Since my last post, my partner and I have been doing some major work on this whole “let’s make a baby” thing.
One thing that is great about living in small town is that everyone rad who grew up here has (mostly) left, but many of them come back to visit friends and family. Norse and I recently reached out to a few queer parents we know, and one couple came to town to visit and were lovely enough to meet us to share their experience. They even agreed to meet us after our Saturday yoga class because they are that cool.
There are a few things we learned from them that inspired us to take some new steps in this process:
1) Start charting ovulation yesterday because the fertility clinic will want to see 3 months worth
2) The fertility clinic has a social work consult, not a psych test (and it remains unjust and BS)
3) Not to rule out known sperm as an option (even if it is plan B)
I’ve decided to leave the question about known sperm donation to another post, because it deserves my full attention, and I’m not sure what I want to say on this question just yet.
Let’s start with ovulation charting.
After driving to a few pharmacies and department stores, and calling all the other ones in town, I can say with total certainty that basal thermometers are hard to come by where we live. Basal thermometers chart your Basal Body Temperature (BBT) which is slightly raised when you ovulate. After a few months, you can estimate when you will ovulate based on your previous cycles. And yes, there is an app for that.
Some big name pharmacies don’t even carry basal thermometers, some don’t order new ones when their stock runs out, and some hide them behind the desk. Two pharmacists even asked me why I needed one before going to check their shelves for stock. Others carry their own brand, but do not stock comparables.
While we happily buy generic ibuprofen among and other drugs, we would like a choice in the thermometer we purchase. In any other circumstance, this lack of choice wouldn’t get me down. I am pretty used to limited shopping where we live, and Norse and I are pretty resourceful. However, the lack of control (or reduced control) in every stage of getting queer-pregnant is getting me down.
I’m going to need to find a way to better navigate gaps and barriers to our queer baby-making process.
I know that this is true because when a lovely and wonderful feminist friend (who totally saved me during an epic break-up) sent me a ultrasound picture this week to announce her pregnancy, I could not help but ask about her ovulation charting and resources immediately following her announcement.
Me: “Congrats! Amazing! Yay! Love you! Help me!!”
When another friend in the group text chimed in with her excitement to have “unprotected sex” with her husband, my straight friends’ conversation about hot, sexy sex and the thrill of an “oops” pregnancy left me in tears. Don’t get me wrong, I want this friend to have lots of hot, sexy sex and an “oops” pregnancy if she wants one (preferably right around the time I also get pregnant), but I felt excluded from the conversation and that my experience wasn’t being validated.
And herein lies the problem: I did not validate their experiences either. I hardly validated the experience of my newly pregnant friend who was sharing incredible news with me.
Who has a guidebook for “how to be happy and loving to your amazing friends while also obsessively working out how to get pregnant in the rural 204 where they don’t sell basal thermometers”? I would devour that book.
I know from my time in a poly relationship that jealousy is often connected to other emotions (insecurity, fear, questions of belonging, lack of validation), and it is a name we often give to affects (put simply, intensities of the body) in order to make sense of them. Jealously doesn’t feel good, but you can cope with it. And like all ethical sluts, I might have to rid myself of the “ought-to-be’s” in order to experience our baby-making process without comparing it to any of our straight or queer friends.
I need to validate my own experience.
It is worth mentioning that a few really great things happened for Norse and I this week, too:
1) We were invited to join a Facebook group of queer parents, and are meeting rad parents and hoping-to-be parents virtually
2) We both enjoyed a new Autostraddle post about queer gayby making which is one of the first online posts that I have read so far that really speaks to our identities and the millions of questions we have about baby-making.
We also explored midwifery services this week. More on that to come!