dosmamas

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

the shot January 30, 2008

Filed under: ttc — charlotte @ 10:43 pm

Here is S’s big ol’ belly. Feel free to skip this if you can’t hang (lord knows we’ve been there).

I just want to hug it and smoosh it all the time. There is a word in Tagalog that sounds like “geegil” and it is used to describe something you find so cute that you just want to bite it and squeeze it too hard. Yup. That.

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i’m still here January 28, 2008

Filed under: ttc — charlotte @ 10:05 pm

for realz. but fuckity mcfuck folks…this whole full time job while also taking care of a kid is HARD. and my job is hard. really intense. and i have not read any blogs in like 5 days. i miss you.

my days are a blur. S’s belly is huge. we are interviewing doulas. we are closing in on the third trimester. freaky. in this land of babymaking (you know ours, not the land of oops!grin!) trying endlessly and dead babies and miscarriages, i remain shocked and surprised at every milestone. but i’m happy-ish.

it feels CRAZY to be in this professional role for a significant amount of time during the week. people expect me to articulate things. these people do not have snot streaks across their chests. they eat lunch. like they actually eat their lunch.

 

busy January 24, 2008

Filed under: ttc — charlotte @ 9:37 am

started job. no time to blog. miss you guys. i’ll have to just figure it out.

 

I’m going to try to write a letter, so that when my kid(s) find this blog text someday (or I slam down a bound copy of it in front of them when they turn 14), there is something, well, nicer to read. January 17, 2008

Filed under: ttc — charlotte @ 4:49 pm

Dear Smarty,

It baffles me that you are 3 years old! I have known you for what can now be called many years. It’s crazy. Your mama and I talk about you every night after you go to sleep. We adore you. We used to call you Little Monster, but you are getting big (40 inches tall!) and so smart, so Smarty is your new nickname…along with Bug, Shmoo, and Little Shit.

You have become so bright and inquisitive. What we thought was shyness in your first year turned into bold but quietly observant.

Your persuasion skills are apparently very advanced. Somehow your very confused and pregnant mama was convinced to give you ice cream for breakfast today. Something about how your dinner last night was really breakfast, so you already ate, so it is okay to have a little ice cream. I heard the argument from upstairs, but I was cozy and enjoying some sprawling so I rolled over and went back to sleep. Your mama finally crawled back into bed with me this chilly January morning feeling only slightly bad that you were downstairs, alone, sitting at your tiny red table and chair set eating a bowl of vanilla ice cream for breakfast while watching TV. Mommies are always desperate for sleep because you kept us up for two years and also because we just stay up too late every night.

We think this might be the best winter we have ever had with you because your enthusiasm about the holidays was contagious. There was hardly any focus on The Presents, but rather on sparkly lights and the crooked ugly gingerbread house you made that you stare at every morning. You wouldn’t let me pack up Mr. Snowman, the stuffed animal snowman who is still bigger than you, in the holiday bin this year – even though he is truly to big for our house. We let you keep him out because, you know, we are “picking our battles”. Now you wield him around like an unconscious peace protester…unwilling or unable to defend himself.

We appreciate your deep and unending love of fruit. Fruit, for you, is not just for eating…oh no. It is for stacking, holding, carrying around in baskets, sorting, building forts for, putting down for naps, and then, only after days of enjoyment, to eat. Although your grandma brings you many wonderful gifts, your favorites, the one you squeal about, are hairy brown coconuts, pomelos, giant bags of clementines or perhaps a handful of your favorite, the beloved kiwi.

We don’t know how this will manifest in your adult professional life, but we know it will. No kid in the history of the world appreciates fruit and select vegetables as much as you do, my lovely boy.

I have been remiss in my letter writing duties, so please hold me to my promise to write you many more. And please know that you are beyond loved. You are the best thing that has EVER happened to your mommies (and I say this even after wanting to smother you in frustration over your three year old antics, many times, this week alone). Tonight I asked you some philosophical questions, as I do now and again.

Me: “Smarty, who is God”

You: “I don’t know.”

Me: “Me neither.”

You: “Well, actually I think god is when the sun goes down.”

