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Non-Bio Parent Support Thread

post #1 of 57
Thread Starter 
Hi everyone!

I thought I'd start a support thread for all the non-biological parents and parents-to-be. So if your partner is pregnant or trying to get pregnant or recently gave birth to your baby, please join in the discussion!

I am very new at this myself. My wife, Lena, is just barely pregnant with our fourth baby. I carried our other three kids, and our new bean has the same donor as they do. It is very different feeling to be expecting but not be pregnant myself. And since I'm a terrible pregnant person (horrendously ill, etc.), so far I like things much better this way! But of course I also feel a little lost and unsure about my connection to our little embryo.



Lex
post #2 of 57
Hello and Congrats! That is awesome news for you and Lena. Being a non-bio mom for almost a year (!) now, I can definitely provide some insight and would enjoy discussing non-bio mama stuff. So far my only complaint is that I get asked if I'm the aunt by a lot of medical professionals, but hey, some non-bio moms get asked if they are grandma, so I guess I'm doing alright.
post #3 of 57
moi!

5.5 years and counting. Hoping to be mothering two in the somewhat near future.

In a way, I have both lots to say and nothing to say about being the non-bio mom. Probably because it's so much just a part of who I am now. It was definitely hard at first. Really hard (when Q was born, that is). I'll be back with more. Trying to do my "real work"......hah!

megin
post #4 of 57
count me in, too!

non-bio "mama" to my son, who is "almost two" (as he tells us every day!).
post #5 of 57

bio v non

Quote:
Originally Posted by lexbeach View Post
Hi everyone!
I am very new at this myself. My wife, Lena, is just barely pregnant with our fourth baby. I carried our other three kids, and our new bean has the same donor as they do.
lex, i am interested to know just how the two experiences differ, other than the obvious physical part. my DW and i had always planned to have each of us carry one child, with the same donor. but all things being equal, we decided that it was best/easiest/most sensible to let her carry the second time around as well.

other than getting sympathetically fat : i really haven't had many hangups being the non-bio mom - i wonder how it would have been different if i were bio this time around?
post #6 of 57
hi, i am bio-mum to our 14 month old son and in 2 months (less actually!!!) dp will start ttc #2. i'm interested to hear the differences - i had a very uneventful pregnancy, had only mild nausea (what i called "feeling squeasy"), no high blood pressure, passed the gtt with flying colours and delivered vaginally even after a very long labour. i also mastered breastfeeding through sheer determination and stubborness.

i'm worried that dp will end up having a terrible time w/ morning sickness and there's auto-immune and diabetes issues in her family which makes her more prone to gd. dp definitely wants to breastfeed but she's already making comments about not being as "good" as me. i raised the idea of me relactating - i am still nursing but he is starting to show signs of self-weaning especially at night time - but finally agreed i would only do so if dp has multiples. i don't know how i will feel not nursing the new baby, i think that will be the toughest part of being the non-bio mum.

i really don't have any concerns about loving the new babe as much as i do our son...i know that's a worry some non-bio moms have.

g
post #7 of 57
Thread Starter 
So far it's pretty great to be the non-pregnant one, mainly because I am a terrible pregnant person (incredibly sick and anxious), but it does also feel a little weird. It's harder for me to think of the baby as "my" baby. I actually don't anticipate that this will be difficult once the baby arrives, though. Though the breastfeeding thing will be HUGE. I know I am going to want to put the baby to breast. I'm not sure how much dw wants to share the nursing experience. She is not planning on staying home indefinitely (if this baby is sticky ( and is born in June, she may go back to work/school part time in September), and I hope that I will at least be "allowed" to nurse the baby when she's not home. But it is tricky to feel like she'll be calling the shots, so to speak. And I'll have to ask permission.

My other concern is just hoping that my extended family will see this baby as equally a part of the family. I don't think it will be an issue, but they are big into the "who does he look like?" discussion (which has always bothered me, regardless).

I just hope the baby likes me. I don't know why I worry about this since the kids I birthed often prefer dw to me (more than 50% of the time, at this point), but I do worry more about rejection this time around.

Mostly I am just excited.

Lex
post #8 of 57
This is my first post here, so please tolerate my just barging in. It's great to see a non-bio-parent thread. There are real issues here and they aren't often talked about, even in the queer parenting community.

