Countdown to Baby T. Rex: “Mommy” Feelings and Dinosaur Mobiles (25 Weeks)

The biggest hurdle in deciding to become a parent, for me, was acknowledging and accepting that there is no way to extrapolate myself and my identity from “motherhood.” As a woman—and particularly as a woman who presents somewhere between hard femme and power femme—there is no chance I’m going to evade the Cult of Mommy-ness. My undercut can’t save me.

I love moms. I love my mom. Moms created the whole damn world and they run the thing, too. Motherhood is powerful as fuck. Yet, every time I think about being looked at as a mom, I can feel myself shrinking away from the idea. I can feel my other identities as a queer femme, a writer, an activist, a nonprofit director, a leader, a teacher, a badass bitch being forcibly subdued and overshadowed by the looming identity of “mommy.” I can visualize all those parts of me, of who I am and how I see myself, disintegrating into glitter dust, scattered to the wind like ashes.

It’s not being a mother that I’m afraid of. I know I’ll be a great parent. It’s how our culture sees moms, how it undervalues them, pushes moms into boxes, takes away their sexual agency, under-compensates their work while expecting perfect performance, stomps on moms with heteropatriarchal bullshit, and holds up the mom version of the virgin/whore dichotomy: “good moms” and “bad moms.” It’s too much.

Before we even got this thing started, I had to come to terms with the idea that the world was going to see me as a “mommy,” whether I liked it or not. The good news is, I know my partner wants an equal role in parenting. I mean, if anything, he’d like a slightly more prominent role. Like 60/40. The reality is that I get a good amount of paid time off from work and he doesn’t, so initially, at least, I’ll have slightly more time with Baby T. Rex. Plus we’re planning to breastfeed so that will be something I will have responsibility for until (or unless) we shift to bottle feeding.

Relationship roles are rarely 50/50. You play to each other’s strengths. I clean the bathroom. Waffle scoops the litter box. I deal with spiders and bugs. He lifts heavy shit. We alternate doing the dishes and the laundry. I’m okay with knowing I’ll be doing slightly more parenting in the beginning because I know I’m not expected to do all of it. When I go back to work, Waffle will be on daytime duty (I work days. He works nights.) and he’ll end up getting more meaningful time with the kiddo than I will.

As the non-gestational carrier, Waffle may even resent me for having more early bonding time with T. Rex. I know that’s been the experience of some of our queer parent friends. Already, I know he wishes he could feel T. Rex kick, which I feel all the damn time, but it isn’t strong enough yet for him to feel it from the outside. I don’t really love the sensation, personally, but I can’t wait to be able to share it with him. Being the non-gestational carrier can sometimes feel like being invisible. At our fertility appointments, the providers often talked directly to me and mostly ignored Waffle. He was okay with the situation because we went in with a pragmatism about the whole thing, but I imagine he wishes he could have had a more active role.

Unlike the heteronormative norm, in our relationship, the “baby crazy” person (Waffle) is the non-gestational carrier and the “baby ambivalent” person (me) is carrying. This is due to who has the capacity, due to body dysphoria and whatnot, more than anything else. A lesbian couple we know had a similar situation. The person who wanted to get pregnant first just couldn’t get it to work, so after some time, her partner ended up trying instead and got pregnant on the first try.

Queer baby-making just isn’t as cut-and-dry as it is for straight people, whether you have the parts or not—and some queer and lesbian couples have the parts naturally! Everything just feels very intentional in how our community tends to make these decisions. Being in a same-gender and/or queer feminist relationship means we’re already bucking the norm. Much like a lot of the marriage equality rhetoric never really worked for me, even as Waffle and I were getting legally married, a lot of the baby stuff makes me want to barf in my mouth. At the end of the day, though, we aren’t conforming to the institution of baby-making heteronormativity. We’re queering it, by the nature of how we’re making our family and how we are going to raise this future human person. That’s actually pretty badass.

It’s the rest of the world that frustrates me.

Since I’ve announced being pregnant, literally every person I run into wants to talk baby stuff with me. It’s fine. I guess. I mean, it’s fine except I know it doesn’t happen in the same way to men whose wives or girlfriends are expecting. It doesn’t even happen the same way to Waffle because he isn’t the pregnant one, so he doesn’t have to talk about it with strangers and acquaintances as much. Literally when I went to a new eye doctor recently, she started talking kids with me and proceeded to try to convince me that making your own baby food was the way and the light. Which, fine, that’s fine advice, but we’re doing an eye exam right now?

At this point, I’ve mostly come to terms with the fact that being a Pregnant Woman and eventually a Mommy is going to define who I am to other people. Having a supportive queer partner at home and a supportive community around me makes all the difference.

