Wednesday, November 12, 2008

justification

i get that becoming a parent invites, rightly or wrongly, a whole lot of opinions from other people. i've talked to pregnant friends who have felt so frustrated by the fact that everyone seems to have some kind of wisdom to impart to expectant mothers, and that it can all get a bit much. the 'pregant belly as public property' thing is a whole other rant that i'm sure i'll get into (maybe when i have one of my own!) but i'll leave that aside for now in favour of discussing personal headspace over personal bodyspace.

i can see two sides to this.

i can understand the cultural importance of sharing wisdom. when its done lovingly and productively, the sharing of experience is, i'm sure, a very useful and possibly even vital part of some kind of unofficial cultural induction to the role of 'mother' (though how that role is interpreted will naturally vary dramatically).

i can also see that it must be incredibly patronizing, and exhausting to have to filter through this constant stream of advice, opinion, and sometimes judgement, and try to find a way to do the pregnancy, birth and parenting thing in a way that works for the individual/couple themselves.

but all this is jumping the gun on what i actually wanted to say in this post.
i haven't even started inseminating yet, and i'm already being offered opinions on my readiness, the wisdom of having a baby 'at this stage in my life', et cetera.

this got me wondering. do straight couples experience this to the same degree? given that, as a lesbian couple, we have to plan our pregnancy so deliberately, do people feel they have more right to ask those kinds of questions? it actually makes me really cross on two levels. the first is the implication that this is something we're doing 'for lols' and we haven't considered the timing carefully because we are too silly/naive/thoughtless to do so. the second is that i have friends who are my age and significantly younger, married, and in heterosexual relationships and everyone seems simply to accept that that's what happens next - they don't have to justify it, they just do it, and people are happy for them.

i'm no quite sure where this ends up. but its definitely something to think about.

s and i would both be interested to hear other people's experiences and thoughts on this one...

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

where we are now

i didn't want to start blogging about this gigantic, monumental, beautiful and everyday thing until we had talked to the person we wanted to be the donor. i didn't want to talk too much about how much i wanted this, and how much it meant to me (though i'm certain that kind of stuff has leaked out in conversation over the last year or two) until we'd spoken to him, and gotten an idea of how he felt about it. it would have seemed too much like emotional manipulation. and that's kind of a silly thing to say, because it IS emotional, it's impossible to downplay that, but i just didn't want this blog to seem like veiled wheedling, so i held off.

s and i have known for some time who we wanted to be our donor. he's a very close friend and we love him very much. he's someone we admire and respect, someone we were confident would sill be our friend if we asked and it wasn't ok. someone with whom we knew we could go through this, and it would be alright. as much as you CAN know that.

the other day we sat down and talked about it, and he didn't hesitate. he just said yes. and it's impossible to describe how that felt. the intense love and gratitude. the relief and the joy. he's giving us the chance to be mothers, and that's unspeakably precious. it was a conversation i had agonised over. i'd felt so awkward and worried about it. i didn't know what to say or how to say it. in my frustration i wrote it down in a letter - well, i wrote several drafts of a letter and then transcribed that into a final copy which i then carried around with me for ages, waiting for the right time to sit with him and read it. i'd fretted over what would be the right time and the right place - a garden? over dinner? his house? my house? some kind of discreet yet public and therefore neutral place? in the end, it was an unrehearsed, unceremonial conversation had in few words while sitting on the edge of my bed, followed by a gigantic hug.

and now it's going to happen.

i know there are going to be a lot of questions about the hows and wherefores of this, and we haven't worked all that out yet. but here's what i do know:
~ all things being equal, we plan to start trying in april or may of next year.
~ at this stage i have no reason to believe either of us are infertile, and until we suspect that there's no reason to incur the extra drama and expense that goes along with getting doctors involved. should we have trouble after several tries, we can look into other options, but i'd like to keep it as simple and uncomplicated as possible at this point.

there are thousands of other things to consider and nut out and talk about, but those are the ones that we've talked about so far.
further developments, plans and thoughts will be blogged.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

framing the beginning.

if you'd asked me ten years ago if i would ever be a mother i would have laughed in your face. i had ideals and i had dreams and having a kid tagging along would SO mess with that picture. but somehow, about two years ago, something ticked over inside me and i became quietly certain that this was something i had to do. i want to qualify that by saying that i don't for one second believe that this is some kind of universal female craving - that the mythical body clock kicks in and we suddenly have an overwhelming desire to be barefoot in the kitchen with little darlings tugging at our apron strings - i know that for many women the idea of having children is not one that appeals, and that has to be okay. it bugs me that womanhood and motherhood are so inextricably linked in our culture, and that women who choose to remain childless (or those who don't choose it, but are childless all the same) are somehow incomplete, pitiable or even cold.
all i'm saying is that for me, the desire is inexplicable, and it's strong.

i guess i should also say that choosing to have a baby shouldn't necessarily mean relinquishing all other ambitions. i'm currently studying for my graduate diploma in psychology. i'm hoping to complete it with honours and go on to a higher degree. i don't believe having a child should preclude me from achieving this. i'm not a fool - i realise that it will present its own difficulties and challenges in terms of the demands it will make on my energy and time, but i'm intelligent, resourceful, and well supported, so i'm going to give it a shot. maybe in time this blog will end up being as much about finding that balance as it will about conception, pregnancy and birth...

... in the mean time, the focus of this blog will be on our experience of getting pregnant and having a baby as a queer couple in australia. i want to be as honest and as thorough as i can in relating my experiences. i hope my partner, s, will contribute her thoughts and feelings from time to time, but i expect in the blog, as in our relationship, i'll end up doing most of the talking :)