Underwear

I didn’t expect pregnancy to be comfortable.  In fact, one of the things that has become totally uncomfortable wasn’t even on my radar.  UNDERWEAR!  I just assumed that people wore their normal underwear all through pregnancy, so I just pictured I’d do the same.  Like, just wear them below my belly and it would be fine.  But no, the last 3 weeks I’ve been in uncomfortable underwear hell.  I refused to do anything about it.  I feel very attached to my underwear.  They make me feel stylish and faggy.  I usually wear briefs or boxer briefs like these from Target.

target mens

For weeks my underwear have been digging into my lower abdomen, leaving a red mark from the tight elastic.  They just roll down and feel tight and terrible.  The final straw happened in the middle of the night.  I woke up for my second pee of the night around 3am.  While I was stumbling to the bathroom, half asleep, I was suddenly outraged at my underwear.  On the way back to bed, I grabbed a pair of scissors and SERIOUSLY cut a slit into the elastic waist band!  In the morning, I had to laugh at my crazed desperation.  Since I would actually like to have some of my underwear to wear after I’m pregnant, I decided I better break down and buy some maternity “panties”  (can I just tell you all how much I hate the word panties?!)

I haven’t worn “women’s” underwear since about 2003, so I wasn’t looking forward to it.  I found the least offensive kind possible at Motherhood Maternity and bought 6 pairs.  As much as I dislike the look, they are AMAZING.  Since getting them this past weekend, I can get dressed and not even notice my underwear or think about how uncomfortable they are all day long.

Once again, pregnancy comfort beats out my gender dysphoria.

Here are my new “sexy” undies:

dmc

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OMG, y’all!

I JUST FELT THE BABY KICK FOR THE FIRST TIME!!!!!!!!!

And I’m fairly sure our dog is snuggling with Falco because she finally understands what’s in there:

our baby pup

She didn’t even seem to mind when she was likely being kicked square in the head by her soon-to-be little brother or sister.

A quick update

Good news, all! K passed his glucose tolerance test! We didn’t specifically have reason to be concerned, but we were fearful about this as a possible diagnosis. Gestational diabetes is NO JOKE and we didn’t want yet another reason to stress about our little one. We don’t have the specific levels from the test, but I’m sure we’ll hear all about it at our OB appointment on Friday.

In the meantime, baby Falco continues to truck along while K’s navel gets shallower and shallower.

Joyce

K’s glucose tolerance test was on Friday morning. In preparation, he was asked to make sure he had at least 150 g of carbs each day for several days before the test (the poor thing), and then fast for 8 hours before the test. (Can I just say that it must be the meanest thing in the world to withhold food from someone who is late in his/her second trimester?!)

K got really pale after the last blood draw during the three-hour test, so the nurses insisted that he drink some juice. After the nauseatingly sweet orange drink he had to take as a part of the test, the juice tasted especially gross to him. He was so famished that he stopped for a bagel on the way home from the test, where he sent me the following text. Please excuse the typos in order to appreciate the hilarity that is auto correct fail:

Joyce

Gratitude, week 26

It’s been 9 weeks since I last expressed my weekly gratitude. Despite an abundance of joy and excitement, a cloud of stress and anxiety has been hanging overhead lately. I am finding it even more important to state how grateful I am for:

  • Sharing one of the ultimate pregnancy milestones, birth classes, with a phenomenal queer couple. The instructor, despite being told about our identities multiple times and in multiple ways, kept using exclusive terms like “moms” and “ladies.” Without the support of our friends, the experience would have been a lot more isolating and awkward. It was really special to be able to get to know them better.
  • The ability to get a good night’s sleep in the same bed as my partner. I’ve complained rather liberally about K’s increased snoring since becoming pregnant. Our OB just shrugs, says it’s only going to get worse, and asserts that if we’re not sleeping in separate beds now, we will be soon. That advice just didn’t sit well with me. Sleeping in the same bed as the person I love is really important to me, so I decided to try wearing earplugs. There were only a few types from which to choose at Target, so I selected the Sleep Pretty in Pink by Hearos. They’re an obnoxious neon pink color and the package features a photo of a peacefully slumbering woman in bed next to, presumably, her snoring husband. As annoying as the heterosexist marketing is, these puppies are a game changer. I’ve been getting the best sleep lately!
  • Rapidly ticking items off of our to-do list. I’m trying to front-load some of the necessary tasks to prepare for Falco’s arrival because her/his arrival coincides with our largest fundraiser of the year at work (translation: I will be hugely busy at work while K is hugely pregnant with our little one). I feel very productive and it’s helping me to feel less overwhelmed.

