Author: Kasey Weird

Babies and (parental) gender

I knew going into this whole parenting thing that I was going to get called “mommy” a lot, by default. And I do.

I don’t have the energy to proactively tell people I only have minor or passing relationships with about my gender and how I do and don’t identify. This is true in all areas of my life – though I’m out at work among my co-workers, (and I recently added my pronouns to my professional email signature!) I don’t correct random library patrons who misgender me, not even if they’re people I see somewhat regularly. They just don’t need that information about me, to be honest? And I apply this attitude everywhere.

So, in the hospital when my baby was born, I was called “mommy”. At baby groups, I get called “mommy”. In my baby’s swimming lessons, I’m one of the “mommies” (while silently wishing that the class I was in was more visibly mixed-gender, like the on immediately before ours, so that that “mommy” stuff wouldn’t be thrown around quite so freely).

What I really wasn’t expecting, though, was how often people who do know me, and know that I am genderqueer, and are actually very good with my pronouns (and sometimes even explicitly knew that I didn’t plan to go by mommy!)… still reflexively called me “mommy”, when talking to my baby.

There is something deeply ingrained in our psyches about babies, that they must be in want of a mommy, I guess? It was actually equal parts fascinating and perturbing for me, how naturally people’s brains went there. Brains are weird that way!

But yeah, me and my baby, we’re on a first name basis. I’ve always planned to let them figure out a title for me if and when they want to, but more recently I’ve also been speculating that the baby-talk version of “Kasey” could very easily be “Seesee”, which might just be a perfect fit on its own. I think I may even try to encourage it :)

Babies and gender: where I’m at now

Before my baby existed in any way at all, I had decided how I was going to handle the whole birth-assigned-sex/gender thing. You can read the whole post about it, but my basic approach was that I would go ahead and use whatever pronouns most commonly align with the baby’s birth-assigned sex, while also avoiding gendering the baby in other ways.

This is, in fact, the way I’ve been approaching my baby’s gender (though I will be using ‘they’ pronouns for the baby on this blog, at least for now. I can’t quite articulate my reasons for this right now). It’s definitely a path-of-least-resistance approach, but it seems fine for us. Honestly, though, now that I have a nearly-one-year-old (OMG!), I am mostly just amazed at how ridiculously, transparently deluded most people’s perceptions of baby gender are.

Seriously, though. Other than the fact that they’re statistically likely to identify with the gender commonly associated with their birth-assigned sex, I really don’t think my baby has a gender yet, nor could I really guess at what their gender will be. Heck, at this age babies apparently don’t recognize themselves in a mirror, their sense of self is just that nearly-non-existent.

People really, really love to insist that baby’s genders are just so apparent from birth though! Oh, sure, little Susie was just born knowing how to shop, you say*? And Bobby, wouldn’t you know it, he’s been just *obsessed* with breasts since the day he was born (LOLOLOLOL!!!)? Obviously our culture’s current particular understanding of the gender binary is completely natural and not at all learned.

Meanwhile, depending on what my baby is wearing, they’ve been declared everything from “what a perfect boy” to “such a pretty little girl”. I promise you they were exactly the same baby each time.

I really just don’t perceive my baby as a gendered being at this point (which was sort of my goal – I don’t want the way I treat them to be coloured by their probable gender, and the best way to avoid sub-consciously doing that is prevent my sub-conscious from seeing them in a gendered way in the first place.) Though I also realize that saying I don’t perceive them that way doesn’t make it true.

But, I’m pretty sure I’ve actually pulled it off! The reason: after my parents’ most recent visit, my father sent me a message saying that he loves my baby, except he called the baby my “daughter”. And I was momentarily confused and didn’t know what he was talking about? Because I don’t have one of those? I just have a baby. (Who will soon be a toddler, and a child…) Like, I think that I had literally never thought that word in connection to my baby.

So that’s something!

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*There’s a lot to unpack here, but in all seriousness, in one of the baby groups I sometimes go to, one of the facilitators(!) waxed poetic about how she’s sure girls are born with the shopping gene or something. Like, properly went on about it. It was something.

Update: Kasey still makes things!

While I was neglecting Valprehension for over a year, I was still making other things (and not just my baby :P)

My lil Etsy shop has turned out to be successful beyond my wildest imaginings (which is to say, it is a moderately successful hobby business, overall). As I write this, I’m closing in on 400 sales – not too shabby for two years in business!

I only ship to North America (and I’ve reached, but since I sell digital products as well, I’ve had sales in the UK, Norway, Austria, Germany, Thailand, and Australia too! I sell a lot of custom pieces, but here are my best-selling original designs so far:

Hop on over and check out Stitchy Aesthetic

Notes on a Non-Binary Pregnancy: Pregnancy is a *trip*, y’all

Ok, honestly, most of what I have to say here is reasonably obvious, and none of it is ground-breaking or new, but holy wow, pregnancy is such a weird thing.

I *grew* a whole entire other *human being* *inside* my *body*. And that’s just a totally? normal?? thing??? Somehow????

I swear I really do realize every single person who as ever lived did a bunch of their first growing inside of another human. But at the same time… ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME? What kind of absurd science fiction are you talking about? That can’t possibly be a really real thing, it just can’t.

Let me put it this this way: for a good chunk of last year, my body contained TWO ENTIRE SKELETONS. Granted, one was very small, but COME ON. There’s no way that’s just a regular, common thing.

