It’s HAPPY HOLIDAYS – Thoughts from a Non-Christian on The Verge of Parenthood

I feel like most people who know me already know this – but just in case – I am not a Christian. I have a great deal of respect for many Christians, and I actually find the Christmas story to be kind of poetically beautiful, but I myself do not believe in either a virgin birth or a messiah in human form.

What I am, and what I do believe, is a little harder to explain, and this post isn’t really meant to be about that. I’m some kind of Eclectic Pagan with Humanist leanings and Buddhist inclinations and a dash of wandering Agnosticism. My wife and I regularly attend a Zen Buddhist temple, and celebrate pagan holidays together. We celebrate Christian holidays such as Christmas with our extended families (not all of whom are religious) because we love our families and the togetherness such time affords us. We’re still working out how we will explain all of this to our child, which I suspect is an issue that most people who don’t simply follow the faith of their parents and grandparents deal with.

Yesterday was the Winter Solstice, also sometimes known as Yule. It is from (several different) older Solstice celebrations that many of our modern day Christmas traditions originate. The Winter Solstice is the shortest day, and longest night, of the whole year (although not of the history of the earth!) and as such it is an important turning point – as of today, the hours of daylight are getting longer again, gradually building towards another spring and summer, even though it won’t feel like it for a long time. As someone who believes that marking the seasons is deeply important, it is one of the most important – even one of the holiest – days of my year. My household lit up our evergreen tree (we named him Radagast, after endless debate), got out a few candles, made spiced cranberry cider, and invited over all of our friends and chosen family for dinner.

Except, most people couldn’t make it. To them, this was just another party, and a party only four days before another holiday. They were extremely busy getting ready!

***

merrychristmas
(image text: IT’S NOT HAPPY HOLIDAYS / IT’S MERRY CHRISTMAS / SHARE to AGREE!!!)

I work in retail. When at work in December, I always make it a point to wish people “happy holidays!”

And there are people in the world, some of them are people who I deeply love, who pine after the days when they never would have had to hear such a thing. There are people who wish that every cashier cheerfully said “merry christmas!” as they rushed out with their shopping. There are people who imagine that some people’s refusal to do this is eroding tradition, attempting to be “politically correct” for no reason, insulting Christians, or even ruining Christmas.

But I wish people “happy holidays” because I realize that there are many other holidays in December, including Yule, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, New Years, and some years Ramadan. I don’t assume that every stranger that I meet is a Christmas celebrating Christian, because inevitably some of them are not, and so I go with “happy holidays” not to disrespect Christians, but to respect everyone regardless of their beliefs or holidays observances. As a religious minority myself, I know a little bit about how it feels to be forced to fit one’s entire life in December around the march of Christmas, it can be exhausting and painful to be constantly told that your religion, your holiday, your celebration, is secondary. In today’s world, Christmas still reigns supreme. Public school children can be assured that they will have Christmas and Christmas Eve off for winter break no matter what, but those who celebrate other winter holidays may have to fit their family parties in after school. And, in an example of just how awful this can get, a Councilperson in Massachusetts didn’t see anything wrong with announcing “Jesus is the reason for the season” at a menorah lighting ceremony.

In the supposedly “good ol’ days” when Christmas reigned supreme, religious minorities were often shunned. I don’t have any interest in going back to that, and I sincerely hope that my Christian friends and family members aren’t secretly wishing they could have the opportunity to shun me. In a season that is so much about love and togetherness, peace and harmony, the tendency to exclude others for being slightly different bites even harder than usual.

***

All of this is weighing particularly heavy on me this year, I suspect because I literally cannot stop thinking about next year. With the pregnancy affecting every aspect of my life in a physical and undeniable way (I was able to help with dinner last night, but halfway through had to hand over the reigns or risk having a puke on the chickpea burgers, I enjoyed the spiced cider but it made my pregnant-person-heartburn way worse, as I get larger even walking feels different) my mind keeps wandering to “when we do this all again next year, I will be a mother.”

That means finding a way to transport a baby to two different grandparents’ houses for two different Christmas celebrations. It means we will most likely be gifted “baby’s first Christmas” ornaments for our tree, and we will probably make the “baby’s first Yule” ornaments ourselves. It means showing off our child to relatives we don’t see as often as we’d like, and it means cuddling that child by the fire on the longest night of the year. I’m looking forward to all of it, but I’m also feeling tender.

