Celebrating Aussie families in all its many forms has always been at the heart of Bonds Baby Search. For Australian fashion designer, Jayson Brunsdon and his partner, Aaron Elias, the dream of becoming parents became a reality in 2015 when they welcomed into their lives their son, Roman, via surrogacy. We spoke to Jayson about his journey into fatherhood...
How does it feel being a part of the Bonds Baby Search 2018 family?
We are so honoured to be a part of the Bonds family as it's such an iconic Australian brand. It’s more like an institution, a part of the national culture, it’s something that I’ve grown up with and it’s always been there. I wore Bonds as a child and I still wear Bonds. And it’s very progressive of Bonds to include my family as we are a same-sex couple with a son. This inclusion I find very touching as it really shows how far Australia has come in acceptance of diversity.
What has fatherhood taught you so far?
I’m a changed man from fatherhood. You try to become the best version you can of yourself. Patience, self-sacrifice, understanding. I found the first 10 months difficult as it was such a shock to my lifestyle and when you have your first child at 50 you’re very set in your ways. But when you look into your son's eyes you just melt. I fell in love. I’d do anything for him, he’s just pure love to me. It’s incredible how far you push yourself to create a safe world for your son to be in, how much time you devote to his learning, how rewarding it is to nurture this beautiful little person.
What do you love most about being a Dad?
When Roman wakes up and looks at me and says “I love you, Papa." It’s that love that you receive from your child that’s the best thing about being a dad. It just washes over you in waves.
How do you balance fatherhood and your career?
I delegate! I have a team at Myer that work on my line as its exclusive to them and I trust them completely. You see having a child at 50 means that I’ve already had a career, I’ve done a lot of things and achieved much of what I wanted to in fashion. Having Roman actually forced me to step away from the non-stop grind of the fashion industry. I knew that this time wouldn’t happen again so I took time off to look after him. Now that he’s in daycare a few days a week I’m focusing on my art as well. He reopened that door for me! I felt creatively inspired to paint again, which I hadn’t had the time for working on fashion design. Children change you in many ways.
What is your best piece of Dad advice?
Spend as much time as you can with your child even when you’re exhausted because the sheer joy you experience in return is the best thing you’ll ever do in your life.
What’s your favourite thing about Bonds?
I’ve been wearing Bonds since I was a baby! I remember the craze for Bonds in the '90s when all the gay boys wore tight-fitting Bonds tees and singlets. I had dozens of them in every colour! The thing is that Bonds is a classic. The fit is great, the quality excellent and the price fantastic. They’re always moving it along a little and keeping it fresh and relevant. And of course, now we dress our son in Bonds - I’ve come full circle.
Growing up, did you always want to be a Dad?
Growing up as a gay man in the '80s and '90s, fatherhood wasn’t something that seemed a reality for my generation so I never even entertained the idea. When I met my partner, Aaron in 1999, he told me that he really wanted to be a father. He influenced me enormously towards the idea of parenthood and as we saw more and more same-sex couples having children globally we realised it was achievable. We struggled through a lot of personal hardships before we were at the right place in our lives to make fatherhood become a reality and so it was a long journey towards having our son, Roman.
In 3 words, what does family mean to you?
Love, togetherness, completeness.