Also, I’m an activist and an opportunist and, well, I know the day will come when I’m at a press conference or in front of a camera talking about some bill or cause and making a statement that starts with, “Well, as a mother, I believe…” That’s okay, too.

Being a parent, being a mom or dad, is a huge deal and it’s going to become a huge part of my identity. I just don’t want to lose myself in the process. Being a part of the Autostraddle family and meeting other amazing lesbian and queer moms has been so affirming to me, that we can queer “mommy-ness,” that we can be all of the things we are and also embrace being moms. So here I am, embracing it!

That was a lot of feelings. Ready for some more?


10 Random Baby-Making Feelings I’m Currently Over-Processing

1. Cool for the Summer

I’ve been back-and-forth about whether we should get air conditioning for our house. We had a window unit, once upon a time, but then we put it in the pet room (we have a pet room) so our little furkids wouldn’t die in the summer. I wanted to get another AC at first, but then I looked into it more and realized that the growing demand for air conditioning is a huge contributor to global warming. It’s one of the biggest threats to the environment and it seemed wasteful to have two window units just so I could sleep comfortably.

So I sweat it out in the summer. I’m so cranky during the hot months. I’m miserable. I stuff my bra with ice packs, draw the blinds, and scowl in the dark on the worst days. When I realized I’d be due August 20th, which means I’ll be in my third trimester right during the hottest weeks of the summer, I quickly changed my tune about that AC thing. Long story short, we’re using our tax return to get central AC installed so that Baby T. Rex, Waffle, and I all make it through this summer pregnancy. I would be lying if I didn’t admit that my body is ready.

via giphy

via giphy


2. Mommy Things I’ve Googled This Week:

  • “charlie horse pregnancy”
  • “babywearing best carrier”
  • “vulva fell asleep pregnant”
  • “plus size when did you show 24 weeks”
  • “weird dreams pregnant”
  • “when did partner husband feel baby kick”
  • “can baby hear my cat”

3. Both Hands

Glucose finger stick testing is taking its toll on my tough little fingers. I’ve got little bitty dots on the sides of all my fingertips where my tiny needle prick holes are healing and a couple fingers are developing light callouses. So that’s a fun thing that’s happening. I have to crank up the needle depth by half a turn to pierce through the tough parts now. It doesn’t help that I favor my left hand. For some reason, it bleeds better and hurts less than my right hand. Why? I don’t know! Tell me how human biology works!


4. Give Green a Chance!

We got the room painted the green color and we both like it a lot. It’s bright, but not shockingly bright and it definitely isn’t pastel. It’s exactly what we wanted. With the white trim and darker brown furniture, I think it’ll be the right kind of primary-colored jungle feel.

No regrets.

No regrets.

Which is good because Waffle has a serious case of…


5. Dino Fever

It’s getting intense. Here’s just a small sampling of dino stuff Waffle has bought in the past couple weeks, mainly from Etsy sellers.

Crochet dinos by IvoryTreeHouse, outlet covers by cathyscraftycovers, receiving blanket from TJ Maxx.

Crochet dinos by IvoryTreeHouse, outlet covers by cathyscraftycovers, receiving blanket from TJ Maxx.

These should be coming soon, too!

Drawer knobs and fan pulls from Thimbletowne

Drawer knobs and fan pulls from Thimbletowne

Say hello to the pièce de résistance to the dino nursery, this adorable mobile.

felt mobile by feltcutemobile, pretend the kid has black hair and black eyes

felt mobile by feltcutemobile, pretend the kid has black hair and black eyes

I pushed back on the little white felt person, because our kid is Korean and I don’t want them staring for hours at a person who doesn’t look like them. They’re going to have their whole life to internalize racism and be inundated with images that don’t look like them. Believe me. I know.

Long story short, Waffle messaged the seller and we’re getting a custom version of this mobile with an Asian-looking kid at the center, which is going to be hella cute!


6. Things Remi Either Really Likes or Really Doesn’t Like Based on Intensity of Squirminess:

  • my cellphone ringtone
  • chicken tikki
  • warm water directly hitting my belly
  • when I lie on my side
  • when I lie on my back
  • French vanilla ice cream
  • when I drink ice cold water
  • conference calls on speakerphone

7. Surprise! (Gender)

One of the midwives at our midwifery group put “surprise gender” as a note on our file so practitioners would stop asking. Bless her.

