Monday, June 4, 2012

Straight men vs. lesbians; babies make us all nuts.

Well here we are, day 8 of my cycle. We decided to once again skip a cycle. My partner and I have come a long way in terms of the urgency to continue back-to-back IUI's. This month's challenge: to take or not to take a summer vacation. In just a few weeks, I will be traveling to Miami for a whole week to attend a seminar. Unfortunately, we can only afford to either do an IUI or have my partner travel with me. I left the decision up to her; I didn't want to influence her priority. After much discussion and a little advice from some friends, we decided a vacation was in order. I'm glad she'll be with me in Miami. A huge reason I'm going is to sit for a test potentially giving me national certification as a floral designer; it's a big deal for my career and it will be wonderful to have my rock with me.

This will be our third month in a row off from baby-making. I don't know what it is, but I've had a few noteworthy experiences with men and babies during this time. You might remember a few months ago my pal from CVS; a young, hopeful father who was emotionally struggling with his own infertility challenges with his wife. I could tell how badly he wanted pregnancy to happen for them (and sense his nervousness and helplessness), but could also see that they had real infertility challenges to overcome.

Then, there is one of my co-workers. He is a new father; their baby was born just a couple months ago. Throughout their entire pregnancy, he was excited and totally amped up. And now that their little girl is here, he beams with pride. The other day he brought her to work to have lunch with his mother-in-law. I ran into him outside. It was another beautiful, amazing day in the north country with just perfect weather. The group of girls I was with asked him 'So how are you liking it so far?' I don't think anyone could have smacked the smile off his face. My face hurt just looking at his flexed cheeks. He just loves every minute of it.

And lastly, there is my mechanic. I drive a lot, about 150 miles a day, so I get my oil changed about once every 6 weeks. He works at a large dealership and does other side jobs after hours. A couple oil changes ago, he mentioned to me that they we expecting their second child. Ever since that weeknight after work, our oil changes are sort of like joint pregnancy therapy sessions. He is truly a guys sort of guy, but I know that he is stressed out about having another baby. How to pay for everything, how to start all over with an infant, the stress it can put on a relationship, how to learn again to identify the needs of a baby and if there's something wrong....they can't just tell you how they feel!! I know he's a great father for their daughter, but who would have thought that he carried so much stress about having another?

It all makes me think about that day a few months ago that I sat in my PCP's office crying over my own pregnancy stresses. She said something that has stuck with me. 'It's amazing how people, whether men or women, gay or straight, cope with pregnancy and babies in general.' Babies are at the root of our very being. We strive to reproduce. It is viewed as an achievement in life. Everyone has their concerns, but I agree, what's really interesting is how certain concerns match up with certain genders and sexual preferences. Women have different stresses than men. Gay women have different stresses than straight women. But, gay couples still have the same concerns as straight couples, we just cope with them differently. Even though we're lesbians, one of us (or both in some cases) share these somewhat male emotions of feeling helpless and disconnected in the fertility process, beaming with pride at the thought of a baby, or feeling worried about providing for and developing a small life. Simply put, babies screw with everyone's mental state equally; there is no discrimination or minority here.