Sadness

Our baby is the product of many years of inseminations and a few miscarriages so naturally everyone who knows us are over the moon with happiness. It’s also natural that they want to see the little miracle, so we find ourself almost overpowered by visits, gifts, cards and congratulations. Since the baby was born we have had only a handful of days just on our own, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. My wife is a really social person, and being confined to the home with just me and the baby would drive her mad after just a few days. So all the visits are welcomed by her even though I suspect she think she meets too few people at the moment, she can’t keep away from work and visits them every week… For me the visits are bittersweet. First of all I’m not as social as my wife and wouldn’t mind more days in solitude, secondly it has highlighted my gender issues a bit too much. When people visit us they tend to focus on the baby first, my wife second and me third, which suits me perfectly, but when I do get involved in the conversation it’s not in the usual way as my queer self, but as a mother. I’m not used to that at all. Normally people don’t disturb my gender-bubble, but suddenly they think it’s really important to point out that I’m a mother, wonder if I’m not jealous of my wife who carried the baby and I have to answer all the questions about the necessary paperwork around my adoption of her. I know they only mean well and that it’s their way of acknowledge my status as our baby’s parent, but it still gets me down harder than I was prepared for.
Initially I decided that I wouldn’t come out until I’ve had my first appointment at the gender-clinic, but now I’m not sure that I can wait. At home my wife calls me daddy, uses male pronouns and call me by my chosen name (well, most of the time anyway…). But that only makes it harder for me when others call me by my given name and uses female pronouns. It makes it harder for my wife as well, I know she’s not too keen on having to watch what she’s saying to me depending on who happens to be in the room. I must admit that most of the time I don’t even recognize that they are talking about me, like when my mother in law said to our baby “I’m going to ask mummy to make a dress to the doll”. My first thought was that her mother has been dead for years, then I wondered why she would refer to herself in third party language and then I thought of my wife who wouldn’t be caught dead, or alive, in front of the sewing machine. When I finally realized she was talking about me a couple of minutes had passed and my mother in law had repeated her question in disguise. I finally mumbled something back to her, but the whole incident brought me down quite bad.
It is my own fault, really. I know I want everyone to call me my male pronouns and my given name, but I’m just too chicken to do it. My wife has offered to out me by calling me dad and my chosen name when people visit, and I think I’m warming up to the idea. I don’t really have the natural connection with our friends to, somewhat casually, bring up my gender. If I was to bring it up, it would be a Thing, and I don’t want this to be a Thing if I can help it. I just want to be me and being referred to and talked to in a way that doesn’t bring me down.

12 thoughts on “Sadness

  1. Firstly, great post as always, very thoughtful.

    Secondly where you said “It is my own fault, really” I stopped reading and literally said aloud “Noooope. Nope. Nope Nope.” With all due respect, I disagree. This is not your fault. I see where you’re coming from, but I disagree. You aren’t comfortable talking to people about it? That’s fine, that’s absolutely okay. You’re not required to tell anyone anything, you were dropped in this situation without a choice, it’s never your fault. Just because we theoretically have the power to change it doesn’t mean we’re at fault for not doing so. This is very, very difficult. You can take all the time you need and that’s just fine.

    …I realise you probably meant that part rather casually but I still couldn’t help but respond to it 🙂

    I think that part stuck out to me because, as you’ve said before on my blog, we’re in a similar boat. Different circumstances, but similar situations. As both my girlfriend and my sister are aware of everything, it creates a weird situation where we can talk openly about it but then if someone who doesn’t know walks in we have to drop it. Likewise the two of them will defend me from comments that they know will be hurtful, even if whoever said it has no ill intent and just spoke out of ignorance of my gender issues. It create some mighty strange family dinners that’s for sure. For a while I felt intense pressure to tell people, especially my parents. But like you I was apprehensive about turning it into a Thing. But now I’m starting to realise that well… this is all about me. I can do it whenever I like and whenever I feel comfortable. It causes some odd situations sure, but until I’m ready I don’t have to do a thing.

    Gosh, I’m so self-centered! I always talk about myself when commenting, sorry! Anyway! One way to do this could be via gentle clues. Having your wife refer to you as dad sounds like a great idea, maybe make a casual mention that you’re the father and let that sit. It’s easier to tell people something if you know you’re not dropping it on them out of nowhere.

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    • Weird situations occur indeed, my wife’s used to refer to me as Fredrik, him and daddy now and today her parents visited us. They know about my trans status and have started to refer to me as “daddy” (when talking to my baby of course) but still say she and my given name. My wife got really confused by all this and asked for forgiveness for not using my chosen name all day. She said its so hard for her right now to use the right name and pronoun when the people she’s talking to is using the wrong one. I understand, and don’t expect everyone to get it right all the time, but it sure is nice when they do (and I love them for trying their best!).
      The gentle clues are already set in motion! More and more of our friends and family is getting on board!

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  2. This discomfort is feedback from you, for you that you are ready for a change. It’s only when the old words really start to chafe that we find the courage to tell the truth.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I guess it is kind of a ‘thing’ though? But it’s your thing, not others’. I guess you gotta ask how much energy you are expending in bottling it up versus your own readiness to ‘take the plunge’
    Congratulations by the way 🙂

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  4. I think I need to gather up the confidence to handle this the way I try to handle most things, with an attitude of “oh, you didn’t know? Well, hop on board real quick” (but with an understanding and loving attitude. I find that people are less likely to make rude comments, ask inappropriate questions or question the idea at all if they feel a bit “stupid” for not knowing. No one wants to be the one who didn’t get the joke, to use a high school metaphor, so everyone laughs…), humor and taking questions seriously. I always make time to answer questions as good as I can, sometimes inappropriate questions are just honest questions poorly phrased and I’ve had people thanking me for taking their questions seriously like that saying “finally I got an answer, no one else has ever tried to explain it to me”.
    I’m definitely ready to open the bottle! But maybe next week… 😉

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  5. You are entitled to do it your way, and to refer to yourself as the daddy and to mix your gender metaphors.

    Given the stress of having a newborn, there is no reason to deal with explaining it to all your well wishers. Figure out who you want to tell, and if you are ready to do it, and do it separately from the baby visits. But it does sound like you are ready to be a public Daddy and to be called Fredrik.

    When I started to change my name it was very awkward for a while, particularly with acquaintances. But I got less hesitant and more confident about it as time went on.

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    • I am ready, I think that’s the problem for me. I really want to be seen as a man full time because I’m a man full time in my head. Hearing my given name and female pronouns (especially since my wife’s doing such a good job at getting it right) feels really weird and it makes me really sad every time.
      I just haven’t given my surroundings the time to adjust at the same pace as I have “adjusted” myself. The discrepancy is heartbreaking.

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