When I started writing at It’s Conceivable just a few months ago, I thought the title of my feature, “Surviving My Wife’s Pregnancy,” would aptly articulate my role as the partner of a pregnant lady and perhaps I could provide some insight for other expecting non-bio moms. Title decided, I set out to write a survival guide on getting through the ups and downs of pregnancy (with a lesbian twist), because like I said before, What to Expect When You’re Expecting is really not written with lesbians in mind.
You may be familiar with the book and the companion smartphone app that provides daily updates on fetal development and little health and beauty tips for expecting parents. With this app (and another called The Bump), my wife and I have read some helpful articles and some pretty useless ones. Every once in a while, though, we both roll our eyes in reaction to the features sprinkled throughout titled “Just for Dad.” This man-centric advice geared to fortify first-time fathers really comes off as sensitivity training for clueless cavemen and is hardly adequate reading for the non-bio mom (probably inadequate for many intelligent, expectant fathers, too). My wife sometimes emails me an edited version of a dad feature with all the pronouns changed from male to female. I think that’s cute, but I really don’t need to be reminded to take up extra chores around the house. Nor do I need a reminder to take time out of my busy schedule to spend time with my children like I would a business meeting or golf outing.
If I could reinvent this smartphone app and tailor it to suit my needs, I would include some helpful and timely advice for non-bio moms like me. During the first trimester, I’d receive a heads up about how my pregnant wife will probably sleep A LOT and in the meantime, I should seek out support from friends and family so I don’t feel so lonely in her absence. After the first trimester is finally over, I’d receive some advice about how easy it is to gain weight if I continually participate in the unhealthy food habits my pregnant wife tends to enjoy (such as mint chocolate chip ice cream, oreo cookies and hot cocoa for dessert EVERY night). Halfway through the pregnancy, I’d get a reminder to call a lawyer to begin the process of 2nd parent adoption with advice on what to expect, what questions to ask and maybe even a list of lawyers in my area. Also, I would get some home improvement tips since I’m a DIYer and have been busy fixing up the nursery and baby-proofing the house like a crazy woman (which is surely a sign of nesting). And, whether it’s hormonal, women’s intuition or just the close bond between my pregnant wife and me, my expectant lesbian mom smartphone app would have some scientific commentary to explain why I now get all vakklempt during the Pampers and Hallmark television commercials (because I normally could care less).
Anyways, I didn’t write a smartphone app, but I have this blog. And contrary to what I thought in the beginning of this experience, I haven’t been struggling to “survive” my wife’s pregnancy but striving to savor it. As my wife delightfully sails through the halfway point in her pregnancy, the experience has been utterly amazing so far. If there’s a survival aspect to any of this, it’s me trying to survive my own self and figuring out the adjustments I need to make in order to provide a safe and loving environment for our two little girls.
Regarding my pregnant wife, she hardly complains and is even self-admittedly “annoyingly pleasant.” This is rather surprising because among family and friends, she’s known for being vocal about things that are bothersome like physical ailments and improper etiquette on public transportation (check out her Twitter feed sometime!). Ok, to put it bluntly, she’s sort of a complainer, which is why I imagined that I’d have a lot of fodder for this survival guide I’ve been cooking up. But, the bigger her belly, the more swollen her feet, the more delightful she becomes, exclaiming, “rub my belly!” and “help me take off my socks!” or “get me some chocolate milk!” Not to mention, she was incredibly impervious to morning sickness during her first trimester. She did have a lot of queasiness, bloat and exhaustion but she never once barfed. Even now, when sleep is fleeting due to discomfort and heartburn, she’s still generally upbeat.
Like any doting parent-to-be, I’m just trying to take it all in. I run across the room to feel every twitch and kick when my wife says, “the babies’ are moving!” I greet the belly, say goodbye to the belly, read to the belly, play music for the belly, kiss the belly and spoon the belly at night (if the pregnancy pillows allow it).
As we get closer to the big day, I keep my fingers crossed that things continue to go this smoothly for both my wife and our two little girls. We visit our doctor every other week and so far, the babies are doing well and growing wonderfully on schedule. I think the four of us are “surviving” just well.
You can see more ultrasound photos and the occasional belly shot at our blog, www.letsbemoms.com.