**Warning: This blog may sound complain-y, crabby or sad. Viewer Discretion is Advised. (Except for those who totally get it)**
So far, I have tried to get pregnant six times. It’s a weird and hard process. I certainly didn’t know what I bargained for in terms of length of time, money and work that would be required to try and get this queer brown girl pregnant.
There are a few things/thoughts/feelings that have made this process challenging and I just want to name them. In fact, they were the inspiration for this blog series, as I have read countless books, articles, autobiographies and blogs about queers and trans people trying to get knocked up but none of these resources really talk about this stuff. There are so many thoughts and feelings once one engages in trying to get pregnant. Here are some of my most persistent ones.
And I don’t think this list is at all limited to queer folks on their fertility journeys, it includes any person who has wanted to become pregnant, whether they became a parent or not.
1. Newly pregnant people annoy me.
I am usually the first one to be excited about a pregnancy and the first one to buy something for you for the baby shower. And yet I have never been more jealous of folks who have got pregnant. But I have to say, this is not everyone, I am not annoyed with folks who had major struggles around infertility or had been trying for long bouts. Just heteros who accidentally got pregnant or people who get pregnant on the first try (or people who tell me story after story about people who got pregnant on the first try). This is not me so please, I’m sensitive about my uterus!
2. Everyone keeps telling me to relax and be positive.
I know that people are trying to help and mean well but no one wants a baby more than me. People keep saying: think positive, wear this necklace, drink this special water, do acupuncture, eat this magical salad and all those things do help in some ways. But truthfully, if thinking positive was the thing that made you pregnant, I would be pregnant by now. Just sayin’.
3. Spending $1200 per month is stressful.
As a working class woman, I saved and took money out of my RSP to inseminate. I have paid for sperm and insemination mostly on my own. I am privileged to have a good job and low rent to take on this financial venture but I only had enough cash to have a limited amount of tries. And part of me really thought I would be pregnant by now. So spending the $1200/try adds more stress and pressure to an already disappointing negative pregnancy test result.
4. I am obsessed!
This should be number 1. All I have really focused on is trying to get pregnant in the last six months and it is obsessive and dramatic, at best! Is this constant and devilish yearning just about getting pregnant, really? Is it my biological clock ticking or the fact that there are so many kids in my life I just want my own? What if I have fertility issues? What happens when I run out of money? Plus, all things lead back to having a child: Should I buy a new outfit? What if I get pregnant this month, it won’t fit in three? Or my friend’s birthday is next week…ok so, I will find out whether I am pregnant on Thursday so that will determine if I can drink or not. Or how about: I know what day I will test for pregnancy so I won’t book anything on that day except work so I can come home after and cry. So I have to cancel with people just because I don’t know how I might feel that day? How do people do this?!?!?
5. Interacting with others about wanting to get pregnant.
There have been people who have been so supportive to me on this journey and there have been people who have not been so supportive. And it’s been hard to be kind and patient with people when I am so eager to have a child. Plus, this is a big deal for some people, so not everyone is in a willing place to support. Having a child, they say, changes many relationships in one’s life. And I am clearly already feeling that one.
6. Getting pregnant through non-traditional methods
I am lucky to have a community around me who thinks that this way of getting pregnant is normal and even desired. But my bio family doesn’t understand much about this process and doesn’t care to engage with me about it. I even think that they may think it is wrong to try and have a baby this way due to religious beliefs. This is disappointing but I am used to it by now, as a queer, which is sad.
7. I have no idea what it’s really like.
Until I do. I mean, even my partner who is already a mother can’t describe to me what it is like to hold her baby for the first time. I haven’t asked people really so maybe it’s my bad for not getting personal. But there is almost nothing I have read about the specific joys of motherhood specifically. How does it feel? When I told my mother I was going to start insemination she said to me “Get ready to feel things you never thought you could feel.” Maybe that’s as close as I’m gonna get until actual motherhood.
8. Trying to get this queer brown girl pregnant is a lot of work!
Between reading books, pamphlets, looking up supportive queer parenting websites and organizations that provide information and workshops and working my day job, still being a friendly activist, loving partner and undistracted friend, I’m kinda tired! Further, now that I may be looking for a known donor out there in the real world of humans, I may have meetings with people, long conversations about donating sperm, co-parenting, trust, HIV/STIs and have to learn how to home inseminate. Thankfully, there is A LOT of information out there but since I am kinda like a single mom with a really good support system, the bulk of the work falls on me.
9. I’m already a different person.
I’ve pretty much quit smoking. I eat salads almost every day. I take prenatal vitamins, hell I started exercising because I wanted to be strong enough to hold and not drop my baby. I come home early from events and say no a lot more. All my decisions hinge on perhaps, this month, I might be pregnant. I don’t think I will fundamentally change my personality but it is clear to me that I am nesting. A friend of mine gave me some awesome insight on the concept of nesting. He said he shifted aspects of his long-term relationship because he knew it wouldn’t work for his kid. He defined that as nesting: getting all aspects of your environment ready for the baby, even pre-existing relationships.
10. Blurred Lines
I told my closest friends to not ask me things about preconception during my time of trying to get pregnant. What I really meant was, please do not ask me if I am pregnant yet because, I figured having to rehash month after month of negative results, would not be pleasant for me. That said, I didn’t mean people couldn’t ask me how I am doing! There have been some real cheerleaders in my life, people who remember dates of my insemination, my day one and folks who haven’t said a word. It has been a bit of a social experiment to see who is who.
A new dad friend said one of the most useful things to me in managing this journey. He said: When you’re trying it’s just you doing it and you alone, but when you get pregnant, the waiting isn’t over. You have to wait for the first trimester to be done, the first 30 weeks for safety around birth. But at least once you’re pregnant you’re both in it together.
In conclusion, I have certainly been in a tender place in the last 6 tries than in other times of my life. Getting pregnant and having a child, I imagine, will be somewhat the same: much more than I bargained for!
End of Part 3 of 4