I am non-bio-mom for our first, Leigh, born 6/06, and am just barely pregnant with our second. I have loved being a mom to Leigh, and I feel like my wife and I did a good job navigating some of the possible pitfalls of becoming a two-mom family, some by accident and some by planning ahead. I can truly say I have a wonderful strong bond with our daughter, but I think that also has a lot to do with the fact that my wife was extremely generous in scootching over and sharing the mom turf. One thing we realized during the first pregnancy was that there really was a difference in each of our paths to motherhood. We knew I would only truly become our child's mom by doing mothering, and made sure to build in time for that from the very very beginning. I could go on, about what worked, what was hard, what wasn't, but I'll refrain. Both my wife and I are writing about our experiences this second time through, and in the process have written a lot about non-bio-mom issues (because we think and talk about them a lot), at our blog:

http://firsttimesecondtime.blogspot.com

In fact, I just wrote a post about why I would love for my wife to induce lactation, in contrast to my thoughts/worries about it the first time through, which I note came up in the thread.

Good luck to all of you.
--Lyn
post #9 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by lyn_ftst View Post
Both my wife and I are writing about our experiences this second time through, and in the process have written a lot about non-bio-mom issues (because we think and talk about them a lot), at our blog:

http://firsttimesecondtime.blogspot.com
lyn, thanks for the link - took a quick tour through. i very much like the "things we did right by accident" feature. that's how i feel most of our parenting triumphs have happened so far - accident and dumb luck. things like name assignment (i'm mama, DW is mommy - we each chose to be what we call our own mothers), early bonding, pretty much all of it! we went into the whole thing knowing what sort of parents we wanted to be, philosophically speaking, but just sort of ran with the rest of it.
post #10 of 57
Thread Starter 

"Congratulations!"

As we have begun to tell some select people our exciting news of the new pregnancy, I am beginning to notice a trend. People say, "congratulations, Lena!" and give her a hug. I am mostly ignored. I am worried that the fact of my having birthed our other three children will make people think of our new baby as "Lena's baby," like as a way to distinguish this baby from our other kids, or something.

I don't exactly feel threatened by what other people think, but I do find it annoying. If we were straight, wouldn't people be congratulating me too? I feel like I really DID help to make this baby, spiritually and physically (I kept the sperm warm in my bra for at least 20 minutes), and like this is OUR baby despite my lack of genetic influence.

Have other people experienced this too?

Lex
post #11 of 57
hmm, that seems rude to me lex. we didn't experience that but perhaps it's because our son was our first child? i wonder how it will be once dp is pregnant?

g
post #12 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by lexbeach View Post
As we have begun to tell some select people our exciting news of the new pregnancy, I am beginning to notice a trend. People say, "congratulations, Lena!" and give her a hug. I am mostly ignored.
I absolutely experienced this with our first. Have you asked Lena? I'm guessing she did with your first three as well, but either just expected it or didn't talk much about it. And yes, dads experience this too. I've also started to conscientiously include Dads in pregnancy conversations when we get "news" from friends, and find it interesting that I have to specifically try in order to do so. This stuff runs really deep.

We developed some tricks around this, but they were only marginally effective during pregnancy. If we were together, and someone asked my wife due date, she would step back a bit and let me answer, and by both entering the conversation we were able to make it a bit more clear that this was our baby, not her baby. That said, tricks like that only go so far, and you do have to speak up. These things are much more effective with a newborn. When we were all out together, we tried to have whoever wasn't holding the baby answer the questions. Worked like a charm to help folks read both of us as parents, and to present as a family.

I remember one particularly hard incident when my wife was very pregnant with our first at Home Depot. The Cashier got in a huge conversation with her about everything baby and for whatever reason it hit me hard. It was one of those times that I just realized how invisible I was. We were later back at Home Depot with our 5-ish month old on my back, and this time a cashier launched into a big baby discussion with me. I started to answer and then glanced towards my wife to include her in the conversation, as per our usual MO. She just stepped back and smiled, not saying anything. She remembered, and I just ate it up. I'm grateful every day that I had such a perceptive partner.

Ru--thanks for dropping by the blog!

Indigoscout--Do I read correctly from your sig that you birthed number 1? If so, I'm guessing DP experienced this. Really. I have yet to meet a lesbian non-bio-mom or dad who hasn't.

