Non-Bio Parent Support Thread - Mothering Forums

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Old 10-14-2008, 01:21 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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

Mindfully mothering SIX kids (ages 5, 6, 8, 9, 11 & 11) in a small house with a lot of love.
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Old 10-14-2008, 02:51 PM
 
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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.

Mama (non-bio) to REPlaySkateboard04HL.gifmy little man (6), and mama (bio) to babyboy.gif my tiny man (2/14)
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Old 10-14-2008, 04:07 PM
 
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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

Mommy to an amazing 8 year old, wife to an inspiring principal, and welcoming Wylie Grace! Our July 4th babe!
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Old 10-14-2008, 07:37 PM
 
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count me in, too!

non-bio "mama" to my son, who is "almost two" (as he tells us every day!).
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Old 10-14-2008, 09:06 PM
 
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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?
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Old 10-14-2008, 09:55 PM
 
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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

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Old 10-15-2008, 12:12 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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

Mindfully mothering SIX kids (ages 5, 6, 8, 9, 11 & 11) in a small house with a lot of love.
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Old 10-17-2008, 06:05 PM
 
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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

I'm Lyn (32) wife to Gail (38) Mama to Leigh (born 6/06 ,via Gail) and Ira (born 5/09, via me)
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Old 10-19-2008, 09:06 AM
 
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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.
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Old 10-19-2008, 10:59 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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

Mindfully mothering SIX kids (ages 5, 6, 8, 9, 11 & 11) in a small house with a lot of love.
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Old 10-20-2008, 10:27 AM
 
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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

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Old 10-20-2008, 12:09 PM
 
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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

I'm Lyn (32) wife to Gail (38) Mama to Leigh (born 6/06 ,via Gail) and Ira (born 5/09, via me)
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Old 10-21-2008, 10:44 AM
 
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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.
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Old 10-21-2008, 04:22 PM
 
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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.

: DD 8/29/08 and twin boys 11/3/09
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Old 10-25-2008, 05:11 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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

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Old 10-25-2008, 10:41 PM
 
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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

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Old 10-26-2008, 12:03 AM
 
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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

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Old 10-26-2008, 03:30 AM
 
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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.

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Old 10-26-2008, 10:39 AM - Thread Starter
 
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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

Mindfully mothering SIX kids (ages 5, 6, 8, 9, 11 & 11) in a small house with a lot of love.
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Old 10-26-2008, 01:00 PM
 
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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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Old 10-27-2008, 01:21 PM
 
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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).
Reading between the lines, as much as you were careful about language and including Lena for the first three (and I totally believe you), it sounds like your family really has defined different roles for the two of you along biological lines, extending to things that don't necessarily have to do with biology. How does a biology determine who decides how you will put a baby down for a nap?

Maybe some of what is going on for both of you right now is realizing that perhaps both of you deferred much more to the biological distinction between you for the first three than you realized, and now that the tables are turned, you are both finding it looks a lot different from the other side. Maybe Lena is just now starting to realize how much she deferred to you before, and is feeling excited to be more "in charge" of an infancy now that it is "her turn." (again, reading between the lines, it seems like you may have had this distinction previously, by no means is it a given, and I may be misinterpreting).

I was expecting to feel more territorial and "my turn"-ish about my current pregnancy, but have been surprised to find that so far I don't. For us, I think that has a lot to do with how my wife and I really restricted how far the biological distinction between us influenced our parenting roles. To be clear, I'm not saying it's by definition a problem to have such distinctions, and I know plenty of parents around this board do so on purpose, just that I could really imagine if you did have such patterns, it would be more challenging to navigate a switching of who carries (but by no means impossible).

In any case, it seems like you are really paying attention and talking, and that's the most important thing to get your family on solid footing.

--Lyn

I'm Lyn (32) wife to Gail (38) Mama to Leigh (born 6/06 ,via Gail) and Ira (born 5/09, via me)
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Old 10-27-2008, 03:08 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Reading between the lines, as much as you were careful about language and including Lena for the first three (and I totally believe you), it sounds like your family really has defined different roles for the two of you along biological lines, extending to things that don't necessarily have to do with biology. How does a biology determine who decides how you will put a baby down for a nap?
The roles have been defined along biological lines, but not necessarily due to biology itself. I have been obsessed with babies ever since I *was* a baby. I began baby-sitting at age 11 and spent the majority of my free time in my teenage years taking care of babies and toddlers. I fantasized all the time about having my own babies and how I would want to do things. Lena, on the other hand, was never into babies or baby dolls as a kid. When we first started dating, I remember saying something like, "I've always wanted to have at least four kids, what about you?" And she responded, "I've never really thought about it at all." So, we came at parenthood from completely different places. There was no question about who would carry our first baby since Lena had no interest while I was chomping at the bit. As much as I encouraged Lena to become involved with the process (recommending books she might want to read, asking for her opinion re: baby carriers and strollers, or bigger issues like co-sleeping and gentle discipline, etc.), she'd always say something like, "I trust you. Whatever you decide is fine with me." I was also the stay-at-home, breastfeeding mom, so even if we had been equally interested in babies and parenting, I still think I would have been the one to decide how best to put the babies down for a nap, etc. (just because I was the one actually doing it).

