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.