My wife is kind of an NGP (“non-gestational parent”) master. Really, she’s quite good at being a non-bio mom. She’s like those professional ice skaters that make it look completely effortless. Sure, I remember back in those days when I was pregnant with Leigh and we had many conversations that included expressions of frustration and tears (from one or both of us). I learned a lot from watching Lyn as an NGP. One of the biggest things that I learned is that non-bio moms can and should be a central part of their families. In some families (especially some heterosexual families, but in some lesbian families as well), the bio mom and kids together form the inner core of the family with the non-bio mom (or father in the case of traditional families) in a satellite orbit. When I was pregnant with Leigh, Lyn and I had a vision of a family that had room for two moms at the core. After Leigh was born, we went about making that vision a reality.
So when it came time to do my own stint as non-bio mom, I went into the task with some confidence. I understood what this would be like – after all I’d really been through the whole thing with Lyn. And I had the advantage of already being a mom and thus feeling very confident that I would never feel like an outsider in my own family.
But there is one thing that I forgot about. Pregnancy. How could I forget about pregnancy? Pregnancy is the ultimate two-person party to which no crashers are allowed. I suddenly find myself in a wobbly orbit around a planet that I thought didn’t exist.
Have I mentioned what a happy pregnant woman I used to be? OK, I’m sure I wasn’t happy the first trimester, but I blocked that memory out. Once the second trimester rolled around I spent the next six months looking and acting like the fat cat that ate the canary. Luckily I had a very enthusiastic and supportive wife who put up with my strutting and preening, who struggled and worried as we worked through structuring our developing family, but who never tried to push me out of that limelight of pregnancy.
Honestly, I don’t want to be pregnant again. At least not very much. At least not the bad parts. I really don’t want to feel sick and exhausted, to pee 200 times a night, and to have hips that never stop aching. But it sure is nice to have everyone worrying about you and treating you with special kindness because you contain a miraculous secret. It sure is nice to have everyone smiling at you and standing up to give you their seat on the bus. It sure is nice that somebody new is growing inside of you and that to that somebody new you are the whole universe.
Now Lyn is taking a turn at being the whole universe to a little one that’s about the size of a grape right now. And I’m really excited that I’m going to be a mom again in eight months. But I hadn’t quite realized that I would be in a strictly supportive role for those eight months. I know, I know, that was probably obvious to all of you. I had just gotten so used to sharing all of the aspects of parenting, I forgot that this one really can’t be shared. I guess in this case, the sharing already happened, and is on a longer time scale. And of course I’m involved in the ways I can be (midwife appointments, planning, etc), but none of that will bring me truly out of orbit and into the core. I guess I have to wait for that.