The Frankenbaby Chronicles

Two girls, three cats, some frozen sperm, a doctor's office, and a big dream.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

"Other" mom?

Last night's conversation nearly broke me in two. It was one of those conversations that happens and you're left feeling hollow and wonder if you will ever entirely fill up again. At this point, I am still not sure.

In bed last night, Jen made a number of comments about how concerned she was that she wouldn't be bonded with our baby because she would have to go back to work. (I have to go back to work, too, but I need to find a job first.) She was talking about how she wouldn't be able to breastfeed and all of that, and basically that she wouldn't be a "real" mom and that she was left out of everything because she didn't have a baby inside her.

I died a little last night.

Since before we even decided to try to get pregnant, I have been trying to pull Jen into the whole process. I should mass-market some sort of TTC-and-Pregnancy fishing pole, because man, I used every trick in the book. I e-mailed links to my charts. I asked her to give me shots. I waited for that moment when she would remember it was time to take some medicine. I pleaded, begged, whined, moaned... oh, it was ridiculous. And then? And then! We got pregnant.

From minute one, in my mind this was our pregnancy, not mine. I tried desperately to suck her into "your baby at X weeks" info, wanted to talk about the babies all the time, and when we lost one, wanted to talk and talk and mourn and talk together. But I felt like she wasn't interested. She would "forget" some of the forbidden foods and offer them. She would "forget" to take a weekly photo. I would talk about inducing lactation and researched Supplemental Nursing Systems and would bring them to her attention. I wanted to know what bottles she wanted to try to use. I wanted to know what she wanted about everything. I wanted her to lay against me, belly to belly, so our baby could kick her belly too. It was like a bad lesbian movie, I'm sure.

And after all of that? Last night she says she's not a part of things? Well, what am I supposed to do with that?

I know that I cannot understand all of the trials and tribulations of a non-biological mom... but I also know that biological bonds are not the be-all and end-all in my small family of origin. I just don't even think of it that way. This is our baby and has always been our baby, down to the donor who shares her ethnicity and coloring and up to the way I refer to our baby and our pregnancy.

It just seems like even when you try to do everything you possibly can, you get reminded that you will never, ever be able to do enough.


Blogger Kathryn - partner of Donna said...

You brought tears to my eyes when I read your post. I'm so sorry things are as they are - I wish I had an answer.

You guys are always in our thoughts, and I hope things get better soon xx

11:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I felt sad when I read your post. That sucks for you and for her. I'm wondering if she's connected with any other non-bio moms who've likely felt in really similar ways, and who have in many ways gotten through it.

LesbianDad ( is a great blog from that perspective. So is the Other Mother ( There's also an anthology of essays on the topic called Confessions of the Other Mother: Non-Biological Lesbian Moms Tell All. Forgive me if all of this is redundant information.

11:58 AM  
Blogger Siercia said...

Hon, those are pretty normal feelings for the non-pregnant partner - I had similar discussions with W when I was pregnant. I don't know much about the lesbian mom perspective (obviously), but I imagine in some ways it might be harder, since it could have just as likely been her with the baby instead of you.

No matter how much you try to pull her in, you can't make her feel involved. Most of the "solutions" like supplemental nursing systems feel like poor imitations of the real thing, and in some ways carry even more of a sting.

I think that she's just expressing normal "other parent" concerns and feelings, and I think most of those will disappear once frankie makes her appearance, and she can feel, in a concrete way, that those things really don't matter when you have a tiny baby staring up at you.

It's not necessarily your job to make her feel included - she'll come to that on her own, at her own pace.

12:28 PM  
Blogger hope said...

I was afraid that I wouldn't bond with Quinn and she WAS in me. I think those fears are totally normal, but just magnified on the part of the non-bio-mom. She'll take one look at the little babe-ette and be smitten.

12:47 PM  
Blogger Jude said...

I hope you guys all are right. I mean, I know she will love the baby and all of that - I'M not worried about whether or not she will bond with the baby, but I worry about how she feels.

And I suppose one can say that there's nothing I can do and that it will work out, but that's never been terribly acceptable to me when the person I love is hurting. Especially when I didn't know.

Re: supplemental nursing - I actually really was hoping Jen would want to try inducing lactation and not just mimicking the real thing, but for personal reasons for her she decided not to go that route. It's a damned shame is what it is.

I know I can't control anything, but this is really one of those areas that I thought I could avoid, even a little bit, if I loved hard enough.

4:29 PM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

I tried really hard yesterday to articulate what I am feeling and we argued about the fears being irrational.

I know in my heart that I will bond with August - I am so in love with her even now...

In my head though I worry about everything....EVERYTHING...and this little bug of worries is there and most of the time I don't think about it but it hits me when i am feeling especially down and sad.

It doesn't make those feelings right or anything - they just are and time will eventually deal with them. I am confident of that, even when I have my little melt downs.

6:03 PM  
Blogger Lindsey said...

Wow, what a coincidence, I just read a similar sort of post at babycakes today - (see Monday's). I thought that the comment that party b left was really facinating - I even brought it up with my partner (we'll be starting TTC in just a few weeks). I really loved it that party b's partner found really special things that she could do that were different and all her own. We sort of like to think of DP as having more of a "dad" role. Not in a masculine way but just in a way that is different from a biological mom role but equally as important.

1:19 AM  
Blogger Mama Lisa said...

I had lots of those feelings when my wife was pregnant, and also after baby came. I was incredibly bonded with him--this I did muchly through singing with him--but it's just a really difficult process. There is nothing in our upbringing as women that prepares us for becoming "moms" without giving birth. It's also much harder to get societal acknowledgement of the pregnancy and the transition to motherhood.

Having carried our second, I was very aware of how much my transition into motherhood was being acknowledged and supported by people I didn't even know who believed that becuase they could see I was pregnant that I waned to talk with them about it.

Reinventing The Family: Lesbian and Gay Parents by Laura Benkov was a really, really helpful book to me. Amazon from ten cents used...

11:16 PM  

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