell the roses.
What legacy would you hope to leave your children?
I would like my kids to empathize with other people and I think that will help them make an impact. I think if they touch other people, they will be better global citizens.
How do you teach empathy to your children?
I think exposure is a big piece. You don’t have to fly to South Africa to get exposed. You can get things through the internet and push them beyond themselves. We are all selfish beings with needs and I think there is a benefit to not always getting what you want.
What are your favorite moments with Holden?
He is a funny one—very stubborn. He is very sweet and very smart. He engages with strangers and he has a magnetism that pulls people. He attracts a lot of attention. He’s a deep thinker and I can’t wait to hear what he has to say.
Can we talk about nursing and the connection?
I’m not one of the mothers who thinks nursing is the greatest thing. It is hard! I’m struggling with the lack of body autonomy. He pulls on my shirt and can smell me in the room. I make no illusions that it’s tough, hard work that you have to make a choice to do.
Can you describe how you felt when you first held him and the love you felt?When Holden was first born, I was the only one in the delivery room by choice. I did it unmedicated, which was radical. Holding him for the first time was a surreal experience. The birthing process was almost anticlimactic and then all of a sudden the dust settles and you have a baby.
What would your advice be to other families like you?
I think you have to let go of what other people think. I have people who question me about my kids not having a dad. Families look all types of ways and your path there will look unique to you.
Meet the Beck family @theotheremilybeck
Emily and Emily Beck are moms to baby Olive.
Can you describe your pull to create a family?
Growing up I knew I wanted to be a mom and I knew it would be a different journey than most because I’m gay. I hadn’t seen a family of that type. When we got married, we talked about how we were going to get there, and we knew it would be different than the norm. I wasn’t nervous, but I realized I hadn’t been around children before and I wanted to be a role model. I think I’m still nervous about that.
How do you move past the stigma and the pressure?
Unfortunately, homophobia is alive and well. When we go to the grocery store, we get stared at. When Olive is around, it’s my responsibility to not allow that behavior and to use it to educate. When I was pregnant people would ask who the father was. I would let them know she has two moms. It is still a struggle and people say nasty things. You want to lash out and yell and scream, but we want to show Olive how you should react.
How did you plan for having Olive?
This was a huge decision and we had many conversations about. We had to financially plan for it. We had to talk to our families about it. We spent a lot of time preparing for her. We spent so much time wondering how it would be and it’s even better than we imagined. On Olive’s birth certificate I’m listed as the mother and Emily is listed as the father/co-parent. We have to go through the legal process of Emily adopting Olive.
How has your new beginning looked for you?
I didn’t think it would be possible to be openly gay and have a little one. When I look at Olive, I think how are you even real? Going shopping for diapers and baby food, I cry because I’m so happy I have someone to buy those things for. We feel so lucky to be her moms! She’s the best thing in the world. I have to remind myself we are the ones who will help shape her future.
Describe your favorite daily moments
I like waking up and hearing her babble. I love watching Emily feed—it is such a great bonding moment.
Can you touch on breastfeeding?
Breastfeeding was difficult from the beginning. It didn’t come naturally for me, but it was worth sticking it out. It is hard having to wake up and she doesn’t take a bottle. The bond is indescribable. It does take a village, but I’m the only one who can do that. It’s a magical thing!
What new joys does parenthood bring to your life?
Parenthood gives us a purpose. Before we cared less about our health. I need to go the speed limit now and be cautious. I’m now thinking about it in terms of a mother. I can’t imagine if that happened to my child. It changes your perspective.
There is not a day that goes by when I don’t think how lucky I am to have my wife and daughter—and dogs. Since having Olive, I have experienced more empathy in many situations
Can we touch on love? How are your thoughts and feelings on love changed?Since having Olive, I think it’s changed from a feeling to a responsibility. It’s a choice you have to make. You never knew how much you could love someone until that little human is laying in your arms asleep or awake—it’s a whole new world. She had a C-section and the doctor asked: “Do you want to see your baby?” I knew I was going to cry, because I’m emotional. I saw her and I was like WOW. I knew that was going to be my child and my world. It was such a special moment you never know how much you would love a baby until it happensIt’s total encapsulation of love. I always want her to feel like she is the most important person in the world to us
What would your advice to other same sex parents be?
