these days are long. the nights, as of late, incomplete.
i wake because i have to support your need to move inside me.
i have to hold you while i move to get us more comfortable.
i am so close to holding you in your human form.
having a family won’t solve life’s problems.
but meeting you will soon bring relief to the anxiety,
the end of this stage is near.
i may return to a resemblance of my former self,
and i will also be your parent.
you will be my child.
i will be with you,
showing you the world i know,
and getting to know the world through you.
your peace will bring me peace.
your love with bring me love.
in this last trimester, i am being reminded that i am currently partnered with a cis-male, my very first dating relationship with such a person. and due to being pregnant, and living with hormones and emotions associated with pregnancy, i fight with how it feels to be female (or be perceived as female) in this relationship.
take a mainstream straight women’s magazine, and open to an article about women who are pregnant, or have been pregnant, and read the responses when asked how their male partners behaved/thought/acted during the last trimester - scared, irritated, alone, frustrated, anxious, etc. yes of course there is excitement, but there is also not so pleasant feelings mentioned more than the pleasant ones.
that is finally what my partner admitted to feeling to me. while it was a relief that he used his words to tell me how he has been/was/is feeling, the situation instantly made me feel like those articles in the women’s magazines. we are experiencing very real hetero-normative coupling issues.
i admitted to feeling alone, and misunderstood, and of course i’m nervous and anxious too. but i have each day to work through this having the baby inside my body - and because of this - exactly why i have feelings of being alone.
i’m not the same person while pregnant, and my greater consciousness can recognize that there are feelings and emotions happening outside of myself. i miss who i was before being pregnant. i want to have my body back and to be the person i was. i’m ready to no longer be pregnant. he reminds me often that he is also excited for me to be the cameran he remembers too.
'it's a hard pill to swallow.'
understanding that our relationship - while it started on its own and became emotionally attached on its own before my pregnancy - has mostly formed as a result of the pregnancy, just adds to these feelings of being alone. that i did something wrong and that i am to blame for his life not being where he wanted it to be, or with who he wanted it to be.
i’m beginning to hate that i love this guy, and that i still feel as though i’m in love with him, because i still think it’s going to be safer for me if i could accept the role of teammate and co-parent, sometimes lover. i don’t feel like i’m his girlfriend, or his relationship partner, lately. that’s definitely making me sad.
soon i’m going to be far more responsible for the survival of a human being, and i spend a lot of my planning energy on how this person is going to grow. how my influence will show me how this new life is maturing.
to be obvious, i’m conceptual. i think in bigger pictures until i’m able to pick a scene and fill in the details. i think about who i’m going to be as a parent, as a person, how i can better myself for the enrichment of this life my choices brought into this world.
i was reminded that i chose this, and based on my decision- about my body and what it’s capable of- other people have had to make decisions they would never needed to consider if i chose differently. their lives are forever changed by my choice.
i finally received a book i ordered ‘642 things to write about.’ each day i’m making myself write one entry, and within the space provided. odd self restrictions i think sometimes. i would love to cultivate a person not afraid to write, motivated to write, and enjoy writing. a person who loves words and can at least understand numbers. i’m okay with the other way around, but i’m certainly a word oriented person.
yesterday i was very involved in the concept of poly family. that’s what i wrote about in my book today. my poly partnership was dissolving as i started having feelings for nhp. his poly partnership was just about to start and was put on hold because of my pregnancy. but pregnancy is temporary. i’m not going to have this life inside me much longer. parker is going to be very real, very soon. then, eventually, my life will resume as well. my partner’s body doesn’t have the restriction mine does. he’s ready for his other partnership to continue because the pause on his other partnership is very much attached to the pregnancy, not our child. after parker is born, my fog on the world around me due to the hormones and feelings i’m not used to having will be lifted. i’ll have a better sense of my life and i’ll be able to re-enter that life soon. is this being fair to his circumstances being different than mine or is it too much to ask for him to slow his down until i can have my life back too.
