Inevitably, whenever someone assumes we’re expecting a child, unless they were previously aware of our planned method of conception, they assume I’m the one who is cookin’ little Falco.
Just this weekend, when checking out a mass supply of baby and parenting books from our local library, the librarian asked if the books were for us. When I said yes, she asked if we were expecting. As that is technically correct, I told her that we were. Next came the obligatory congratulations, questions about due date, and inquiries about how I was feeling. I used my typical response, “I’m feeling fine, thanks!” After all, does this random librarian need to know whose uterus in which our firstborn-to-be is residing?
As K’s abdomen gets larger, John and Jane Q. Public’s comments and questions could get a bit… sticky. It doesn’t help that I have a larger frame and carry my weight at my abdomen. I could likely pass as preggo for a while longer than the average non-gestational mom-to-be, but I can’t imagine it feeling very good to have my ample gut, something I’m admittedly insecure about, interpreted and discussed as a growing fetus. I also can’t imagine that K will feel very good about this lack of acknowledgement and level of invisibility, especially given all that he’s experienced in order to conceive and now carry Falco.
Then there’s the issue of consent and agency over having our bodies analyzed and discussed. Obviously, this isn’t a new phenomenon. Women experience objectification. Transgender people’s bodies are assessed in terms of bodily changes with transition and whether or not they “pass.” People – strangers, friends and family alike – grab at pregnant people’s bellies and liberally converse about their expanding waistlines. Individuals scrutinize the bodies of fat people, people of color and people with disabilities. This isn’t our first time at the rodeo in this regard, but knowing that certainly doesn’t make it any easier.
K and I have always said that we will divulge the information about how we’re growing our family on a need-to-know (or in some cases, want-to-know) basis. For now, this means medical providers, immediate family and close friends and allies. Eventually, likely in K’s second trimester, we will tell our extended family members, friends and supervisors and human resources management at our jobs.
Obviously, this extraordinarily short list means we’re leaving a lot of people in the dark, which makes for a lot of awkward interactions with people we don’t see often or will likely never see again. We haven’t yet developed a fool-proof strategy or script for these situations, but I’m certain we’ll somehow find our rhythm. At the very least, we know that at the end of this awkwardness and processing of body image and gender triggers, we will end up with our dream come true: a wee one.