It’s raining outside. I can see it through my window, but I can’t hear it. The raindrops are swallowed whole by the last vestiges of snow. The dreary time between seasons is upon us.
I feel a little in between, too.
When she and I first began this process of making Baby, I was so involved. We discussed getting pregnant over and over. We plotted and planned. We picked out donors and talked about her cycle. We monitored it together. When it came time to inseminate, I performed the task. When she got pregnant, we told everyone. We are having a baby. We.
But now it’s mostly her. I try to be supportive. I cook for her and rub her feet. I attend every prenatal appointment, read the books, and watch the documentaries. But even in all of that, I still feel like I’m stuck on the periphery. I’m there in the room, but I’m not doing anything important. I’m superfluous.
She’s quick to tell me how much she needs me, which is sweet. But I’m still trying to figure out my role. I’m not the birthing mother, but I’m not the father, either. Who am I?
To be honest, none of this really crossed my mind before a month or so ago. I was just chugging along, mom-to-be. I was excited about my role as parent. I knew this baby is as much mine as she is hers. But about five weeks ago, that started to change. I wasn’t inseminating her, and I had no one left to tell about our pregnancy news. What could I do to be useful? How could I stay involved? I decided to read books about my role. However, when I looked for them, they weren’t really there. On recommendation, I picked up a copy of the now somewhat outdated “Confessions of the Other Mother.” The stories, engaging as they are, started making me nervous. The happiness of all of the women in the book was tempered by their “otherness.” I suddenly began to feel like an other, too.
Then my partner decided she wanted to home birth. I thought this was just wonderful, and we decided to learn more about it. We watched a documentary titled The Business of Being Born. The documentary was great (if not similarly outdated), but it triggered something in me. There was so much focus on the birthing mother — how she needed to do release certain chemicals and engage in a natural process in order to properly bond with her child. I watched strong women breathing and heaving and birthing tiny humans. I watched the male partners of these women bumbling about. And I thought, if the biological contributors to these babies barely have a part in all of this, then what is my part?
I guess I feel lost. Past the excitement of early pregnancy but not yet a parent. The first snow has long since come and gone, and yet we’re so far away from watching the flowers bloom.
That’s where I am — caught in the mud between winter and spring. I know it will get better soon enough, but for now I’m just stuck, riding out the ruts.