These Workout Buddies Are Tackling Their Toughest Routine Yet: Fatherhood
Woodie was already well on his way to becoming a father by the time things turned romantic with his workout buddy, Sean
Like a lot of gay men, Sean and Woodie met at the gym. "Woodie was the class clown," said Sean, "and I was more of a wall flower, focusing on working out." Woodie approached Sean and they became workout partners. Woodie made Sean laugh like never before and they became fast friends. They remained friends for a few years before realizing they both had feelings for one another. If you ask Woodie, he'll tell you Sean asked him out, but if you talk to Sean, he swears it was the other way around.
The "honeymoon" phase of their relationship wasn't a typical love bubble like it can be for a lot of couples. Very early on, Woodie made it clear that he wanted kids, and if Sean wasn't cool with that it was already a bit too late: Woodie was already partway through his journey. Earlier that year, he made the decision to conceive a child via surrogacy, and his surrogate had just become pregnant with his baby boy. He'd always wanted to be a dad and had made the brave decision to go it alone rather than wait for the right partner.
Sean, fortunately, was on board. "I admired that so much," said Sean. "Over the course of more dates, we had very deep and honest conversations about what we wanted in life, our plans for the future and what we valued in a partner." It didn't take long for the two to realize that they were the perfect match.
Woodie holding Max, and Sean
On February 19, 2017, Max was born in Santa Barbara. Both dads' lives changed forever.
Despite the initial euphoria of fatherhood, the couple had to learn how to carefully navigate through their emotions as first-time parents as well as with each other as new partners. "The first few months of your child's life are riddled with anxiety: are they breathing? Are they eating enough? Am I doing everything correctly?" said Woodie. "Answering those questions is interesting when you're also asking yourself those same questions about your partner: am I giving them enough room to breathe? Are we satisfying each other properly? Am I being a good partner?"
But overall, life just got better. It finally all made sense. "I now truly know what it means to be in love, in more ways than one," said Sean. Both Woodie and Sean put Max's needs before their own needs, at all costs. "I also understand the profound appreciation of having a partner to share in the responsibility, anxiety and beauty of that love for a child," added Woodie.
Sean does admit to some initial anxiety in the beginning of this adventure. Woodie had already made a monumentally huge life decision and it was up to Sean to decide if he was in for the family ride or not. But that initial doubt was natural and quickly dissipated when Max was born and Sean fell quite naturally into a co-parenting role. And they're happy to report that they've only ever received an outpouring of support from friends, family and even strangers.
The dads are currently in the midst of uprooting their lives and relocating to Denver, Colorado. They're also beginning their second surrogacy journey for baby number two.
"Don't wait," says Sean. "Do it as soon as you're able," he said, talking to those out there considering fatherhood. "Woodie always tells me that he wishes he didn't wait as long as he did."
"Do it. Become dads!" added Woodie. "We as gay men have lived long enough in fear and as "others," that history and those experiences have left us with so much love to give. And children deserve nothing than to experience love and compassion."
You heard it here, folks. What are you waiting for?