As the kids have gotten older, and especially after the older kids were weaned from breastfeeding (zeb is still quite breastfed), our roles became more equal, with no distinction along biological lines. Lena has also become more interested in learning about different parenting approaches, etc. (although she still prefers that I do the actual research and then just report to her, and then we discuss).

When Lena first decided that she wanted to get pregnant (this past summer), it wasn't really clear what her plans were for after the birth. She's always made it clear that she is not stay-at-home mom material (a week of vacation is enough for her), but she does want to stay home for at least a little while with the new baby. It's all still up in the air (dw is a grad. student and will get her MA this spring, and is now contemplating continuing on for a PHD). And I think that's the part that's harder for me, because I'm so identified with my stay-at-home status, and I can't imagine working full-time with a new baby at home, and I don't want to be away from Zeb full-time either (and dw doesn't really feel up to having a new baby and Zeb at home, and I don't want to put Zeb in full-time care). But, of course, if dw decides that she does want to stay home for longer than 6 months or so, I will get a job so that she can do that (we could probably save up enough for 6 months of us both being home, which will be lovely).

It definitely will be more complicated to have her be the pregnant-and-breastfeeding one while I am the "primary" stay-at-home parent. How has that part worked in your family, Lyn?

Lex

Mindfully mothering SIX kids (ages 5, 6, 8, 9, 11 & 11) in a small house with a lot of love.
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Old 10-27-2008, 04:39 PM
 
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Lex--

Now that you say more about your situation, I get more why you are feeling a bit at loose ends. This isn't just about finding your space as a non-bio-mom and connecting with this new baby, you guys have a LOT up in the air (school transitions, contemplating going back to work for you, not knowing what's up with leave, etc). That would make anyone nervous. I know it's still super early and you will have time to figure things out, but that is still a lot to be wondering about (and clearly a lot for you and Lena to be thinking through).

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Originally Posted by lexbeach View Post
It definitely will be more complicated to have her be the pregnant-and-breastfeeding one while I am the "primary" stay-at-home parent. How has that part worked in your family, Lyn?
I'm happy to share how we worked out care, but it really sounds like we're a lot different from you and Lena, who came at parenting from much different starting places. We headed into parenthood equally enthusiastic about all things baby, and both with a desire for pregnancy, though I put that desire on the backburner since Gail is significantly older. If anything, I was *more* enthusiastic about some things than she was (cloth diapers, babywearing, EC...maybe even nursing even though I wasn't doing it).

We were dependent on Gail's job for benefits and income as I was still in grad school, so we exploited my student flexibility for all it was worth, and after both of us took two months home, I did most of Leigh's care for months 2-6 (Gail took about a day home, we had about 1/2 day sitting, and I took 3 1/2 days home). Then the roles reversed second semester, with me taking a day home, and Gail working a part time and doing about 3 1/2 days of care. I then took three more months home after I graduated, and now we each take 1 day per week home, and Leigh is in outside care 3 days per week (that started at 15 months). For us, this is a good balance. We like both having one-on-one time with Leigh, and that either of us is easily able to take over in the other's absence. We like that our 4 day schedules help us set good boundaries at work.

What might be most relevant for you though is what it was like in months 2-6 or the summer I was home with Leigh (months 12-15). I had been worried about being alone with nursing infant, but it actually worked great. Leigh had no trouble going back and forth between bottle and breast, and Gail's supply for pumping held up OK. I was careful to make feedings very slow and cuddly. I wore Leigh a lot. Lots of skin to skin. Mostly, I just did what any mom would do, though I did develop many more soothing options than feeding. I absolutely loved it. I know some folks at MDC might think that this was substandard care, since I was not actually nursing her, but Leigh thrived in my care, and she and Gail were able to maintain a healthy nursing relationship (I think Gail's one day/week home helped with that). So, other than that, I don't know what to say. We found navigating our discrepancies in nursing (which was the extent of the biological distinction in role) to be not as difficult as expected. I feel so lucky to have had that time to bond with Leigh early on. I really think it helped get our family onto solid footing right away, but also, I know not all families have that opportunity. For this baby, our plan is to have Gail to do something similar, with Gail taking on more infant care than I do.

