Sunday, August 12, 2007


Things I've learnt about being a pregnant lesbian

  1. Telling people is more awkward than I'd expected - some just don't care (mainly those who've never had babies and never thought about wanting them), some get really excited (mainly those who are already parents and happy to be so). But because I don't know who is having/has had difficulties trying to conceive, and because I remember how painful it was to hear people at work discussing the various pregnancies in the office around the time of Cagney's miscarriage, I'm always worried about how to present the news, without seeming too excited or expecting a positive reaction.
  2. Only one person has responded with "can I ask how?". Most people find it perfectly normal that a lesbian should get pregnant. What a progressive society we live in!
  3. Many people (mainly men) drop their eyes direct to my belly, looking for a bump. Telling them it's only 6cm or 10cm long only means they keep sneaking glances over the next few weeks, and commenting "still not showing then?"
  4. Once told, many people take it as a cue to recall all the horror stories they've heard about giving birth:
    "my friend ripped all the way to her arsehole, couldn't sit down for weeks, hasn't ad a decent sex life since..."
    This is always from people who have never given birth themselves. And it is always unsolicited, unwanted advice. PLEASE STOP!
  5. Others take it as the cue to tell me how I'll change:
    "You'll get all emotional and start hugging complete strangers"
    "I don't think so"
    "Yes you will! My cousin..."
    "No - really - I don't see that my boundaries will undergo some tectonic shift such that I want to start rubbing my flesh against that of complete strangers"
    "Oh. Well, let's just wait and see" (knowing wink)
    (I'm not a particularly tactile person)
  6. Being pregnant is much harder work physically than I had ever imagined in the early stages.
  7. You can be 16 weeks pregnant, not showing, and still have outgrown all your clothes (I've found this really upsetting, which is odd, given how little attention I generally give my appearance).
  8. I think all maternity bra designers are men. How else would many styles stop at sizes smaller than I was pre-pregnancy? Why do they worry more about bragging that their bras are "100% cotton" and not whether they offer expanding and overly sensitive bosoms any support at all? Tip: if you weren't flat chested before pregnancy, find a comfortable sports bra and ignore the horrible maternity range with their pink bows, total lack of support and skinny shoulder straps that leave welts across your shoulders.
  9. All the books assume your parter is a man. Looks like authors/editors live outside that progressive society my friends/work colleagues inhabit.
  10. Um, there should be a number 10 here. But I can't think any more. Those pregnancy hormones mean I keep forgetting everything... Cagney, help me out?

Dear Ripley,

I didn't see a way to e-mail you, and I can understand why with your subject.

I found your very interesting blog this morning while searching actually for "Tea Leaf Reading photos." I found the beautiful post about tea leaf reading. I would have put this comment there, but it was so far back I thought you might not ever see it.

I would like to ask you a favor. I have written a post on reading tea leaves and was searching for a photo (or several photos) I could use on my blog with this post. Could I use your beautiful photo, of the gold cup and red tablecloth, and attribute it to you, with this website address?

This post I have written is at:

and I can be emailed at

Margot Marrakesh
I have a positive comment to make about giving birth.

One thing that will make most of your fears vanish is that by month 8 you'll start to get pretty uncomfortable. Enough that you'll feel, "Whatever it takes, I just want the baby out!" And all these stories about being uncomfortable after a birth--all these supposed problems will disappear within ten days (if you need a couple stitches, they will normally stay in about a week, if being the kind that has to be removed). I thought I had a difficult birth, but was completely recovered in three weeks. And my grandmother told me something I still recall: it's all worth it, and actually having the baby in your arms completely makes up for whatever you had to go through. The other thing is that you'll feel your best during months 4-5-6 most likely. So if you have projects to do, or travel to plan, during that time you'll be a lot less tired than during the first trimester, but not yet uncomfortable as during the last two months. Don't even listen to negative people.

We totally understand!!
The unsolicited advice will never stop.

BTW, two books we liked that were a little more lesbian pregnancy related were:
The Ultimate Guide to Pregnancy for Lesbians by Rachel Pepper
Confessions of the Other Mother: Non-Biological Lesbian Moms tell all by Harlyn Aizley
Another good book -- my absolute favorite -- was Bun in the Oven by Kaz Cooke. Can you imagine a month-by-month book that makes you laugh as well as being helpful?

Most of the info is conveyed through a narrative and the central pregnant character is a straight unmarried professional. So even though most of the partner comments are about a man, they're about the character's boyfriend, which I found less exclusionary as a literary device.

Plus did I mention laugh-out-loud funny? She talks about hating the pregnant women who just get a basketball up their dress, and calls the WTEWYE type descriptions of the growing fetus, "the fruit brigade."
thanks for that Holly, have ordered the Confessions of the Other Mother book. Am looking forward to reading it.
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