My advice is to reach out to other families and ask how they got their family. It helps to have people who relate and can help. If it wasn’t for people putting themselves out there, I wouldn’t be where I am today.
Meet the Hale family
Kathleen Hale (@hale_yesss_) is a single mother to Harper (two months).
Can you describe your desire to create a family, where does that come from?From the time I was very young, I wanted to be a parent. I know little girls dream of being married, but I didn’t picture that for myself. When people would ask me when I was getting married, I always said I wanted the baby, but not the daddy.
What does vulnerability mean to you?
Most of my life I was shy and afraid of what other people thought of me. I think being vulnerable and open to sharing your story and how you feel is what made me feel like I can do this and be the type of mom I need to be.
What have you learned?
A lot of my friends are unhappy because they have a timeline. For me, I realized I didn’t want to be a wife yet. Who made the rule that you have to get married first and then have kids? Since I had my eggs frozen, I can relax and not worry about when it is going to happen.
I have also learned I have to be clearer with how I ask for help and to create boundaries. I don’t want people to feel bad for me, this was my choice and what I wanted.
What would your advice be to a younger version of yourself?
Something I would tell myself is you just have to do it on your own. I think people think different things of happiness. Some people say they’re happy if you’re married or have a certain job. I just figured it out as it came and that has made me the happiest.
What are the new joys of parenthood?
I really thought that it was going to be harder than it is. Babies cry, they poop, and I take my time and spend my time and watch her grow. It’s been so wonderful to see how happy my parents are. Seeing so much of the support that I have and working with new friends has been so great. Being a single mom doesn’t mean you are alone, you can open up and share in one’s happiness.
What legacy do you hope to leave with your child?
I’m sure there will be times she is disappointed that she doesn’t have a father, but I hope she knows how much I wanted her, and how I was willing to do what it would take. I want her to be the type of person she needs to be. If she wants purple hair, then she should do it, if she wants to dress like a boy, do it. I don’t want her to care what others think. It took me 39 years to find out how I am, and I hope she can figure that out sooner.
Can you describe the first time you held Harper and the love you have for her?I feel like love is when you want to give more of yourself to someone else and you would give everything to that person. For so long, I’ve lived by myself and did everything for myself. Now I realize I would do anything for her. I want her to have all the opportunities in the world. I feel like love is trying to foster someone to be a better version of themselves.
Meet the Corrigan family
Christine Corrigan (@mommahasyou) mother of Finnen and Mairead via fertility treatments.
Can you describe your pull to create family?
Mom: We took our time in creating our family. We always wanted it, but we had a desire to do things as husband and wife before that. We always knew that children were a part of our future. Both of us by nature are loving and nurturing.
Dad: Having four siblings I’m close with and the way we were with my parents, I knew I wanted that for myself. I wanted to give back to someone what I was given growing up.
How did this new beginning look for you?
Dad: Working on fatherhood and family for us was exciting, but we were nervous. We didn’t know what to expect. We pulled together and leaned on each other and have been able to get through a lot of our fears and worries.
Mom: There were nerves for sure. I was pretty confident, having Michael as my partner when I’m at my weakest. With him being as strong as he is, the nerves went away because of that.
Can you tell us about your journey and love story?
Dad: We met in college. Our values and households were very similar, and we dated for a long time. I asked her to marry me and we’ve been together for 17 years. We were together for 8 years before we got engaged.
Let’s talk about the window between being married and now
Dad: When we got married, we knew we loved to travel. We love to go places and wanted to go when we were young and able. We traveled and took time to grow together and strengthen our relationship. Once we were ready to have kids it was a lot harder than we anticipated. We desired to have children and were mature and ready and it was very difficult. The length of time we went through to get here with two beautiful children has made us who we are!
