Saturday, March 17, 2012

Thoughts on having babies.

It feels (subjectively, of course!) like its been forever since I began dreaming of having children.  Realistically, it's been several years, but most of the years before active dreaming I always knew it was something I would have.

I just had to go and throw a wrench into the works by falling utterly in love with a woman, instead of a man.  Things certainly would be easier if my partner manufactured sperm!  And less expensive, that's for sure.

However, that isn't how it worked out.  I think the "lesbian aspect" of our relationship may have delayed our journey to parenthood a bit, but probably not a ton.  Bigger and more importantly than saving up money to buy sperm and potentially fertility treatments was the ability to earn enough money to support a child, and then children.  Food and diapers and clothes and childcare and all the new expenses that come with creating new life.  People may remark about how expensive buying sperm surely must be (yeah, it is) or how impressive it is that two young ladies such as ourselves (really?  We're 25, I don't really think we qualify as "young parents" anymore) managed to save up enough money to buy sperm in order to GET pregnant, and then continue to support ourselves throughout pregnancy and prepare for baby's arrival.  Well sure, if you want to think of us as impressive, I'm not gonna stop you.  We are pretty great; just ask us.

I don't have any illusions that we've got everything figured out.  Quite to the contrary, we've been adapting our visions of parenthood this entire time.  It's an ever-evolving paradigm shift, and sometimes rolling with the punches is the only way to move past a set of ideals I've held in my mind since I was a teenager.

The TWO MOMS?! consternation was a big one to get over.  Frankly, it still is.  It's probably easier for me to learn to change my ideas about what being a mom means than it is for others who haven't been forced to change their minds.  I've got the upper-hand there, certainly.  I have a huge amount of incredulosity (don't think that's a word) and awe for those people in our lives who have made the leap over to our side of the cliff, seemingly effortlessly.  After experiencing the denial that many express when told that we are a couple and having children together, it means all the more when there are people who accept us unconditionally as parents and as able to raise children together successfully.  Thank you, to everyone who is so wonderful and open-minded.

All that being said, now I'm working hard to realize that we're actually into the next stage.  The stage that was planned for, paid for, dearly desired, and at times seemed unattainable.  My wife is, for serious, pregnant.  And not even newly pregnant, at that!  She's sixteen weeks today, and definitely into her second trimester.  In only four weeks, less than a month, we will reach the halfway mark.  HALFWAY?!

Whoa, back up the baby bus there, sparky.  We can't be halfway, I'm still getting used to the idea that my wife is growing a human bean!  (Did you see what I did just there?  That's why my child will love me, because I'm friggin' hilarious.  And because it's in the rules.)

However entirely cliche it is to say, however many women before me and after me will remark the following, it DOES NOT make it less true:  I can't believe this is happening!  It's starting to get very real over here.

I have this way of thinking, maybe it's weird and unusual, I don't know.  If there is something, an event, a lifestyle change, a big trip, what have you, that I am highly anticipating and waiting for, I struggle to believe in its truth if I have never experienced it before.  If I cannot imagine what it might be like, if I cannot picture myself going somewhere or doing something, I feel that it must be doomed to fail or at least not happen.  How awful is that?  Trust me, I feel pangs of guilt over it frequently.

And the worst part is that it's utterly untrue!  After months of trying to conceive, all we knew were stark white pregnancy tests, empty uteruses (uteri?), and receipts of all the money we'd spent that cycle - knowing we would have had the same outcome if we'd taken all that money and flushed it down the toilet.  I began to believe that T getting pregnant would actually never happen.  I began to despair.  Until that one fateful day, that ridiculous little pink line showed up in the pregnancy test that both T and I dreaded her taking, fearing another BIG FAT NEGATIVE test.  It was certainly a most amazing moment.

After that, I let little fears and doubts seep in under the door.  What if it's a chemical pregnancy, doomed to fail from the start?  What if she miscarries?  And as more time passed us by, the fear of loss grew larger and larger to me because each day that ticked past was another day we grew more attached to the idea of that baby in T's uterus.  And each day, that baby grew and if something were to happen, I knew it would not only be emotionally painful but physically painful to lose that baby.