What could I say in response? I just hugged you a little closer and savored one of those moments when my life feels perfect, because I know that the next moment I will yell at you about something, or you will make irritating chewing noises on purpose because you know I hate it, or you will refuse to put any clothes on, or you will ask me why so many times I want to throw something at you, or I will blog instead of hanging out with you. Mama actually threw the bagel you were insisting on not sharing/crying about/whining about at you in the car today. Oh the guilt. There is nothing quite like parental guilt. And your mommies do things and say thing that we regret. We will certainly be paying for your therapy bills someday.

But in those perfect moments, which are actually quite often, I just know that you are the loveliest creature I have ever met.

Love,

me.

 

The Upside January 16, 2008

Filed under: ttc — charlotte @ 11:00 am

Top 10 joys of being the other mother

10. Supporting my partner in fulfilling her lifelong desire to be pregnant

9. Reading to the baby through S’s belly

8. Getting to watch, while fully present, the birth of my child

7. Being able to go wherever I want for the first 6 months

6. Not gaining another 75 pounds (yes I did) during another pregnancy

5. Seeing my super cute wife pregnant.

4. Getting to sleep while S is nursing (even if I help with diaper changes and bringing S the baby, I can sleep during the nursing without a Remora stuck to my boob)

3. No food or medication restrictions (yum! tuna and antidepressants)

2. More sleep

1. I don’t have to push a baby out of my vagina resulting in a ragged 3rd degree tear that doesn’t heal properly which creates a painful granulation (sensitive tissue overgrowth – disgusting, I know) impairing the ability to walk, ultimately resulting in a chemical burn to remove the tissue…*twice* (seriously)

 

so.much.better January 14, 2008

Filed under: ttc — charlotte @ 10:19 am

After many talks S and I are doing super. We are planning to see a counselor together, or S will go alone to get some help regarding how to talk to MIL. Calls have been made. Apologies are abundant.

And we are going to get a doula.

And we are going to not have her in the room for laboring, just for delivery.

Thank you for all of your lengthy and thoughtful comments.

After my concession we both were able to come from a place of understanding. What came up for S is that she overprotects her mom, and doesn’t know how to assert appropriate boundaries. What came up for me is that MIL (who has had genetics issues in the past, but doesn’t express any of that now) represents my disconnection from my kid. And she is more genetically related to Pip! That part just eats me.

S was really able to empathize with this and we are even considering just having us two in the room. As some of you wondered, when I felt that MIL had power over me regarding the birth, it was threatening to my position as Pip’s mother. When I expressed this ugly thing to S, and it came out into the light, I was like oh, hi, you are scared to have a kid that is not related to you…you are terrified that MIL, because of genetics is more related to Pip. And it’s true. Sucky but true.

What I needed was to feel again how much this child is mine. Once I did I was able to deal with the MIL issue very differently.

Amazing how deep scary insecurity covers the world in fear. I never understood the powerlessness of this position before.

Anyway, I’m back to myself. As a mom, as a wife.

Presently I know how much our Pip is my daughter, even though my role is different this time. I’m back to crazy excitement when I feel her move in S’s belly. I’m back to complaining about our pregnancy buddy (same due date week) who is nauseatingly chipper about her pregnancy. Don’t get me started on that.

You know what pitiful thing I’m grateful for in this moment? The fact that I am really sick and instead of caring for a child I have the morning to recline on the couch with menthol cough drops and juice and watch TV. Oh the luxury of a sick day. Well, a sick morning. I do have to haul out of here and pick him up from preschool in 3 hours, but fuck if I’m going to do anything other than watch daytime TV until then.

More later on a list I’m compiling of the joys of nonbio motherhood I plan to enjoy the eff out of.

 

wow **w/ update January 11, 2008

Filed under: ttc — charlotte @ 12:42 pm

Her body, her birth, her choice, her baby.

Just to be clear I told S that if she wants her mom there I will find some way to make peace with that. It was hard to say that. We are doing much better.

Even though I am making the choice to leave the MIL decision up to S, and come from a place of support and love rather than hating my MIL, it is not because I believe that I have no say because it is “her” birth.

“Her body, her birth” is not something I believe, but apparently many people, if not most, do. Over the last 2 days my belief about this, my role in the birth of Pip, and my relationship to her in general is shifting and becoming more clear.

*

I am aware whenever I ask for honest advice that I am going to hear stuff I don’t like, but I am shocked (why? I should know better by now) by some of the comments I received that first day. Ultimately I am grateful because I am coming to a deeper understanding about my role and what I need to do, but dang folks, despite good intentions some of what you said was harsh.

