The classic What to Expect When You’re Expecting is a great resource for the everyday nonsense of having a baby. What it doesn’t cover is the extra stuff a gay lady might need to expect when she’s expecting. That’s why we’re here, to give you a heads up about some of the wild and wacky things you should expect to happen to your lady loving self when you’re going to have a baby.
1. Babies are the gaydar jammers you wished you had when you were in the closet.
Carrying a baby is the equivalent of Superman popping on his glasses. Suddenly, he’s Clark Kent, no one can even see who he is or that he has special powers. Babies work the same way. You can be out and proud, gay as a tennis player, but the instant someone hands you a baby every person you meet will assume you’re straight. It’s a really weird phenomenon that will make you want to put on all of the lezzie clothes you haven’t worn since college all at once.
2. People will ask you who the “real mom” is.
Two moms, too much confusion about who carried the baby. This is a theme you’ll encounter a lot but people want to put your unconventional family into a conventional box. This time it’s by asking the absurd and offensive “which one of you is the baby’s real mom?” Try not to murder anyone. Some people refuse to answer because the question is so patently offensive. Some simply imagine the person’s head exploding before explaining calmly that the baby has two “real” moms and 1950 called and it wants its ignorance back.
3. Hormones are no joke and they will eat your brain.
This one is for the pregnant lady and her poor partner. I cannot overstate the amount of crazy brought on by hormones. Sure, they deal with this in the conventional pregger books but, people, they way undersell. The hormones during pregnancy do all sorts of stuff. They give you weird cravings, they make you cry for no reason other than you thought about that time when you were six and your goldfish died and there was a commercial on tv with a kid and her grandpa and it totally made you think of your grandpa and the goldfish that was once in a book he read you that time and then you thought of the dead goldfish and it’s just so sad, isn’t it? Yeah, that kind of crazy. I haven’t even gotten to the part where you will honestly consider whether it’s ok to murder the lady in the grocery store who is standing too close to your adorable child and, OH MY GOD, did she just touch your baby’s hand? doesn’t she know that’s how germs get passed and she might have the plague or something and is she trying to kill your baby?
Pregnant lady, be aware that you are going to lose your mind, you are going to feel it happening and you won’t be able to stop it. There might even be times when you feel like you can see it happening, floating outside your body and thinking “hmm that crazy person looks so much like me.” Partner, realize the woman you love is going to become unrecognizable to you, perhaps for mere moments a day, maybe for months. It’s totally normal and serves an evolutionary purpose but that doesn’t stop it from being completely terrifying.
4. Get your haircut before the baby is born.
This is the most practical. You won’t have time or the energy to get your haircut once the baby is born. More importantly, by getting your hair cut before giving birth you avoid the potential for the epic meltdown caused when a sleep deprived and hormone riddled woman gets a bad haircut. It’s not pretty. Get it cut beforehand and save yourself the meltdown.
5. Inappropriate questions about sperm.
As soon as you are pregnant and people know it (because you told them or because they can see the bump) you will be amazed at the crazy shit people will say, do, and ask you. They’ll ask you when you’re due, they might touch your belly (probably without asking), they’ll comment on how you’re carrying/how much weight you have gained (“you look bigger, not everywhere but just in your face”), what your birth plan is, and because you’re a lesbian they will ask you about sperm. They want to know all about the sperm, where you got it, how much it cost, how you chose the sperm you did, if you know the donor, what he looks like. You will be baffled by the chutzpah as people ask you the most intimate things, stuff they would never ask a non-pregnant person just because you’re growing a human. You thought you could avoid the whole sperm issue by being a lesbian? Nope. Get ready to talk about sperm.
6. Coming out again and again and again.
Remember that whole thing about people trying to put you in a box, yeah it’s back again. You will get asked about what your husband does, if he’s excited about the baby, if he’s hoping for a boy or a girl, and if you two have decided on names. Because they assume, you get to come out over and over and over again. Don’t worry, you’ll figure out a snappy response after about the first dozen times you have to deal with it.
7. People say the weirdest stuff, enjoy laughing.
Because people are often unfamiliar with the idea of two ladies having a baby together they say the weirdest stuff. Sometimes it’s because there are things we’re used to saying about babies and we don’t realize that the words don’t apply to same-sex couples until the words are out of our mouths. Our first kid (who I birthed) was quite long as a wee one, and I had the experience more than once when a person looked at me and said, “well your wife is tall.” Both times I just stood there and waited for a few beats while the person’s brain caught up to her mouth and she realized that while my wife is tall, her height has absolutely zero to do with how tall the kid I grew is. People will say amazing things, try to roll your eyes and laugh.
8. Being pregnant is hard…
Growing a human being is really hard. It might make you sick, it might make you cry, it might make you hate your spouse because she can drink beer and wants you to drive her home afterward (or you might just hate her because she can still wear pants without an elastic waist). You might not be able to sleep, or eat the things you want to eat. Your clothes don’t fit and your secretary just asked someone in the office how you got pregnant because she just doesn’t get it. You might hate every second that little parasite is growing in your womb or you might enjoy the entire experience. Try to cut yourself some slack, you’re going to need it when that sucker joins your family and really throws things out of balance.
9. …but so is not being pregnant.
Having been both the pregnant and non-pregnant lady I can tell you both things are hard, for entirely different reasons. Non-pregnant partner repeat after me “my needs come last, always. It’s never about me unless everyone else is already taken care of.”
Your wife may be kind of evil for a lot of pregnancy. Suck it up. You might feel tired after the baby is born, believe me, it’s nothing compared to how she feels, so stop whining about being exhausted and get her a glass of water, a sandwich, a cup of coffee, and then change the baby’s diaper yourself. You’ll thank me when she’s telling her friends how you’re the greatest thing on the planet. Bonus if you are planning to carry the next one because you’ll have set a really high standard for her.
10. People will accept you who never did before.
My wife has an aunt who was really sweet to me before she found out that I was the lesbian marrying her niece. Then she ignored me or gave me the stink eye for a while. But then and amazing thing happened: I got pregnant and we had a kid and suddenly she spoke to me again. She didn’t just talk to me, she talked to me like an adult, she joked with me about having kids. She was friendly. You may find that people who previously had no earthly idea how to interact with a lesbian are magically at ease around you because you’re a mom now and they know how to talk to a mom. The differences melt away because they can relate to being pregnant, being up all night with a baby, worrying about your kids. Now, you’re not a big scary lesbian anymore, you’re just like any other mom, welcome to the club.
We’ve given you 10 things to think about now it’s your turn. What would you add to the list of things a gay lady should know before having a kid?