The number one question we get, by far, is, “What are you having?” Of course, the snarky answer is, “A baby!” or, “A human!” What people actually want to know is the assigned sex of our dino. The answer is, we don’t know, chose not to find out, and we don’t want to know. It’s not so much that we want to be surprised. We don’t plan on having pink and blue cigars at the ready in the waiting room. I don’t care if the doctor yells, “It’s a boy!” or “It’s a girl!” and I also don’t care who looks between the legs of our newborn to assign a sex based on visible genitalia. We genuinely don’t feel the need to know. We aren’t taking bets on what it will be, though we also get asked a lot what we think it is going to be. Honestly, I have no idea and that’s fine.

Ugh. I mean, I guess you can buy these gender reveal invites on Amazon if you really want to, if that's your thing.

Ugh. I mean, I guess you can buy these gender reveal invites on Amazon if you really want to, if that’s your thing.

It’s also not that we don’t believe in gender. Quite the opposite. (If you believe in gender, clap your hands!) It’s that gender is, in fact, very real and we don’t want to start putting gender feelings on Baby T. Rex before it even emerges. Even if we try our very best, we will start to imagine what T. Rex is like if we start thinking of them as a “boy” or “girl.” We want to meet them when they get here. It’s why we have one gender neutral name picked out, regardless of assigned sex. So we can imagine them in our life and our family without getting bogged down by imagining two different gendered futures.

Of course, we believe in gender, but not in holding hard and fast to gender norms. Whatever gender T. Rex ends up being, whenever T. Rex determines their gender, we’re going to be just fine with that. We’ll probably use pronouns congruent with the assigned sex after birth, for simplicity’s sake, but if T. Rex comes out as something else later in life, that’s fine with us.

Unfortunately, I don’t always feel like having this whole conversation with my acquaintances, much less perfect strangers who ask this question. So to save time and emotional energy, I just say that we want to be surprised if they push for details. It’s not honest, but it ends the awkward conversation faster.


8. Furbaby, Meet Baby

I’m pretty sure our xenophobic and emotionally-fragile cat will freak when we bring home a new human. He’s afraid of everything: loud noises, knocking on the door, things that sound similar to knocking on the door, human voices, new furniture, new smells, people food, dogs barking, children’s laughter, the vacuum cleaner, the broom, shoes.

Will this weirdo be ok? Should we make him listen to baby sounds?

Will this weirdo be ok? Should we make him listen to baby sounds?

I’ve considered getting one of those baby sounds for pets albums. A lot of people seem to get these for their dogs before they bring home a baby. Anyone tried it? Does it work for cats?


9. Heel-Toe-Heel-No

In college, I would traipse across campus in the dead of winter in 5″ heeled shoes like it was nothing, schlepping two tons of books in my shoulder bag to boot. Quite a femme bragging right, considering I went to one of the coldest and snowiest colleges in the U.S. But that was then and this is over a decade later. I’ve started to trade out my high heels for flats and platforms over the last few years, saving the stilettos for special occasions only. I gave away my last pair of 5″ heeled boots last year, after putting them on for a party and realizing I was physically incapable of walking in them. Your center of gravity changes as you get older and it changes a lot when you’re preggers.

This past week, I tried to wear a pair of sensible platform heels to work, 3″ Aerosole brand shoes with a whole lot of cushion. Aerosoles is an American brand that is literally designed for comfort. By the end of the day, I could barely walk. I almost fell to my death trying to descend three flights of stairs.

So flats it is, from here until the end of pregnancy and then, well, probably in general. I am a masochist at heart, but comfort is winning over fashion right now.


10. Baby’s First Party Photobooth

As much as some people have been asking for bump pictures, it’s just not something I do. Depending on the time of day and what I’m wearing, I don’t always even look that bump-y. Just yesterday some person told me I didn’t look pregnant at all, which I’m never sure what to say back to. Is it a compliment? Is it a commentary on my weight? Should I be flattered? Should I be offended? Either way, I just don’t take bump pics. I do spend a lot of time staring at myself in the bathroom mirror and frequently grill Waffle on whether my belly is changing. I just don’t think to take pics. Maybe I’ll feel inspired in the coming months.

We were in NYC for a party last weekend, though, and we took a photobooth picture. So here’s your bump picture, world! Remi’s First Photobooth! (Actually, not true, we took another photobooth picture when Remi was a mere embryo on New Year’s Eve.) Eat it up!

Me (with Remi in utero), Waffle, and our friend.

Me (with Remi in utero), Waffle, and our friend.

KaeLyn is a 35-year-old (femme)nist activist, word nerd, and queer mama. You can typically find her binge-watching TV, over-caffeinating herself, standing somewhere with a mic or a sign in her hand, eating carbs, or just generally doing too many things at once. She lives in Rochester, NY with her spouse, a baby T. rex, a xenophobic cat, and a rascally rabbit. You can buy her debut book, Girls Resist! A Guide to Activism, Leadership, and Starting a Revolution if you want to, if you feel like it, if that's a thing that interests you or whatever.

