Saturday, August 4, 2012

Non-bio mom advice

I'm happy to say that we have our mid-pregnancy ultrasound booked for August 24th! We'll be 19 weeks and 3 days pregnant. It's going to be a looooooong three weeks to get there, but so glad we actually have a light at the end of the tunnel. We've finally got in to see our Reproductive Psychiatrist in two weeks too. And there is a midwifes appointment in there as well, so feeling really supported and excited this month.

Devon has been a dream through this pregnancy. She's so thoughtful and does things for me before I even think about them. She's always been supportive, but I've never seen her like this. It kind of makes my heart melt every single day. I'm extremely lucky.

Devon is extremely excited to be a mom but I think she's struggling a little bit with what she's supposed to feel during the pregnancy part... and also what her role will be when the baby comes, but for now, the pregnancy. She's read several stories from Confessions of the Other Mother and her overall comments so far have been that, unlike many of the other mothers, she doesn't have a drive to be masculine and fatherly. Yes, she's protective of me, but she's always been. She also does not hold any of the resentment that many non-bio moms in the book seem to hold for not being the body that bears the child.

As I talk about the stories and posts I read on pregnancy forums, she often asks whether I've seen any such sites or resources for non-bio moms. We've searched for websites that support non-bio moms and though we've found an odd story and anecdote here and there, there really isn't much. I'm wondering if any of you have any advice or resources that I can pass on to her. I want her to feel as supported as I feel, but I am at a loss as to how to help her.

I just need to say that it's not like she's extremely affected and can't move past this; it's definitely not like that. I guess I'm feeling as though she's doing SO much for me, I just want to do something for her. There are a billion support systems for pregnant women, but yeah - it's like it's the dark side for the non-bios.

She's not sure what she wants to be called when the baby comes. For a while, she wanted to be "Mama D" but that's something I really don't like, because to me, I can just see the "Mama" being dropped and our kid ending up calling her Devon and me Mum. That might work for some people, but I want her to be an equal and for some reason, a "mom" name is part of it. I will start by being Mumma and end up with Mum (British background) and just today she said that "Mommy/Mom" might be okay... but it's taken a long time to get here. Not sure what we'll end up with, but I guess we don't need to think about it at this point.

Anyway, any advice on the resources would be splendid. I've introduced her to a few of you bloggers that are/have been in her shoes (especially you, Olive).

More to come on the pregnancy. From the near-panic attacks to the intense cramping and everything (good) in between!






17 comments:

  1. Sen this to TNF. We have many non bio moms and I am sure they will give you advice.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I'm the bio-mom, so this is my report based on the conversations my partner and I have had on the subject. Definitely, I feel like this has been less of an issue for us than I would have expected based on reading books/blogs. Because our baby arrived at 29w via complicated c/s, my partner was the first to hold her and hang out with her, and probably spent more time with her in her early days while I was recovering. That experience sucked, but it meant that she was immediately recognized publicly as mom. We have pursued something close to equally shared parenting (we each took half time maternity leave, shared nighttime parenting, now that she is a toddler we each do roughly 50% of kid care). For me, as the bio-mom, making it work meant giving up some of my mommy privilege-reminding people that the birth and early days had been hard work for both of us, that my partner was also mom, and practically it also meant switching off and tell my partner-you hold the baby and I'll do the dishes.

    ReplyDelete
  3. i was a non-bio mom first, so if she wants someone to talk to/bounce emotions/thoughts/etc off of, i'd be happy to listen/read. feel free to email me. it definitely can be a tough role to play sometimes, and its hard to know how to feel in certain situations. glad you ladies are doing great and supporting each other so well.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Wow - I never even thought about what non-bio moms might go through. I sent this out to some of my friends at http://www.bandbacktogether.com/ (they work to create resource pages and publish stories for/from people going through just about ANYTHING) and let them know there's a need for online resources... Sounds like Devon has been wonderful!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  5. This is my third time trying to respond, but I keep having technical difficulties. Anyway, I just wanted to say that having gone through a similar experience as the non-bio mom to The Bean, and seeming to have a lot of the same views about not feeling masculine or resentful, I'd be happy to talk to and/or email Devon about my experiences. There's a contact us link on our blog that she can use to get in touch.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I've heard that babies with two moms (or dads) tend to come up with their own names for their parents. Or they call them both "mum" or "mom" but use a different tone when trying to address one over the other. I'm sure your baby/child will come up with something wonderful for Devon. In the meantime hopefully you guys will find something for her that makes you both feel comfortable and good.

    ReplyDelete
  7. We also assumed that our son would come up with names for us- but it didn't happen. So we coached him to call my partner "mommy" and myself "mama". Also as the bio mom I tried to step aside in as many firsts as possible so my partner could "mother" during those. She's the one holding him in our family photos, she was the first to bathe him, carry him in a sling, carry him into the house when our visiting family members. I breastfed our son, so that automatically gave me a lot of one on one time with him, but she did all of the burping and sleep cuddling in the first weeks when we were all home together. As I write this she's in singing our almost two year old to sleep. Congrats on the pregnancy! I'm looking forward to reading other resources that are out there as well!
    Joey

    ReplyDelete
  8. I'm a non-bio mom and had nothing but positive experiences at the birth and after. Our daughter calls us both mama and we haven't had to face the "real mom" question in her two years. We also didn't really set up a division of labor - such as bath mom, breast mom. I realize that this makes us different and extremely lucky, but I'm still very happy to answer questions/provide reassurance/strategize with Devon (and you!)

