I went to an event at the Lesbian, Gay Bisexual and Trangender Community Service Center last night.
It was all about pregnancy and women who have written books. Hello? Several things happened.
I learned some stuff. One thing I learned is that I have, for the past 13-15 years been pronouncing the name of one of my fave feminist presses totally wrong. “Cleis” does not rhyme with “mice.” If I remember correctly, it is pronounced “CLEE-is.” Or something like that. I also learned that I’ve been pronouncing the name of the woman who coordinates most if not all of the family stuff at the Center wrong in my head all along, as well. That’s what happens when a girl spends too much time with her nose in books and blogs, instead of talking with real people.
I started a little peeved and flipped to relieved. The panel included some really cool people, none of them non-bio co-moms. There was the fabulous and pregnant Karin Cook, author of the novel What Girls Learn. The honored one at the event was first-time memoirist and funny grrrl, Andrea Askowitz, author of My Miserable, Lonely, Lesbian Pregnancy. Not only was her book funny, but I was impressed with her self-promotion skills. She had set up an entire book tour on her own. I guess when one raises a kid on her own, setting up a book tour isn’t so tough. Linda Villarosa, co-author of The Black Parenting Book, was amazingly gregarious and funny. Also on the panel was a woman who works at CNN, whose name escapes me. And the beautiful Louise Sloan, also an author of Knock Yourself Up, a how-to for the single mamawannabe.
I’m sure the organizer took great pains to make the panel representative. It was racially and sort of situationally. Yet, none of the women on the panel represented the women who would be the audience of my book. I know it was about pregnancy, so I can’t get too picky, here. BUT the partners of the partnered members of the panel were in the audience. So when the questions opened up, we did get to hear from them. Karin Cook’s partner, Robin, was achingly honest about her insecurities during Karin’s first pregnancy and their early motherhood. I wish I’d had my tape recorder. I got to mention my book and people seemed excited. I felt, however, coming away from the event, that we had left the position of the co-mom in a bit too much of a negative light. Even though another woman raised her hand and said she had the exact opposite experience of Robin’s and the CNN woman’s partner said being the non-bio mom was a “great deal.”
So… if the woman who came up to me afterwards and asked for my name and I gave her my blog address is actually checking this blog, I have to follow up with this: being the co-mom does often rock. Though we may be very sympathetic or empathetic to our partners, it is far more comfortable to be the one who does not have cracked nipp1es from learning to breastfeed, the one who does not have heartburn for 3 straight months. I have a strong memory of going out for margaritas (while my partner was home with morning sickness– I’m a bad girlfriend) to celebrate the fact that I would be a mother soon. If your partner has a c-section, you actually get to hold the baby before she does. And you get to sleep for those fifteen minutes the baby stops crying in the night because he’s on the bo0b. You partner does not. Most importantly, motherhood is motherhood. If you are the kind of person who is cut out for parenthood, biology doesn’t matter that much. Especially after the first six months. Once you get to feed that baby when he or she is hungry, there’s really not much more that limits your experience as a mother, biology or not. This seems like a kind of random and weird list of reasons why being the co-mom rocks. But I will be eight months pregnant in two days, so I’m playing my pregnancy card for the right to write random and weird lists. That’s how my brain works these days.
The organizer, Terry Boggis (does not rhyme with fog-iss), said that they had tried to organize several support groups for non-bio moms and it always ended up being one lonely mom sitting there waiting for others to show up. It took me a while to get over that image. The more I think about it, the more it makes sense, though. Co-moms, at the time they need the most support, are the least able to go hang out at the Center. I needed a support group when my honey was pregnant and before Cakie started to eat solid foods. Guess what? I had my hands full. Before he was born, I was busy trying to force-feed my honey healthy food and keep the house from falling into complete ruin. (I didn’t do a stellar job with the keeping-house-from-ruin part.) After he was born, I was busy bringing burp clothes and pillows to my honey; holding Cakie and trying to remember the words to lullabies; changing flying poop diapers; hogging the stroller from my honey; trying to keep my eyes open at work and trying to keep them shut, at least for a few minutes at a time, during the night. I had no time for support when I needed it most.
It is always a treat to meet fabulous dykes. This was special in both an internal and external way. It gave me pause to reflect on my book a bit, it gave me a little networking opportunity, and it gave me a night out of the house! All-in-all, not a bad way to spend a Tuesday evening.