Our next OB appointment is on Friday and I’m looking forward to whether our we’re going to switch to a bi-monthly schedule or continue with one more monthly visit before making the switch. This will all depend on the results of K’s recent glucose tolerance test and his blood pressure during the office visit. His BP is always very slightly elevated when he gets to the office, likely because he’s nervous about being weighed and the worry about any potential commentary about it, but is normal when they recheck it at the end of the visit. Still, because our OB is on top of everything, she wants to make sure that it’s no cause for concern.

An update on the shower drama

We’d like to thank the many of you who expressed your outrage about our baby shower drama. We finally have an update.

K received a phone call from his aunt while he was driving home from work on Tuesday evening. Since he commutes with a large group of people who definitely don’t need to know our business on the matter, he opted to let the call go to voicemail. His aunt left a voicemail, asking him to give her a call so that we could sort through the guest list and come up with something that works for everyone.

We were pretty nervous about what this could potentially mean, so we strategized before calling her back. K and I discussed what mattered most to us about a shower and about our role as parents: that people in our lives view and respect us as Falco’s parents – K as the father-to-be and me as the mother-to-be. If his aunt had a family only shower (and the men in our families wouldn’t be too interested in attending), we wanted to be certain that we were being celebrated in those roles that felt respectful and comfortable for us.

K called her back. His aunt said that she was hurt by our response because, from the moment he came out, she has viewed him as her nephew (which is true, but doesn’t account for her recent poor word choice in referencing a “girls-only shower”). She said if I was the partner who was carrying our child that he wouldn’t even be invited to this shower because the family’s tradition is to have more intimate gatherings with mostly/all women present. We made the collective decision that she would host a family only shower like referenced above. While I don’t think she took enough ownership or apologized for her hurtful word choice, it sounds as though the situation is resolved in K’s mind.

We’re truly lucky to have wonderful chosen family members who have made it clear that they’d be thrilled to host a gathering for friends, so we’re definitely not going to miss out on that experience. K and I are both thinking that a friends gathering would be a hell of a lot more fun than this stodgy family only format, and that we’ll feel much more comfortable and authentic amongst our friends.

K pointed out that having separate gatherings also allows us the option of announcing Falco’s sex to the group of people who we trust will not equate what is/isn’t between Falco’s legs with a whole load of assumptions and values. We could wait to tell family members when Falco is born. Since the only people we know who read this blog are friends, it would also give us the option of talking more openly about Falco’s sex via this blog (and trust me, I’m itching to do so).

Decisions, decisions…

Internalized Transphobia

Being pregnant is bringing up all sorts of feelings of internalized transphobia that I haven’t felt or even thought about for YEARS.  At first I was surprised and felt disappointed in myself.

I’ve put in a lot of effort in formal and informal therapeutic work to address some of these issues and I (although irrational) feel like I should be over and done with these feelings.

Throughout this pregnancy I’ve been trying to power through everything with a happy face, but lately I think everything is finally catching up to me.  I’ve been trying to tell myself that everything is great and being a pregnant man is easy!

The problem is things are getting harder.  There are rumors about me at work, I’m starting to be read as female more in public, my family has been annoying me……..And I’m not feeling very strong right now.  When I think about being vocal and addressing some of these issues, even simple things like correcting pronouns, I just want to hide and seem to turn into this weak, apologetic person whose gender identity doesn’t deserve to be validated.

I found this interesting activity online that one transman did to work though some of his internalized transphobia.  Rather than focusing on defining transphobia and how that played out in his life he focused on his individual beliefs and myths that comprised transphobia.  He made a list of myths that diminished his self-esteem and self-worth.  Next he rewrote his personal myths, picking them apart and making his personal belief system more positive.

For example:

Myth #1
My lack of a penis means I’m not really a man.

Rewrites:
My lack of a penis means that I’m not a typical man.
My lack of a penis has no bearing on my manhood.

I really like this idea so I wanted to do some transmale pregnancy related work.  Here are some of my Myths:

  • My desire to be pregnant means I’m not (or was never) a real FTM.
  • Because I don’t hate every minute of pregnancy I’m not really a man.
  • I shouldn’t expect others in public to use male pronouns for me (or when I ask) because I am obviously pregnant and no “real” man can be pregnant.

