I can’t decide if being the second one to give birth is better or worse.
Since I knocked her up at home, I think I may have had an unrealistic idea of how easily I could get pregnant. I felt like we were experts. I only bought 6 vials of our first child’s donor juice. Yet somehow I managed to mess up my charting and not know that frozen sperm only lasts 24 hours. Not expert. How was I to know it would take me a year and a half? Then I had all of that anxiety as it wasn’t working for my partner, that I wasn’t getting any younger, either. I, of course, didn’t want to bring that up with her just to add insult to injury.
Being with my partner as she suffered, yes suffered, through her pregnancy gave me a very realistic lens through which to experience the whole process. After her pregnancy I wanted to be pregnant, but I no longer idealized it, that’s for sure. I got to go through a series of childbirth classes before I even had my first insemination. I already have parent friends. I already have all the baby supplies. I know how to change a diaper in the dark of evening or on a park bench. I can hear a baby cry and scream and not have my hair turn gray. I’ve steeled myself for breastfeeding in general and especially in public. I feel ready…readyish. My honey never got the chance to go into active labor. Sooooo, I haven’t actually been in the room for a vaginal birth, or even extremely heavy contractions. I do know what to expect from a C-section and the recovery. But I’m hoping not to be in the room for another one of those.
When my honey was pregnant… for any first pregnancy in a lesbian couple’s life together, the pregnant one can relax while the other one coddles her and attempts to do all the housework. If the pregnant one is zonked and wants to go to bed early, the other one can go for a walk in the park, or out for a drink with friends. This all seemed hard to me when I was the not pregnant one. I felt guilty (but happy) when I went out without her. I felt exhausted doing all the housework. My honey was too tired to do the laundry, but she always did the folding, I assume because she was also feeling guilty because I was doing so much of the housework.
Now that I’m pregnant, we’re not the only two people who live here. I’m not the only one who needs coddling. If I’m exhausted and want to go to bed at 6, I can’t really. If I do, I leave all of the toddler care to my honey. If I fall asleep upon getting home from work, my honey can’t go out for a walk or have coffee with friends. She has to coerce a two-year-old to eat, read him books, chase him around the house pretending to be a puppy, then bathe and put him to bed. Though I have had my share of naps and sleeping in late (late is 8 am, when you have a toddler, BTW), it is just not the same as laying down knowing your partner is going out to enjoy herself somewhere or relaxing in a similar manner in the house. There’s a guilt shift. One part of me wishes my honey had not felt guilty for doing little housework the first time around. Apparently, “little” was a key word there, because actually I was doing just a little work, though it felt like a lot at the time. I am so grateful to my honey for doing so much for me and with Cakie. (Including reminding me constantly to stop picking him up.) I know what she’s going through. But I really don’t. I’m glad that my pregnancy has been easier than hers in this aspect, because It would have been 1000 times harder for both of us if the difficult pregnancy came when the toddler was running around the house.
Would I trade places? Would I have liked to go first? I don’t know. I’m still not sure which one is better.