    ReplyDelete
  9. Much like countingchickens above, it hasn't been an issue for us/me. It was..."interesting" for lack of a better word, when I would tell people I was going to have a baby or take leave to take care of it, and they'd look at my stomach and be very confused :) But other than that, it was fine. There is so much to do after the baby is born, that you just step up to the plate wherever and whenever needed. As long as the non-bio mom doesn't have any "oh, I wish I could breastfeed" feelings, I don't think it's a huge deal (and I never had those feelings and felt that not having to do that part was great lol). He calls me "mommy" and her "Ima" which is Hebrew for "mother" and the moniker she wanted from the start. Even if there are some issues in the beginning, they seem to becomes less and less over time. And it makes me feel guilty, but these days, Curly prefers me over her, sigh. So really, no non-bio mom issues for us.

    ReplyDelete
  10. My wife seems to be having similar experiences to the other commenters--she doesn't resent not being able to breastfeed and isn't particularly masculine. She just steps in whenever something needs to be done and does it, which is amazing. I think there are some benefits to not being able to breastfeed, actually--she's much less stimulating than I am, so when EJ needs to be calmed down there's no confusion about whether she's hungry--just comfort. I agree with the others, though--as the bio mom i have to make sure to keep a check on my sense of entitlement and remember to offer the baby to my wife more often, but it is more than paid back by the help and support that I get from her. And no one tells you this, but when you are holding the baby you can't really see their face very well once they want to be sitting up. Only when your awesome partner has the kid can you stare effectively at your gorgeous child. :)

    ReplyDelete
  11. It was very useful for me. Keep sharing such ideas in the future as well. This was actually what I was looking for, and I am glad to come here! Thanks for sharing the such information with us

    ReplyDelete
  12. I wanted to thank you for this great read!!

    ReplyDelete
  13. Trash that book!! It was so depressing! I ordered it for J when we were talking about having a baby. Try instead She Looks Just Like You: A Memoir of (Non-Biological Lesbian) Motherhood. It's a good one, but warning, they do go through rough times, just like any new parents do.
    When M was first born we were both 'mama'. Now that he is a bit older (13.5 months) he knows that I am mommy and J is mama. No issue there. We also gave M J's last name, mine isn't there anywhere. We figured if he gets to be biologically related to me, he should be related in family name to J. It's kind of funny though, I think it messes people up about who is bio-mama. And in the end if it came up in a situation where people were making judgements about who was 'really' M's mom and asking the question about who carried, I would be very and confident in smiling and saying 'What does it matter?'

    ReplyDelete
  14. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  15. My partner & I have an almost 4yo daughter, I was the non-bio mom for her. We just had our son 3 months ago, of whom I'm the bio mom. We made the decision on names when Sam was pregnant with Graisyn that she is 'Mommy' and I am 'Mumma'. It has never been confusing for Grai. She knows that she was in Mommys tummy and Kazmer was in Mummas. She asked about 6 months ago where her daddy was, (I was at work and missed the conversation), and Sam just stated that she didn't have a daddy, she has two mommies and all families are different. That was good enough and it has not been an issue.
    Having been on both sided of the pregnancy fence, I can say it's a lot easier being the pregnant one. As the non-bio, you are at the mercy of the bio mom telling you about all the odd things happening, all the movements you feel, etc. The non-bio just needs good description!

    ReplyDelete
  16. I'm late to commenting, as usual. But I wanted to mention that there is a great group on Facebook for non-bio moms. It's by invitation only but if Devon is on fb, I'm happy to invite her. It's a great place to ask these questions and get answers from an all non-bio mom community. Email me if you're interested.

    I wasn't nervous about being a non-bio mom exactly, but I was very nervous about all the unknowns. Certain things have been hard for me, for sure. Breastfeeding for us was wrapped up in soothing so much in the beginning that it was hard for me. Not being able to breastfeed meant not being able to sooth a lot of the time. That was stressful. During pregnancy I would say that I was a little insecure at times but mostly surrounded myself with supportive people so didn't have to dwell on the insecurity most of the time. Goldie's only 9.5 months, but I can already feel the significance of birth mother versus non fading a little. It will always be significant for some reasons, but it feels less about legitimacy and more about other things now...If that makes sense.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Hi there, I'm also (really) late commenting but just catching up with your blog! One other blog that I have read that Devon might want to check out (they're not posting any more) is http://firsttimesecondtime.com/ They have quite a few posts on NGP issues - a whole category on the side bar - and I find them to be really thoughtful.

    ReplyDelete