KaeLyn has written 198 articles for us.

70 Comments

  1. I’m having trouble commenting on another article, so I’m commenting here as a test. I promise I’ll come back and actually read this article too because I love hearing about queer pregnancy and parenting.

    • YES. Also, the baby outfits would look much cuter if the tie were on the pink onesie and the bow on the blue one, I think.

      Plus, as some (very straight) friends of mine who are expecting pointed out, when you don’t tell people the baby’s assigned sex, then they’re more likely to give you gender-neutral things that can be reused for later siblings (they want a big family), and/or to give you what you actually ask for.

    • It’s a personal decision. I get why some people find out, particularly because the default in 2016 is to find out during your 2nd trimester screen. So you have to actually speak up if you don’t want to know.

      But yeah, yeah, also it definitely keeps our well-meaning friends and family from flooding our home with well-intentioned gendered toys and clothes!

  2. I love this column and am really into the dinosaur themed nursery.

    also, unsolicited opinion about babywearing- try some different carriers out before you buy one! there’s lots of different hippie babywearing groups that usually have members who are happy to inundate you with information and let you try their carriers, and some of those gross baby stores have carriers that you can try too!

    • Thanks for the hot tip on the baby carriers! I have decided on the Boba 4G carrier (for Waffle) and Boba Wrap (for me). There are so many choices! Mostly I’m concerned about getting a carrier that’s comfortable for us and the baby, since we’re both fat people. Trying them on is a great idea.

  3. I love that you are sharing this and queering motherhood!
    So as aforementioned,somewhere, I’m so onboard with dino stuff! All of these super cute things for baby t-rex are just awesome! Also the binaryness of new life drove me crazy when I went to buy a “congratulations you gave birth to a new human” card the other day. The only one, out of a huge rack, that wasn’t pink/girl or blue/boy, said “congratulations on your new addition”… It’s cute but 1, just 1. And literally every single girl one was pink and every boy one was blue. Appalled.
    May I also suggest orange as a good colour for slings and things as its one of the first colours babies can identify (apparently-I was told this when selling baby carriers in my old life) so that’s cool.

    • The binary is strong with baby stuff. It’s pretty unbelievable.

      I hadn’t heard that orange is one of the first colors they can identify, so that’s cool! The nursery doesn’t have a specific color theme, but we know we want it to be bright and have a lot of colors because babies tend to respond to and differentiate between bright colors. There’s a lot of green, blue, orange, and red right now.

      Do you recommend a particular baby carrier?

      • For context, going back 12 years, we sold them at an outdoors store so they were all big ass Hiking ones- which meant they were definitely not pink or blue! Macpac was a very popular brand, super comfy and the framed ones mean it can be a baby seat when you’re taking a lunch break, or if you were camping. Not sure if that’s something you need but yeah. These days there are way more brands about and I’d have no idea of the models. If you were looking for one I’d say key things are to check the back length adjustment, and how the hip and chest straps fit. They are crucial for your comfort on long walks carrying an adorable weight, and for the little tyke’s safety. The baby seat part it’s self is often adjustable for growth which is handy, as they do that. From seeing squirming little angels get plopped in, they seemed to like the suspended types more than the foamy fixed ones, it think because their wee legs could dangle either sides D kick about, but couldn’t say for sure as I don’t speak baby. Hope this is of use to anyone 🙂

        • Ahh, so the real backpack carriers! My little sister loved “being a backpack,” as her Korean adoption placement papers stated. I think I’m going to elaborate on this in the next Countdown to Baby T. Rex, but one of the cool things about baby-wearing is that non-Western cultures have been doing it forEVER. In Korea, babies are traditionally work on the back, so the mother’s heart and baby’s heart are in alignment. I love that!

          • I love babywearing! Babies are my favorite accessory! I had a baby bjorn that someone gave to me. I liked how easy it is to put on and take off. It is also adjustable for the parent and child. My brother and his fiancee had bought a few different baby carriers but found them tricky to use so I loaned them the baby bjorn. My sister-in-law to be said it has been so useful to have two hands free sometimes. I generally used it until a baby was 4 to 6 months old.

            I did have one mom whose child I watched who was concerned about possible hip displacement with the baby bjorn. I talked to a chiropractor who said that doctors check baby’s hip to make sure there is no displacement. If there is any concern about the baby’s hip you need a different carrier, but if not it’s okay. For that baby I bought a Moby wrap and watched countless videos on youtube of how to wrap it. One day at storytime at the library several of us were trying to help show a woman how they work. It takes a bit of getting used to it but they do offer more back support, I found when babywearing for several hours.