My favorite insensitive comment was “Get over it, it’s her body, it’s her mom…Even if it sucks for you a little bit.”

So.not.helpful. Hurt my feelings.

It sucks a lot to have MIL there. I need to find a way to be okay with her being there, but “get over it” implies that I am doing something wrong by feeling unsafe around MIL who is, in fact, selfish, inappropriately genetically focussed, and narcissistic.

Silly me, why would I get so upset over such a ‘little’ thing??

Fucking up someone’s birth is serious business, and my nightmare is that MIL will fuck this one up too, either with her narcissism, or by ME and S letting this issue come between us.

*

In my last post I thought it was clear that this was a very raw, vulnerable topic for me as the non-bio mom and that although I wanted people’s honest opinions, those views should be expressed gently, in such a way that I could hear them even if it wasn’t what I wanted to hear. And there were a lot of those responses (thank you), but I should have been more explicit! I know better. I should never say sarcastic things like “if there was a vote and everyone said, Charlotte you are being weak and immature and you need to buck up for your wife” because people think I am steely enough to have you tell me, literally, to ‘buck up’. My bad.
In fact, I was needing understanding, and I was feeling very insecure in my role as the non birthing mom. Thank you so much for the comments that really acknowledged my position, my needs, and S’s needs in a way I could really listen to, even when it was hard to hear. Those ones made me cry (in a good way – I’ll send you $90, Chicory), and helped me make a very needed change.

After I told S that I was going to support her decision about her mom during her birth, we were able to enter a different space. We are having some difficult but fruitful talks.

*

Now onto the rest of the post in which I go on and on about the issue of making decisions about pregnancy and birth, with two moms. This part is not coming from an offended place, maybe a little defensive? Mostly I’m surprised that my opinions are so so different most people’s.

I was shocked that I didn’t hear more about me having a say birth of my next child. Yes S is pushing it out of her vag, but does that mean I have NO say? none? really??!? I must admit that it was hard to hear.

Here is a message I get, in general: the bio mom, from pregnancy through breastfeeding has more say. Her body. Her birth. Her boobs. Her choices. Don’t interfere. Make suggestions, have your own opinions and share them, support her, but ultimately she has all the say and the final say.

I am a bio mom too, and I don’t think this is right.

I think (this is just my opinion) that the”her body = her choice” message is rooted in a reaction to women not having choices. It’s goal is to support women in making decisions about their bodies when historically, legally, in every way, women have been disempowered. Clearly, a husband shouldn’t be able to tell his wife to stop breastfeeding, or demand sex, or demand that his mom be in the room for delivery. I get it. I’m on board with that.

But this is not that issue. I am the mom too. This changes the dynamic. For me, it becomes very NOT black and white.

Just because S is pregnant she does not get to make all the choices or have the final say, per se. Honestly, I don’t have many opinions about Pip’s birth. I am deferring to her about everything (except for the MIL issue). Actually it isn’t even a deferment, it just feels like of course she will make the decisions. How, one might wonder, is that different from someone who says “her body = her choice about who is there for the birth”? It just is. I don’t see it as clearly as most people, I guess.

S wanted her mom there for Smarty’s birth and I said no. S is saying yes this time, and she will probably get what she wants. This looks an awful lot like the birthing person gets what she wants. It is…mostly. But I also think it is crap. Pip’s birth is not just S’s birth. Smarty’s birth was not just my birth, my birth story. Yes I pushed that effer out of me, but S was right there the whole time, exhausted, stunned, helping me, pulling Smarty out of me to lay on my chest, loving him. It was her birth experience too. She needed support too. She needed to feel comfortable. She needed support for herself and so she could fully be there for me.

When he came out it was the most amazing moment of my life. Whenever I think of it, even as I type this, it makes me weep. Weep. In many ways it was my birth, my body, but I also see, call me crazy, that my body was a vessel for our baby, and in that way it was S’s birth experience too giving her rights to make requests, collaborate and even make demands. No, she didn’t push him out of her vag or get a needle in her spine, or spend 36 hours in pain, but she was watching me do all of those things, helping me, not sleeping, attending to me, never complaining, helping our baby be born.

It was the most amazing moment of S’s life too. Her son. His birth. My birth. Her birth. Our birth.

