In 1960, 37 percent of households included a male and female married couple raising their own children. Now 55 years later, a mere 16 percent of American households reflect that, according to Pew Research Center.
While it’s easy to toss around stereotypes, it’s clear the rich tapestries that thread together the modern the modern American family comes in all shapes and sizes.
Arian & Jo
Arian and Jo Englesson always found clarity to make major life decisions in the sands of Captiva. So it’s no surprise the married couple made the decision to start a family after some sunshine and deep conversation.
“I met Arian when I was in the process of trying to have a baby and it didn’t work out,” Jo said. “She wasn’t ready to have kids yet, but then this incredible moment happened when we were vacationing in Captiva in 2013. We both decided we wanted to have a child.”
Arian, who wed Jo in Sweden in 2013, went to a fertility treatment center and began four cycles of IUI. “I knew Jo and I would be a great team,” Arian said. “We had a great relationship.”
Arian and Jo’s son, Sixten, was born in 2014 and the new parents are planning to have more children. “It’s so amazing to have a child,” said Jo, who created “Gratitude! The Show,” a one-woman variety show that explores the value of gratitude in one’s life. “The love and joy is so great, you completely forget any hard times.”
Sixten was born at Arian and Jo’s home in the backyard in a portable bathtub surrounded by tiki torches and loved ones. “It was my dream birth,” Arian said. “He was born at home with our midwife and doula.”
The immediate challenges Arian and Jo faced came in the form of red tape from insurance companies. “Health insurance was really crazy,” Jo said. “When Arian was pregnant, I couldn’t be added to her policy unless she dropped her maternity policy.” Jo then had to go through a legal adoption process to adopt Sixten. “I had to provide financial information and adopt my own son,” Jo said.
When Arian’s postpartum depression set in, that was another unexpected bump along the journey of parenthood, but Jo helped her through it along with family and friends. “I was home for 12 weeks, and my assistant stayed three nights a week to help us,” Jo said. “It was really hard in the beginning, but it’s so beautiful the way it all worked out. Arian is now training to be a postpartum doula.”
Since same sex marriage was legalized in Florida, the couple notices less stereotypes on same sex couples. “A lot of prejudice and judgment has gone away,” Jo said. Arian added, “We’ve created a world for ourselves where we’re accepted, and we created a community of love. Our son is comfortable with so many different types of people.”What is your definition of the modern American family?
“The modern family is a micro-community, Jo said. “It’s not the mom, dad, 2 kids, one car and one television anymore. Sixten is so open and free. The modern family is not what it used to look like. As long as love is in the unit, it can look any way. There is no difference. A family is a family, and love is love.”