in the time that i’m not spending with my friends and future relationships, i meditate on the person i want to be for parker. i visualize and breathe through my labor, preparing for the acceptance of the pain i’m going to experience.
and then i’m snapped back to the queer person inside me, the one who never identified with these female organs in the first place, with what my body was capable of as a reproductive female of the species. but given the opportunity, i’m satisfying the curiosity of the experience. the end result of a family having always been important to me, i haven’t minded the discomfort and displacement i have felt while pregnant.
my body is doing what other women have done and are currently doing. last night was my massage and labor class. only two other mothers- to- be were there. one who is experiencing her first and the other who is having her second. the three of us were between 34-36 weeks. and i have purposely neglected finding other women who are pregnant to bond with. i certainly did not have much interest in the community of pregnant women. (i did however want the parent community - again, the goal was always present, i wouldn’t be pregnant for very much time.) being pregnant however, has put me solidly in the female community. in the community greatly affected by the politics of our bodies, especially as it relates to reproductive rights! geesh!
i still don’t feel female. it’s not part of my identity. it is solidly a part of my experience though. being with only the two other mothers- to- be surely put me in a place all my own. i did not identify with these women. just have something in common with them.
not only am i growing a life inside me, but i am growing as myself. i have to keep in mind that i am working this out every day.
i’m doing a great job.
now that my partner is home, and we’ve had time to get to know each other again, it has felt like starting over, getting to know someone we thought we knew. we put ourselves on hold while he was in alaska because we didn’t have the time and opportunity to talk about the changes we each were going through.
we had such limited time before he left. the time we had with each other prior to learning i was pregnant wasn’t very long. then we only had a month together while i was pregnant to try and sort through what we could before he left.
i have this feeling that we’re starting over, shaking out the old thoughts and ideals and looking at our life together with new eyes, and with different hearts. who are we to each other other than friends, teammates, and co-parents to parker? how much do we differ from the memories we have of each other?
i’m a person who plans to continue the path of transition i was starting before i became pregnant - how do we teach parker who i am and who his father is?
i don’t feel so scared about this aspect of our family though. i have years of experience with gender and gender identity and non-conforming presentation and the language involved to feel confident in how we explain who i am to our child. i have the ability to give parker the tools they will need to explain their family to other people.
and we are going to be a poly family - parker will have parents who are in relationships with other people. this concept is not unlike other families that exist, but i’m lacking in community with these families. i’ve been the person dating a parent who identifies as poly - they dated more than one partner. i wish i still had that outlet to talk with them about how their families started as poly.
it’s a struggle to remind myself of how i wanted to live my poly life now that i have very different feelings and hormones coursing my body.
i have a tendency to push away from strong emotions i’m feeling, to push my partners away in order for me to get a handle on these emotions - this is not what i want to do anymore. i want to express how i feel and to address my concerns. i admit i totally got wrapped up in this ideal family model of parents who want to be monogam-ish with each other and have a nuclear family that way - which is absolutely outside of how i lived my pre-pregnancy life.
it’s not what my partner and i had agreed on. what we wanted when we started dating is still very much what he wants, and that is my struggle to overcome now that my emotions have changed so much. it certainly isn’t jealousy that i’m feeling, but i’m feeling very protective over my future family. i’m struggling with not wanting to share our child with our other partners. i have this instinct that i want parker to know us as their parents before they know any partners we also date.
how much having a child can change… everything…
at the seven month mark and it’s becoming more and more realistic that i am going to push this baby out of my female parts in the very near future.i’ve always had language that referred to my sexual bits, but i really have no idea how to refer to the organs that are sustaining the life inside me. or the organs that are going to be used to push parker out.
anatomy is inherently biased. blah.
my partner is home now, and we are both very excited to meet our baby. i feel kicks and dancing almost all day long (we listen to a lot of music for parker to groove and riot to.) my partner jokes a lot that he can’t wait for me not to be pregnant anymore so we can go back to the sex life we enjoyed before baby development, but i remind him that once i’m not pregnant that means we have our child to prioritize. “oh right,” he says.