Honestly and truly if she had not wanted my mom there, my mom would not have been there. Period.

I think that the involved, respectful, loving non bio mom should have a voice in the birth, the breastfeeding, all of it. Does that make everything more complicated? Maybe. But to my core I do not think the bio mom should, by some unwritten law, have the final say. For me, it must be a collaboration.

Hopefully there is not any conflict at all.

But should I be able to veto having a toxic person present at the birth? In this case I think I have that right…a veto right, EVEN if it is her mom.

I’m not an dictatorial prick telling my wife what to do. I’m the other mom, and I don’t want the unquestioned assumption of the birth and early infancy of our daughter to be that my voice counts less.

I still think I have the right to exert my wishes about MIL, just as S has the right to exert her wishes about her own mom. Hence the impasse. But I have decided I want to give this one to S. I am willing to make the sacrifice (believe it or not, not in a martyry way). I am willing to put S’s need above mine, but not because this is her birth. Because she is pregnant, and hormonal, and I love her. Because I was shocked into it. Because it is, maddeningly, the right thing to do, for me and for S right now. But I must say, I don’t think it would be right for every nonbio mom.

I know that the idea of deferment to the biomom about all things birth related is not intended to make the other mother or partner feel small. I am also aware that if the other mom defers everything to the bio mom that does not mean that either of them is valuing the nonbio mom less. That is their choice. I just don’t believe (and feel defensive about, can you tell?) the unquestioned assumption that the biomom automatically has the final say about everything.

Jeez. How many ways can I say the same thing? I think I’m done :). Admittedly the reason I’m repeating myself is that I’m scared to be misunderstood. I feel like it is a big deal to say that I believe the birthing mom doesn’t have the inherent right to dictate all the terms of her birth – that the other mom should be able to make requests and even demands – well, it seems unpopular to say the least. Although I am all big talk and opinions here, I’m also always concerned about being different.

I’m curious about other people’s experience with this issue. Sometimes I think that it is such a sensitive topic that it isn’t discussed. And there are so many assumptions. I know that for S and I the bio/nonbio thing feels delicate, and we try to tread lightly around the topic. And for eff’s sake why don’t we have words that are better than “nonbio mom”? Please don’t be afraid to comment. I really grow so much from having a dialog about this stuff.

Dialog is good. Our conflict about MIL surfaced all of our resentments and fears around biology, staying at home, breastfeeding, fairness, taking turns, and equality. Complicated shit. And after being the bio mom 1st, I must admit that this other mother position is kinda hard for me sometimes. Maybe other people seemlessly slide right into this role but I’m struggling with it. At times it is a little invisible and thankless.

I know now that the nonbio mom sometimes (everyone is different) needs *a lot* of support. I knew that before, intellectually, but I didn’t “get” it. I didn’t feel it. I know now that this is not in at all the same situation as a heterosexual couple. At all. I’m not the dad, even though I will be the breadwinner and not the breastfeeder. We are both the mom. We share that role. And sharing that role, for us, means we share other things more intimately too, like the birth. This is our birth and S’s birth, in which my amazing and strong S will, knock on everything, safely push our Pip out. Possibly with my MIL watching.

Thank you to everyone who commented on my last post, and helped me come to a place, finally, where my Mother In Law no longer has the power to ruin this birth for me, whether she’s there or not because I am the other mother, and that is so much stronger that she is.

**Hmmm. In response to some questions I think that I am partially wrong about the dad thing…I think that Lo is right that dad’s might be effed here too. I think that it is a little different that we are both moms and in this case each giving birth to one kid, but I can’t say why that is so different. Can anyone articulate why it is different? Maybe someone else can explain it better. Ultimately though I will amend this and say if the other partner is respectful, understands in some way (not necessarily through experience) what giving birth means, and has his partner’s best interests at heart, he should have a voice too. Same as a nonbio mom. I think what I was getting at is that my voice and my opinion, in the position I am in, for this birth, are not the same as a clueless dad. But hey a nonbio mom could be just as clueless. Yes, I’m changing what I said because that was just me being defensive and not wanting to be lumped in with clueless dads. See? Dialog is good.

Oh! And I do want to make it VERY clear, despite this ginormous post about how i should have a say, that aside from MIL issue, I defer to S about all other aspects of the birth, and that is totally how I want it to be.