I MATTER, damn it.

Another queer TTC blog I follow recently featured posts by the non-gestational parent-to-be. I typically love reading insights of this sort, as I can often relate. Sometimes, it’s lonely and scary being a mom-to-be who isn’t carrying her child(ren), and it’s nice to not feel quite so alone when I’m reading posts from others in my shoes.

Unfortunately, this particular partner kept using phrases about her role of non-gestational parent as being “worthless” and “pointless.” As the posts unfolded, and I desperately kept telling myself that this was her individual impression of her role in the TTC process, I felt more and more triggered and offended. Of course I’m not the one feeling twinges and cramps from my uterus stretching out. I’m not the one with morning sickness, excessive salivation, food aversions and moodiness. I’m not the one the one who will experience the exhaustion from carrying around a three-trimester old baby or excruciating labor pain.

But I am every bit as important because this child will be born in my heart.

I, like my mom, will treasure, nurture and teach my child. I will kiss and clean boo-boos, encourage and discipline my child. I will sing and read with my child, feed him or her nutritious, yummy food that they will likely one day cook for their loved ones. I will provide my child with opportunities to learn about and celebrate differences, and will instill him or her values and ethics like the importance of giving of one’s self. Without me, my future kid would truly miss out.

Maybe as an adoptee, it’s just easier for me to view parenthood as so much freaking more than sperm meets egg meets fluffy uterus. That’s a damn good thing, because I downright refuse to let anyone – jaded queer hopeful parent or bigot who refuses me equal rights – refer to me as “pointless.”


8 thoughts on “I MATTER, damn it.

  1. I love this. Parenting and being a parent isn’t about biology. Being a parent is about loving a child as your own, being a protector and a nurturer. Just because you’re not carrying the child doesn’t mean you’re not supporting your partner and it doesn’t mean that the child is any less yours in your heart.

    I think that the person who wrote those things really needs to reflect on her role in all of this. It seems like maybe she might be bitter that she’s not carrying the child, or that she’s upset because the child won’t biologically be hers.

  2. I struggled a lot with feeling pointless or peripheral during my partner’s pregnancy. I fought hard not to, and honestly, was really surprised by the feelings when they showed up full force. In time we came to a really great place, but that feeling, or perhaps more that fear, was very present for me. At the time (7 years ago now), I didn’t hear anyone talking about it and I had real doubts about who I could or would be to my child (and I don’t believe these doubts were necessarily unfounded, having seen how these dynamics play out in many families now, both straight and queer).

    I actually really like it when NGPs go ahead and talk about whatever it is they’re going through, because our voices really aren’t out there all that much, even now, both the voices like yours that say, “Look folks, there is no problem here” and the voices of those who are struggling more. Your experience as an adoptee is such a great voice to have in here, too.

  3. It sounds like maybe the person writing that post may have an issue with her relationship. Perhaps her partner is contributing in some way to her feeling like an outsider.

    I carried our son and my wife could not love him more. She is a SAHM and is just THE BEST and most attached mother to him ever. It would hurt my heart if she felt he were any less hers than he is mine. We created him together every step of the way. We are his parents.

  4. I’m going to assume that you’re referring to Partner’s posts here.

    In response to the above comment, I certainly don’t feel like I’ve contributed to Partner feeling this way. I am the person in our relationship who wants to experience pregnancy, but I certainly don’t feel like that will make Partner less of a parent or should make Partner’s role less important in getting to parenthood.

    I would love to have Partner at every visit with me, as excited about this process as I am, feeling as involved. That said, we’ve worked for a very long time to get to the point where having a child together is even on the table and having ‘won’ that battle, I recognize that there are things that I have that to concede– like having a partner who wants to come to every appointment may not happen for in our relationship. Maybe that will shift, maybe it won’t.

    Becoming a parent is scary. Becoming a parent in a world that tells us that we shouldn’t be parents or that we aren’t real parents is scarier. Partner and I don’t know a lot of couples who have gone through this process, and Partner doesn’t have any non-gestational parents to pose her questions and fears to. She is trying to figure out what her role is, and we are trying to figure out how to negotiate a path to parenthood. It’s a lot. We all need to have room to process our feelings and experiences– one way in which Partner does that is through writing.

    I want to be really clear though, that these are Partner’s feelings about what she is experiencing. She is trying to figure out how to understand and live her role as the non-gestational parent so that she can be a better one. She also has many moments of hope, excitement, involvement– they just may not be the ones she shares via her blog. She also doesn’t project these feelings on to other non-gestational parents, parents who she 100% sees as involved, worthwhile, loving parents to their children. She’s trying to figure out how to get there too.

    • This makes a lot of sense to me and I can definitely relate to it being a scary experience in a world that doesn’t validate your relationship or family structure. I can imagine it being even scarier if there aren’t a whole lot of NGP’s to process these feelings with.

      I definitely know that it’s natural to have these fears, hesitations or concerns. I’ve heard other NGP’s express them, for sure. That being said, I feel like my definition of parenthood was very much shaped by my experience as an adoptee. Thinking about this more, I think I should consider myself grateful that it shaped me so, because it has spared me from some of these fears. God knows I have enough remaining anxiety to deal with.

      Bringing a child into the world is tricky on any relationship. It sounds like you and your partner have had a lot of conversations, and continue to do so, about your desires, hesitations and limits. I’m certain this level of communication and growth will only continue to serve you and your partner well through this and other journeys together.

  5. For what it’s worth (and I can tell both here in the comments and at the original post that you’ve heard it already), a NGP can feel just as equally involved – it depends on the person, the relationship, their own statuses, etc. I think it’s very brave to name feelings like worthless and pointless, knowing that your experiences may not be the norm. On the other hand, I know how very hard those words hit me when my partner and I were expecting. I think a NGP has more than a few hopeless and very solitary moments and hearing how someone else experienced those can hurt as much as it helps. Consider starting with determining what the *ideal* level of involvement would be to avoid the “pointless” feeling and then take action to get as close to that level as possible. It isn’t easy. It’s completely possible!

  6. Thank you so much for sharing this. This has been one of my greatest fears going into this. It’s nice to feel not alone in my fears and insecurities. But this child will be born from my heart – as you said. This is simply poignant.

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