two uteri, two mamas pregnant, AGAIN, with baby number two

the other mother October 28, 2007

Filed under: ttc — charlotte @ 10:03 pm

When I gave birth to our son, my connection to him was automatic and visceral. I loved him instantly, ferociously.

Of course, during my pregnancy I did not know this would happen. I was convinced I would be one of those moms who finally bonded with her baby after 2 weeks, or 2 months. The gigantic love was therefor even more unexpected, it relentlessly filled my entire being.

I know what that feels like.

I know that eventually breastfeeding is easy and so sweet I could cry now just thinking about it. I also know what in your bones exhaustion feels like when you have not slept for fucking ever and you confirm for yourself that yes, you are not that kind of mom built for endless giving. I know what it feels like to wish you could put your baby outside in the middle of winter, and shut the fucking door to just.have.some.peace.

Know what it feels like to ask guiltlessly, for dinner to be made, or a glass of juice to be served because I’mnursingandIcan’tgetup.

I was the one having giant hormonal meltdowns and being taken care of. I was also the one responsible all the time for this little life and it was, and is, the hardest thing I have even done in my life.

I know what it feels like to be my child’s ‘favorite’ because I spend more time with him. I know the suck ass parts of that and the wonderful parts.
This is what I know.

Now that it appears that we are really going to have this baby (probably maybe while knocking on wood prayer to the deities of non-retardation), I am coming to terms with the fact that I absolutely don’t know how to be the other mother. At all. I don’t know how to be the breadwinner. I don’t know how to be the support person, the bringer of juice, the one who hands off the screaming baby to my partner to breastfeed.

I don’t know how to be good at it. S is the unbelievably almost perfect non bio mom. The role plays to her strengths, not mine. She never cares about going first or getting attention. She is generous by nature. She never notices who gets a bigger piece. She has an uncanny ability to let our son be a child. She doesn’t over analyze why he often wants me over her. When LM started getting mad at her when she got home from work, she didn’t take it personally…she mused about what was going on and realized he was mad at her for going to work instead of being with him and then talked to him about it and spent more time with him! He responded immediately.
She’s no saint, my wife, but she is really good at being this kind of mom. Her issues are with things like being too overprotective with him. She has trouble setting boundaries. Enmeshment. Among other things. I don’t need to get into her parenting challenges here, lets just say she isn’t perfect, but she is pretty fucking good at being the non-bio, working mom.

Her dream, however, is to stay at home with her kid our next kid . If I had better earning potential I would try to give this to her, but I don’t right now, so she needs to work. I feel guilty about this. I feel guilty about a lot of things lately: that I’m not taking as good care of her as she did of me when I was pregnant (but we didn’t have a toddler), that I am staying home and she isn’t, that she would be a much better stay at home mom than I am anyway (she truly would), that I am insecure about my love for the new baby.

If I was pregnant I certainly wouldn’t want to deal with my partner wondering how much she is going to love the baby I’m carrying.

Here I am though, with a jumble of feelings. Of course I am also in love with her belly, protective, solidly knowing this is my kid too, and grateful every day to be having these problems instead of trying to conceive.

But it is messy, this lesbian baby making. And I have no one in my real life who has been through a similar situation, meaning both partners having a baby. Actually, scratch that, a nurse friend of ours was in this situation and she and her parter split up and each took custody of their bio kids! Seriously.

Biology matters and doesn’t matter at all, in equal measure. Messy indeed.


15 Responses to “the other mother”

  1. Calliope Says:

    If I know one thing about you it is that you are SO a caregiver and nurturer. I think it is kind of funny that you don’t yet see that within you. You have this amazing super power to be there when there is a need.

    So maybe you aren’t just automatically fetching juice, but I am betting if you noticed someone was thirsty you would. You & S have such a fantastic symbiotic relationship- if she is ebbing you are flowing, if she is yinning you are yanging. It just works. And because of that I have no doubts that you guys will morph into this very groovy incorporation to raise your kids.

    Besides- you are one of the only people I know that is freakishly good at the messy.

  2. dlvc Says:

    De-lurking with a reading suggestion you probably already have. I assume you’ve read Harlyn Aizley’s “Confessions of the Other Mother” Anthology, but just in case you haven’t, one of the essays is by someone in something like your situation (though without the financial pressure). It didn’t really speak to us (we haven’t divided up caretaking/breadwinning along bio/non-bio lines), but is well written and might be helpful.

    Our intention is to have me try for our second soon, and my wife carried our first. She’s mentioned having some of your same worries and I’m already feeling mildly annoyed that I won’t get quite the same deluxe pregnancy treatment (assuming pregnancy even happens…knock wood)…darn that toddler šŸ˜‰ From what little I know from your blog, I second Calliope, you guys will find a way through

  3. Lo Says:

    We plan to do what you’re doing, though of course, aren’t there yet.

    I second Cali’s comment — I was struck at the way you characterized yourself in this post, I see you as very nurturing (“maternal”) both with LM and other folks.

    For my part, I feel fine about being the non-bio mom; I only feel insecure when presented with het couples where the gender split is very strong and the dad (despite being a bio parent!), I guess because he isn’t a “boobie” parent, seems very detached and talks about “babysitting.” I don’t see a place for myself in that model. I’m no dad. Flipper is going to have two smothering moms, for better or for worse.