But regardless of all the negativity and fear I entertained solely in my own thoughts, here we stand.  Sixteen weeks pregnant, with a baby whose beautiful heartbeat I've heard twice already, with a baby whose first little flutters are beginning to be felt, and a mere two weeks away from the anatomy scan where we will get to see her or him for the first time.  It's another shift to make, from hoping this baby is going to stick around past that fearsome first trimester to now starting to honestly believe that this baby is going to join us in the world.  Her feet are going to make tracks in the earth in our front yard, his smile is going to be captured in a million different photographs, proving his existence.  The nursery we've had for two years is going to become the bedroom of our firstborn child, whom we haven't even met yet but who already has full possession of my heart.

I feel that although there are many roads to parenthood, it's likely that the vast majority of them converge here, where I stand now.  At this place of idealistic wonderment, of intense fear of not being good enough, of occasional continuing disbelief that this is what's next in my life.  It's oddly comforting, because I feel like I'm so very far away from being alone.  I'm walking the path that millions before me have tread... and yet, in some ways, each pregnancy and each birth and each child blaze their own trails.  As each one of us is unique, no matter how alike we may seem, no two pregnancies or births or children or families are exactly the same.

The only regret I have is that much of our society here in the States doesn't seem to understand that though I may be a woman who loves another woman, I have more similarities to everyone else than I have differences.


  1. I love this post. I can understand so many of your feelings, even if we're not where you are yet. And I didn't realize you were "only" 25 - my wife and I are 23, and want to try to get pregnant in about two years, but it seems like many of the other blogs I follow are from somewhat older families (not that that is bad, of course).

    1. I know what you mean; whenever I hear about lesbian couples who are trying to conceive, I'm surprised to discover they're "young" lesbians. I don't think it's the norm yet, but it looks to be headed in that direction. Mostly, I just feel fortunate to have found my wife when I did and that we're in a place that we can make this happen.
      And for what it's worth, I understand (at least some) of what you're experiencing now... trying to stop torturing yourself about getting to have a baby, lusting after every squeezable newborn you see, and generally feeling impatient. I had a significant "baby craze" about a year and a half to two years ago, myself, which indirectly led to our becoming a foster family. Which pretty much led to our discovery that hey, we can ACTUALLY do this. Let's have our own.
      I wish you the best of luck and patience in your journey, and I look forward to following along.

    2. That's where we are - I never planned to be married at just past 22, but, well, there I was, and there she was, the end. And yes yes yes! Hence my blog: I spend every day with kids, so much so that they do almost seem like mine. Good practice, plus income! I just keep trying to remind myself to treasure the moments I have, just V and me, and make sure I'm not letting them rush by in my mad dash to motherhood.

  2. I don't know when it starts to feel real. The other moms I know tell me that it doesn't even really sink in after the baby is born for a while, because it's just so crazy that you have a baby and it's yours and you get to keep it. I am, however, very excited for your flutters--and I can't wait until you get to feel them, too! I spent a lot of time on my stomach trying to get more of them early on (now the kid keeps me up at night, which is great!). Also, 25 seems like a very reasonable time to have babies--if my wife and I had met younger we would have been on that timeframe. I'm always shocked by the 21 year olds who want to get pregnant, but it's not because they're queer--it's because I can't imagine being 21 and not having a huge long list of stuff labeled 'to do before settling down', but clearly not everyone is the same.

    1. I do think the "holy shit this is real" is likely to be a continuing thing, probably just as much when they're born as when they turn one or five or fifteen or when I've got grandbabies. Just this morning T remarked to me that she really thinks 25 is the perfect age for having a baby. I agree that this point in our lives is a great one for childbearing, though I imagine that age is different for everyone!

      For me, I always was prepared to be a young parent because my parents married at 18 and had me when they were 21, but the idea of us being parents at age 21 is a bit frightening. Although I never really did have a "to do before settling down" list.

      I'm so excited for you guys; you're so close and I cannot wait for you to meet Prosper. Yay!

  3. Really happening!?! Yes... awesome... amazing... I wish I could be in T-town during this special time in your lives. I can't believe T is over halfway!!

    Oh, don't say 25 isn't young! I think I'll be pushing the envelope if and when it's my turn.

    1. Haha, of course I didn't mean that 25 isn't young, I just meant that it isn't *particularly* young for making babies. Many of our friends are 38, 39, 40, and 41 and are still making babies. Plenty of time. ;)

      And, just a technicality, T isn't halfway quite yet. Still a few weeks to go for that one.

      (AND... thanks. Thanks for being around, for reading, for knowing that this is important to me. Some things don't change, and I'm glad for that. And for you.)