beyond bio (non-bio mothering) - Mothering Forums

Forum Jump: 
 
Thread Tools
#1 of 5 Old 02-04-2011, 12:03 PM - Thread Starter
 
onemommyonemama's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Ontario, Canada
Posts: 257
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

Hi!

 

I thought it would be great to have a space to talk about being the "other" mother. I remember when we found out we were pregnant (my wife carrying), I was at first estatic, and then later afraid and overwhelmed. I wasn't sure if I could handle being a non-bio mom. For me, breastfeeding, pregnancy, attachment, and even shared biology were all part of my vision of mothering growing up.

 

It was a frighening time and I really struggled. There weren't alot of places to read info or get support. I wasn't adopting and wasn't carrying a child - being unlabeled made it hard for family and friends to support me. And for me, being treated like an expecting dad didn't fit.

 

What got me through was finding ways to celebrate and honour being a beyond-bio mom. Coming up with new traditions and ways to prepare for a baby, bond, breastfeed/feed, etc... I have a really supportive partner and that helped tonnes too.

 

I was curious - how did you celebrate becoming a mother during pregnancy as a beyond-bio? What special roles and things did you do in the beginning to bond? what struggles did you have or are still having?

 

 

 


"Mommy" (27), DW "Mama" (34) and our little one "Z" (21 months). TTC starting in April 2011.


Our family: mommy and DW mama our 5 yr old DD 'Z' and 2.5 yr old DD 'S' and waiting for (March 2015)


onemommyonemama is online now  
#2 of 5 Old 02-07-2011, 09:27 AM
 
DAWNMP1's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: New Jersey
Posts: 41
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

Thanks so much for starting this thread.  I am hoping to be a non-bio mommy soon too and I really love that you created this space.  My partner is not yet pregnant, but we have our first IUI on sometime this week.

 

For my partner and I, it was never a question as to who would carry.  I definitely want kids, but it would be very complicated to get me pregnant and I feel no real need to do so, while she has a very strong desire to be a birth mom.  

 

So far, we've made all the decisions about this process together, but I've been very conscious of the fact that ultimately, this is a process that will happen to her body and that will make this a different experience for her.  She's a total rock star and has been doing a lot to prepare her body for pregnancy so I've just tried to make it my job for now to be as supportive as possible.  I cook healthy food, go to the gym with her, buy her non-caffinated teas and generally try to be as supportive as I can.  I figure that until the baby is acutally born, the only way for me to take care of it is to take care of her. 

 

I've been present for all of our meetings with the RE we are working with, even monitoring appointments and I took the lead in identifying a sperm bank and donor, although we ultimately made teh final decision together.  Our plan is make as many of these decisions as a couple, experience as much together as possible and keep the lines of communciation open. 

 

I'm curious about what my feelings will be once the baby is actually here and there will be viceral reminders of my status - people will say how much she/he looks like her, I'll have to do a 2nd parent adoption, she'll be bonding and breastfeeding, etc.  

 

It is a strange experience to think about being "unlabeled" as you say.  My partner suggested that the baby have my last name as another means of dealing with the "invisibility" of being the other mom, which I really appreciate. 

 

I read "She Looks Just Like You" but didn't really identify with the book so much since the writer was a stay at home mom.  My partner will likely stay home for a few months, but then go back to work.  I'm the primary breadwinner so time off is not really an option for me.

 

When you start TTC again in April, are you going to be the non-bio mom again?  What kinds of rituals did you create?

 


Me: 33, DP: 32 belly.gif, together 11 years, 2 crazy dogs and hopefully a little one arriving in November.  stork-suprise.gif

 

Update --  It's a GIRL!!   Can't wait to meet her!

DAWNMP1 is offline  
#3 of 5 Old 02-09-2011, 11:45 AM - Thread Starter
 
onemommyonemama's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Ontario, Canada
Posts: 257
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

Hey Dawn smile.gif

 

Have you read 'the other mother" it is a lot of different experiences in one book - i loved that one too. You might find some stories that you identify more with.  I also love the blog 'first time second time'.

 

For me, the time I felt most lost and invisible was during our pregnancy. I found there is just a lot of ritual and tradition around the carrying mother during pregnancy. There is a lot of social attention and things that you say to pregnant women.

 

What I felt was missing was ritural for becoming parents, which we both were. They didn't need to take away from pregnancy and birthing traditions. But they needed to be something other than how new dads are celebrated (which after being treated like I was becoming a new dad, I found insulting and so basic).

 

In behind it all I felt invisible and like I wasn't seen as becoming a 'real' mom. Because 'real' moms in this dominant social tradition carry babies. It felt like I was skipping an important rite of passage and was cheating my way into the coveted mother role. And more important than that, my presence threatened (in some fam/folks eyes) the space and attention my DW deserved as the carrying partner. Hints of this sentiment came out in dissaproval of our decisions around things like baby showers and such.

 

My partner was clear about what her needs were - and what her body needed, and she was totally open to exploring ways to celebrate both of us becoming parents.

 

some things we tried:

 

- we were careful about our language. 'We' were pregnant, we were both becoming moms, etc... Right away we used language that was important to us to encourage others to catch on well before the baby arrived. If conversation had me pushed to the side, my partner was conscious to bring me back into it. The flip side was that if people were treating her as just a belly they could touch or talking only about the pregnacy, I was there to broaden the conversation. She felt invisible too a lot - so much focus on the belly and hearing the same questions and statements day in and out.

