Tammy and I had decided after our 6.5 week ultrasound we would tell family and close friends. While half of me remains scared that telling people will jinx everything, the other half longs for normalcy in this decidedly un-normal process. So we told people.
A bit of background here: my family is incredibly supportive of me and Tammy, and gay rights in general. I have three family members (that I know of) that are LGBTQ, etc. etc. 1)I have a gay cousin, (on my dad’s side) who’s been out since he was born basically. 2)Supposedly I had a great-aunt (sister to my dad’s father) who one day announced she would no longer be known as “Margaret”, but “John”. And the family, oddly enough for that time and place, just kind of went with it. I guess when you’re isolated in a tiny holler in the West Virginia mountains, you deal with the family you get without too much fuss. And 3)my mom’s sister told her that growing up she strongly identified as a boy, rather than a girl. And that she’s bisexual. So basically, my family is responsible for more than our share of gayin’ the place up. YOU’RE WELCOME, FUNDIES.
However, on Tammy’s side…Tammy grew up in an extremely conservatively Christian household. Think Jesus Camp. She is the youngest of five siblings, and when her parents divorced and dad remarried, she got three step siblings in the deal. Interestingly enough, only one of her siblings still maintains that “lifestyle” (oh yes I DID call it a lifestyle) but they all possess, to a certain degree, holdovers from their upbringing that affect their relationship with and reaction to us (and all that comes with us). Shockingly, all but one sister, one step-sister, and one step-brother came to our wedding (the sister that maintains the “lifestyle” and two step siblings that aren’t that close and/or couldn’t afford to travel up here for the wedding). Even her dad and step-mom came, though they sat in the back and her dad promised to be “miserable” the whole time. Thanks for coming, asshole!
ANYWAY, (God, could I stretch this intro out any longer?) we were a little apprehensive about the reactions we would get from Tammy’s family. But, for the most part, we were pleasantly surprised. Tammy’s dad had clearly been coached, and did his best “gee golly shucks, that’s just wonderful! Jesus loves ya, kids!” which is basically how the baby Jesus has told him to respond to everything (baby Jesus doesn’t like anything unpleasant, don’t you know). Tammy texted one brother (wife to the pregnant “V”, who I haven’t spoken to since she stomach bumped me at the wedding in April). He texted back: “congrats,” and that was it. She called the other brother on Father’s day, which may be why he responded, “well, congratulations, I guess, dad”. Cue eye roll. Tammy’s mom and sister number 1 were both told while we were undergoing IVF, so they were told of the resulting pregnancy earlier, to mostly positive results.
The only really negative response we got was from the sister in the “lifestyle”* Her two kids had just gotten back from summer camp (not unlike the camp in Jesus Camp, I imagine), and she was in a good mood. Tammy broke the news to her by modeling the reaction we were looking for (“[sister], we have some great news. We’re really really excited to let you know that Sarah’s pregnant. You’re going to have a new little niece or nephew in the January!”). Lifestyle sister was silent for a good 90 second count, before bursting out with “well how did that happen?!” If I was quicker on my feet, I would have told her it was a miraculous conception, but I do try to keep my asshole tendencies in check. Somewhat. Tammy muttered something about IVF (for which she received a whack, because we’re so not going there with this sister) and I tried to drown her out by talking about a donor. Honestly, I’ve never heard Lifestyle Sister so shocked and unsure of herself. She got off the phone quickly, after telling us she would be praying for us. But to do what, I’m not quite sure. I suspect she isn’t either. Tammy said her reaction is typical, because for her, gay people simply do not have kids. Children are something the Lord gives to straight people.
This sister not only didn’t attend our wedding, but likes to pretend it didn’t happen entirely. We were told not to send her an invitation or any pictures. And now that it’s a done deal, she will literally get up and walk out of the room, often taking her children with her, if our wedding is brought up, even in passing.
Here’s the thing: I can handle her being a bitch (but a bitch in a Christian, Lordy way, obviously) to me, and to Tammy. It sucks that she is the way she is, but we’re big girls. We can take care of ourselves – and I have no problem giving her a piece of my mind if the situation warrants. But a baby? No. A baby is innocent. She can ignore the fact of our marriage if that’s what gets her rocks off, but she cannot, let me repeat that, cannot, ignore our child. Our child is going to be a member of her family, like it or not. The second she makes my child feel any less than is the second we have a serious, serious problem. I don’t even really know what I would do in that situation, but given her reaction, and her behavior surrounding our wedding, I feel like I should be prepared.
Since I can’t think of a way to finish this blog post and I have to get back to work, I leave you with this picture of the pirate, taken at 8 weeks gestation. I don’t have another ultrasound until June 12th, with a regular OB. Sob.