Solidarity

Reading through my old posts, I may have glossed over what a kick-ass partner I have.

I have a kick-ass partner.

Instead of doing the sugar solution test for gestational diabetes (which, I hear, is awful and makes you want to barf), I was given the option of a food-based test which entailed eating a bunch of carbs, fat, and sugar in specific proportions in under 10 minutes. The suggested meal was eggs, toast, OJ, tea/water, milk, and a whole bunch of butter.

So we did it together. And it was delicious.

They finished first, but I slowed down with my last glass when I saw that I’d have plenty of time to finish within the ten minute limit.

Our (queer) midwife found it sweet that we did it together, saying that she’s never had anyone take the test along with the gestating person before.

Now that we have just a few months left, we’re thinking and talking more about what it’ll actually be like once our world gets turned up-side down by the welcoming of our new family member. I can’t imagine a better person to be planning this out with.

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Like Having Dead Fish

Allie Brosh, the genius behind the comic/blog Hyperbole and a Half, created my favorite explanation for how people react when then realize you’re suffering from depression (and/or anxiety, it turns out). If you haven’t read her two posts on depression, read this now. Her analogy goes like this:

It would be like having a bunch of dead fish, but no one around you will acknowledge that the fish are dead. Instead, they offer to help you look for the fish or try to help you figure out why they disappeared.



See? Genius.
I recently found myself as the only customer in a consignment store for kids clothes and gear, chatting with the proprietor and her two young kids. When I explained that I don’t like being pregnant, she seemed perplexed and told me how much she enjoyed it. Her face scrunched up in confusion, trying to find why on earth someone wouldn’t like pregnancy, as if there was something wrong with me. Like everyone else, her first question was in regards to the severity of my morning sickness. I never actually threw up and explained that the toughest part has been mental health. At this point I could’ve stopped the conversation or left, but I’ve become passionate about increasing awareness of prenatal mental health challenges, so I let her continue asking if there had been some exterior cause. No, I clarified, just brain chemicals. Up to this point, the conversation was fairly routine for me.

Then she tried to commiserate, her face turning serious as she explained that she had struggled with postpartum depression with one of her kids. Which would’ve been endearing, except she then decided this made her qualified to give advice on the matter.

Um, wut. Aromatherapy isn’t helpful when one has collapsed from sobbing and cannot get up to reach said miracle fix.

Again, that might be helpful under different circumstances. For instance, not in the first trimester when one of the following was very often true:
– I was too tired and fatigued to do anything but drag myself to and from work
– My anxiety and depression were scheming to try to convince me that my friends would flake on plans or that I didn’t deserve their pity (a.k.a care) and should just suck it up

Once the conversation took this turn, I smilingly said my goodbyes.

Lots of people like giving advice about pregnancy and about “cheering up” from mental health struggles. They usually make things worse.

Lots of other wiser people know better. Be like them.

Gross, gross, gross


WTF is wrong with people?
Consent? Choice? HellooOOOOooo?! Gross.
Anyone who tries to argue that cis-het reproduction is intrinsically morally superior to queer family-making needs to try to say that with a straight face after seeing this.

Perks and Problems of Passing

In my experience, the verb to pass puts the burden of fitting society’s expectations of gender on the individual being judged/the judgee. The action of the verb is in the hands of the judgee, as in:

While this may sound like a good thing at first, like it’s putting the judgee in control, what most often ends up happening is that the person is praised or condemned based on rules that they have no say in whatsoever.



This mindset measures the judgee against this ever-moving target – an impossible ideal of womanhood or manhood. Not only is this silly and unrealistic, but there are also plenty of people who aren’t interested in going through life as a binary man or woman.

The verb to read puts the responsibility back onto the shoulders the person doing the judging, highlighting that it’s their expectations and preconceptions that cause the situation in the first place. As in:


Recap: If someone passes incorrectly, it’s framed as the fault of the judgee. If someone reads incorrectly, it’s the fault of the judger. I tend to gravitate toward read instead of pass, but there are some situations where terms such as passing privilege seem to be more useful.

Which brings us to…
…me and my now-visibly-pregnant body moving about the world. Before pregnancy, people already read me as a woman about 95% of the time- an androgynous woman with facial hair, but a woman nonetheless. A few times a year someone might say, “sir” to me and I don’t correct them, crossing my fingers that they won’t go through the flustered, “Oh, I’m so sorry, MA’AM!” routine as soon as they hear my voice. Occasionally a kid will ask if I’m a boy or a girl and I’ll smile and say something like, “Nope,” or “I don’t know,” or “not exactly,” or “sort of,” and then see where they take it. I tend to enjoy a privilege sphere that includes men not finding my androgyny threatening or challenging to their own masculinity (I’m not butch and I’m pretty petite), women often initially being a bit put-off by my appearance (“Why doesn’t this person wax their facial hair or wear makeup? Don’t they know they’re doing womanhood wrong?”), not being treated with beauty privilege (fine by me), not being harassed in women’s restrooms, not having the option of choosing men’s restrooms, and every once in a while someone will mistake me for straight. Well-meaning strangers seeking to affirm what they believe is a lesbian couple will address my partner and me as “ladies.”

Following this trend, no one reads my growing belly as a man’s beer belly. This comes with its perks and drawbacks. Unlike A.K. Summers in Pregnant Butch, people offer me physical help, which I very much appreciate, given the slow, steady wrenching apart of my skin and ab muscles to make room for the fetus. The obvious downside is the further erasure of my gender identity. Colleagues have tried referring endearingly to me as “mama” and it is rather challenging to convince them to stop without outing myself [In case you’re new here: I’m out with my orientation at work, but closeted with my gender.] I’ve tried to keep it vague and cheerful:

1st Trimester Almost Wrap-Up

Things that have helped:
– Consistent, early bedtime
– Only getting up once a night for a couple weeks, and falling right back to sleep after peeing
– Figuring out that going off mood meds altogether isn’t worth it. Meds are now stabilizing a lot of the anxiety.
– Eating a smaller range of foods to lessen bloating and heartburn
– Men’s dress pants with expandable waistbands (for wearing to work)

Things that still suck:
– Holding so much of this secret/trying to cover up
– My chest growing
– The fact that prioritizing sleep means I spend less time doing things I love
– All the food envy for things I wish I could eat without complication. Struggling to consume enough volume of food to not lose weight and have that add to fatigue.
– While I’m not as short of breath and my heart doens’t pound as much as a month ago, I’m no Serena Williams

As much as I try to think my way out of it, hearing so many people say that the 2nd trimester gets better for energy and nausea has my hopes up. Maybe for me the “burst of energy” will still mean I need 10 hours of sleep a night, just not 12 on the weekends?