The “other” mom.
That’s my new title and I wear it with pride, but I wish I didn’t have to explain it so much to strangers.
My wife is pregnant, almost half way now, and for every doctor’s appointment, ultrasound and hospital visit, I feel like I have to say right away “I’m the other mom” before I get the weird looks and the “Do you need to go with her?” questions. It’s almost an invisibility cloak I have to put on to avoid being left behind.
You don’t see men saying “I’m the dad” when they accompany their wives or partners, you just assume they’re meant to be there. Why should it be any different for me? I’ve yet to encounter anyone who’s openly against me being the “other mom,” but I cringe every time I have to clarify my status whenever someone refers to me as “support person” or “friend.”
Early in our pregnancy, we had a scare and ended up at our local hospital. Upon checking in, the woman at the counter said to me “do you need to be with her?” That was the first time I had to slip into my “I’m the other mom” cloak. It worked, I was allowed in and able to make sure our baby was happy and healthy. He was. But having to justify my being there made me feel like I needed to wear a badge that explained my rank: who I was, why I was there and why I should be allowed in.
Since then I’ve had to use it almost everywhere and it’s got me thinking about how it’s still fairly unusual for same-sex couples to have the same experience as “traditional” couples. When it’s Valentine’s Day or our wedding anniversary, I have to hunt to find same-sex or even gender-neutral cards to give to my wife that express love and affection without having to special order something off Etsy or another website and pay three times the price. The same goes for medical forms almost everywhere when it comes to pregnancy. Quite often my name comes after the designation “support person” or “other.” Just once it would be so great to see “partner,” or a space for “parent one” and “parent two.”
There are all different types of families; it’s time we start making the language more open and accepting of all.
We are half way through the pregnancy, and soon we are going to be transferring from our family doctor to an OBGYN for the final half of our journey and before we know it headed back to the hospital as our baby boy will be on his way. So, I’ve decided I’m taking back my title and instead of feeling I need to use it as a badge to prove why I need to be there I’m going to say it loud and proudly positive. I’m the other mom! This baby has two amazing moms to love him and protect him for his entire life. He gets double the mama bear and we get double the happy Mother’s Day cards because we are both his moms.
Sincerely, the “Other Mom.”