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.