It’s really very special to be able to share an experience with someone you love, especially when that experience is as personal and deeply weird as pregnancy. It’s also sort of a mind-fuck.
I’m only a few weeks into my NGP adventure, but I’ve already dedicated a lot of time to thinking about the simultaneous joys and frustrations of being a two uterus family who uses both those uteri to carry children for their family. It’s basically impossible not to remember and compare this experience to my pregnancy with Ansel, even though there are certainly a lot of differences. I’m trying my hardest to use this to our mutual benefit and not let it make things any more complicated. Mostly, it’s working.
L is in the trenches of the first trimester – smack dab in the center of exhaustion and nausea. Thus far, she’s staved off actual vomiting and is mostly just vaguely sick all day long. Like me, it’s the exhaustion that seems to be taking the greatest toll. Of course, this is only further complicated by the fact that we now have a toddler who is exhausting in his own right – whether its middle of the night wake ups or unreasonable clingyness or tantrums without cause. She’s his primary caretaker during the day most of the week which has both pros and cons for the first trimester pregnant person. On the upside, he naps every day – usually for 2-3 hours – which means she can often nap as well. On the downside, he does things like take giant dumps or play so hard he vomits after eating – not so good for someone with a newly heightened sense of smell and razor sharp gag reflex.
L was an amazing partner when I was pregnant. Early on, she took over the task of making most of our shared meals because I was just too exhausted to care (or I was taking a post work nap) and even though I razzed her about needing to expand her culinary repertoire, it was amazing to watch her step up. I have been trying to do the same, to the extent I can. As previously mentioned, the addition of another small human to our dynamic makes things slightly more complicated. Also, unlike when I was pregnant, when we were both working full time jobs outside of our home, L is now mostly home with A and I am working full time. This logistic reality has shifted the economics of our house since moving, but this newest wrench has shifted them again.
And this is where I am very grateful that I was in a very similar spot to L, a few years ago. I think it would be much harder for me to be an understanding and empathetic partner if I didn’t know intimately how crippling and out of control the exhaustion of early pregnancy is. L mentioned that she finally understood why I went to bed at 8pm those nights, in a way she hadn’t understood before. Without this shared experience, I think it would be easy to become resentful and frustrated by this temporary shift of tasks and responsibility. Anytime I feel a bit of frustration creeping up, I remember falling asleep at my desk after 10+ hours of sleep and remember how nice it was that my fabulous partner gave me the space to be an exhausted pregnant person for a few months, and I’m able to summon the compassion and energy reserves that I need.
I don’t want this to come across as some huge pat on the back. Actually, I’m admitting that without firsthand knowledge I would be a real dick. Yet another reason I am so thankful to be hella gay. Yes, I would totally choose it, kthxbye.
In other news . . .I had a dream about Tiny last night.
In the dream, L had given birth but I wasn’t there. I don’t know why, just that (in the dream) I had a really good reason for missing the event and that dream-L didn’t agree that it was a good reason (understandably, I can’t really imagine what would be a good excuse?) Anyway, when I finally met Tiny after labor, I found:
- Tiny was a girl.
- Tiny had blonde hair, blue eyes, and fair skin
- Despite this, I “knew” (in that way you know things in dreams even though you have no evidence for that knowledge) that we had somehow discovered that Tiny’s donor was African-American.
- L told me that Tiny weighed 7lbs 3oz at birth but I visually observed Tiny to be small toddler size and thought L might be crazy or just confused.
Definitely the most troubling thing to dream-me was that my partner seemed to be so confused about the giant child she’d just birthed. But also, Tiny was like, sitting up and very developmentally advanced for an hours old infant and this was also concerning. Less concerning was the ‘knowledge’ about her donor, though dream-me did mention to dream-L that we should maybe sue the sperm bank when we got a chance (?!)
So, that was weird.
Monday is our first midwife appointment. I’ll be giving approximately 10 condom demonstrations to 16 year olds between now and then to keep me occupied. #irony