A mother in a polyamorous triad reveals she is raising her baby to be genderless, as she shares how she is co-parenting the nine-month-old child with both of her live-in lovers.
YouTubers Brittany Taylor, 32, and Conor McMillen, 36, from Rhode Island and California, USA, respectively, have recently welcomed nine-month-old baby Ilya into their family.
The polyamorous couple met over five years ago at a health festival in New York, which was followed by an intimate nine-month friendship. The couple now live together and has long expressed their interest in having a child. They firmly believe that their fluid, sex-positive relationship – with each other and with their external partners – will have a positive influence on Ilya. In fact, Conor and Brittany credit this with teaching Ilya valuable lessons about love, unconditional support and the importance of being yourself. The couple has decided not to gender Ilya, and use non-binary pronouns.
Brittany and Conor split their parenting duties with Bridgette Wolleat, 30 – an holistic health coach with whom Brittany shares a romantic relationship with. Having met in 2018, Bridgette now lives with the couple at their home in Austin, Texas. Despite often having separate intimate partners, Brittany and Conor attribute their openness and honesty with strengthening the bond they share with each other. The couple regularly share videos with their 55 000 YouTube subscribers, talking about their unique family dynamic. Brittany and Conor have received a positive response to this and hope to continue to promote and normalise fluid, healthy relationships.
“We share co-parenting with Ilya. We split it really evenly,” Brittany says. “I’m with Ilya more than Bridgette or Conor. I’m her mom so I breastfeed exclusively but Bridgette is just as much of a co-parent. We just have so much appreciation for what everybody’s doing and the time and energy that they’re putting in. The relationships we have with each other are so important because they set the vibe that Ilya is in. We’re all really intentional about how we show up and the basis of that is so much love and encouragement for everybody to be supportive of each other. We are not gendering Ilya. We are open to them gendering themselves or not – however they desire – when or if it comes up for them. We don’t feel that any of us identify with a particular gender role that society has defined and prefer having the fluidity to be whoever we are in each moment.
Conor has wanted a child for about a decade. I assumed I would with my previous partner but then I realised I was thinking about having children because it felt like the next thing to do – not because I’m consciously choosing it. When I met Conor, I told him I don’t know if I wanted kids. Things shifted at some point. I developed a natural desire to have a child and I think it was always in there inside me. I’ve always felt maternal. It was so exciting to get to embrace it without the assumption that I had to. It’s interesting because we’re three parents, but we think it would be really amazing to have four. It’s something Ilya will totally just know – like anything else they’re learning about their environment. They don’t have a basis for what is normal. We all grew up in different environments – whatever we grew up with was normal to us.”
Brittany and Conor are very open about how their relationship works. The couple believes their honesty will encourage others to open up about their unexplored desires.
“Primarily I connected with Bridgette romantically whilst Conor and Bridgette were navigating a friendship,” Brittany says. “We’ve had so many renditions of what our relationship looks like between then and now. At a lot of times, it looks like a lot of different things. We love not having labels, but they can be helpful search terms for people to find other people doing similar things. It’s really common for us to say ‘polyamorous’. We’ve used the word ‘triad’ before. We’ve used ‘metamours’, but we like the term ‘relationship anarchy’ – it means there are no words to describe what we’re doing.
We’ve had such a positive response, which makes sense because of the way we’re going about it. So many people reach out to us and say, ‘I do things totally different, but I love what you’re sharing, and I see so much value in it.’ Parents reach out to us and say, ‘I’d love to have more tribe, more family, more community around me.’ I think that’s an innate truth that we used to do this more in tribes. I think it’s a lot for people to take on and it’s a lot to do with stress and endurance. So many people can appreciate the vision of being in a community which can help and support them and their children. Things like competition and jealousy fall away when you’re in this space of thinking we’re all doing this together. We really love that undertone of unity and encouragement of the individual in the collective.
A lot of the themes we share might seem radical to some people, but underneath it, what we’re sharing is about unity and how everything can and does exist in harmony.” Brittany and Conor are looking forward to possibly extending their family in the future. “One thing we’re really excited about is this idea of creating more community,” Brittany says. “That’ll probably look like us living with more people. Plans can look different at different times. From the right place, it can sound fun to have another child and have more partnerships.”