I don’t need my child to grow up to believe all the same things as me, but I do want to share some of my favorite things with my child. I think that’s a normal impulse for any parent. And the same way that it is important that we show our child that we are not ashamed of being a queer family, I think it is also important that we show them that we are not ashamed of being a non-Christian family.

And so, the evergreen in our living room. This year I am making a point to follow my convictions and call it a Yule Tree, and to correct anyone who refers to it as a Christmas Tree.

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(Yule Trees, 2012-2014)

***

A few close friends did make it over last night, and of course we had our house family to celebrate with. It is nice to be in a space that feels warm and inclusive, even if that space isn’t the whole world.

I’m not sure how to articulate my beliefs to my child yet, but I know that standing up for them is a good start.

And so, from the very bottom of my heart, happy holidays, whichever holidays you celebrate.

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It’s The EXPERIENCE – First Trimester

Sometimes, I rediscover blogs I used to read and have, for whatever reason, sort of forgotten about. The other night that happened, and I ended up in bed, on my phone, reading about another person’s less that idyllic early pregnancy experience.

It got me thinking. I started this blog partly because, despite my best efforts, the first trimester was extremely isolating. I wanted to be one of the brave souls actually talking about the hell that so many of us go through in those first weeks of pregnancy. But then, I was so sick, and had so little energy, that I didn’t manage to actually start writing until things were looking up a little bit for me. At the risk of being thought of as melodramatic, it’s much easier to write if you can sit up. And it’s been much easier and more comfortable to focus on looking forward to the baby, and to rant about gender, and I think I’ve even become a little bit embarrassed about that whole first trimester thing. Can’t we just put it behind us?

No. We can’t.

***

I wrote before that I always wanted to be a mother. That’s true, but it isn’t the only true thing about me and this wild ride I’m on. It glosses over a bit and with a near perfect smile says “well, I always knew I’d be a mom, one day…”

Another truth is that I have spent a good part of my life fascinated by and fixated on pregnancy and birth, both as scientific functions of a certain kind of body, and as emotional experiences. This is not to say that my interest in the physical act of gestation followed by birth supplanted my interest in motherhood – I don’t really think it did. But. I particularly wanted to be pregnant. I wanted the experience. I saw it as a great challenge, a fascinating adventure, and an excellent opportunity for personal growth. So today is about all of the personal growth I have been doing during this magical experience.

My fixation on gestation is one of the main reasons we, my wife and I, never really had the “who will carry our sought after child?” conversation that so many relationships with four X chromosomes and a desire for children must have. I would. Duh. I had this weird deep need to experience this thing, and felt (and yes, I realize this sounds far fetched) that the only possible way for me to ever fully self actualize was to Do This Thing. Chelsea, on the other hand, carried none of these weird associations and obsessions (at least not about the physical act of reproduction) and instead sensibly thought that it all just sounded like rather a lot to go through. She knew shortly after we met about my motherhood aspirations. While we were still DATING she bought me a zine compilation of birth stories for my birthday. I read it and cried. I couldn’t wait for my turn.

Despite all of my feminist leanings, I felt that this very much was what my body was for. I believed in my body, I believed it was ready, had been ready. It would take the torch and run with it. And so, almost a year after our wedding, we started trying. And to my intense relief, my body did take the torch. I conceived quickly. We told everyone, despite social conventions saying we ought to wait.

ourtest

And then, reader, I got sick.

So what has the experience of pregnancy been like? In my experience it is mostly sitting up quietly in bed next to my wife at three in the morning, holding my iPhone in my teeth so I can use it as a light while I try to stab a straw into a juice boxes correctly. Juice boxes have saved my life. It is discovering that there are actually at least 18 different kinds of nausea and maybe 5 or 6 distinct ways to vomit. There’s vomit in your mouth a little and swallow before you realize what you’re doing, vomit in your mouth a little and swallow WHILE REALIZING EXACTLY HAT YOU ARE DOING AND CURSING YOURSELF FOR BEING SO GROSS, there’s vomiting a tiny bit on the sidewalk next to planned parenthood and then immediately feeling famished and eating a muffin as fast as you can, there’s vomiting that breaks over you like waves and forces it’s way through you until you are shuttering and crying, there’s vomiting through your nose, there’s vomiting INTO your nose but it gets stuck because your nose is plugged up. There’s probably more.

I have an honest-to-goodness-phobia of vomiting. Like, on most days it is the worst thing I can imagine happening to myself. Like, I’m 29 years old and I’ve been drinking socially since I was 19 and not always in responsible moderation, and I still have never been so drunk I puked. I have a laundry list of “tricks” to avoid vomiting, and they mostly work. I’ll do basically anything.

