Poly Parenting (Poly Family): How Polyamory Saves Families

In this photo, Devin, is sandwiched between my girlfriend Viraja who I started dating the very night that I met my husband ten years ago, and  Cheri who I’ve also been on/off lovers with for over 9 years. And yes, through the years we have ALL been romantically connected with full knowledge and consent of each other. When I was ready to conceive, we even had a visionary conversations about raising children together in a poly family household.  Viraja got pregnant 4 months before me and though we never moved in together, we are re-defining family throughout our pregnancy and years of non-traditional holiday gatherings. 

When my 5 year old son is old enough to ask about relationships, I’ll have to sit him down and expalin that there exists a thing called “monogamy.” He may be confused about why so many mommies and daddies would chose to have only one special lover, when our home is so full of special aunties and uncles who are always giving him attention, gifts and cuddles.  Afterall, Polyamory is all he has ever known.  

Yet, it’s important to note that my son’s childhood is not entirely defined by how his parents chose to love.  His poly family may not be ‘normal,’ but by every standard, he is a bright, healthy, happy boy.   

  • We have sit down family dinners with a variety of green veggies. He eats three square meals a day, we reserve sugar for special occasions. 
  • He has full coverage health insurance and has access to the best medical and holistic doctors on the west coast. 
  • He goes to summer camp at the YMCA, is fluent in Spanish and took two years of French and is enrolled to attend a local Music Academy kindergarten this fall. 
  • We have been sharing a part-time nanny with the neighbors kid who is only 6 days younger and treated like family since the boys were in diapers.
  • Devin wakes up around 8am and at 8pm like clock-work he brushes his teeth, reads 2 books and is tucked in with a bedtime story about his favorite superheros.
  • All six of Devin’s grandparents are in support of our lifestyle. Michael’s parents live locally and host him once a week so that the adults in the house can process or play. 

Our family life looks a lot more ordinary than most people would expect. And then there are times when our poly family becomes Extra-ordinary. Here is a personal account of a recent crisis which illustrates the benefits of Polyamory as a family value. 

Devin was away at a sleep over with his best friend while my lovers gathered to watch episode 2 of our Polyamory Docu-series when our Michael got an urgent text that Devin was hurt and being transported to the children’s hospital. Michael and I rushed into the Emergency while my girlfriend Roxanne, and her boyfriend Daniel stayed in the waiting room for emotional support.

When we arrived, Devin was lying in little bed with bandages around his head laying next to his best friend who was also in the accident. The boys mother was sitting between the two little boys who both still had blood on their hands and feet. Devin calmly retold the story of how he was sleeping under a bookshelf which came loose and fell on his head. He said the best part was getting to ride in an ambulance!   

We were relieved when Devin’s best friend got sent home with 11 stitches. The surgeon had Devin stay because he had a more severe head injury which left a deep gash by his hairline and a visible fracture to the skull.  Over the next 24 hours our family went through Cat scans, pain killers, tetanus shots, antibiotics and tests from 10 different specialists concluding with plastic surgery.  

Michael and I took turns holding Devin’s hand, while the other parent stepped out for fresh air and emotional support. Our pod brought us food and supplies from home so we could sleep in a small portable bed listening to the monitors’ steady beat, while the nurses come in every few hours with a flashlight to make sure Devin’s eyes were still dilating. The night was only made easier by the tender massage of Roxanne’s loving hands, and Daniel’s reassuring words. In the daylight Jen and Tahl came by to feed and love us, while other lovers such as Viraja offered light work from a distance. 

There have been many times in my life when I have been frustrated for not having more of a village to help raise my child, but my frustration has been forgiven in the last two weeks of Devin’s recovery. I am also grateful to all the loving adults who  have been offering support, prayers, get well gifts, and empathy.

We have been abundant enough to help to our monogamous neighbors and their boy who didn’t have as much help through the crisis. They said they could’t believe how calm, brave, and well adjusted he was in the hospital. She suspects that because of polyamory he is not overly attached to one parent.

This extreme example is just one of many where my poly pod is re-defining old concepts of family (now a poly family) and creating sustainable paradigms of love. Despite people’s projections, it is not all about sex, but we are held together by deeper values of love, honesty and community.  

Of course, I understand that much of the support we received during this emergency could have been gotten by friends and family that we did not have romantic relationships with. And yet, there is something profoundly healing and integrated about surrounding myself with people with whom I share all aspects of my life. Further, I have found that one of the best ways to heal and recover from trauma is with body empathy, touch and sensuality. This type of love is a trade off however, as I open my heart to loving more people, I also open myself to feeling their sorrow, their hurts, their longing, their humanity.  

In closing I’d like to leave you with this thought:  If most children can adapt to having one parent move out due to divorce, why wouldn’t my child acclimate to having more parents move in due to love?

