Lesbian Husbandry: Disappointment and how to survive it

As Bec and Aurelia continue trying to get pregnant, they must also struggle with the inevitable pitfalls

Feature by Aurelia Paterson | 27 May 2010

All of us are going to get hurt. We have crossed a boundary, and the three of us are never quite going to have the same kind of friendship again. Melodramatic twaddle? Not so much. Consider the dynamics. Poor me: I would impregnate Bec myself if I could, but I can’t, and this makes me jealous of Tom. The transaction is between them and there is nothing I can do about it. They are having the most primal of affairs right in front of me.

Poor Bec: as the impregnated party, she is the one doing the bulk of the worry and preparation. She’s doing all the research, she got herself tested, she bought the kits and bits and pieces, she’s been taking the folic acid, and she’s the one who spent an hour flat on her back, oozing. She will worry and worry until her period arrives. Tom and I are the impregnators, and it’s weird, frankly, to find myself on this side of the equation.

Poor Tom will make a baby that will be raised by other people. It will be his, but not wholly his, and I worry that he hasn’t thought this through. Legally, my name, not his, will be on the birth certificate. When will it hit home? When she’s pregnant? When the baby arrives? But maybe I’m not giving him, or us, enough credit. It’s a strange little triangle, but we’re intelligent enough to have a good idea of the pitfalls. I hope, so desperately, that this will be all right.

Bec and I go out to eat at a Mexican restaurant. We both talk to her belly as though she might be pregnant. I have a margarita, and she (how novel!) doesn’t. When she wobbles over later on, we are both very concerned that we might have shaken the baby. Walking home, her arm tucked into mine, I realise that this will be the pattern of our days, that our two weeks post-ovulation will be spent caring solicitously for our imaginary friend.

Then, one day, she calls me from work. Her period has arrived. That evening we sit in front of the fire, clutching whisky while she cries and cries. It was our first try; it was bound to not work. It is ridiculous, silly, girlish to cry over this, of course. What have we lost? An idea, a little friendly ghost. Our months are now a rising crest of hope, followed by the crash. We are learning disappointment, and how to survive it.