I started having extreme nausea at 4 weeks, 2 days pregnant. That’s a touch early. In two more weeks, I’d started puking in small amounts once in awhile at odd times. By seven weeks, my life was a blur of bad feelings that I wasn’t sure how I was making it through, but I was, somehow, making it. Right after that was when I got literally, way to sick to work. I called in, hoping it was a one time thing, but it got worse. I was literally afraid to walk down the stairs in my house because it would so often trigger a bad bout of vomiting. I couldn’t go into my kitchen. Soon after that, showers became impossible without a major puke session followed by dry heaving. Eventually, I just stopped getting out of bed.

That’s hard to write. I stopped getting out of bed. I was exhausted, any movement or any smell made the (always intense) nausea worse. I was afraid of being out of reach if my trusty puke bowl. And yes, before you ask, I tried whatever it is you’re about to suggest, so please just don’t.

I was completely isolated and cut off from nearly everyone in my life (excluding the people I live with, and my mother, who was the only person who didn’t seem alienated by the level of my sickness, as she’d been quite unwell in her pregnancies). I wanted to reach out, but I couldn’t. There was literally no space left in my brain for dealing with anything except for the physical discomfort. And when I did talk to other people, they would ask. They would ask “aren’t you excited????” and I would just stare straight ahead. This wasn’t the magical journey I wanted to be on.

Eventually it started to ease up, but so slowly that it was hardly noticeable. I would have “good days” (days where I could make it all the way downstairs at least once) followed by multiple “bad days” (days where my stomach was such an churning and aching mass of pain that leaning over in bed was scary). I’m still not where I want to be. Last week I texted my lovely wife at work to announce that it had been four whole days since I’d puked my guts out.

***

So what have I learned? It isn’t as pretty as I wanted it to be. I think I’ve learned that independence is a sham, that I was never as self sufficient as I wanted to imagine I was. Before I met Chelsea, I imagined that I would most likely be a single mother, and now I laugh at that, because there is literally no way I could have made it through the last three months without help. I’ve learned to encounter my own helplessness. At first I thought I’d learned to be less ashamed, but honestly, it doesn’t feel that way. It just feels like powering through the shame because there simply isn’t another option.

And then, one day, I felt something that I thought was the baby moving. And then I was sure. And then I learned that some experiences can be wholly horrible and wholly beautiful at the same time.

Six Reasons For Not Knowing, And One That Doesn’t Matter

Earlier this week I wrote about why making gender assumptions about fetuses (and in particular, the fetus that is currently residing in my uterus) bugs me, and especially about my least favorite phrase used in that way – “what you’re having.”
It was a pretty good time.

Right now, I just want to take a quick minute, and list a few of the reasons we will in fact, not be finding out what we’re having prior to the birth of our child. Ready? Let’s go!

1. As mentioned in Monday’s post, literally the only thing we can find out from an ultrasound is “can you see a penis?” Considering the fact that this *highly scientific* method of determining sex is sometimes not 100% accurate (sometimes, the penis is there, but they don’t see it, for example) and is almost never accurate in the case of intersex children (your ultrasound tech is going to tell you “boy” or “girl” and be done with it, if your child is somewhere in between no one is likely to notice until the birth, and in some cases not even then) we’d just…. rather not.

2. We don’t actually need to know. Since we’re not planning on buying our child all pink things or all blue things based on their genitalia, finding out what kind of genitals our kid has (or, rather, seems to have) won’t actually help us prepare for their arrival in any way.

3. We can’t actually count on everyone respecting our wishes with regard to gendered gifts for our child. I’ve seen this play out many times. Young, idealistic, parents inform friends and family that they’re hoping to go more gender neutral with regard to their baby’s clothes and nursery etc. Then they decide to go ahead and find out their child’s apparent sex anyways, because the technology is there and it is easy. Then they’re excited to know something, anything, about their kid, and end up sharing. Baby-shower time comes around, and maybe HALF of the gift givers respect their wishes. The other half all thought that just one pick dress wouldn’t be a problem! The unborn kiddo now owns like, fifteen pink dresses, a smattering of yellow and green items, and virtually nothing in colors considered “masculine” by the bizarre industry that sells us baby clothes.
The reality is, since the 1990s, the makers and marketers of baby stuff have been trying to convince us that the fact that there are no obvious differences between a dressed baby boy and a dressed baby girl means that they need completely separate wardrobes with zero overlap in order to more easily differentiate. And they’ve done a remarkably good job on people. Recently, while perusing some of the offerings big box store websites, I discovered that in many cases even the washcloths come in gendered sets, and a quick google search turned up how drastically differently they expect you to dress your baby, again, based on their genitals.