            Ergo baby carriers were the in thing at least a few years ago. They are pretty pricey. If there is any concern with hip displacement they are suppose to have a more supportive V sit for the baby. I have not personally tried one due to the cost.

            I also found a metal frame backpack at a church sale for $1.00 and loved it for kids from about 6 months up to 3 years or so. The little ones can watch what’s going on and be part of the action while also being a bit more safely out of the way while cooking and such.

            Also, some babies just don’t like to be worn in a baby carrier. I had one baby I watched who preferred to sit in a bouncer and watch the action. So there is definitely something to be said for trying out different carriers to see which is the best option for you and your family!

          • My parents had one of those 80’s metal frame ones for my sister and she loved it. I have a distinct memory of my mom wearing it while gardening in the backyard.

            We are splurging on the Ergo after much research. However, I’ve also heard mostly good things about the Bjorn. I’ll report back once I’ve tried it out! I do like that you can wear the kid facing out in the Bjorn. Personally, I’m also going to try out a wrap. It seems like it would be most comfortable for my body type and also good for breastfeeding discreetly. Also, I think they look hella cute and supportive.

          • That’s lovely! Look forward to reading your next instalment. Have to say I was super impressed with these monster sized back pack baby carriers in the way they utilised the space around the frame for storage of baby essentials. They really made the most of the shape and space available, whilst balancing weight for the wearer.

  4. Congratulations Kaelyn and Waffles!

    I’m excited for your posts because it turns out our babies are due a week apart. I vaguely remember a post about having children at the start of the year (Dec/Jan, it may have been a roundtable?) and how helpful I found it.

    Firstly:
    – I am very glad I live in Australia and am going to be very pregnant in the winter rather than summer. If it is something you can do then I do not think you’ll regret getting AC.

    – The little crochet dinosaur is amazing and I want one.

    – Good luck with your cat! We have similar concerns about my dog but he’s generally good with babies, he’s very gentle with them but he’s also used to being the most pampered little thing in the world.

    – I wish I was alright with suprises and we didn’t find out the gender of the baby because it doesn’t matter one tiny bit and I do not want to assign a gender to my baby from birth, but my anxiety disorder means I need to know every little detail in order to function so we found out. Gender reveals are super weird. The other day I saw photos of a straight couple who used a rifle to shoot a box which exploded into blue smoke. Like -they shot their future child??? it was so, so strange.

    – This little thing growing inside of my kicks so hard so my girlfriend has been able to feel it for a few weeks and it made me so happy when she was able to. I’ve very conscious that she is missing a lot of the traditional experiences of being a mum and I want to make sure she’s included.

    I can’t tell you how amazing it is to read a pregnancy blog from a queer perspective. I am excited to be a parent and I can’t wait to be a mother but as you said, the heteronormativity of the pregnancy world is stifling.

    I am very lucky that my sister and her wife went through the same IVF process and have a 2 year old and a 1 month old so at least we have some great queer role models and great support but in general everything is just so grossly straight and it’s something that I find impossible to explain to my non-queer friends.

    The thing I am finding the hardest is reconciling the changes to my body with my identity. I don’t really know how I identify and it’s something I’ve only really been thinking about in the last year or two, but I do not feel comfortable with feminine things (it took me most of my adult life to unlearn that girly does not equal weak) or clothing. I have long hair and don’t really dress butch, maybe like a tomboy, or soft butch – think Ellen Page but taller.

    Basically maternity clothes make me nauseous. I’m lucky that I don’t have to dress formal for work, although I did before I was pregnant and I can get away with wearing jeans and a tshirt. At this point, because my tshirts/jeans are kind of baggy, they still fit but each week they get smaller and smaller. I’m hoping I go on maternity leave before I really have to do something about it.

    The other scary thing for me, which is sort of related is the complete loss of control over my body. I’ve struggled with an eating disorder in the past and while generally I had a pretty healthy relationship with my body prior to getting pregnant, it’s been difficult to let go of that control now. I’ve gained more weight than average, I blame the IVF hormones and only being able to stomach carbs for the first 12 weeks and that’s been really, really difficult for me. The other thing that’s been hard is seeing my breasts grow so much. I’ve gone from a B to a D cup and I’ve never liked the idea of having breasts to begin with. This is something that is really hard to explain to people, even people close to me because their standard answer is “well what did you expect?” and yes I get that, I expected my body to change but I guess I didn’t expect my own feelings about it.

    I know it’ll be ok and I’ll be ok and my girlfriend is amazing and supportive and the best co-parent I could possibly want, and I want this more than anything but as you sort of said, my own loss of identity and turning into a mother is an adjustment.