 

- I spent loads of time with the baby inutero by singing and talking to her - generally at night in bed. I'd rub belly butter on and feel for kicks. MY DW loved the pampering, and I loved snuggling her belly and bonding with my kid :) win win win. I felt the baby move really early on. so awesome.

 

- we chose not to have showers and instead to have a baby welcoming after the baby was born. Our family really couldnt' get their minds around a shower that would include us both as moms - they had set traditions. It was too stressful so we requested to skip it. Hurt some feelings, but it was key to us. Some friends were more creative and we had a secret shower with them - but family waited to party when we were both clearly moms. 

 

- I let myself be 'pregnant'. Not in a physical sense - but I definately nested and researched endlessly about gear and diapers and such. I sewed and cooked and did all the things that are mothering to me. I made some onesies and tried knitting and let myself get wrapped up in it all.

 

- I felt the crazy hormones that swam around our house. Man, it was weird. I had morning sickness once too - someone should totally research how two women in close proximity share preggy hormones. my cycles went crazy.

 

- we were intentional about needing space for bonding after the baby was born. We told fam and friends that we might wait a day or two. Understand that with my sister's kids my dad was circling the hospital. They medical staff had just left the room and family came in. We wanted it clear before hand that we were going to rest and take family time first. Again - hurt feelings - but mostly understanding. In the end we had the in the hospital baby at 7pm and visiting didn't start till the next afternoon. By then we were ready for some visits. But it was good to claim our space and have some understanding there.

 

- I carried the baby in the sling a lot in the first weeks. This happened mostly because my DW has a CS. But it was good, we had lots of skin time this way (I kangaroo carried her with a wrap alot).

 

- I was supported by my partner to try breastfeeding. This was something that was important to me.  I tried pumping during pregnancy but didn't have the time to really focus. When the baby came I used a tube supplimenter when I wanted to. I loved this time with my DD. It was so great to have the option.

 

Other people have done this sucessfully in many ways. If it is something that might be important, try it out :) !  This is sometimes a key area where other moms might be seen as selfish. It seemed like it was understandable why an adoptive mom might want to breastfeed their baby. And I found many were encouraged to do so, even by their doctors. Personally, I found as a 'second' mom in the picture, there just wasn't understanding about why I would want to do this. I wondered a lot about that. 

 

:)   

 

 

 


Our family: mommy and DW mama our 5 yr old DD 'Z' and 2.5 yr old DD 'S' and waiting for (March 2015)


onemommyonemama is online now  
#4 of 5 Old 02-09-2011, 11:47 AM - Thread Starter
 
onemommyonemama's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Ontario, Canada
Posts: 257
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

whoa that is super long. I forgot to say that I am going to try to carry for our next child. My DW was fortunate to get pregnant quickly, so we may switch back and forth if issues come up for me.


Our family: mommy and DW mama our 5 yr old DD 'Z' and 2.5 yr old DD 'S' and waiting for (March 2015)


onemommyonemama is online now  
#5 of 5 Old 02-11-2011, 11:01 AM
 
DAWNMP1's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: New Jersey
Posts: 41
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

OMOM,  

 

Thank you so much for the "super-long" post.  I really appreciate all the great advice in there!!

 

I love love LOVE the idea of a baby-welcoming.  My wife is Jewish and I was raised Catholic and now sort of agnostic, but very happy to raise the child as Jewish.  There is a great temple we both really like that is just three blocks from us with lesbian rabbi and special services for interfaith families.  But DP and her mom feel strongly against baby showers because tthey said that Jewish tradition is against it.  Her sister didn't have a baby shower either.   I'm ok with that but was feeling a bit disappointed about not having a shower, so I love this idea.

 

The breastfeeding thing sounds very cool, but not sure it's something that I will be able to handle logistically.  I can't imagine why someone would see that as selfish.  I feel a bit selfish for NOT offering to help with BF!   I do plan on lots of cuddling and bonding contact however- love the idea of a sling! - and will probably take some time off work to be with the baby, maybe even a week or two after DW goes back to work. 

 

I also love the idea of letting yourself be "pregnant" and know exactly what you mean by it.  I think it's why I'm the one of message boards, researching, etc. while DW is kind of letting it all happen. 

 

It sounds like you guys are very good communicators.  We operate this way as well and I think it helps to be able to talk openly and validate that this is the same process, but we are still having different experiences.    We use our communte time together to check in and "debrief" on where we are both at, how we are feeling and I really enjoy the different perspective she has, even if I can't strictly understand what she's experiencing.  We also have great separate support systems in place  - we each chose 2 close friends to tell about what we are doing so we had people to talk to other than just each other.

 

So excited for you to start trying in April.  Are you using the same donor?

 

Hope to talk again soon!


Dawn


Me: 33, DP: 32 belly.gif, together 11 years, 2 crazy dogs and hopefully a little one arriving in November.  stork-suprise.gif

 

Update --  It's a GIRL!!   Can't wait to meet her!

DAWNMP1 is offline  
Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Drag and Drop File Upload
Drag files here to attach!
Upload Progress: 0
Options

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the Mothering Forums forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.
User Name:
If you do not want to register, fill this field only and the name will be used as user name for your post.
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.
Password:
Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.
Email Address:

Log-in

Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.



User Tag List

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page


Forum Jump: 

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off