Rewrites: 

  • My biological ability to be the gestational parent has nothing to do with my gender identity.
  • Pregnant people come in all gender identities and gender expressions.
  • My desire to have a family (and go to great lengths to make that possible) does not diminish my male identity.
  • I deserve to have my gender identity validated in public settings.

This is just a starting place, but I’m going to keep thinking about my rewrites and make them part of some mental affirmations or something.

How to make a baby: sperm donors, IVF, and mad science experiments

I really, really love this recent post on Offbeat Families. It makes me think about how we conceived Falco and how I hope our child one day views this journey we’ve taken in order to grow our family.

So much of this resonates for me, namely:

[S/he] will know how much we wanted [her/him], our precious result of a mad science experiment gone wonderfully right.

Changing our minds?

Our initial plan was to reveal Falco’s sex at the baby shower. We thought it would be fun to play some sort of game where people guess or vote Falco’s sex in a creative way before we announce it. That is, before almost everyone we know has told us that they think we’re having a boy. The more we think about our initial plan, given this skew, the more anticlimactic it seems. We either say, “Hooray! You’re all right!” or, “Suckas! You’re all wrong!”

The sex of this kid is obviously just one tiny piece of information about her/him. It’s one little detail that doesn’t really inform anyone about anything truly important. Why are we continuing with our ridiculous plan if we no longer feel excited about it?

We have several friends who are expecting and aren’t announcing the sexes of their babies until their births. I recently asked one of these couples their reasoning behind this and it really resonated with me. Their response was that there are so few things these days that are true surprises. Everything is known before it ever happens, or, at the very least, within seconds of it happening. They really wanted an exciting piece of information to share with their loved ones.

K and I are now seriously considering waiting until Falco’s birth to announce his/her sex with a name, date/time of birth and other basic newborn-related details. It just seems like a way more exciting option, but is it completely ridiculous to switch gears like this after telling people our initial plan? Can we just chalk it up to a new parent’s prerogative to change his/her mind? Is it worth pissing off my mother-in-law, who was already mad enough about us waiting until the shower to announce Falco’s sex?

Just when you think people get it…

This baby shower has brought nothing but grief and drama so far. K and I are both ready to tell everyone to forget about it.

In the middle of the night, when I was up for my regularly scheduled second dose of sleeping meds, I noticed that K’s Aunt K, the one who generously offered to host the baby shower, had sent an email in reply to K sending the names and addresses for our guest list. I was immediately annoyed when I read her email, which partly read:

I do recognize that you are a non traditional couple, however I envisioned a fun girls only afternoon shower rather than a couples party.  Please revise the list and we’ll keep planning a wonderfully exciting event 🙂

… crickets…

Can someone please explain to me how it’s even possible to have a “girls only” shower when the pregnant person doesn’t identify as a girl?! This aunt really should know better and I think that’s what upset me the most about her reaction.

Sometimes, when I’ve been thoroughly disturbed by something in the middle of the night, I wake K to process it, but with this situation, I knew he would be too stressed to go back to sleep if I did. I also knew that he would err on the side of accommodating his aunt, even if it meant that he felt awkward or made to feel invisible, and I didn’t even want that to be an option. Plus, I was feeling super mama-bear about the whole thing and really wanted to protect K as best I could.

Had any other in-law sent an email with this sentiment, I think I’d feel uncomfortable replying, but like I said, I hold this aunt to a higher standard and trust her to hear what I have to say on the matter. I took a deep breath and wrote as diplomatic and gracious of a reply as I could muster. Among some obligatory niceties, I said:

I think one of the challenges about a girls only shower is that we’d feel awkward about K being the only one there who, while pregnant, doesn’t identify as a girl. We tried to strike a balance with the guest list by inviting mostly female family members and a more diverse range of friends. I hope it’s ok with you if we have some of these folks there, too.
We sure appreciate you throwing this shower! It is such a sweet and thoughtful thing to do, and makes us feel so loved!
Love you bunches,
C

K didn’t read the email exchange until the morning. He was, understandably, pretty disturbed and hurt by it. His immediate response to me was to say, “But don’t you think that, as the host of the party, she has the right to say who she wants there?” This was exactly the sort of selfless reaction I had hoped to avoid by setting wheels in motion when I replied before he could react. I said, “Of course she gets a say, but we also get to politely tell her if something makes us feel uncomfortable, which is why I responded how I did.”

As of this writing, Aunt K hasn’t yet replied, but K and I have discussed a few options if his aunt decides she wants a gender exclusive party.

Why do family matters have to be so damn sticky?!