I thought another piece of State of Flux would be good to get a sense of the flow from beginning to transition.
My baby Aimee, who had been born in the car, was two days old when I went to the local La Leche League meeting in Wiesbaden, Germany. I was very involved in LLL, an international breastfeeding support organization, and was excited to show off my new baby and tell her hilarious birth story.
It was moments before I saw Sarah across the room, an extremely butch woman who was quite pregnant. My first thought was, “How the hell did this dyke get pregnant?” It didn’t take forever before I learned that she purposefully had sex with her husband so she could have a baby. Later, Zack told me that he hated his female body so much he thought about killing himself, but, wanting children, decided to use the biological body he had to bring a baby into his life… hoping it would save him from madness. (It did.)
I knew Sarah was lesbian the second I saw her. Lesbians, especially butch lesbians have a “look” about them. A strong jaw, is it? Sarah and kd lang are both my aesthetic ideal woman. Later, Zack would tell me he thought many butches, especially Stone Butches, were transmen who did not have the opportunity to come out or, as is happening in the climate now, are coming out finally after years of feeling the were men their entire lives.
But Sarah at the LLL meeting… she’d learnt about me from her childbirth class, hearing that I’d had Aimee then left the hospital three hours later without causing too much of a ruckus. She wanted that kind of birth. Actually, she wanted a home birth but was told if she did, she would not get her six weeks of maternity leave, having to go right back to work the next day. Therefore, birthing, then leaving soon afterwards was the next best thing. Later we learned, because she was in the Army, she had to stay in the hospital the required three days instead of leaving early. But, at the LLL meeting, all of that was still to come. After the meeting, Sarah hightailed it to my side, introduced herself, saying she was six months pregnant. I chuckled inside seeing this butch woman in a maternity sailboat shirt with a Peter Pan collar. God, maternity clothes were awful in 1986!
But our energy together sizzled. As I said, I was only two days postpartum and my husband had two weeks off, so I wanted to just rest and nurse my baby while he was home. Before leaving the LLL meeting, I gave Sarah four books to read and said when he was back at work, we would talk about them. Well, it wasn’t a week before she called to tell me she’d read them and would I like to talk about them now? I thought, “Sheesh, this girl sure is pushy!” and told her no, that I wanted to wait until my husband was back at work in a week. During the rest of our relationship, I never saw Sarah read another book. That she read those four in a week, I now know, was amazing. What motivation can do, right?
The day the kids’ dad went back to work, Sarah called and asked if she could bring over some pizza and Diet Coke that night for dinner, then we could talk. I laughed and now think: she sure knew how to get to the fat girl! Pizza! How could she lose?
I like to say that the night Sarah and her husband came over was the night they never left. The four of us adults became quite the team. We began playing cards almost every night. Ate dinner together and Sarah and I talked a lot during the day. There were no cell phones back then, so it was always on the landline. It didn’t take but a week or so before she asked me to be her birth assistant… her doula. The word “doula” was brand new; no one knew what it was. I called myself a Labor Assistant or a Birth Assistant for years until the word doula came into birth vernacular. I changed from Labor Assistant to Birth Assistant when a teacher said he thought I was a Union Organizer. Nope. Not that.
We also played games. Life was a favorite of mine (I really hate playing strategy games). When playing Life, Sarah would marry a woman, plopping a pink peg into her car every time. At first, I balked. “You can’t do that!” She would take the box top with the instructions written inside, point to the rules and say, “Show me where it says that in the directions.” Of course there was nothing about who you had to marry, but I still bristled, not grasping her very un-subtle references. One night she even laughed about “Lactating Lesbians” porn magazine. Obtusely, I ignored the reference. I just could not see the crush she had on me. God knows I had one on her, too, but how was I supposed to say that to a pregnant woman while I was fat and leaking milk and married to a man?
(and we go forth!)