Not sure if that helps at all. Good luck.

--Lyn

I'm Lyn (32) wife to Gail (38) Mama to Leigh (born 6/06 ,via Gail) and Ira (born 5/09, via me)
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Old 10-27-2008, 11:53 PM
 
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i am really interested to see the discussion take this turn - i was just thinking in the car today that i should get up here and ask everyone about their roles in care and how that was worked out in your families.

DW and i were both librarians in the same system when she got pregnant. here in canada, you are allowed a year off following the birth of a child while your job is held for you. furthermore, in ontario, the 35 weeks of paid parental leave can be split between two parents. so basically, DW had 17 weeks of paid maternity leave the she had all to herself, and then there were an additional 35 weeks (so 52 weeks leave total) that we could take in any combination between us.

we decided that DW should have that entire year, as the bio mom. so we saved and saved and i managed to take the first 17 weeks off as unpaid leave, and she was able to use all 52 weeks of leave.

we were not a successful breast-feeding family (DW had a BR as a teenager, and a traumatic c-section gave us a baby who refused to latch). DS had to be finger-fed in the hospital after 24 hours of not feeding, and that fell to me. so that bond was formed hard and fast in those first few days. and that was followed by the 4 months at home, figuring out how we wanted to be a family.

at the end of our year, we had to decide who was going to quit and who was going to keep working. our schedules while we were childless were the same, but for both of us to go back to work, we would have had to either go onto opposite schedules (nights and weekends) or find a daycare that would accomodate shift work. so we could either be together as a family two fridays and two sundays a month, or we could spend basically all of one of our salaries to put DS in daycare.

we considered that a no-brainer! and after a lot of discussion, DW decided that she wanted to stay home. so now she is the primary, SAH care of our toddler - who has a MAJOR case of "daddy syndrome" (if you will) for me. his attachment to me has gotten a lot less traumatic, without seeming to really fade in intensity.

it will be interesting to see how things are different with the second (due in may) - i don't think i will have enough money to stay home for as long (even though now i will have access to all the paid leave...), and we are really really hoping for a successful breastfeeding venture this time :

but i am glad to have this thread now, since i somewhat identify with all the WOHMs at work, except that none of them have a lovely DW at home taking care of their DS as a SAHM. so it's kind of the same, but not really at all.
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Old 10-28-2008, 12:31 AM
 
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our situation is different again - as a side note, i think it's interesting to read all the different dynamics. i carried our son and only had 6 weeks "short term disability" plus 2 weeks of vacation i saved up. as another side note, the short term disability wording cracked me up. i'm originally from the uk where you really do get maternity leave. anyways, i realised during those 8 weeks at home that as a 17 year career woman (in the IT field) that i was not cut out to be a SAHM. i did (and still do) breastfeed and was fortunate to be quite good at it after a few weeks of struggling at the beginning.

our lifesaver is that my company has it's own daycare. it's run by bright horizons but is right there in my building on the ground floor. because of that i was able nurse during the day and since dp's office is across the street, we all travel to work together. we can visit our son whenever we like and the teachers are all wonderful. this set-up works great for us - i even moved a data center 1 week after returning to work and still managed to squeeze in nursing time!!

when dp has the next baby, we will also use my company daycare. we'll start the second parent adoption while she is pregnant so baby will officially be my dependant before dp's leave is over (the daycare staff have already told us they will still hold a spot and will be ok with allowing baby to start even if the official paperwork isn't complete). dp will also breastfeed, either by expressing or coming over to nurse.

we feel we are getting the best of both worlds - continuing to work while being really close to our son.

as another side note, if one of us was to give up work it would be dp, no question. i earn almost double what she does, have an almost guaranteed bonus every year and a great pension scheme.

g

my family - dp d heartbeat.gif, ds b biggrinbounce.gif (4), ds f thumbsuck.gif (2), dd a baby.gif (jan '12), ddog m dog2.gif
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Old 10-30-2008, 04:26 PM
 
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Hi other non-bio parents. I'm pretty new to Mothering.com. I am also excited about this thread. Right now my DP Tami and I are waiting to find out if she is pregnant. this is our 6th cycle of trying, spread out over a few years.
The thing I have noticed is with my mom. We do have our issues and she's a little conservative, but she loves Tami very much and refers to her as "my daughter". The thing that bugs is that whenever I try to include her by talking to her about us trying, 90% of the time she gets really awkward and changes the subject, just saying "Oh" or if I'm lucky, "oh, that's nice."
I wonder sometimes if she would be more excited if I was going to be the bio-mom. Tami's mom is soooo excited and asks her about how we're doing, after Tami having a conversation with her making sure she knew that I was also going to be a mom. I'm surious how others have experienced parent issues and how you've dealt with it.
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Old 10-31-2008, 02:16 PM
 
