Musings, lists, and thoughts on the serious and trivial.

I'm a school psychologist, mom, lesbian, bibliophile, coffee addict who has a bit of a propensity to write lists and who enjoys commenting on the crazy and the wonderful in the world.

The Other Mother?

My wife and I welcomed our twins into the world just two weeks ago. Our joy in meeting these new humans is beyond what I could have expected, despite imagining this moment thousands of times. After enduring years of fertility treatments, miscarriages, failed attempts, and so many tears for both my wife and I, we were finally completing our family. The girls are beautiful and healthy and our hearts are full of love and gratitude. Even extreme sleep deprivation has not tempered our happiness. However, in the midst of this joyous time we have encountered the burdens that come with being an LGBT family in newly painful ways.

At the hospital specialists and lactation consultants enter the room introduce themselves to my wife and ignore me. No need to introduce themselves to the other woman holding a baby. Impossible that she may be the other parent. Immediately after the c section I went with the twins, as most parents do. As the NICU nurse checked their Apgar scores again and tended to the many immediate duties she looked up at me and asked me if I was the grandmother. Ouch, just ouch. For the record, my wife and I are both in our 30s. Also, I was wearing a surgical mask. However, why is the default always to assume that two women are not together? Why not ask, how are you here supporting the mother and these babies? I doubt that the dads who accompany their babies after a c section are asked if they are the grandfather. I brushed it off in that chaotic moment. Nevertheless, it hurt. It still hurts.

At the hospital, as I filled out the official forms for the birth certificate I notice that there is only a spot for mother and father. Wait, we’re in progressive Maryland. I know that have been court cases specifically fighting for our right to both be listed as parents. I ask our nurse if there is other paperwork. “Oh, yes. We do have a different form.” A different form that we have to ask for, even here in Maryland. What the hell? Can’t we have one form that recognizes and captures the range and diversity of families? This too hurts. I fill out the special form and move on. Five days after we are home the preliminary birth registration forms arrive. I cannot decipher the look I see on my wife’s face as she hands the form to me. I wonder when she found a spare second to run to the mailbox, let alone open mail. I am listed as the father. I laugh and try to brush it off. This too hurts. The cut is like a sharp knife. You think it’s not that bad initially, then the sting and throbbing sets in and worsens.

We visit the pediatrician’s office one day after brining our babies home. We explain our family to at least two different receptionists. They informed us that one of us would have to be listed as the emergency contact. Um, what? Shouldn’t their be a spot in the electronic record for two parents?

In our joy, we experience so many moments where the lack of awareness and sensitivity cut deeply. Most of these interactions weren’t interactions with homophonic people. They hurt just the same. My hope for our daughters is that they grow up in a world where people consider all loving relationships as equal and valid. Where there aren’t special forms for families like ours. We will continue our advocacy and our fight. Right now, we’re just feeling a little defeated.

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This entry was posted on December 3, 2017 by in LGBTQ, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , .

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