Getting To Know the Women behind the Podcast

If These Ovaries Could Talk

By Deadra Albrecht-Frasch

If ever there were two lesbians you’d want to hang out with, it’s definitely Jaimie Kelton and Robin Hopkins. Together, they have developed a Podcast called If These Ovaries Could Talk. The podcast started in January 2018 and is a weekly forty-five minute show. Season three started March 4, 2019. According to their website www.ovariestalk.com, the show is two lesbians chatting about making babies and non-traditional families. The women manage to put a comical spin on some long overdue discussions concerning fertility, parenting, and everything in between. Since the podcasts launch, they have received several accolades including but not limited to having over 200,000 downloads, landing on a “best of” podcast list in Cosmo UK,  receiving a nomination for a People’s Choice Podcast Award, acquiring a book deal for the co-hosts with LitRiot Press, and having been featured on AfterEllen. The podcast can be found on ITunes, Google Play Music, Stitcher, Spotify, and Spoke (a social audio app).

L to R, Jaimie Kelton, Anne Woods holding Orion, and their daughter Rose
L-to-R, Jaimie Kelton, Anne Woods holding Orion, and their daughter Rose

Who exactly are Jaimie and Robin?
Jaimie lives in Manhattan and is married to Anne, a teacher. Jaimie grew up in San Francisco and was involved in musical theater very early on which ultimately led her to New York City. Jaimie explained that her sexuality was always in the back of her mind, but that she had boyfriends through high school. She also acknowledged that she felt a sense of shame surrounding her sexuality. During college there was some experimentation, but she struggled to admit her sexuality fully, and considered herself bisexual for a time. She now fully embraces her lesbianism. Jaimie explained that she met Anne at a pride party that her friend kind of forced her to attend. It was her first all lesbian party, and Anne was one of the single women there. Jaimie was thirty at the time and Anne was thirty-seven. Fast forward to today, and they have two children; daughter Rose who is five years old and their son Orion who was born in 2018. Jaimie also has over 17 years of stage experience in New York City. Jaimie has accomplished a lot as an actress, singer, and voice-over artist. According to Jaimie’s website www.jaimiekelton.com, her voice-over work includes being on the Disney cartoon The Octonauts and SYFY’s Happy!. She is also lending her voice to an Amazon cartoon airing soon, known as Bug Diaries. She has been on National tours for theater, and is a recipient of the Helen Hayes Award. Jaimie also manages to fit in teaching Dance classes during the day.

Robin lives in Brooklyn with her wife Mary. Robin met Mary when Robin was doing a one woman show about her affair with a “straight” girl.  Mary was asked by the director of Robin’s show to draw a cartoon artwork sketch of Robin. They maintained email communication and got to know each other that way for about six months. Mary lived in Ohio at the time and was in a relationship. She soon realized she wanted to be with Robin, ended the relationship and the rest is history. They have now been together for fifteen years and have two children. Their daughter Maxine is nine years old and their son Henry is seven.
 
Robin explained that she went to college in Texas and then went to graduate school to be a physical education teacher. However, she was always interested in acting, eventually gained her confidence and started merging her interests into acting and writing. Robin clarified that it was the same with her “coming out”; it took her awhile to get there, but by her college years she was “out”. Today, Robin is a successful actress, writer and executive producer. She works as an Executive Producer for “Amy Schumer Presents: 3 Girls, 1 Keith”, which is a podcast on Spotify. Robin expressed that she began her career as a stand-up comic, and then transitioned to acting. According to Robin’s website www.robinhopkins.org, some of her acting credits include but are not limited to: Boardwalk Empire, Louis, Hindsight, and Mi America on HBO. Robin’s writing credits include many contributions to Huffington Post and Medium, as well as VH1’s Big Morning Buzz Live and VH1’s Divas, the O Music Awards, and MTV’s Teen Mom Reunion Special. Robin also wrote, acted, and produced a comedic digital short series called Stupid Michelle & Dumb Robin. Stupid Michelle & Dumb Robin can be found on YouTube.

L-to-R,-Robin-Hopkins,-Mary-Little,-Henry-and-Maxine
L-to-R, Robin Hopkins, Mary Little, Henry and Maxine

Life in New York City
When asked about living in New York City, Jaimie and Robin discussed what it is like raising children there. Jaimie, who lives in Manhattan said her biggest hurdle is definitely struggling to get the kids everywhere they need to be. Between the crowds and walking in the elements, it can be difficult because you can’t just jump in a cab with a baby. Jaimie did say that at the school, she and Anne are constantly having to “out” themselves as two moms with everyone they meet. This can obviously create an uneasy feeling until you know that those parents are accepting. However, Jaimie did say that so far, they’ve never experienced any discrimination as a family that they are aware of.

Robin who lives in Brooklyn, said that she loves living there because of the easy access to parks and museums. She said Brooklyn gives off more of a family feeling in her opinion. Robin described an experience where Maxine said she was invited to a party but Robin didn’t get the email invite for weeks. Her mind took her to a place where she was thinking maybe this family didn’t want to invite the same-sex household child. In actuality, the email went to Mary, who Robin described as having a black hole of emails. It all worked out in the end but she acknowledged the fear from within that their sexual orientation could have been the basis for discrimination against Maxine and their family.  

