Last night A. came along with me to visit a baby, whose birth I attended a few days ago. The baby was 3 days old. I don't normally bring my kids along, but A and M were driving each other crazy, so it was an effort at peacekeeping. Before we entered the house A. asked if s/he could hold the baby.
"We can ask." I said.
"Will you ask?"
From the moment we walked in the door, I handed the baby (with parents permission, of course) to Anneke. After I examined the baby, she sat quietly on the couch holding the baby. "I love babies," s/he honestly told the new parents.
"You must see a lot of babies," they responded.
"Yup, but I like it" s/he replied
I was, in this moment, struck with a pang of deep sadness. You see, if A. goes from hormone blockers to testosterone - something s/he has been talking more about doing - s/he gives up her reproductive capability. S/he would not be able to become pregnant or birth a child. Of course, I logically know that there are other ways s/he can become a parent, and I know s/he will be a wonderful one. It is certainly not the end of the world. S/he also, unfortunately, knows far too much about the birth process to volunteer for it in any way. The consequence of being the child of a midwife.
There is something, however, very powerful and transforming about giving birth. Prior to having A. in 1997, I had a relationship with my body that moved from deep ambivalence to outright hatred. Fat, scars and stretchmarks. That's pretty much all I could see. Then I gave birth to a 9lb 8 oz baby at home - sans drugs. It was the hardest thing I have ever done. My body became an instrument that performed perfectly. In that moment, I came to love my body, and the amazing things it could do - grow a baby, birth, breastfeed....
I certainly would never had imagined myself deciding on my childbearing plans at age 13. Even at age 28, it was quite a stretch. I can barely keep plants alive. It's fair to say, saying good-bye to A's reproductive abilities will be one of our biggest decisions - one we will not make lightly.
Anneke has spontaneously said, on more than one occasion. "I think my girlfriend will have kids. I'd like to be the dad."
"I think you'd make an awesome dad." I always reply.
"I think so too."