--Lyn
post #13 of 57

inclusion

Quote:
Originally Posted by lyn_ftst View Post
I absolutely experienced this with our first. Have you asked Lena? I'm guessing she did with your first three as well, but either just expected it or didn't talk much about it. And yes, dads experience this too. I've also started to conscientiously include Dads in pregnancy conversations when we get "news" from friends, and find it interesting that I have to specifically try in order to do so. This stuff runs really deep.
it's funny but i don't consciously remember any incidents like that. the best story from our first, actually, happened because i wasn't even around. DW's cousin was visiting, and i had to work on a saturday. so they went to gymboree so he could buy the baby an outfit of our choice. they were waiting in line together, and another expecting couple came in. the moms-to-be were chatting it up together when the dad turned to chris and said "so where are you guys having the baby?" and because it was just funnier, chris said "oh, i don't know, let me check..." and called to DW "where are we having the baby again?" after she told him, the dad-to-be was looking pretty horrified, so chris said "oh, she goes to all her appointments alone."

i think we were lucky in a lot of respects because we worked for the same organization at the time, so there was never any doubt with most of the people we were around a lot of the time that the baby was both of ours.

as for stranger interactions, i think we probably did a lot of things lyn talked about, but without being so conscious of them.
post #14 of 57
I am now an official non bio mom as of 8/29/08 and the ride has been great so far. As never being pregnant myself I am in total awe of the whole situation and have a new found appreciation for my dp. Our daughter is wonderful and perfect and my only advice so far to love and protect your wife and unborn child as best you can. Pretty much treating each other as you would want to be treated. I always tried to be especially thoughful because pregnancy is taxing on a partner. The less unnecessary stress the better. I think that being a family of two women its awesome because if we chose we can exprience both sides of the fence which is unique to our type of family!! While being the non bio mom is obviously different in its role I think then we need to make a more conscience effort to be involved even more because we can't exprience the physical aspects. For me the more time I put in to asking questions and talking to baby, research, baby scrapbooking, shopping, ect the more I felt a part of the exprience and not just a bystander.
post #15 of 57
Thread Starter 
So yesterday we had a bit of an argument (maybe that's not quite the right word) because I had hurt feelings that dw kept referring to the new bean as "my baby." (As in, "well, maybe I'll want to put my baby down for a nap in the crib sometimes like you did with Zeb").

When I asked that she try to say, "our baby," or "the baby," instead, she got offended, saying that she couldn't believe I would ever think she meant that it was her baby, that of course it was our baby, and that she only said "my baby" because the baby is in her uterus. She said she felt like I was taking the fun out of the pregnancy by harping on this issue, which is purely vocab-related, and doesn't mean anything.

So, I'm trying not to mind. But I do feel a little sad about it. I know that she doesn't mean anything by saying "my baby," but I think it just plays on my fears that this baby won't be MY baby in the same way that the other kids were.

Also, this is the kind of thing that I was soooo careful about when I was pregnant . . . always using inclusive language (and making sure that everyone else did too). I think dw just isn't really thinking it all out in the same way that I did (and do).

Lex
post #16 of 57
Lex,

I feel you on that. Katie didn't refer to Q-the-fetus as her baby, but everyone else seemed to. And they talked to her about what the baby would be like, how we would manage child care, what its name would be, etc. I guess it's perhaps more similar to you describing folks congratulating Lena and not both of you, but the general feeling is icky icky icky. For me it was about the world not recognizing me as a mother.

Had Katie called the fetus "her baby," I would have been completely crestfallen. We were both very conscious to say "our baby," "the baby," "he" (once we knew), etc. We also had a nickname for the fetus, and that helped a lot, so we could just use that.

I would guess that telling Lena how important it is to you, no matter how insignificant her using that phrase was to her, will go a long way. For someone who got used to being the non-bio mom, she probably needs to hear things a bit more overtly about what it is now like for you to be the non-bio mom. And I'd guess things are also heightened for you having been the bio mom already. So, as with everything, it just sounds like talking talking and talking some more is the way to go.

So, in the end, no great advice, but definitely some similar experiences here.

be well,
megin
post #17 of 57
lex, when i was pregnant we made a conscious decision to say "our baby" or "the baby" although i will admit to slipping up and saying "my baby" on a few occasions. we eventually started calling baby "beanlet" and hence no more need to say my, our or the. i also made a point of making sure everyone knew it was "our" baby - how dp and i picked the donor together, how she came to all the doctor visits pre and post getting pregnant (the only one she missed was the gtt). i knew the majority of our friends would have a hard time "getting" it, so i did make an extra effort. and we talked a lot during the whole experience - a lot of times me just making sure she felt involved enough.

will it be the same when dp is pregnant? i think it will, i hope it will.

as megin said, talk to her more about your feelings. i wonder if because she never wanted to get pregnant before she is feeling a little vulnerable? in our case we always planned for dp to carry the next and any subsequent babies so perhaps our situation is slightly different?

good luck (and here's a hug for you too )
g
post #18 of 57
I'll play "devils advocate" or just a different way of looking at things...