we’ve been chatting about how we’re going to be as parents and how we will deal with the stress of being new parents. i can’t say i’m the ‘planner’ type, but i am the type of person who likes to keep communication open and honest so we can not have silly unrealistic expectations.
at my last midwife appointment i was told to start thinking of a birth plan and i had to look at my birth partner for support. she has always been great at helping me put into words what i need and want and i’m looking forward to going to the next appointment with a little something to start with. while my relationship partner is a great person, i made an excellent choice for a birth partner who will help keep me focused and grounded during this adventure.
i’ve been taking care of my body from the beginning, and now i’m making sure that my core is in good shape for the impending labor. we got a pump for the yoga ball i have and have been looking into/ practicing labor positions with the ball.
i hurt my knee on a recent camping trip which has really impacted the positions i can comfortably get into and how long i can be in any one position.
hurting myself - for the first time ever - caused me to have my first full blown crying melt down while pregnant, as in on the sidewalk using my crutches trying to get to one of my appointments and losing it. seven months in and finally losing it isn’t too bad, but i can feel the frustration building that i’m not where i want to be. just trying to remind myself that i have time still.
now that my partner is home, we can finally have the conversations that have been put aside during his whole trip in alaska. not that i want to be having these conversations, but they are important because it’s about what our priorities are: with parker, with our relationship, with our other relationships. he knows that some of my fears about our poly relationship is that his family is going to be abandoned in order to spend time with his other partner. he reassures me that this will not happen, but the fear is still there.
there is also this disconnect that i don’t have another partner to consider spending time with. my first partner is our baby and my own need to keep myself healthy and stable for the health of our baby. but here he is not being as attached as i am, and therefore being able to have his other partner as a priority in his life.
who am i to tell him to disregard this other person in his life?
so i may not have been super great at belly tracking, but here is definitely an update worth sharing.
i love that i did my hair and makeup, and felt like i was in drag, but still had to wear my suspenders and boy shorts underwear. there’s definitely more to come with photography shoots while i’m pregnant.
this was passed around on facebook today, and i’m very happy that the person i first saw this from is queer. because there are a lot of people who have this notion that queer people have no use for women’s health rights. i just don’t understand how that thought exists. there is so much more to women’s health than birth control.
i then shared this on facebook, and challenged the male identified of my friend’s list to share this, in support of the female identified people in their lives.
(my disclaimer here is that i am female bodied, and so my history of women’s health is from this perspective.)
at my recent midwife appointment, i was given a prescription for a breast pump. i was a little confused, but then i was told that as of august 1st, obama’s healthcare plan allowed for this to be a covered item under insurance. great. as someone who plans to breastfeed, i really appreciate that.
so, i also have a vagina, and a uterus, and ovaries. and breasts. so these body parts need to be taken care of. i would expect that someone with a penis, scrotum, testes, prostate will also be taken care of. but my instinct tells me men’s health is typically covered already.
i do hope that anyone woman identified is excited for this day though. women have been given a chance to have more access to health care now. i hope this includes you too. let me also ask now what is trans health. because as someone who is not transitioning at the moment, and has postponed a medical transition, i don’t know what is included as routine for trans health coverage. what is preventative and routine care for trans men and women?
i have had a guest in my house who openly identifies as trans, and a woman, a dyke, a punk, a doodler, illustrator, et al. we had a discussion the other night about our identities and plans for the body that makes us happiest, and how we’ll identify that body.
i don’t want my tits, and i anticipate that i will take low dose testosterone at some point in my future to transition in a very slow manner, but that is simply not the most important part of my future. not having tits is. i’d also love to no longer have ovaries, and remove the other organs i won’t be needing after parker is done using them.
i am gender non conforming, and i will be. that is my identity. i may want to switch to a male identity, and male pronouns, but i’m really okay staying with ‘they/them.’ at the very least, i have been both. so if i decide to just focus on presenting and passing as one, i want to recognize who came before.