For more personal blogs and letters from her heart, please subscribe to Kamala Devi’s monthly Newsletter and for a limited time get a free gift!  www.KamalaDevi.com

If you’d like to join Kamala Devi and the San Diego polyamory family for a fun weekend retreat to explore firsthand how they do polyamory, check out Poly Palooza: Top 10 reasons to go to a 4-day festival for free lovers! or go to Poly Palooza: The Weekend Festival for Free Lovers

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8 thoughts on “Poly Parenting (Poly Family): How Polyamory Saves Families

  1. I am so happy we are here for each other the way we are!
    Tears came to my eyes several times when reading this…
    Kamala, your closing thought echoes through my heart and head:
    “If most children can adapt to having one parent move out due to divorce, why wouldn’t my child acclimate to having more parents move in due to love?”
    ~ I love you!

  2. Thank you for sharing your life story, so that other people can see just how it can be to stop trying to fit the square peg into the round hole. I am glad to read that the children are fine, too. It truely does take a village.

  3. I am catching nothing but grief from my single friend who has many lovers but none that are commited to a relationship beyond sex for entertaining a poly relationship with my husband of 25 years and the only other love of my life, my high school boyfriend of 5 years. We found one another again after almost 30 years and found we have never for a moment stopped loving each other.
    My friend says that it is just wrong to do this when I have a child still in the home. My two older children in their mid 20’s are very supportive, and my at home 13yr old loves my old boyfriend as he is fun and they get along great.
    Having others that you know beyond a shadow of a doubt love you and your family there to offer support is incredible to me and I told my husband the other day if I only knew how wonderful this was I would have done it 30 years ago.

  4. This story made me realize how blessed I am to be in the Poly lifestyle. Having grown up with a chronically ill father and a mother who was most the time delusional, I was often kept in the dark when it came to health scared and crises. I was just shipped off to a family member and often felt alone in the world.
    Having such a loving support group around your son, is so good for him. Knowing that if mom or dad cant be there, there is still this network of people who love them. He will never feel alone in this world. What a blessing.

  5. Well done, Kamala! Don’t let the critics worry you. So many people have never seen modeled what you are doing, and they not only think that monogamy is the only way, but they’ve also been conditioned to believe that it is the ONLY way in which to raise happy, healthy children. Members of “the (traditional) marriage movement” continue to swear that it’s the only way. Thank you to you and your family for setting such a wonderful example of how well children can thrive in our kind of family.

  6. I have been poly my whole life. The father of my children K (mostly platonic now), my primary partner S and I all share a house. K has dated off and on throughout our 18 years together, sometimes seriously, involving other women in our poly family. S. has also dated during our 6 years together. K & S have been involved with one another at times as well. We have a joy and love filled household, with 4 children, currently ages 16, 14, 12 and 10. S. and I are considering a baby together. Outsiders, and more specifically S.’s family are not ok with K still being in our lives in this fashion. I constantly ask people, would it be better if we lived apart and hated each other? I don’t understand this twisted idea. K. and I made a vow to be together *for so long as love shall last*. We get to define and redefine what that love looks like. We also made a vow to raise our children together (we both came from broken homes, hurt by divorces filled with anger, hatred and grief). I don’t understand people that think our family would be better if K lived separately from S and I. Our children currently have 3 parents, who love and cherish them, we share a home, expenses, and our lives together with them. Love cannot be defined with mathematics. Separateness would deminish what we have to offer these kids, who are growing into thinking, feeling adults.

    My 16 year old has had occasion to explore polyamory in his own life, and at the moment, says it isn’t for him. I love that he has both the freedom to explore that as his interests develop, as well as the ability to articulate that to us in a trusting and loving manner. OUR FAMILY ROCKS!

  7. This story gave me chills. My husband and I have been poly for about a year and are in the process of telling our two girls. We want them to know that our regular lovers (his girlfriend and my boyfriend) are more than just “family friends”, they are in fact FAMILY. There have already been times that I have been so amazed at the increase in love and support poly has brought to my life. My youngest has a chronic medical condition and it can be very stressful and draining. My husband and boyfriend are both so incredibly supportive. They come to doctors appointments, hold my hand and comfort me when I’m waiting for test results, hold me tight and let me cry when I get overwhelmed and work to distract me when I need a break.

    Another moment that comes to mind when I try to explain and show the wonderful benefits of poly and having more than one partner and lover- My husband wanted to go have drinks with co-workers and friends one night. I got sick with cold (fever, aches, the works) and was feeling very vulnerable and needy (I very very rarely get sick). I just didn’t want to be alone. Without a second thought, my boyfriend jumped in his car and drove over to take care of me so that I got my neediness met and my husband was still able to go out as originally planned. I was spoiled by my boyfriend making me tea, rubbing my feet and stroking my hair. The next morning I woke up feeling great, refreshed and completely loved.

  8. I am so inspired by your story. I’ve felt for many years that I could flourish in a poly family environment. Unfortunately, my job in the military and the love interests I’ve had over the years never looked kindly on it. It’s not just about sex, as you mentioned above, but a deeper sense of trust and honesty that most people can’t even conceptualize. Your son is a lucky young man to be surrounded by such love. I wish you and your family the best. I’d hope I can continue following your story. Thank you so much for sharing it.

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