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I wonder sometimes if she would be more excited if I was going to be the bio-mom. Tami's mom is soooo excited and asks her about how we're doing, after Tami having a conversation with her making sure she knew that I was also going to be a mom. I'm surious how others have experienced parent issues and how you've dealt with it.
Yup. My mom was generally excited during M's pregnancy, and I think what helped was that I maintained a blog, detailing all the symptoms and stuff like that. Although the pregnancy was not happening to me, I took it upon myself to get in the limelight and talk a lot about what was going on with us as a family in the making. However, my mom always asks me about the possibility of me giving birth. I thought once Noah was here, she would see how great he was, automatically see me as his mom and let issue go. Nope. I don't know what compels her to bug me about it, but I'm hoping that it's the fact that my siblings (straight, partnered) have not yet had any kids of their own. Although it should not matter to her, I happen to have fertility issues that she is well aware of, so that really frustrates me. It not only makes me feel like she is rude, but insensitive too. Thankfully, we don't have tons of contact, and in general she is loving and kind regarding our relationship and our son, but it gets to me. Sorry if I didn't offer much advice. I guess I just wanted to commiserate!

Mama (non-bio) to REPlaySkateboard04HL.gifmy little man (6), and mama (bio) to babyboy.gif my tiny man (2/14)
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Old 10-31-2008, 11:56 PM
 
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I'm reading this thread with great interest....astropeep and I are still TTC, and I guess I'm sort of living in a dreamworld that we're going to make everyone treat me as an equal parent by sheer force of stubborness. (As astropeep will tell you, sheer stubbornness is something I'm really good at! )
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Old 11-01-2008, 12:24 AM
 
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I'm sort of living in a dreamworld that we're going to make everyone treat me as an equal parent by sheer force of stubborness.
i think you actually have really hit on something here. i think that a lot of the key to being treated like and considered an equal parent is to act like one. treat the person who might question you as the one who is coming from left field, not the other way around.

there is a subtle difference between acceptance and approval. my dad is fond of reminding me that even though the entirety of my extended family is very accepting of me and lemurmommies and signal, that doesn't necessarily mean that they approve. and i am fond of reminding him back that as long as they accept, i don't care one whit whether they approve or not!

as parents we need to remember not to look for validation of our roles from other people, who might well not at all understand, accept, or approve. we don't need to be validated. we are parents, full and equal. we have earned (or will earn, for all those TTCers) that honour and distinction by waking up every 45 minutes when the LO has a cold, by cleaning up the puke and the snot and the poop, by loving and being loved by our children.
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Old 11-02-2008, 05:43 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I definitely think it would have been harder for my mom the first time if I hadn't been the pregnant one, she wouldn't have been quite as excited. Dw's parents weren't terribly excited, but I don't think they would have been if dw was pregnant either (they thought we were too young). They were more excited about the second pregnancy (I think because they already knew what great parents we were ), and were equally excited about dw's pregnancy . . . maybe slightly more than they were about my second pregnancy, but not a huge difference at all (and my mom was way more excited about dw being pregnant than she would have been about my being pregnant for a third time; she does not want me to get pregnant again).

I know that, as a mom, I would love to have a pregnant daughter, and it would be maybe a little bit harder to have a pregnant daughter-in-law (depending on the DIL, I suppose). So I can totally understand why moms would be more excited about their daughters being pregnant than by their daughters-in-law being pregnant. But, in our experience, the non-bio extended family has been completely and totally excited about and in love with the actual babies once they are born.

I think it did take a while for people to see dw as an equal mother to our first babies (who I carried). I think I probably didn't even see her as an equal mother at first. And she didn't necessarily FEEL like an equal mother in the beginning either. But our situation is maybe different from most in that I was really the driving force behind our first two pregnancies, so we didn't go into them with equal desire to be mothers, at all. I think it took a couple of years before dw really felt like an equal mother to our twins, and there were probably some people who took that long to see her as one.

I hope that since we've already been established as "the mothers," it won't be as hard for people to see me as an equal mother to the baby Lena gives birth to. But even just writing that I sort of felt like, "but I won't BE an equal mother at first . . ." so, I don't know. I mean, I certainly don't feel like an equal mother right now, while dw is feeling awful and puking and napping, and I'm just feeling fine. Pregnancy is a very lonely experience, and I don't think any two people (straight or gay) can really experience one pregnancy equally. And perhaps the same can be said for the initial postpartum period.

Lex

Mindfully mothering SIX kids (ages 5, 6, 8, 9, 11 & 11) in a small house with a lot of love.
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