Lex, I am sure that Lena has certain hopes and dreams that are different this time around because it is *her* baby. I didn't take what she said as meaning she feels that it is any less (the collective) *your* baby. But there is an undeniable bond or difference being the bio mom. I would bet that Lena wanted to be the one to carry this time because not only did she want another child, but she wanted the experience of being the bio-mom. If she just wanted another child, she could have had you carry again. There is something different she wants out of *this* experience and by saying *my* baby, she is probably just "owning" or "identifying" that.

As long as it was said between the two of you, and you don't doubt that she very much sees this as (the collective) *your* baby... then let her have that undeniably different and exciting part of it being *her* baby. This is soooo not a critique... but honestly, when I read your post, my first feeling was "You got to be the bio-mom 3 times, let her enjoy her time in the *bio-mom spotlight*"

Now if she was going on to strangers or people outside the home about how it is *her* baby or correcting people if they said *your* baby, I might worry... but that is not how I took the comment at all.
post #19 of 57
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by smartycat View Post
I'll play "devils advocate" or just a different way of looking at things...

Lex, I am sure that Lena has certain hopes and dreams that are different this time around because it is *her* baby. I didn't take what she said as meaning she feels that it is any less (the collective) *your* baby. But there is an undeniable bond or difference being the bio mom. I would bet that Lena wanted to be the one to carry this time because not only did she want another child, but she wanted the experience of being the bio-mom. If she just wanted another child, she could have had you carry again. There is something different she wants out of *this* experience and by saying *my* baby, she is probably just "owning" or "identifying" that.
Thanks for offering this perspective. I do think that Lena's use of the word "my" is just her way of owning the experience (of being pregnant, of giving birth, of breastfeeding, of being the one to decide where to put the baby down for a nap). And part of me LOVES that she's owning the experience in this way, that's she's getting so into it and excited about it (which she never was with my pregnancies at all). Having a pregnant wife has been one of my dreams since I was a kid, and for a long time I thought it would just remain a dream. I feel so lucky to be having this experience.

But I also think that I probably feel more insecure for having been the bio mom before. Because I know everything that I'm missing out on. Which Lena never knew when I was pregnant. So there is some sadness there--not that I want to be pregnant again--and I think Lena referring to the baby as "my baby," just kind of salts the wound a bit. But it's not like she's purposefully trying to exclude me or anything. I think I've just been trying to convince myself that it's really not going to be any different this time around. That I'll just get to experience all the loveliness without the pre-partum depression and without the post-partum yuckiness. And the truth is that it IS going to be different, really different. It's just so hard for me to imagine what it will be like, minus all of the bio-mom experiences I've had the other two times. And so I do feel a little unsure about exactly what my role will be.

We talked about it again last night, and realized that part of why Lena's been defaulting and saying "my baby" is because we still refer to Zeben (our nearly two-year-old) as "the baby," lol. So her saying "my baby" is just a better way to distinguish which baby she's talking about. I also asked her if she ever felt insecure when I was pregnant, and she said that she didn't at all. But we think it's because it just wasn't that real for her the first time around, and she wasn't that invested in any outcome, and then the second time she already knew what her role would be, and felt confident in that.

Thanks for being my sounding board.

Lex
post #20 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by lexbeach View Post
But I also think that I probably feel more insecure for having been the bio mom before.

I think I've just been trying to convince myself that it's really not going to be any different this time around. And the truth is that it IS going to be different, really different. It's just so hard for me to imagine what it will be like, minus all of the bio-mom experiences I've had the other two times. And so I do feel a little unsure about exactly what my role will be.
I think this is the crux of it. It IS going to be different and your insecurity about that made you sensitive to her use of the wording "my baby".

I think you just need to find joy in the things you can have as the non-bio mom (were there ever times you envied Lena's relationship with the boys because of her "non-bio status"?) and let go of the things you won't have this time.
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