These LGBTQ+ Best Friends Are Raising a Child Together in the Name of Coparenting
Warning: major 9 Months With Courteney Cox spoilers ahead!
Best friends Brandi Andrews and Lawrence Carroll first met working at The Abbey, a famous gay bar in West Hollywood, CA. After years of friendship and one honest conversation over a Sunday shift, the pair decided to start a family together. As if agreeing to have a baby with your best friend isn't hard enough, Brandi and Lawrence opted to document their entire experience on the Facebook Watch series 9 Months With Courteney Cox, beginning with the very first episode.
"We were just airing out our grievances as best friends typically do at work," Lawrence told POPSUGAR about how they initially discussed the idea. "She had just broken up with a girlfriend of hers and I was sick and tired of not having a boyfriend. I told her I wanted to start a family, and she felt the same way. Then a coworker who was listening suggested that we just start one together. We just looked and we were just like, 'OK!' and then three years later we ended up with a baby."
Although the pair makes the decision to coparent seem like a dream, the road to becoming mom and dad was far from easy. Shortly after agreeing to bring a child into the world, Brandi was hit by two drunk drivers in a terrible car accident. "It was a long process, and Lawrence was by my side throughout my recovery," explained Brandi. "He took me to surgery, physical therapy, all that jazz. Then I just came to him one day and I was like, 'You know what? I'm just ready. Let's just try it and if it happens cool, and if it doesn't we'll just keep trying.'"
With the help of an at-home insemination kit and crossed fingers, Brandi got a positive pregnancy test result. While both Brandi and Lawrence were ecstatic, they admit it was also a little nerve-wracking, especially when it came to breaking the news to their respective families.
"A lot of people don't understand the dynamic," Lawrence said. "I wouldn't say we were afraid . . . I think our parents were just concerned that we weren't ready to wrap our heads around parenthood. But as you see on the show, everybody, including my mom and sister, were very excited [when they heard the news]."
"I wouldn't say we were afraid . . . I think our parents were just concerned that we weren't ready to wrap our heads around parenthood."
The show also touched on another aspect of impending parenthood: switching gears in terms of lifestyle. Brandi was concerned about how much Lawrence was drinking. Between working in nightlife and spending time with friends, he knew he needed to slow down a bit.
"It wasn't that I was out partying every single weekend," explained Lawrence. "That really wasn't the case. It was just the stress of having to adjust to seeing Brandi go through the pregnancy, which took a lot on me. And not to mention, I was still working every single day. The stress of it all really added up."
After coming home upset one night, Brandi had a frank conversation with Lawrence about seeking counseling for alcohol use. Though he's the first to admit he leaned on Brandi during this difficult time, she pointed out that Lawrence helped her work through a hyperemesis gravidarum diagnosis (a condition where a pregnant woman experiences severe nausea, vomiting, weight loss, and an electrolyte disturbance).
"What viewers didn't see was Lawrence right behind me with a bottle of water and a bottle of Listerine when I'm throwing up all over the bathroom walls," she said. "I was throwing up all over the kitchen and he was the one cleaning it up."
Despite the fact that Brandi and Lawrence have been best friends for years, they admit that making the transition from besties to getting pregnant together was far more intense than they ever thought possible.
"I don't think that either of us saw the challenge coming," Lawrence said. "We're kind of like a married couple. We had these really, really great areas of intimacy, but I've never really had to care for her in that way and she never really had to emotionally be there for me."
While Brandi's pregnancy was far from a walk in the park, her labor went relatively smoothly. They immediately went to the hospital once Brandi realized the contractions she was experiencing weren't of the Braxton-Hicks variety.
"I knew this was a different type of pain because we had had a bunch of Braxton-Hicks scares previously," Brandi said. "We were kind of used to it, but then it started getting really intense. Lawrence looked at me and I looked at him and he said, 'Are we going to do this?' And I responded, "Yeah. I think it's time.'"
One epidural and 12 hours of labor later, the new parents welcomed their son Hartley into the world. Four months later, and they've certainly had their fair share of ups and downs.
"The first couple months were rough," Lawrence said. "When people tell you you're going to be losing a lot of sleep and that you'll never sleep again — all of that was true, and it was a lot. Parenthood is literally a day-to-day adjustment. But now, being a dad is exciting because Hartley is grabbing things, talking a lot, and he's not a potato anymore. He's an active baby. So, it's really, really cool to see him learning stuff and progressing."
Brandi agrees that watching her son develop has been the most invigorating thing she's experienced yet. "The best part of motherhood so far is seeing him understand everything that I've been teaching him. I spend time with him in the mornings teaching him to grab his seat or having him make eye contact. It's just the little things, honestly."
As for advice for others who want to start a family with their best friends? Be ready for anything! "I would tell prospective coparents to communicate and to be open to being vulnerable in a different way that you never imagined," Brandi said. Lawrence added that both parties should make sure they're serious about the decision because, after all, there's no going back. "You need to want to have children," he said. "[Parenthood] isn't cute. I would tell anybody to really make sure it's what you want, because when you sign up to be a parent, you're doing it for life."