speaking of pronouns, recently many people in my life have defaulted to a certain pronoun for parker. i’ve let it go, and haven’t been correcting anyone. i’m not really sure it’s my battle for the moment.
i want people to use ‘they/them’ when referring to me, and i want to allow for the chance to parker to express themself as soon as possible. until that time comes, i know i will be projecting my own preferences onto parker. and people around me will be susceptible due to our gendered history to project a pronoun onto parker. parker is going to be a baby. let them be a baby. let them have an uncomplicated life. let parker live, and survive, and thrive.
my super close lovely rainbow pirate sister, and birth partner besides nhp, has been deliberating this thought about a community school. she approached me last night about this idea of me being involved in an instructional/adviser role. i thought about it more once we left, but i thought how it would be great to be involved in an alternative family kind of way. lots more to think about on that one.
how do you refer to a human being - whose sex is undetermined due to the status of still being in utero, whose gender won’t be determined for quite some time, and who is a singular entity in utero??
why yes, my solution was in fact to project my pronoun preference - they/them - onto my baby but alas, almost every single person has this reaction:
"YOU’RE HAVING TWINS?!?!?!?!"
no, i simply refuse to call my sex-ambiguous, gender-undetermined baby ‘IT.’ and just because i don’t want to find out prematurely what the sex of my baby is, does not mean that i should project a non-gendered noun/object type word or a singular gendered pronoun onto this baby.
i have a human growing inside me, and the simple fact that this human can survive the outside world at this stage of pregnancy certainly solidifies their identity as human and no longer ‘IT.’
why call parker ‘HE’ before i know if that’s the proper pronoun? or refer to parker as ‘SHE’ because i think a girl named parker is rock-star-in-the-making?
first, how many people are comfortable with gender ambiguity? gender non conformity? gender neutrality?
and second, who even knows that linguistics - who have a focus on trans-sexuality and transgendered identity - have determined what the singular form of gender neutral pronoun to be: ‘ZE’ and ‘HIR’?!?! (pronounced ‘zee’ and ‘here’)
unless you are a part of these communities, you have likely no exposure to knowing this pronoun set of ‘ze/hir’ exists. and maybe, you may have overheard that people who identify in the gender non-conforming community will have a tendency towards the ‘they/them’ pronoun preference? but the grammar/syntax of using ‘they/them’ just confuses you too much so you don’t get it and therefore don’t use this preference when talking of the gender non-conforming people?
here’s an idea, refer to all of us as humans, as persons, rather than label us with a gendered noun or pronoun. if every one was always a human being or a person, where would gendered language fit anymore?
do you get why some of us choose the ‘they/them’ pronoun when referring to ourselves? have you asked us? for me, it’s because i have masculine and feminine identities and rather than exclude both for the sake of singular neutrality, i embrace both for the sake of wholeness.
this is a frustrating moment for me, and yes, i have typed in a way that feels like a rant, and honestly, i have considered switching to the use of ‘ze/hir’ and risk people mishearing me and thinking i’m saying ‘he and her.’
but this isn’t what i want to teach the world about sex and gender. i want people to know that we have masculine and feminine within us. that our sex does not determine who we are, but that our choice of gender determines our gendered pronoun preference. that we are male and female. we are ‘they.’ we are ‘them.’
every time someone reacts to my use of ‘they/them’ regarding parker i’m simply having to calm their nerves and reassure them that i am not in fact having twins, but that i am having a single human being that i refuse to call IT. if they want to be inhumane and refer to the life inside me as IT, that is their choice, and one that i will disapprove of.
and when the birth announcements start to circulate, best believe the cards will say,
"WE HAD A BABY!"
a common symptom of pregnancy, they call it ‘pregnancy brain.’ whether i’m aware of it or not, my mind wanders and wonders about so many things related to pregnancy, birth, raising a child, what i’ve eaten today, what i’m supposed to do after work, how my partner is doing, how my friends are doing.. the list obviously can go off into everything that distracts me.