My point is, I guess, that the way we all came to be is definitely some completely made up nonsense. I don’t believe in any of it XD

Notes on a Non-binary Pregnancy, part 2: So strong, so… fragile?

[CN: this post is largely about the potential for miscarriage]

I wrote most of this post at about 25 weeks pregnant…

At that point I was already surprised by how little I’d been inspired to write down about the whole experience. It was mostly a boring pregnancy, what can I say? Everything was just textbook; my fetus and uterus both grew right on schedule, the heartbeat was always what it was supposed to be, my blood pressure was fine, I had no morning sickness, no mood swings, and my weight gain curve was ridiculously by-the-book.

I mentioned in my previous post that I felt very strong during my pregnancy. And yet, there was also this other side to that feeling. I hadn’t realized that when you’re pregnant, all kinds of normally innocuous things are suddenly very life-and-death.

and so, I was occasionally blind-sided by how… fragile being pregnant made me feel. What should be minor medical things are much more complicated and serious when you’re pregnant.

I actually had some spotting/mystery blood early on in the pregnancy (about 8 weeks), which is both reasonably normal and also extremely terrifying.  Even the doctor I saw about it was just like, “[sadface] um, yeah, so it could be a sign that you’re miscarrying, but all we can do is wait and see?”

And at 20-something weeks along I started having UTI symptoms. This is something I am an old hand at dealing with, normally, but suddenly now that I’m pregnant everything about it had a whole new level of danger.

Normal UTI symptom process: get thee to a walk-in, confirm the presence of bacteria, get some anti-biotics, destroy infection.

When you’re pregnant this is all more complicated, because anti-biotics aren’t safe for the fetus. Or at least, the good ones aren’t, so you’re stuck with hoping that penicillin will do the trick. They kind of want you to wait for a culture to confirm the anti-biotics are called for, but on the other hand, if your infection manages to progress into a kidney infection, not only is that more dangerous to you (because kidneys!), it’s also very risky for the fetus and trigger pre-term labour (which, at the 23 weeks I was at the time, did not have great odds for a live birth). It’s all so fraught! I was not prepared.

In this case, there turned out to be no notable bacteria in my urine anyway (this has happened to me before, even with severe UTI symptoms. Me and my urinary tract have a complicated and mysterious history wherein we like to troll my doctor with weird results that can never be replicated with further testing. It’s a fun game we play. But I digress.)

Even later in the pregnancy, when I was actually obviously pregnant (that didn’t happen until late in month 7!) a mother in one of the children’s library programs I was running last year pulled me aside to let me know her daughter had recently been diagnosed with “fifth disease”. Fifth disease is like a total nothing childhood infection, but oh guess what? It’s very deadly to fetuses, of course! It turned out I showed no signs of having had contact with the disease, but it was an awfully scary week of watching for symptoms and waiting for test results to come back.

Notes on a Non-binary Pregnancy, part 1: the dysphoria that never came to be

Wow, where did the time go? I’ve planned to write so many posts over the last, jeez, year-and-a-half since I told y’all I was pregnant, and I have in fact, written a few things since then, but there’s a lot of stuff I haven’t taken the time to sit down and write about. So, here I am trying to knock off the rust.

My baby is ten months old now! And parenting is, omg, honestly so much more wonderful than I even thought (and it’s something I’ve looked forward to enough that I made it the single highest priority in my life, so that’s really something!)

But yeah, I meant to take you with me on my pregnancy journey, and then I… just didn’t, so you’ll have to accept some retrospective writing instead.

One of the things I was mildly worried about as my pregnancy progressed was that my changing body would be a dysphoria trigger for me (in particular, I was not looking forward to my chest getting bigger). Somehow, although those changes all came to pass in good time, there was no accompanying dysphoria.

I think part of this is just that, although it was an altogether straight-forward pregnancy, the whole process was still such a wild, intense trip in so many ways (more on this in a later pos…) that I had a hard time feeling much other than amazement and fascination about my body.

Honestly, I absolutely loved my pregnant body. I felt strong (except for when I didn’t… but that’s also another post) and despite my assumptions, not at all feminine. I can’t even explain why not. I just… didn’t.

I don’t think I’ve ever felt more at home in my non-binary body. And that’s definitely not an entirely pregnancy-related statement. I’ve also just been… happy, in a pretty sustained way, for a good few years now. I’ve come into my own in my 30s, somehow, and I am at peace with who I am in this world in a way I don’t think I ever expected to achieve.

This is also probably part of what has kept me away from writing – for a long time this blog’s primary purpose was untangling and chronicling my own gender identity. Before that, I was processing part abuse, and getting a handle on a newly sprouted feminist ideals and beliefs. These days, I’m not doing as much difficult reflection on myself or the world I live in, so I’m going to need to learn to write from this new place of greater peace and contentment. Because I also am really and truly happy to be back!

No but seriously, why do our brains do this?

We interrupt our lack of regular programming for this random memory:

When I confronted my abusive ex about being a bully in our relationship (I did this after we broke up), his response was

I can’t believe you would let me steamroll you like that. Excuse me for assuming you were stronger than that. Actually *I* feel betrayed by the discovery that you let me do that.

HOLY WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCKING FUCK THOUGH. How did I spend literal years talking myself out of thinking of him as terrible tucking person and absolute textbook abuser?

That is all for now.