babyboy babygirl

I hate capitalism. But I also live in the world. I don’t have a ton of money, and I have relatives who are excited about a new baby in the family and want to buy stuff for said baby. Since we will, in fact, need stuff for this baby, we have no desire to refuse their generosity. And we don’t expect every single relative to have thought about how screwed up all this gendered baby marketing is. So, this one time in our child’s life, we actually have the power to stop them from receiving either “all girl gifts” or “all boy gifts.” If we don’t know our baby’s apparent sex, neither does anyone else, and they’ll have to find a way to think outside the boxes or ignore them, just this once.

(No, I’m  not sure how to manage this after the baby is born.)

4. We don’t need gender markers to bond with our child. I’m really into being pregnant, so I’ve been reading several weekly-pregnancy-update type things every week. It’s been sort of cool to follow along with the fetus’ progress as it does new and exciting things like peeing, and having fingerprints! As I get closer to the point at which the *very scientific* “hey can you see a penis?” test can be performed (I really hope y’all are picking up on my sarcasm here…) some sites are including some info about how to decide whether or not you want to know.
One of the biggest reasons listed for finding out the baby’s apparent sex is that many parents feel this helps them to bond with the baby. They can picture a little boy, or a little girl, and those associations help them feel more connected to their child before they meet them. Since we live in such a heavily gendered society, this makes sense. But my wife Chelsea and I have many friends and chosen family members who aren’t comfortable identifying as “men” or “women,” people who are trans, genderqueer, or genderfluid, and often identify as “other” or “in-between.” Because we love our friends, we’ve grown used to bonding with other humans without putting those humans into gendered boxes. And since we don’t plan to raise our child with rigid gender roles, we can imagine a lot of things about our child’s future (teaching them to read, taking them to the park, helping them learn to ride a bike, etc etc etc…) without having to picture a “boy” or a “girl” doing those things.

5. We have access to perfectly good gender neutral pronouns with which to discuss our baby. Many pregnant people hate thinking of the baby that they are growing and bonding with as “it.” That makes sense! In our culture, “it” is a pronoun typically reserved for objects and almost never used for people. After finding out the apparent sex of their baby, they’re able to refer to the child as “he” or “she” with confidence and ease. There’s nothing quite like seeing a quiet smile creep across an expecting mother’s face as she says, “awe, he’s moving around a lot today!”
But “he” and “she” are not the only pronouns in the world, or even in the English language. Many people use gender neutral pronouns such as ze, hen, and they. Personally, my wife and I tend to default to they when discussing our fetus, for the simple reason that we know more people who actively use they as a pronoun, so it feels more natural to us. Of course, every once in awhile we’ll casually refer to “they” or “them” and some eager person will go “oh my goodness did you say ‘they’? Is there more than one in there???” but usually confusion is minimal.

6. As far as we’re concerned, it’s the least interesting thing about our baby. I also got into this one in Monday’s post. But seriously, even if I do occasionally wonder about our baby’s sex and gender, it sort of pales in comparison to all the other wondering I do about this child. Will they be a picky eater (like I was, sorry mom)? What will their favorite color be? Will they be athletic (like neither of their parents, and what will we do if they are…)? What will their eyes look like? Will they be shy? How will they get along with our cats? Will they enjoy learning? Will they look like me? And how will I feel if they do? Will they be afraid of the dark? Will they want to be a parent one day?
There are all of these exciting and fascinating things, that we, as parents, get to learn about our child slowly, as we all grow together. I don’t feel terribly hung up on the one thing I can find out now.

***

And now, as an added bonus, here is one reason that did not play a role in our decision not to find out our baby’s apparent sex.

1. We don’t want to make it a surprise. The surprise is everything else. The surprise is life. What kind of genitals our child has may be among the first things we find out about them after they are born, but it isn’t this singular huge thing that we’re waiting in anticipation for. If anything, when I look forward to the birth, I’m hoping for one quiet moment where I can hold my child and let them just be a child, just be a person, without a ton of gendered assumptions (my own included) weighing them down.

On “What We Are Having.”

Because I have always wanted to be a mother, I’ve spent a fair amount of time reading parenting blogs and websites, even before we were close to trying to conceive. In fact, I once purchased a used copy of “Your Baby’s First Year” at a library book sale because it was only fifty cents and it seemed interesting. Hey, don’t judge, I like what I like. That book sat on my livingroom bookshelf, scaring away dates, for years.