What’s it all about?
It’s important to note that Jaimie and Robin had a similar circle of friends. Jaimie had been developing the idea for this podcast in her head and then decided that she wanted to get Robin on board. She finally ran across Robin at a family pride picnic and asked if she’d be interested. Long story short, If These Ovaries Could Talk was born.

In season one episode one of If These Ovaries Could Talk, Jaimie and her wife Anne share their fertility journey with the listeners. They explain that they decided Anne would carry their first child. They used donor sperm through a sperm bank and tried IUI a few times. Then they tried IVF and got pregnant with Rose. When it was time to try again, it was Jaimie’s turn. They discussed the high cost involved and even that they had to take money from Anne’s pension to make it happen. Jaimie had unexplained fertility issues and tried IUI and IVF several times. Eventually they switched doctors, and went back to trying IUI. After the 2nd time, it worked and along came baby number two, Orion.

In season one episode two, Robin and her wife Mary share their fertility journey. They explained that when they met, Robin was 33 and Mary was 42. After five years, they decided to have a baby. Robin carried due to Mary’s age, and they used an open donor from a sperm bank. They did IUI and it worked. Robin was pregnant but unfortunately miscarried during the first trimester. They tried again, and soon, Maxine was born. They also discuss that they were unable to use the same sperm for their second child, and they had quite the wild ride trying to find available vials of their original sperm donor. They ultimately ended up using a different donor. They again tried IUI, and had Henry.

If you listen to If These Ovaries Could Talk, you are sure to be hooked. There really is something very relatable to them, and the topics that they cover are so necessary. They discuss such a broad spectrum of issues. For instance, in season one episode four, they interviewed Emma who was conceived in the 1980’s by her two moms using artificial insemination. Emma grew up she says as an “ambassador for same-sex families”. She is now an actress, writer and comedian. In episode five, Jaimie and Robin interview Emma’s two Moms, Rae and Margie who discuss what it was like in those days to be a lesbian couple raising a baby. They describe being always fearful that someone would come and take the baby, and that any moment there was always the decision to decide how much to tell someone about their family. Other issues they dealt with included people asking who the “real” mom was, or assuming they were sisters instead of partners.

The episodes always start with what Jaimie and Robin call an “elevator pitch”. They have their guests give a few sentences on who they are. Season one, episode six finds them talking to then candidate, now Senator of Iowa, Zach Wahls. Wahls gained notoriety when a video of a speech that he gave to the Iowa House Judiciary Committee in 2011 went viral. In his speech he was advocating for his two mom household when he said “In my nineteen years, not once have I ever been confronted by an individual who realized independently that I was raised by a gay couple. And you know why? Because the sexual orientation of my parents has had zero effect on the content of my character.” Wahls also discussed with Jaimie and Robin how he dealt with being bullied as a child.

Other examples of episodes in season one included a gay man who had children with his lesbian friends, a lesbian couple who are challenged with cancer while trying to have a baby, and another couple that has a stillborn. There is one episode where a gay lawyer discusses the legal aspects for LGBT families as well as his family. In another episode baby making and sex therapy is discussed with Sam and Laura who were on the hit Bravo TV show “The Newlyweds”. There is even an episode dedicated to answering questions submitted by listeners. Season one ends with a discussion about all the episodes that season with their wives joining in on the conversation.

Season Two Revealed Even More
Season two found Jaimie and Robin talking to such people as: a single mom that wanted to make a baby, two moms that take in seven foster kids in one year (one with childhood cancer), and parents who support their seven year old sons wishes to wear dresses. They cover topics such as religion and the LGBTQ community, interview comedian Julia Scotti from America’s Got Talent, and speak with Staceyann Chin a poet, LGBTQ activist and performance artist. Robin and Jaimie touch on some hard topics, and some of the episodes will make the listener cry. However, they manage to talk about all of this with a sense of charm, empathy, and lightheartedness that is honest and true.
 
Throughout the podcast, Robin has mentioned a few times that she and Mary are in touch with some of the donor siblings of their children. They’ve met some, and consider them extended family. In season two, they have a conversation with Liz whose son shares the same donor as Robin and Mary’s daughter. So many LGBTQ parents often struggle with whether or not to connect with donor siblings, and this episode puts some perspective on what that experience can be like.
 
Robin also clarified that as their children have grown, they have read books to them that explained how they were conceived. They’ve expanded that to include learning and discussing about their different donor siblings and the donor. Currently, Jaimie said she and Anne haven’t really had the time to discuss whether or not they want to have contact with any of their children’s donor siblings. She realizes though that that is a conversation that needs to be had and anticipates that meeting the donor siblings will probably happen in the future.
 
Jaimie and Robin recognize that there are so many different viewpoints and types of families out there. They do have a bucket list of famous LGBTQ and non-traditional families that they’d like to have on the podcast, but also love the everyday family stories because each one is important and unique. Between the podcast, day jobs, families, and book writing, Jaimie and Robin are also working on taking a tour with the podcast. They also acknowledge the amazing opportunities that have opened up for them since the start of the podcast. It looks as though the possibilities are endless for Jaimie and Robin but for now, in true If These Ovaries Could Talk fashion, “Eggs, Ovaries, Out”.

This article was first published in Gay Parent Magazine-New York 2019-2020 issue #17. 

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Photos courtesy of Robin Hopkins and Jaime Kelton

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