What does perseverance mean?
Mom: It wasn’t easy to create our family. With our first, we experienced a miscarriage, we did IUIs and IVF treatments. It took two years to get pregnant. Nothing was easy! It was all worth it. To wake up and have our two children is a blessing. It’s not the traditional way, someone gave us opportunities to have little ones in a nontraditional way.
Dad: I agree, it wasn’t the storybook we thought of. But in the end, it’s created and shaped us into who we are. It wasn’t super easy, and it creates a sense of gratitude. Everything seems richer and more special. My wife has all the qualities--she was a teacher and nurturer. It’s been so amazing to see my wife with them and I’ve learned SO much.
What brought hope during the hard times?
Mom: There were moments with IVF and IUIs I struggled with seeing myself pregnant because it was such a long process. I wanted that life so regardless of what I had to do, it was all worth it if I could get that positive pregnancy test. I read about others and loved hearing of those who found success. The support of the community was so helpful. Working through it mentally myself, I knew I wanted to be a mother even if I couldn’t see it.
Dad: The revelation of so many people who were having similar struggles brought hope. People openly talk about it and then you realize a lot are going through the same thing. We are people of faith and we knew if it was meant to be, it would happen. We knew we could take other routes if need be, adoption, foster care. If you open up your mind, there are so many paths.
There is no normal way to create a family, can we touch on that?
Mom: For use we realized there is no normal way to create a family, but we know it works for us. It’s our normal!
What new joys have parenthood brought to your life?
Dad: You hear from books and friends about the joys, but I don’t think you grasp it until you experience it firsthand. When we had our first, I realized that. Just the other night he was having a rough night sleeping and I was rocking him and four hours later he woke up and looked up and said: “I love you daddy.” It was organic and great. The quirky, funny things he does with his sister when they have a giggle and a great connection-- it’s so special. Seeing them with Christine and the family we have is SO special. She is so confident and shows them the right way.
Mom: One of the highlights has been watching our oldest become a big brother. When he picks up her fingers and kisses them. So many moments bring a lot of joy. We love giving our children experiences. For example, traveling, going out to restaurants, going to church, being in a car—for a city kid that is a big deal. We love having them gain experiences they can look back and say: “my parents really opened up the world to us.” Hopefully when they are older, they can recall those memories.
Dad: Exposure to things is really important. We said we would continue to do the things we love. Travel, eating new things and seeing and doing. Giving our kids the tools to develop and shape them.
What have you learned from your children?
Dad: Patience! Finnan is a fiery little redhead who gives us a wild run. Christine and I have been together for a long time and it was an adjustment to add another little one in. You have to learn to love and roll with it. I’ve learned so much from him. Another thing is to not sweat the small stuff. I can be a perfectionist, but Finnan has taught me to enjoy the simple things and what matter most.
Mom: From my children I’ve learned a lot about communication with Michael. I would get frustrated because I wanted him to read my mind. I realized I needed to communicate more effectively so we all are on the same page.
How would you define family?
The people whom you love and the people who love you back. That goes beyond traditional family—it’s the people who are there during the tough times. It’s easy when things are going well, but when things aren’t so good you find out who your true friends are.
What legacy do you hope to leave your children with?
Dad: Legacy-wise, I hope to leave my children with the knowledge that I love them deeply and am proud of who they are and what they become. I want them to be proud of their name and carry the torch and the legacy. I want people to say that the Coorgian family is good people. I also want a greater life for my kids.
Mom: The legacy I want to leave for my children is to help them become good, kind, civil, going people that do great things. I want them to be proud of who they are and know that they are loved.
Watch the videos showcasing these amazing families:
The Walker Family
The Beck Family
The Hale Family
The Corrigan Family
Celebrate families and all of their beautiful beginnings with our limited edition Kindred DockATot.