One thing I have picked up on in all of my reading is that it seems ALL parents and parents-to-be, even the most straight laced and normal, are annoyed by the assumptions of others. Other people make all kinds of assumptions, about what your values are, about how you will parent, even about what your child/children will be like before they’re even BORN. It could be conservative relatives assuming that OF COURSE you’ll spank your kids, or it could be hippie friends assuming that you plan to exclusively cloth diaper… but it happens to everyone and it is exhausting for all of us.

And it starts, apparently, basically the second you announce that there’s a baby on the way.

***

Today I want to talk about one of my least favorite phrases, that has already been applied multiple times to the fetus I am currently growing, and the assumptions it relies upon.

Ready?

“What you’re having”

As in:
“Do you have any feelings about what you’re having?”
“So are you going to find out what you’re having?”
“Well, there’ll be a big surprise at the birth since you’re not finding out what you’re having!”

This gets under my skin. It gets under my skin even more than any other sex and gender related assumptions, even when they seem to have the same basic content (“So are you going to find out if you’re having a boy or a girl?” or “Do you know the sex of the baby?” are examples). Why does it bug me so much? Let’s unpack.

1. To phrase the question in what you’re having terms, the questioner is indicating that not only is my child’s gender excruciatingly important, it is in fact they’re single most important attribute. It’s their definition, it’s what they are. All of their other attributes are secondary to this first definition. All of the things that my wife and I sit around wondering and daydreaming about – Will our child be artistic? Will they be kind? Will they have brown hair or blond? Will they grow taller than us someday? – that’s all supplanted by this first question about what they are.
And yes, I realize that it’s a short hand for the “boy or girl” question, and that technically “what are you having?” is a shorter question than “are you having a boy or a girl?” But I don’t think anyone is actually in that much of a hurry, and I don’t think I’m reading too much into this. I think the way we shorthand this reveals something about the way our culture attempts to squeeze people into gender boxes as early as possible – in this case before they are even born. In this way of thinking, if our child is both artistically inclined and female, they are “an artistic girl” rather than a “female artist.”

2. It conflates sex and gender. This is actually true of the “boy or girl” style questions as well. While we aren’t planning to try to raise our child in a completely gender-neutral way (we’ll use gendered pronouns in accordance with their apparent sex, for example) we do recognize that sex and gender are NOT actually the same thing. Sex is biological, gender is social. Trans children exist. The fact is that while the majority of people are cisgender, it is entirely possible that we could assume we have a BOY and then find out when the child is six years old that actually, no, we have a GIRL who really needs us to respect her identity. If that happens to us, we hope to be the kind of parents who will rise to the occasion with love and compassion.

3. But it’s actually even worse than that, because this question is almost always asking about whether we’ll be looking for sex signs in an ultrasound. Look, do you know what an ultrasound can actually tell you about your baby’s sex? Whether or not they have a visible penis. That’s it. So not only are we talking about conflating sex and gender, we’re talking about assuming sex and gender based on the apparent presence or absence of ONE ORGAN. And I get that it is more often than not an accurate predictor, but just like trans people exist, intersex people exist. The fact is that there are many different ways for genitals to exist, and many different ways for sex and gender to exist.
I also feel like, as a cis-woman, this mode of thinking is insulting to me, because it’s saying that the only thing, or at least the main thing, that made me a girl is that I lacked a penis.

4. It assumes that whether or not our baby has a penis, and therefore our baby’s associated sex and assumed gender, is the most interesting to thing to us about our child. In actuality, it is one of the least interesting things to us. It will affect our child’s name and the pronouns we use for them (unless they ask us to use different ones, in which case we will comply the same way we do for our trans and genderqueer friends) and because we live in a patriarchal culture it will inevitably end up affecting how they are treated by the outside world. But it won’t affect whether we dress them in pink or blue, whether we give them dolls or trucks, or how much we love them. A couple weeks ago we had an early ultrasound. It’s too soon to see any external sex organs, but we did see two tiny fists, and for a brief second one stretched out into a little hand with five miniscule fingers. And THAT is a million times more interesting to me than what genitals our kid ends up with.

