They say that coming out is a lifetime process. As our identities evolve, as we meet new people, there’s always new opportunities to tell our stories. Such has been the theme as of late.
I’m an active member of an online chat group that is a social spin-off of a cloth diapering focused community. The group of mostly women and a few men is raunchy, sassy and uplifting. There are few rules, but the ones they have mostly involve not judging each others’ choices, especially as it relates to parenting. I’ve developed a really good rapport with the group members and the moderators have become friends of mine.
To that end, I decided to take a risk and come out to the group. I posted the photo of K and I holding our legal marriage license and told our story. Group members had a lot of questions, which I answered openly and honestly. I talked about E’s birth story and told them how proud I am of my amazingly brave husband. I continue to be overwhelmed by the outpouring of support and encouragement from people who know so little about transgender identity and the complexities of gender, sex, and reproduction.
Ever since Saturday, I’ve been hearing from friends and coworkers that they keep seeing the footage of K and I holding our marriage license in local news broadcasts. It occurred me late on Sunday night that someone at E’s daycare may have seen one of the broadcasts and could very well ask us about it. We decided that we should prepare for this possibility and coordinate the messaging we felt comfortable conveying to them. Nothing is worse than being caught by surprise, stammering or rambling while coming out to someone. It certainly doesn’t communicate confidence in your identity.
It’s a good thing we prepared because when K picked E up from daycare on Monday, one of the teachers in E’s room said that the lead teacher mentioned that she’d seen us on the news. K told the teacher about his trans identity and explained that the law views us as a same-sex couple, even though that’s not how we identify. We decided not to tell the daycare, at this point, about E’s birth story. As we suspected would be the case, the teacher was really supportive.
It’s nice to feel a renewed sense of authenticity and feel the warmth of new allies. What was your last coming out experience and to whom?
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.
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.
There is always so much for which I feel grateful, even though I don’t always take the time to express it, and sometimes it is difficult to narrow down what to write here. This week, I want to express my gratitude for:
K’s hard uterus with a growing baby inside! Yesterday, K came close to give me a hug and I swear, his hard belly jabbed me in the gut. It was the first time this has happened and it’s a fun milestone to experience. K is also able to identify fetal movement much more reliably these days.
Feeling calm about impending motherhood. When you’re about to be a first-time parent, it can feel like there is just SO much information to learn and it isn’t possible to ever know enough. K and I went to a baby care and safety class yesterday afternoon and, while there was a fair share of irksome heterosexism and parenting gender stereotypes, not to mention a major skew toward breastfeeding and use of disposable diapers, I feel really empowered after the class. I realized that so much of the essential knowledge to care for our newborn already exists in my brain and that I truly can trust my instincts.
A wonderful community of gender variant gestational parents and parents-to-be! Yesterday, via Google+ Hangouts, K had a really outstanding video chat with a group of transgender gestational parents and hopeful parents. It was really great for him to be able to make these connections, share resources and hope, and encourage one another. Surprisingly, one hopeful couple lives just a couple of hours from us and we’re planning on getting together with them in-person in the not-too-distant future.
I sure am looking forward to all of the many things for which to feel grateful over the course of the next 20 weeks, give or take!
Considering someone recently located our blog by searching “what to get for a baby shower if they don’t know the gender,” I figured the following could be useful:
Feel free to substitute the words “item” or “present” for “toy,” and the person who searched for gender-neutral baby gift ideas should be in luck! I wish I could cite the original source for the brilliance of this graphic, but I would like to thank my friend who sent this my way.