Since becoming a dad to baby Robbie in June, Olympic diver Tom Daley reveals the parenting obstacles he’s faced so far as a new dad…
For Tom Daley, diving for medals at the Olympics, the European Championships and the Commonwealth Games may seem like a lifetime ago since he welcomed his son, Robbie, to the world a few months ago.
But since then, the athlete and his Oscar-winning screenwriter husband Dustin Lance Black have taken to fatherhood like ducks to water.
“It’s been so crazy,” says Daley. “But he’s brought so much love and joy to the family, and it’s so incredible how quickly you fall in love with this little human being who is just screaming in your arms. I think it’s way more wonderful than I ever thought it was going to be.”
Born to a surrogate, baby Robbie doesn’t appear to have given the couple too much trouble either. “I think we got a starter baby, the best baby on the planet,” says Dustin Lance Black.
“But we might be biased,” adds Daley.
While many were delighted to hear news that Tom and Dustin had become parents, the couple faced a lot of criticism from the public, too – much of it to do with two men raising a child.
“I think that’s why we want to help educate people, because I think a lot of them were under the impression that the baby was going to be ripped from his mother’s arms,” explains Daley. “People will have their opinions and that’s fine. All we want is what’s best for the little one.”
Surrogacy also proved to be quite a learning curve, and the pair admit that they didn’t know very much about the options available to them as a same-sex couple beforehand. Tom will now be fronting a BBC documentary about surrogacy around the world next year.
“The laws here in the UK don’t necessarily protect the surrogate or the intended parents, and it’s not regulated in the same way that it is in the States, so I wanted to go on that journey to learn all about that,” says Daley.
The couple have since been asked to spearhead Pampers’ new Pure Protection range, which Daley admits he was surprised by.
“It’s absolutely amazing that they called us, a same-sex family. There was something really incredible about that.”
Same-sex parenting comes with its own unique challenges, too, and Black hopes that speaking about their experiences will help others hoping to become parents.
“There are a lot of hopes to go through and I think it’s actually good that there are a lot of regulations. People ask a lot of questions, because at the end of the day, it’s all worth it,” he says.
“Gay parents aren’t alone in having huge challenges and hurdles when it comes to having a child, and I’m hoping that our journey can actually help other people who are having other issues, because of fertility or health issues or whatnot, to understand that just because you’ve had issues, it doesn’t mean you can’t fulfil that basic desire to be a parent.”
He adds, “You do all the reading you can, all the research you can, ask all the questions you can. But if I have any advice for new parents, it’s don’t listen to all the advice, because he’s going to be the best teacher.”