We still haven't touched a sperm yet. We don't have the money for it right now, or for as much of it as we want. We decided to defer, and rather than buy one vial in May, to buy three vials in July. THREE VIALS! That still won't equal as much or be as potent as if we had fresh sperm, but it'll give us a better shot than one.

In the meantime, we're still triangulating Jen's ovulation day, and thinking about parenting. Mothering. Our plan, when the baby arrives, is that Jen will work, since her job pays more money, provides our insurance, gives her a pension...all wonderful things that my job does not...and I will stay home and take care of our child. Working, I wouldn't make much more than it would cost to pay someone to watch the baby. This way, I get to bond with the child, and I can still work nights/weekends to make sure I have income coming in. Also, the baby gets a caregiver who is loving and smart, without us having to pay extra for that. I would hate to go to work while someone else watches my baby, mainly because I don't think anyone would be better at taking care of it than me or Jen.

But since we've made that decision, which Jen and I are both thrilled about, I have noticed that it is decidedly against the norm here in NYC. Most women work, either because they have to or because they want to, and leave their children with other people. Which is fine, understandable, everyone has their own needs and goals. But for whatever reason, there's also this disdain for mothering that comes through...My old boss used to freak out if she had to stay home with her kid for a week straight. She found it exhausting and was always thrilled to come back to work. My new boss just told me she's pregnant. Her lack of enthusiasm pained me. Yeah, another kid. Yeah, email me while I'm in labor, I'll be working from home. She said she liked to get right back to work, because not working caused post-partum depression. "That's when you lose yourself."

I started doubting myself. Staying home with a kid...would I be losing myself? I don't particularly value the reputation I've built for myself in the working world, even though it is a good one. I care much more what my family thinks of me, what my friends think of me, what someone who has read my writing thinks of me. So in that sense no, losing my professional self doesn't injure me too badly. But the crux of my personal reputation is intelligence. And I was getting the impression that many women I respected and admired thought staying home with a baby was none too smart.

I thought about for about a week, carrying it around, troubling over this in my private moments. What did work mean to me? What did I personally really think about being a stay at home mom? How much of my opinion was informed by a generation of women who rebelled against having no other choice? My own mother had not stayed home with me, but when my brother was born, she quit working, I think in large part because my father wanted her to. For 6 years she stayed home, and while she did many useful things - PTA, girl scouts, teaching adult ed - it drove her crazy. She eventually got divorced, went to law school, and now she's a lawyer and I know she is very fulfilled.

But me. Is my situation analogous at all? I think not. And I think a large part of that is because I am in a same sex relationship. While our past experiences inform us, our roles as partners in life are defined by no one but us, because the paradigm for married relationships involves a man and a woman, and not us. If I stay home and Jen goes to work, it cannot be construed as a sexist division of labor because we are the same sex. I don't have to, she didn't make me, it doesn't injure HER sense of self if I choose to be an earner as well. I will choose to stay home, because I know enough to know I am likely to be more educated than the vast majority of nannies I could afford to hire. I know enough to know what advantages my abilities might be able to confer on my child. I know enough to know that we're not the perfect family in the eyes of most people. We need to work harder, to make our child safer, to give them more answers, and spend more time together in order to be the family we want to be, in our own eyes, and in the eyes of people who matter to us. I know enough to know I don't have to be a mother. I want to.

In a way, I feel like the most subversive thing we can do is emulate a TV perfect 50s household and be perfectly happy with that.

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