My Lesbian Baby Shower
Originally published 5-30-07
I’ve hit seven months. Now that I’m showing, which is the condition when teachers in the 50s had to quit their jobs to avoid exposing the facts of life to inquisitive pupils, I’ve found many people around me are curious about my pregnancy. And I don’t mean the complete strangers like the woman outside the Whole Foods last week who pointed at my belly and cooed, “Here comes momma!”
I get the usual questions about the due date, boy or girl and the baby’s name, but as a lesbian mom raising a child with my partner and gay sperm donor, people probe for more details, with varying degrees of tact.
Like many straight men, my uncle wanted to know if the sperm donor and I had intercourse. As a proud grandma-to-be, who still hopes her daughter’s sexual orientation is a phase, my mother wonders if I will marry the guy. My feminist friends question what legal documents I have in place to guard my custody rights. A lesbian couple I just met at a party asked if I underwent fertility treatments.
In addition to a special set of personal questions, I found that there are other unique considerations surrounding my lesbian motherhood, such the matter of my baby shower. As my partner began making a list of invitees, it became apparent that with all of our female family, friends and co-workers – double the number if we were a heterosexual, one-woman couple – there were too many people to host at one time. For lack of a better way to divide the crowd, we opted for one shower for the lesbians and one for the straight women.
As we split up the list, we realized the lines were not so clearly drawn. There was my hetero friend Neisha, whose liberal attitudes and outgoing sense of humor I deemed a better fit with the lesbians, and there were my partner’s straight but bi-curious co-workers, who excitedly asked if they could come to the lesbian shower instead. Another straight invitee, a single and childless 30-something woman, also said she would prefer the lesbian shower because she anticipated less baby talk and birthing stories among gay gals compared to the well-intentioned mothers at showers who constantly ask her when she will start her own family.
While my shower and other waters of lesbian pregnancy remain uncharted, surprisingly I’ve found a great number of resources for people like me. The Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Center hosts an annual Parenting with Pride GLBT Family Conference and Resource Fair as well as weekly Baby Bonanza play groups for infants and parenting classes. I also found gay-friendly “babymoon” travel packages on BnBfinder.com for a carefree getaway before the baby’s birth and organic baby clothing arranged in a bouquet by thebabybunch.com that even the most politically correct lesbian can give in good conscience.
Still, even among some of my lesbian sisters, lesbian motherhood is a foreign concept, as the only frame of reference they have is Tina from the “L Word,” to whom I am frequently compared, presumably because I have shoulder-length blonde hair, and I’m a pregnant lesbian.
While I have just come to accept that I cannot go mountain biking with my big tummy resting on the top tube of my bike, and I am still absorbing the fact that after the baby arrives I will no longer have the freedom to stay late at work, meet friends for dinner or dash out to get my nails done without significant planning (and a babysitter), my lesbian friends have even less idea of the commitment a baby represents.
My best pals Roxie and Angie just invited me for a two-hour hot-air balloon ride over the scenic vineyards of Temecula. They were disappointed to realize that at 31 weeks gestation not only would I require a potty break each hour but it would be risky for me to go airborne.
Then I had to explain to my friends that since I will be nursing every two to three hours I won’t be able to fly away until about six months after the baby arrives. I tried to convince them that the silver lining in the clouds is that while they enjoy wine tasting I will be a reliable designated driver, since I still won’t be able to drink alcohol while I’m breastfeeding.
Every parent says that children change your life. While I welcome the change, I’m realizing now my lifestyle just got more alternative. No matter what the books tell you, you can never know what to expect when you’re expecting. As my due date approaches, I know all I can do is my best. I think if I can just get through my lesbian baby shower, then I’m sure the rest will be a piece of cake.
K. Pearson Brown is a writer and public relations director living in Los Angeles. She is currently writing her first novel. Your letters are welcome at LezTalkWeho@aol.com.