Saturday, 27 April 2013

News flash! We're having a girl!

At our 20 week scan, we found out that we're having a girl. We were thrilled with the news (although of course we would have been delighted with a boy too). So we are to be an all female household - imagine the hormones in about 15 years time...

It has been lovely beginning to get a sense of who our baby is, and we have been able to delight in looking at gorgeous girls' baby clothes. One slight disadvantage of all this though is that my mum has decided that she doesn't want to know what we're having. My parents have been staying with us this weekend, and every conversation seems to have a potential gender pitfall in it. It's been very stressful! I think there have been a few wobbles along the way, but I think/hope she is still in the dark as to whether we're growing sugar and spice or puppy dogs tails.

In reality we know that she will make her own way in the world, and I would like to think that her gender will not hold her back. I want her to feel free to be herself, wear whatever she wants and have the life that she wants.

Friday, 19 April 2013

My wriggly baby

We had our 20 week scan this week. It was incredible to see the baby in such detail, although it wasn't easy for the radiographer to do all her checks because our little one is a real wriggler. You can see in the photo above, the baby is facing downwards - that's the head on the right. Happily, the scan went well and baby is developing well.

R is beginning to feel the baby moving around now, which is quite exciting for us both. I feel much more at ease as well. As readers of my previous posts will know, I have done a lot of thinking about the kind of parent I will be, and the impact of my not having a biological connection to my child. But, as time goes on, these worries and thoughts have receded. Having been through the pregnancy every step of the way with R, I really feel like this baby is every bit as much mine as it is hers.

Our time now is spent on practicalities - making room for a cot, getting rid of stuff we don't need, and making connections with other parents-to-be. One of the great things about living where we do is that we are able to be part of a gay families group which meets at our local LGBT Community Centre. It has been a great source of support, and I have no doubt that this will continue.

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Guest post: Mummy not mama for once!

B has asked me to write a guest post for this blog and I thought that readers might be interested to find out my story and how I became Mummy not Mama.

Before B and I got together I was in a relationship with a man for three years. As I've always wanted to have a child and had been clear about this I broached the subject with Peter (not his real name) after we'd been living together for a year or so. Although Peter was committed to me and our relationship he wasn't able to definitely commit to us having a child together and getting married and this was too open ended for me. It was for these reasons that I ended the relationship.

Where is this leading? Well, B and I had been friends for a couple of years already during this and knew where we both stood independently in relation to wanting to have a child and getting married before we got together. When we did get together a few months later this meant that we already knew having a child was important for both of us.

Some of my family, friends and colleagues were a bit surprised or confused when B and I got together however. I'm also not sure how well Peter and his family took the news at first. Although I've always been bisexual, B is my first relationship with a woman so maybe the concept of there being two mums for a child was completely new for some of those people. I remember that I had to learn about all the different options available to us to have a family as this was also quite new to me so I empathise with others when they don't really know or understand how it works. This is useful to have been through as if I ever get comments whereby people assume that we've used IVF I have more patience to try and explain to them how we went about getting pregnant (if they want to know).

It took a little while for some people to fully get it and my dad had to do a bit of explaining to some family members who were confused but for whatever reason hadn't felt they could ask me about it directly. I've always tried to be open about mine and B's experience and since I've become pregnant I find that it's best to make it clear that I'm happy for people to ask me as many questions about it as they like. I've found that lots of people are curious to find out more and I'm sure that this will help more widely with understanding and acceptance of children who have two mums.

So where do those slightly confused people in my life stand now? I think that they can see how happy I am and that they see beyond B's gender and just see her as being the best parent figure for our child that I could ask for. This is why I'm proud to be Mummy with a Mama not a man.

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Choosing a nursery

Yesterday R and I went to look around three nurseries in our local area. Yes, she may only be 19 weeks pregnant, and we probably won't need to worry about childcare for another 18 months, but it seems now is the time. Indeed, one place we looked around is booked up until September 2014!

Fortunately we are in a position that R can take somewhere between nine months and a year off to look after our baby after he/she is born. But after that, she hopes to return to work on a part time basis. I may also look to reduce my hours. This would still mean we'd need at least two days childcare a week, if not three.

So we started looking at places yesterday. There are a myriad of things to think about, where should the nursery be? Should it be large or small? Should it pay particular attention to education? What sort of food will it serve? Will our child be happy there? My sister and brother-in-law chose a small nursery on the basis that they are both quite shy and thought that their baby might also be that way inclined. As it happens, our nephew is no shrinking violet, and happy to socialise with anyone. But how would they have known that?

None of the nurseries seemed to be concerned by our child having two mums, although it became apparent that we will have to think of a recipient for the inevitable fathers' day card our child is helped to make. (I vote for me.) Our only real disappointment was that there were virtually no male staff in the nurseries we saw. It seems such a shame. There won't be a man about our house, so for the sake of diversity, we'd like to make sure our child is exposed to some positive male role models beyond our own fathers.

Ultimately we will go with our gut response. All the nurseries were lovely, but one was lovelier than the others for reasons we cannot put our finger on. Heaven only knows what our feelings will be in 18 months time!

Sunday, 7 April 2013

What about me?

One of the challenges of being the partner of a pregnant woman is finding your role. R gets to be part of this secret society of women who give each other knowing looks, roll their eyes in unison and shake their heads over things such as pelvic floors and pregnancy pillows. As a woman, I reckon I have an advantage, and indeed R and I have done synchronised pelvic floor exercises in recent weeks. Every little helps...

However, I don't seem to have an automatic role, which is sometimes challenging. The first question, understandably, that anyone asks me is how R is. There is an assumption that I am fine and that I'm just there, making cups of tea and soaking up the stress. I guess that is what I am doing to a certain extent. But sometimes, it is hard to work out what I should be doing when I am sleeping like a log and R is yet again tossing and turning all night. People rush to ensure that R has a seat and carry bags for her, which is fantastic, but I do feel like a spare part from time to time.

As you will see from previous posts, I do feel from time to time that I don't have an automatic community. I'm not a 'dad' but I'm not a 'mum' in the traditional sense either. I fall between two stools really. Most of the time that's quite nice, leaving me to find my own way and do it the way feels right. I hope that R feels supported, and I am fortunate that when I have a 'parental wobble' she is there and willing to listen.

Last week we grabbed a bit of unexpected sunshine and sat outdoors. We talked about what each of us will do with our baby when he/she arrives. It was lovely to really start to think of ourselves as a family. In just a few months that is what we will be.