Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Defined by what I am not

Heather, if you weren't aware, is a stellar lady.  And clearly I am, too.  We're making kissy faces at each other right now.

Still, there is that gulf between us as the baby-making journey moves forward.  I nag, and she puts up with it.  I read fertility cookbooks and she grimaces as I announce the growing list of restrictions.  She's the body that grows the baby, and I'm the voice that makes things harder on her.

That's not supposed to be how it works.  She's supposed to be euphoric, I'm supposed to be euphoric, and we're supposed to feed off one another's euphoria-- instead, we feed off one another's stress.  I want to be nothing but supportive and comforting.  I want her to be at peace knowing that I'm here with her.  What I am, though, is here with the books and the phone calls and the vast library of ignorance.

Last week, I got so many books in the mail that I didn't know what was in the last big envelope from Amazon.  I thought maybe it was a present.  But it wasn't a present: it was 185 more pages of responsibility that I don't know if I can handle.  Information is supposed to be empowering, and I'm trying so hard to learn everything about fertility and insemination that I can take care of it all-- take care of Heather.
I can't, though.  She still turned to me and asked, "Why hasn't that whore called us?" when Nurse Nina hadn't e-mailed or called recently.  I didn't know either-- turns out sweet Nina is on a bike trip with no phone service-- and didn't know what the alternative was.  I insisted that Nina was a) not a whore and b) not blowing us off, but what could I say?  I didn't know where she was.  I couldn't do any more than leave voicemail and send e-mail.  Not all the news I bear is good, but if she has to bear the child, shouldn't I do the rest?

One of the books I got-- oh, by the way, I'm broke a week and a half before payday-- was Confessions of the Other Mother: Non-Biological Lesbian Moms Tell All.  It's the only one that's for me, and I regret it.  I sat up an hour in bed, reading just the first few essays, and felt a sense of comfort and support that surprised me, because I didn't realize I was in need of any.
I told Heather about it.  She was hurt when I said the essays talked about the non-biological moms' feelings of being left out-- not getting to breast-feed, trying and failing to be perfect care-takers when that's all they have to offer to the "real" mom.  She nearly cried, and I did cry.

Heads-up, kids: don't combine one lady giving up cigarettes with one lady who's slipping back into her depressive tendencies (or just PMS).  Nobody wins.  That is why I'm going to write my own fertility cookbook.  It goes like this: eat Ding Dongs.  Chase with vanilla lattes.  The lack of stress has to make up for the vegetables, right?

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