It never crossed my mind, this idea of being “the other mother.”
I come from a big family. We’re a glorious blend of steps, halves, and fulls; a mix of Jews and Christians (of all sorts) from various nationalities. Each of us knows who we are, who everyone in the family is, and we’ve always been just that. Family. The lines are there and there are no secrets of who is who. But we’ve never used those lines to define us.
It sounds so cliche (and song-like) but we are family.
Family is made up of love; of people who care for each other and keep the feelings of its members always at the forefront. Sometimes, these actions are obvious and easy. Other times, it gets difficult. But that’s what family is about, too.
My wife and I are at the dawn of becoming parents, but not how we originally thought we would. When we started this journey, I was the one we planned to get pregnant. I was the one we intended to carry a pregnancy. But nearly three years and a 2nd-trimester miscarriage later (that’s the abbreviated version, for sure) the plan changed. Now it’s my wife who will carry.
I’ve discussed what this means to me. What it means for us — and it’s nothing short of a dream come true.
When someone innocently asked me a few days ago what I think it will be like to be “the other mother,” I actually said, “What do you mean?”
The concept, the idea, the thought had never even crossed my mind.
The other mother?
What is that?
Obviously, I quickly realized she meant “the mother who doesn’t give birth.”
I’ve had a while to come to terms with my feelings about not being able to get pregnant. A large part of me will always miss the babies that never made it to this world. And while I won’t be the one to give birth to our children, there will be no “other” about it.
My wife will carry our baby, but we will both be mothers. We will both care for, provide for, love, and breastfeed (yes, both of us will breastfeed) our future child(ren).
Maybe I’m naive for not having thought about being “the other mother.” But when what you’ve wanted for so long is so close to becoming a reality, it’s not the HOW but the YES of it all.
People ask us questions about our family planning often. In fact, I encourage it, and I’m always more than happy to answer. I’m not offended by “the other mother” question.
But even through all the IVF questions, the vagina questions, the sperm donor questions, no question has made me feel as … weird as this one. Something about that word, “other.” I don’t see myself this way — and part of my heart hurts just a little to think that others do.
Then I think of my wife pregnant. I think of her giving birth to our child and our family finally growing, and I think, call me what you want. The other mother is still a mother.