Pierre and Bryden celebrate their tenth anniversary this year. Their gift to each other? Fatherhood!
Turns out there just may be something to that old adage about there being "plenty of fish in the sea." Just ask Pierre and Bryden of Vancouver, who met online back in January of 2007 through the matchmaking website Plenty of Fish (POF). Both were young men at the time: Pierre was just 23 and Bryden 27. They bonded over their love of the outdoors and the importance of family. They both knew they wanted to be dads. Pierre was still closeted; as fate would have it, Bryden would soon become his first – and only – boyfriend.
Pierre (l) and Bryden on a camping trip 2007
Bryden, who had been out for years to his family and friends, had no problem introducing Pierre as his boyfriend. But Pierre told everyone that Bryden was his roommate.
Pierre's journey from the closet to living out and proud took several years. While Bryden certainly encouraged him to come out, Pierre shares that his boyfriend was patient and understanding. As it turns out, when he did finally come out in December 2010, the process was thankfully free of drama and pain. Pierre became one more example of a reality for many gay men these days: The only homophobia we encounter is our own.
Bryden and Pierre: Birthday Shenanigans 2009
Putting the Romance in Valentine's Day
Just two months later, on Valentine's Day 2011, Pierre decided that the man who supported him through his coming out journey and who also wanted to be a dad was the guy he wanted to spend his life with. So he proposed that day and the boyfriends went to bed on Valentine's night as fiancés.
Engagement photo shoot 2012
These guys were serious about their commitment. They took their time to plan a beautiful and memorable wedding, getting married in October 2012. That same year they also got a dog and purchased a home.
Bryden and Pierre's wedding, October 13, 2012
From Husbands to Gay Dads
A few years later they decided they were ready for fatherhood. They knew about surrogacy from good friends Brett and Justin, dads to adorable twins who've been featured several times on Gays With Kids.
Following their friends' advice, Pierre and Bryden used the same surrogacy agency Brett and Justin recommended. Pierre's life long friend volunteered to carry their baby, now they just needed to finalize their egg donor. As it turned out, a lesbian couple the guys knew were planning to become moms in the future. So the two couples worked out an arrangement whereby each would receive the healthiest embryos created from one of the women and both men.
Pregnancy Announcement 2016
Today, Pierre is the proud stay-at-home Daddy to newborn daughter Charli, and Bryden is her equally proud Dadda. The new parents share that Charli has lots of love from family and friends, especially her grandparents, who are already over the moon in love with their baby granddaughter!
Charli, born December 12, 2016
The dads have a message for other gay men considering fatherhood: 100 percent just do it! "Be patient, because it can be a long process, but the rewards are unmeasurably amazing! And for those of you who are Canadians, you'll get to take advantage of the nine months' parental leave!"
Life as a Stay-at-Home-Dad
We asked Pierre a few questions about his experience so far as the full-time daddy on paternity leave.
How did you guys come to the decision that you’d be the one to take the extended paternity leave?
I have been in my career with the same company for 10 years, so it made the most sense for us for me to be off.
What do you love most about being at home with your daughter?
I love every moment but my favorite is seeing her change everyday, and seeing her start to recognize our voices and silhouettes. I can't believe how fast she is growing.
What does a typical day at home look like for you and Charli?
We try to stay busy; we are often on the move doing errands visiting friends and family. Or even just relaxing at home cuddling on the sofa and watching Netflix. But really there's always something to do.
What would you like to say to other gay men who have the option to take an extended paternity leave?
Yes! Absolutely do it, take the opportunity to bond with your baby, and don't be nervous. Your instincts kick in and everything just sorta happens.
On their way home from the hospital December 2016
Bonus Story: Two Guys With Bowties
We found out that Pierre moonlights as one of the Two Guys With Bowties, a small mobile bartending company based out of the Fraser Valley, Vancouver. We love the name and the look, plus this may help spur other dads into coming up with creative ways to generate additional income. According to Pierre, they specialize in wedding and special event bartending and their focus is to provide a premium service at a not-so-premium price. Also, Two Guys With Bowties provides services for a number of community events, like Fraser Valley Pride (benefiting the Fraser Valley Youth society) and Trade secrets Ladies night (benefiting community events "we got your back" and "project warmth").
Pierre with his Two Guys With Bowties business partner