    I’m at the age where a lot of queer people I know are having children and it makes me so, so happy because it’s like – suck shit to the people who said we wouldn’t have these things, or be happy, or there was something wrong with us. We’re proving them wrong just by living the lives we choose and that is just the best.

    • Yes! It was the Gayby Maybe roundtable last December! Good memory! Like you, we conceived shortly after.

      Congrats! I’m so glad to have a queer pregnancy buddy to chat with! One of my college friends is also due a week before me and I know a whole bunch of people expecting in August and September. I guess Dec/Jan were busy months for baby-making!

      – The AC is happening. I just got a quote on installation this morning and we’re going for it.

      – The amigurimi dino is only, like $15 US. You should get one!

      – Our cat is also a gentle beast. He’s just very skiddish and hesitant around new people, things, smells, and sounds. But I think he’ll adjust with some time. I do wonder if we should get that baby noises CD…

      – I don’t think there’s anything wrong with finding out the sex. It just isn’t what we chose. We also didn’t do the 2nd trimester blood screen, which I’m guessing you did, and if we did we probably would have found out because it’s on the test results. So that makes sense! The gender reveal party trend is weird for many reasons. I saw that rifle gender reveal thing. It was…unique.

      – Waffle felt Remi kick for the first time this very night! It was pretty cool to watch his reaction to it and share it with him.

      – It really is hard to explain to non-queer people. Like, there are a lot of things that are similar about being pregnant as a queer person and a not-queer person, but then there are things that are just fundamentally different. Even among other people who did fertility treatment, there are big differences. For me, at least, I was never clinically infertile and so the experience of straight couples who did fertility treatment because of infertility is very different than mine. It’s hard to put into words what the fundamental differences are and also it puts some straight people on the defense in a way that is just all-around uncomfortable. I know reading the words and experiences of other queer parents helped me a TON. I’m glad you are finding some joy in reading my little miniseries! It’s fun chatting with you and hearing about your experiences, too!

      – I don’t share the gender feelings about body changes, but I absolutely hear what you’re saying and I’m sorry it is making you feel uncomfortable in your skin.

      I relate to the complete loss of control over your body, though. And feeling like maternity clothes are designed for straight suburban white women. I’ve had luck with just getting some basics like tees and jeans and mixing them with sweaters and jackets and things I already own. I do identify on the femme side of things, though, so it’s a little easier for me to slip into a sundress and leggings than it might be for you.

      Have you heard of Butch Baby? I don’t think they’re selling yet, but they are a new maternity line for queer, transmasculine, and androgynous people. I hope they launch soon! Offbeat Home (originally posted on Offbeat Parent, but that publication closed and merged with Home) published this guide a while ago, which might be helpful. Have you tried adding a belly band to your existing jeans? Might help you stay in the pants you feel comfortable in for longer!

      – We’ll definitely get through it! I can’t wait to share this journey with you on AS and hear about everything going on with you along the way. Here’s to getting close to the third trimester!

  5. Loved this. We’re getting ready to start baby-making so it’s great to hear about other queer experiences. I will say my (straight) mom always felt very prickly about the whole “mommy” thing as well. She hated that when people saw her as my mom, they stopped seeing her as a human being with other things going on as well (this was 30 years ago…). It’s something we’re not looking forward to either. But growing up seeing her as both my mother and also a person with aspirations and projects that had nothing to do with me and which sometimes had priority over mothering me was extremely healthy and something I am extremely thankful for. So fight the good fight! Why is this still a thing?

    • Your mom sounds awesome! My mom and dad were also great role models, in this regard. They shared household duties and both worked outside of the house and had personal hobbies and interests. I think being a mom (or a full-time parent of any gender) is an incredible and difficult job and worth celebrating and worthy of reverence . But yes, being a mom doesn’t mean you stop being a person! Duh. It sound like you have a great support system in your mom, which is going to be great when you’re on the path to parenthood!

      • When I was 16 I got frustrated with my mom for forgetting to pick me up two times in one week. At the time I thought about how much I knew that she did for so many people in the community and that society does have unfair expectations for mothers. I decided to start calling her by her first name in order to separate for myself some of those societal expectations that I knew were unfair. Now 18 years later I still call both of my parents by their first names.

  6. Kinda unrelated but I don’t know what it means to be presenting “somewhere between hard femme and power femme” and now I realllly want to read a roundtable on different femme identities!

  7. This article made me smile! I love the dinosaur theme! Your article makes it easier for me to breathe and ease my fear of being like my father when it comes to wanting to start a family one say. Usually I just run away from the topic because I don’t know what to expect as the only gay in the family and what it would mean for my identity. Your series of articles have actually helped me a lot.

    • YOU ARE NOT YOUR FATHER.