like tv show marathons on netflix. sometimes i just have to tune out and do something ‘selfish’ that isn’t keeping me on the track i’ve laid ahead for myself.
a few weeks back, when i was about twenty three weeks (i’m a little over twenty five now), i had my first visit with the other midwife in the practice i switched to. i really enjoy the company of both of the midwives, elias and tracy. i’m even okay with the students who participate in the sessions, every opportunity to learn is usually my thought.
thankfully, we talked about everything on my list as well as everything on hers. i did have to walk back after walking a few blocks because we both absent-mindedly forgot to get my blood drawn. it was entertaining for all of us. sex and gender identity included. i introduced her to parker, and introduced cameran. my next appointment is with elias, and then i’ll have the full spectrum of the practice to feel comfortable with.
and once i left my session, i pretty much left with the understanding that parker and i are doing fine. i’ve now realized that i took that as a chance to take a few weeks off from the constant thoughts of something being ‘wrong’ that precedes every appointment i have.
i had a friend back from out of town i was going to spend time with, a camping trip to prepare for, and a marvelous mother of two who had collected baby gear for me that i needed to pick up. oh, and that show i got sucked into. thank goodness it was only three seasons!
yes, there is always the health of me and my little person inside me that i’m thinking of, and preparing that i’m doing, but not consciously.
i went camping, and camped like my pre-pregnant self would. i didn’t go on hikes because i do a lot of urban hiking and wanting my camping trip to be more of the relaxing with my feet up type of trip. at least this trip. however, i learned that i might need more than a thermo-rest and a sleeping bag to be comfortable. i will definitely need to pack plenty of snackable items and have a game plan for taking on the multiple trips to a bathroom station that will only be getting worse as this baby is getting bigger.
so i wondered, how big are we? a preoccupation i had for about the first twenty one weeks definitely hit a plateau once i hit the number twenty. i knew most of the major development of a baby had finished, and that we are basically getting bigger. i like this ‘week by week’
so i can see where the baby is in relation to my body - a somewhat important part of my coping with pregnancy. and of course the computer simulation is pretty neat. this one, the ‘21-27’ video, made tears form.
tears because i was amazed at what i saw in the simulation. that we are getting bigger and what parker is doing inside my abdomen all day. i’ve also had to look up what getting my bladder kicked/punched/bumped into felt like - so i could compare what i was feeling to what other moms said. i felt like i had detached since my twenty three week appointment, i had lost my sense of time for how this person is growing.
a previous partner last night sent me a txt asking how transition fit into my pregnancy. i guess since we stopped seeing each other we hadn’t really talked about much. so i told him my plans and then he reminded me about the perks of a diaper service for the first year.
camping, even the camping outdoors and relaxing, did take a toll on my body. sleeping on a thermo-rest is cool for my pre preggers self, but not for preggers. i was in a fair amount of discomfort this weekend that i think contributed to the headache that has left me laying down for most of today so far.
but i’m not the lay down all day kind of person. so at some point today i’ll keep working on recovering the glider chair and ottoman i got from a friend, get my hairs trimmed maybe, and get some food. maybe the falafel gyro i wanted last week.
most of my time lately has certainly been consumed with finding a place fornhp, parker and myself to live - which we did in just the nick of time. the place we found was a tiny nice house that hadn’t been lived in much for a good amount of time. a perfect fixer upper type place for the traditional ‘nesting’ that accompanies pregnancy.
parker is moving a lot more, and i’m feeling the movements, which is reassuring. shows that they are growing. going to the ultrasound was really necessary for the escalating neurosis that was developing leading up to the appointment, which happens leading up to any appointment. i’m certainly in need of reassurance since i can be a little distant from my female parts.
after the ultrasound came seeing my doctor - which was my second appointment with this one. we chatted about what there was related to pregnancy, and then came his questions about my gender. he noticed my name change in my records, and my previous doctor had informed him that i had changed my name and that i am considering transition later on after the pregnancy. he was certainly supportive and recommended that i meet with a gay social worker in the clinic. we talked about how i made an appointment with a midwife that is covered by my insurance and that i’m likely going to switch now that i’ve gotten to okay about parker’s growth and health.