***

So what’s a queer mama to do? Afterall, this rage-inducing phrase is rarely uttered by people who are TRYING to upset me. It’s usually well meaning folk who simply haven’t taken the time (or haven’t had to) unpack their assumptions about gender. In their minds, they’re making a perfectly normal inquiry about something most parents are excited about. To make sure I’m being very very clear, I’m not upset at the INDIVIDUAL PEOPLE who use this phrase, I’m upset that it is so pervasive in our culture that otherwise thoughtful people use it without blinking. I’m upset at the realization that I’m only fourteen weeks pregnant, and I ALREADY can’t protect my child from gender essentialism.

Even my uterus is not a secure enough bubble to shield them from the assumption that what they have between their legs is WHAT THEY ARE. So how do I respond to kind-hearted, well-meaning, friends and family members who don’t realize that they are reminding me of something that fills me with both rage and despair?

“Well,” I say with a smile, “I just sure hope it isn’t another cat!”

kittennap

How Do You Make A Baby?

In the heterosexual, heteronormative, monogamous world where everyone is presumed fertile, that is supposed to be the simplest question in the world. It’s a question so simple and obvious as to be laughable. Unless the asker is a young child, it is assumed that everyone knows the answer, and that the answer is the same for everyone.

How do you make a baby?

Fortunately for me, I don’t live in that world.

When my wife and I decided that we wanted to become parents together, we, like most queer families, had more questions than answers. One of my favorite things about being queer is that it rarely allows you to rest on your assumptions, instead it forces you to put in the work, figure out what you really want, and go from there. So romantic relationships aren’t assumed to look and work a certain way, instead we talk it out. Family isn’t assumed to look and work a certain way, instead we talk it out. And yes, having a baby isn’t assumed to look and work a certain way, instead we roll up our sleeves, weigh our options, and talk it out.

So how do you make a baby?

Sometimes people – usually but not always straight people – will ask me about how queer women make babies. These are typically well meaning folk, people who try hard to be allies, who say things like “so, this is embarrassing, but I don’t actually know much about… how that works… can you explain it to me?” It’s a question I appreciate, but don’t really feel qualified to answer. I am not, nor have I ever wanted to be, a representative for queer women or queer babymaking.

“Oh,” I’ll find myself saying, “There are so many different ways, so many different options, I can’t really give you a good answer. But I can tell you how it works for us?”

How do you make a baby?

Well, we talked endlessly about what we wanted, why we wanted it, what our values were. We poured out all of our hopes and dreams. We walked under the moon. We prayed. We tried to imagine our lives as parents together and then realized we couldn’t imagine it and then tried to imagine it anyways. We tried to focus on having a strong family first, for us having a baby was not “starting a family” but “adding to a family.”
We started planting yearly traditions that we wanted for ourselves and hoped to one day share with a little one. We made a point to take romantic time to be with each other. We read a lot, and we wrote a lot down.

Oh, and we spent six plus months meticulously tracking my menstrual cycles. And we asked a friend who possessed the biological ability to make sperm if we could please have some of theirs*, seeing as how my wife and I didn’t possess any of our own. We then spent months discussing what that exchange would mean and what it would look like (our donor is not a dad, I would not have sex with them, our child would be conceived in the privacy of our own home if possible, etc).

When the time came, our donor came over to the little apartment that my wife and I were living in at the time. My wife and I went for a (nervous) walk while our donor deposited a sperm sample in a clean and dry salsa jar (it was Newman’s Own, pineapple salsa, which I feel like is relevant even if it isn’t). They texted us when they were finished, then they left, and my wife used a needless syringe (no one uses a turkey baster folks!) to insert the semen into my vagina. We then talked about how weird it all was. I believe someone said “this is the queerest thing I have ever done!”

The first month, I conceived and miscarried extremely early, so early that most people wouldn’t have noticed, and I wouldn’t have if I hadn’t been keeping such careful tabs on my body.

The second month I kept less careful tabs, and I didn’t notice much at first. But it stuck. Since then, my body has been in a state of utter and complete upheaval as it attempts to adjust to housing this new little being. I have been the sickest I’ve ever been in my life, and vacillate between overwhelming joy and crushing sorrow basically every day. Today I’m officially 14 weeks pregnant, and finally starting to feel a teensy bit like a human being again.

So that, in my experience, is how you make a baby.

I created this blog so I would have a place to talk about pregnancy, and family, and eventually parenting. I’m bad at first posts. Welcome.

*our sperm donor is trans/genderqueer and prefers gender neutral pronouns such as they/them/their. In this blog space, I aim to respect people’s preferred pronouns whenever possible and will not be letting the issue of pronouns slide for the convenience of cis-folk.

salsajar