      Now that that’s out of the way, I’m so glad it is helping you. I know it helped me A TON to read other blogger’s experiences with queer parenting. And it inspired me to start blogging about it, too! I think the cool part is that, because queer parenting is not-yet-defined, we can write (or deconstruct) the script of what it means to “parent” queerly!

  8. “Unlike the heteronormative norm, in our relationship, the “baby crazy” person (Waffle) is the non-gestational carrier and the “baby ambivalent” person (me) is carrying.”

    We haven’t had kids yet, but as a trans woman engaged to a masculine-leaning non-binary-ish person, this is probably going to be our situation. We both consider it a bit of a bitter irony that of the two of us, the one that’s more excited about being a mom can’t actually bear children- my partner has remarked more than a few times that she’d happily give me her uterus if she could (and I would happily take it!). The one consolation is I plan on having lactation induced, so we can at least split the midnight feeding runs (plus, the whole bonding/nuturing thing)*.

    My partner has also expressed a lot of the same fears with being a “Mom”- of being shoved into a restricted social role- but we’ve actually started talking about it more thoroughly in the pre-marital counseling we’re doing, and I’ve been trying to reassure her that I don’t want that to happen to her, either (or, for that matter, to me). Admittedly, a kid is probably 5-7 years off for us (at which point we’ll both be done with grad school, or at least near enough, and hopefully be in a position to settle down a bit more), and she knows I’m happy with being the primary caregiver, but I’d definitely want to make sure I wouldn’t get stuck with all of it, either. On the other hand, one of the great benefits of being in a non-heternormative relationship is that we have a lot more flexibility in diving up the responsibilities.

    *Of course, being partial to genderfuck myself, I’m also looking forward to telling people that I strongly believe that breastfeeding is an important part of father-child bonding 😛

    • YES! It is definitely ironic that I’m the carrier, but much like you and your boo, there is only one of us with a uterus that’s open for business. It adds to my weird mommy feelings, particularly because I was outspoken about NOT wanting children before. Now I feel like I’m proving the point of all those asshats who were like, “You’ll change your mind when your maternal clock kicks in!” But my maternal clock never kicked in. I made a grown-up decision with my partner and I’m pregnant, but not because I felt some primal urge to reproduce. Ugh.

      Aaaanyway, more about you and less about me… Thank you for sharing about your parenting decisions. It’s a whole lot to think about and it sounds like you have an amazing future co-parent in your partner. I think you’re going to be amazing parents, when and if you get there! So cool that you’re planning to have lactation induced! I love it! And yes, breastfeeding is a very important part of father-child bonding. 🙂

  9. Hi! I just thought of something. I feel like there have been a few great columns on AS about expecting as queer people, but then once the baby comes, no one has time and so we don’t get to read about actual parenting as queer people!

    I know having a newborn is incredibly hectic, and maybe it won’t even be the right time for a column like this from you, Kaelyn, for a few years or until the hurricane has died down, but I would love to read more on AS from people with kids!

  10. I’d love to hear more about your decision about pronouns! My partner and I don’t have kids but we’re thinking about it in the next few years, and one of the things we struggle with is whether we’ll use assigned pronouns for our child or use ‘they’ until they choose a pronoun for themselves. At first I was against ‘they’ for convenience’s sake (as I imagined the pushback we’d likely get from both of our families) but now I’m increasingly aware, as my partner pointed out, how much gendering happens to babies and toddlers as soon as people (including us) have a pronoun to work with – something you’re definitely wrestling with already. The problem is that almost everything I’ve found on gender-neutral parenting is almost always “we just stopped giving our daughter pink things!” and doesn’t go further than that (or question that it’s always femininity that’s lost for ‘gender-neutrality’), and I’m desperate to hear more conversations that are happening between people who are already working through these ideas at a deeper level than that.

    • Great comment. I think using “they” is a cool idea and I support you in going for it. We’re using they until Remi gets here. Personally, we are going to use the pronoun that corresponds to Remi’s assigned sex at birth just because it’s easier. That’s really the crux of it. We also know that we can’t stop other people from gendering our kid in a binary way. We can try, but for us, it’s not worth the amount of effort it would take. Our kid will watch TV and spend time with relatives who will reinforce gender binaries and will eventually go to a public school where binaries are reinforced. Gender is literally everywhere in the world Remi will live in, so we aren’t going to fight it head-on from day one. However, we will teach them that gender fluidity exists, that non-binary people exist (like one of their parents), that binary trans people exist, etc etc, so they will have that education at home. We will let them pick the toys they want to play with and offer lots of options and talk about the things they see on TV and in the media.