  4. TTC4years Says:

    I guess being on the het side of things, I cannot comment on the exact nature of your situation.. however, I don’t have the every day relationship either.. in our little universe, if I were ever to be with child, I am not the one staying home… I have a higher earning potential working and the most to lose if I take too much time away- my point is, you shouldn’t sweat these things- she knows who you are, and if she didnt love you, she wouldn’t be there. You 2 have been through the wringer ( ringer?), and have come through, and it will make you even stronger together.

    She may not even care about the stinkin juice…she has you!

  5. K. Says:

    Just wanted to chime in as the ‘non-bio mom.’ Hey, I’m the actor- I need attention, I’m the insecure one. My DP is the one who doesn’t want to be picked out in the crowd.

    And I loved our boy from the moment he was born with such a powerful visceral feeling. My memories of the birth night are much clearer than my DP’s, full of all sorts of details she wasn’t even aware of because she was just having the baby.

    Yeah, there were times where I felt without milk I had nothing to offer. (not true, but I felt it.) And DP is still homebase, but I have a very special, different relationship with him.

    You will love this child. Differently perhaps, but not better or worse. Just different. And some things will be harder, and some easier, but different.


  6. indigoscot Says:

    ditto to lo – my dp will be carrying baby #2. she is an awesome, i mean AWESOME non-bio mom. even though i nurse and i see him several times a day (he’s in my company daycare IN THE BUILDING – every employer should offer this) i feel our son gets plenty of time with her, he certainly loves to sleep on her chest. šŸ™‚ i can’t wait until she is pregnant and i get to run around after her like she did for me and i can’t wait until baby #2 is here and she can breastfeed and know what an incredible feeling it is to be nourishing your child. i have no doubt i will be a fantastic non-bio mum, and i’m 100% sure you will too. šŸ™‚

  7. Bree Says:

    Another non-bio mom chiming in. While I didn’t know what non-bio parenting would be like, I knew that it would be hard to be the un-pregnant one. The one not breastfeeding.

    I was right. It has been hard. But things have really changed now that our kiddo is three. She is very close with both of us, in distinct ways.

    While everything WILL work out, it’s understandable that you’re nervous. Having already experienced the tight bond that pregnancy and breastfeeding bring, you’ll notice where it’s different.

    Hopefully, you’ll also find some GREAT differences this time round. Like the part where you’ll have a clearer head, will get a little more sleep, and will find that you are capable of more caring than you ever knew.

  8. oneofhismoms Says:

    Ok. I’m more of the mememe-type personality in the relationship, too. In fact, it was very hard for me to let my partner get pregnant first. But when your honey is doing all of the hard work of carrying the baby and nursing the baby, I can’t even imagine doing anything else but getting the juice, fluffing the pillow, and running for another burp cloth. I don’t think it is something you need to intellectualize, Charlotte. It is something you just do.

    And I think you’ll do a fine job.

  9. I love lurking and then finding the exact feeling written out for me. My partner and I both will carry barring any ttc issues. I won’t be first due to financial and other issues. I am so insecure if I am not first or whatever I want it to be equal and want to be possibly able to feed our child as she feeds him or her. Wow. So nervous and we don’t even have the baby juice yet….there’s another issue…
    Thank you for speaking whats going on in my head.

  10. Madge Says:

    Have you thought about also bf’ing the new munchkin? It would certainly take some pressure off S and maybe help you with some initial bonding (not that you’ll need help. Trust me as both a bio and non-bio mom, you just won’t. You’re going to love that thing with as much passion as you love LM.)

  11. I may not be in your real life, but I’ve been reading your blog for a while now and have some paralels to your situation. My DP birthed our daughter 8 months before I birthed our son, after 4 long and expensive years of infertility. I am the SAHM, by gift of the fates and massive budget crunching. I see myself a bit in your judgment of your own nurturing abilities – the perfection I hold myself to is not actually what my kids need. You sound like you’ll do fine, and I know that I’ll enjoy reading about it. Fingers crossed and all that jazz, from the jaded – but ever positive – side of life.

  12. k77 Says:

    I’m kind of at the opposite end of things to you. DP carried our son, and I’ve been ttc#2 since a few months before he was born. I am definitely the more nurturing one, and to be honest, he and I had a much closer bond for the first couple of years. I took great care of DP when she was pg and post-csection, and I worry a lot about her inability to care for me when/if I get pg (will be high risk, prob bed rest involved). She’ll give it her best, but she’s just no good at it.

    I worry that I won’t love my bio-child as much as my nonbio-child, and that they won’t be as cute, smart etc etc. I guess there are worries, whichever way your situation is.

  13. Calliope Says:

    Check it out! Space Monkey can suck her thumb.
    just waving…b/c it’s getting a little too quiet.

  14. E.D. Blogger Says:

    Wow! What a great post. Thanks for sharing. I am not in your situation. I have been TTCing for since March, but my partner does not want to carry a child.

    I actually think that when I do finally give birth she will be more nurturing and immediately bond with the child because she has an incredibly way with children. And I feel insecure about that. Go figure!

    Ultimately, I believe that once the love is there, you will make it through and from what I can tell from reading your blog you have that bond.

  15. byrdlady Says:

    i have a very good feeling that you two are going to work everything out just fine as it comes along. You are both amazing women, and amazing mothers. i have faith!

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