A girl’s guide to fatherhood

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A few days after we got the ‘positive’ I went to the library and checked out roughly 58 million books about pregnancy. I couldn’t find any targeted toward queer parents so I grabbed some books about being a dad. For kicks, partly, but also because why not, right?

They’ve been kind of helpful in that they are full of tips for the non-pregnant partner: keep bathroom breaks short, try not to cook things that make the pregnant partner want to barf, and call an ambulance if she passes out but not if she’s merely dizzy.

But they’re also loaded with sex and gender stereotypes — men like gadgets and tools, women like to not feel fat; men are authoritative, women will give in to Aunt Bertie when she scrubs up and storms the delivery room — that sort of thing.

And then there’s the sprinkling of entries in the ‘females is crazy’ category, such as:

Handling your pregnant partner can feel a bit like turning the crank on a Jack-in-the-Box at times. You are going about your normal business when suddenly, ‘Whap!’ A door opens and your partner has been replaced by a terrifying, screeching, crying, wobbling, bobble-head. It’s OK to laugh! It’s funny because it’s true.

It IS true! Just yesterday Sir Mixalot lost control of her neck muscles and grew suction cups where her feet used to be! At first she was upset (you know how those nutty females get), but then I said, “Ha, ha, you’re a screeching wobbling bobblehead!” And we laughed.

Week 7: so far, so good.

Ahem. Not that my lovely wife is entirely her usual easygoing self these days. (Indeed, reader, I now understand how it could be that “My wife is pregnant and hates me” is a top Google search recommendation.) But, I mean. Everybody acts stupid when their sex hormones get turned up. Maybe a book encouraging readers not to react to emotional stress by dehumanizing their newly pregnant partners would be more useful? Just a thought.

Annoying dad books aside, the emotional terrain is uneven, to put it mildly. Yesterday, for example, Sir Mix and I enjoyed an evening of domestic bliss, listening to records and cracking each other up and flirting over Bananagrams. But just hours before that, we had an epic argument that included, at one point, me crying face-down on the kitchen floor. Only when a big wad of snot dripped out of my nose and plopped onto the tiles did I realize I was probably overreacting. It’s funny because it’s true!

So yes, coming to you live from the tail end of week 9, I can say that we’re real excited and real nervous here at Chez Mixalot. But I figure it’s OK. We are trying to grow us a human, after all. Excuse me while I (joyfully) hyperventilate now.

One Comment

  1. Polly says:

    OKAY? All right?? That stuff right up in there! Man do I feel you, sister. I read virtually nothing (eight or nine years ago, when I was in your shoes), due to the repugnance of the sex and gender stereotypes and the presumption (in older, though less and less in more contemporary volumes) of incompetency on the part of male partners. I just couldn’t bring myself to pick out whatever useful stuff was there, for the narsty backwash taste of everything else. Thank heavens for Stephanie Brill & Rachel Pepper’s books (THE ESSENTIAL GUIDE TO LESBIAN CONCEPTION, PREGNANCY, AND BIRTH and THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO PREGNANCY FOR LESBIANS, respectively).

    Us gals and our profeminist male dad chums (who are legion, and growing) are going to have to change some of that “females is crazy” shite. Stories like yours here (lovin’ it!) make a huge dent.

    Also? Y’all have to Google “Couvade syndrome” if you were there lubricating the kitchen tiles with your goobers, sister. Good luck!

    Reply

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