      It’s definitely more than just providing gender neutral toys. It’s being open about gender and having convos with the kid about gender regularly and also modeling gender identity and expression for them as a femme cis mom and a butch trans lez dad in ways that don’t normalize binaries. We decided to use the pronoun that corresponds to assigned sex mainly because the world is not really easy to navigate as a gender neutral or GNC kid. We don’t want to keep them in a bubble and we also don’t want them to have to walk around educating their peers about gender on top of having queer parents. Hopefully they will feel comfortable to express their gender as freely as possible in a binary world, at least in our home and absolutely with our support. Also, if we happen to have a girl who loves dresses and pink, that’s perfectly fine with us, as long as it’s their choice and not out of compulsory heteronormativity. You know? There’s nothing wrong with pink and dolls and dresses and stereotypically “girly” things!

      • One more thing, I like to think about it as raising a “gender aware” kid, not a gender neutral one. A lot of the think pieces out there about gender neutral parenting are pretty basic, as you point out in your comment, and really don’t speak to the more complex issue of how to help a kid navigate the binary.

        I’d say the one big story about true gender neutral parenting is the coverage of Storm, a toddler being raised in a genderless home near Toronto. The family lives “off the grid” and homeschools, so it makes it possible to create a gender-free environment.

        Personally, that doesn’t work for us, but it’s interesting to read up on and think about as you make your own decision about what works for you!

        • Thanks, KaeLyn! This is all so interesting and it’s so amazing to be able to hear from people thinking about it who are going through the process right now. I wish that there were more writers like you who were talking through these ideas! I love this column.

      • Woo-hoo, plus I’m already an adult, so you get skip some rough stuff! =)

        My mom was always difficult for me to deal with and never seemed to like me much (still doesn’t). And my dad seemed mostly indifferent. They also didn’t like each other at all. I can’t ever remember them getting along, and things at least got somewhat more peaceful after they divorced. Sorry, probably TMI. :p

  11. Hey @kaelynrich, I just got a great onsesie for my friend who’s expecting…found them at Androgynous Fox and thought you might like them. It’s simple, yellow and says “Gender TBD” on the belly.
    Glad everything is going well, and thanks for sharing!

  12. I’m not pregnant but am an experienced finger-sticker. My left thumb and middle finger are my favourites, I have no idea why but they hurt the least by far and bleed easily.

    I know they tell you to use the sides, but the middle of your fingertips work just fine and share the sites around. I generally work through all my fingers one at a time on each side and the middle so there’s 30 sticks before going back to the same spot. I’ve avoided callouses so far and my fingers are less tender – no avoiding the pinprick dots unfortunately!

    As someone who has recently been maybe convinced to do this one day soon I’m really grateful for the matter of fact way you write this column. Being queer and T1 diabetic I feel like there’s so many extra considerations for me to work through before I get totally on board with being the carrying parent and I’ve been doing a lot of reading. So much of the baby blog world is either “hahah everything is chaos and you’ll never sleep or wear matching shoes again!!!” or “birth mother goddess empowerment placenta worship” and neither of those vibes resonate with me at all. I am super appreciative of down to earth discussion and considered thoughts about the process. So thank you!

    • It’s funny, but one hand really does hurt less and bleed better. I tend to keep revisiting the same four spots over and over, which I know is not best practice. I finally gave my left pointer finger a couple days off because it was developing a bit of roughness that looked like it might become a callus. The pinprick dots are real.

      I’m glad my pragmatism about pregnancy and parenting is reassuring to you and not grating! I’ve never related to baby bloggers who lean to one extreme of the other, either. I’m sure some aspects of parenting are going to be absolutely amazing. I’m sure others are going to suck. Whatever you decide, good luck and definitely search out the queer and/or T1 bloggers who speak to you and reserve the rest of the baby blog world for googling weird specific questions. Bloggers like Queer Femme Mama helped me when I couldn’t find “my people” in the baby blog world and inspired me to start writing the blog content I wanted to see in the world. So there’s that, too, if you feel inspired to start processing your feelings on the open internet! I’d read it!

  13. Oh my, SO MANY DINOSAURS! I am very envious of the decor this baby is growing up in. I remember as a kid wanting a blue room but my mum insisted that since my 101 Dalmatians bedspread was pink I had to have a pink room. It think it was a plot to girl me up (spoiler: it failed).

    As for the kitty, I think lots of cuddles with the T-Rex Bump might help the him acclimatise to the existence of a new living thing in his life even if he’s not sure they’re human yet. But also I’ve had a very scatty cat for the past few years and I found she calms down at loud noises if you introduce her to it whilst stroking her really firmly. I think it makes her feel safe even though the bad things are happening. Now she doesn’t run away when I sneeze 🙂

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