which, i am officially moving to this midwife. he’s queer, sees queer clients, is also a naturopath who sees babies up to adults, and even has a reputation for helping people through transition. i couldn’t be happier with my appointment with him. what a blessing that 1-i have insurance and 2-he’s on my plan.
i’ve been wanting to update this for quite some time, but amazingly, the days feel so long and then poof, so many have passed by. next post is certainly going to be about how reactions have been since my ultrasound.
22 weeks based on measurements and calendar - within a week
*i actually trimmed the ultrasound to exclude parker’s genitals/pelvic area
as is typical with pregnancy, a lot really does happen over a short period of time, and you don’t really notice it until that time has past and upon reflection, you’re likewhoa.
i remember when i was growing up, and even until the start of this year before i became pregnant, that if i were to ever have a family, it wouldn’t be me physically bringing that family to life. and sure, i have definitely still been having those whoa, i’m actually pregnant in disbelief moments. but now, at somewhere around sixteen weeks, i’m not having as many of those moments anymore.
what i am having, are the i am with this baby twenty four - seven thoughts. there is no escaping for another twenty four weeks. every moment i am present with my body and now as the baby is big enough to move around and make contact with my organs, i am feeling that life inside me. i can never forget who i am living with.
i am being consumed by:
thoughts of doing what i need to in order to take the best care of us before parker is born,
raising parker to understand the world they live in and how to make it a better place,
all the nuances of birthing choices and medical care,
looking for and going to see two-bedrooms for the three of us to live without my boyfriend to look at them with me,
figuring out what we’re going to want for parker’s room and for our comfort as parents,
being comfortable in my gradually growing body,
the future of my poly relationship with my boyfriend and how parenthood is going to manifest itself in that relationship.
i have my friends, but i am also alone. he is working and focused on the life he has while he’s up in alaska. he is that much more detached from all that i am going through because he’s physically further away from the pregnancy. if he was here, he’d have his distance by the very nature that the baby is inside me,not him. but he would be with me, and we’d have some shared experiences.
which brings me back to the idea of family i have always had. if my partner and i decided to bring a life onto this planet, i had planned to be the one who witnessed, who had physical distance, who had time away from the all consuming feeling of oncoming parenthood, who only needed to be the support my partner needed.
and i am totally the one needing support.
i can see how quickly and easily a pregnant person can slip into co-dependency/ dependency on the partner. when i first told nhp i was pregnant, i told him all he has to do is be upfront and honest with me about not wanting to be a part of parker’s life and i would let him out. i would support him as a friend and the choices he needed to make for his own life. now that he’s offered me his commitment to his family, i haven’t imagined taking care of parker without him. why would i want to?
because i want to be the strong self-sufficient person i have been all along. i want to prove to myself that had he made that choice to walk away back then, that i make the choices that show that i can do this on my own.
i came across some online articles about the recent families who have decided not to disclose the sex of their babies in hopes of raising them as gender neutral - as they defined it.
it takes families like these to begin the process of changing our western culture to introduce the ideas of how we can change our views of gender. there is more than the dichotomy of male and female that we force on to everyone in this culture. simply look at the history of other cultures as well as how even other cultures currently view gender.
what gets me about the articles/commentary i read is that the writers passed judgment on these parents as if they are avoiding teaching their children what gender is.
it is up to the parents to decide what gender neutral means to their family and how they teach gender to their children. did the writers even ask what their lessons were? or did they just focus on their opinions and own gender conformity issues? i think that’s more accurate from what i read.
i’m not trying to avoid the topic of gender with my child. i do not plan to confuse our child about what their parts are. i will also be telling them what society expects of them based on what those parts are and how they should dress or identify because of them.
my child can be whoever they want to be, regardless of what parts they have. and that is the point of raising a gender neutral child.