Posted by: chicagoshells | July 22, 2011

Did you make a list of stupid questions?

I went out for a drink with some co-workers last night.  I ended up talking to one guy for quite awhile.  I listened to him bitch about his ex-girlfriend, chatted about some other random things, and eventually ended up on the subject of if/when/how Trouble and I were going to have kids.  Here are the highlights:

-Upon first hearing that Trouble is going to carry, he put his arm around my shoulders, leaned in, and said “Well, if you need a donor…Kidding!  I’m kidding!”  Um, I sure hope so, but regardless…ew.

-He constantly referred to artificial insemination as IVF.  After trying twice to explain that (god willing!) we won’t be using IVF, I gave up.

-Despite his generous offer above, he assured me that using an anonymous rather than a known donor was “definitely the right thing to do!”  Well, now that I’ve got your approval, I guess we’re all good.  Phew.  I was worried.

-After hearing a bit about the incredible expense associated with using an anonymous donor, out came my very favorite…”Why don’t you guys ‘just’ adopt?”  Now, allow me a mini-rant for a moment, although my guess is anyone reading this already knows it isn’t quite that simple.  There is no “just” about adoption.  It’s also extremely expensive, possibly even more so, depending on the kind of adoption.  It would require us to have a stranger come into our home, interview us, fingerprint us, background check us, and hopefully deem us fit to be parents.  Plenty of agencies still don’t want to deal with gay/lesbian couples (although, go Illinois!  With the new civil union laws, the adoption process should get a bit easier for couples here) or in the case of more open adoptions, many birth mothers would prefer to place their child with straight parents.  Now, all that said, I’m not remotely against adoption.  I’ve always be rather fascinated by it, in fact, and would certainly consider it for us if it turns out that my wife has fertility issues we don’t know about (I have fertility issues we do know about) or even for a second or third child.  But, at least once, I want to raise a baby from the very beginning.  This may be slightly selfish, but it’s true, and I figure it’s something I’m allowed to be selfish about.  I want to be there for my child’s entire life.  I want to see it come into the world, hold it when it’s just minutes old, see every single milestone.  Adoption can *sometimes* allow for that, but it’s rare to be matched with an infant, particularly for couples other than rich, straight ones.  So I explained all of that, much more concisely than I just did here.  Then…

-He made the huge realization that since Trouble is going to carry, “Well, it could either be a girl or a boy, right?” Well yes, those are the two options.  He then went into a long explanation about how he just assumed that if given the choice (because adoption is like going to a baby store, you just look around for the kind you want and then take it to the register)  gay male couples would “prefer” a boy and lesbians would “prefer” a girl.  Since, after all, having the same body parts clearly makes you automatically better able to understand your child.  He then questioned me about how I intended to give my theoretical future son male role models.  A son, only.  And that’s what really irked me, almost more than the bigger insinuation that perhaps same-sex couples should only raise children of the same sex.  GIRLS NEED MALE ROLE MODELS TOO.  I think all gay and lesbian couples that I’ve ever met, spoken with online, read about, etc. are all very clear that their children need to be exposed to adults of the opposite gender as their parents.  And since I doubt very many of us live 1) under rocks with no other humans around or 2) in some all-one-gender enclave, this is pretty easily done.  Don’t misunderstand…this IS an important issue.  I am extremely grateful that our future children will have 3 uncles and two grandfathers to look to as (a huge variety of) male role models.  And when I mentioned that to my co-worker, he was very glad to hear that (right.  Like he was the first person to ever mention the idea)– again, “for the sake of a boy,” if we had one.  GAH!!!!  When I mentioned the whole “I think girls need male role models too” he kind of brushed it off.  Infuriating.

Now, the truth is…if I could just make a wish and have a healthy baby appear in my arms and could choose the sex…I WOULD choose a girl.  Ideally we’ll get to raise at least one boy and one girl, but I think FOR ME, if I didn’t get the chance to raise a boy, I’d be OK with it.  If I never get the chance to raise a daughter, I will feel like I’ve missed out on something.  I know I might be raising some hackles here, and again, this is just a personal thing, and has NOTHING to do with being a lesbian.  I would feel like this regardless.  But again, if I’m being totally honest, I am also a little nervous about raising a boy particularly with another woman.  I know of several amazing lesbian couples raising amazing little boys who are sure to turn into amazing men.  I don’t doubt their abilities, just my own, and I do frequently need to remind myself about those wonderful male role models I was just discussing. So maybe my irritation with my colleague, in this one instance, was fueled a little bit by my own fears/misgivings.  Which I should probably explore further in a future post 🙂

-Towards the end of the conversation, having clearly absorbed my eagerness and downright yearning to have a baby, my co-worker said “You’re totally the mom!  Trouble is SO the dad here!”  To which I replied through my clenched teeth “We’ll both be moms,” but he was still going.  “Oh, but since Trouble is going to get pregnant, YOU’LL be like the dad when she’s pregnant.  But then she’ll be like the dad.  You’re totally fucking with gender roles!”



  1. oh my fucking god. are you kidding me? i have about a million things to say about this, but mostly: holy shit.

    the AI-is-not-IVF thing drove me nuts, too, and i did lots of explaining about what, exactly, we were going to do…and then we ended up doing IVF. ha.

    as for the boy thing…lemme write you an email.

    (so glad to see your blog! i will add you to that blogroll i keep not making.)

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