Answer: Relationship to Self/Butch Status
Has/how has being pregnant and giving birth affected your relationship to yourself and your butch status? Has it changed how you view yourself in any way?
My relationship to myself has definitely been altered. I think anyone who goes through pregnancy comes out the other end being affected by the whole experience – from learning about how my body works, to physically laboring, to riding the emotional rollercoaster (and trying not to throw up), I think I have a new found respect for what my body is capable of doing, both physically and mentally. I’m amazed at how hospitable my body was to hosting (and growing) a visitor for ten months. Mentally, I feel like some of the pregnancy and birth was an out-of-body experience in some way – that I pretended to be someone else for the entire term. When, in fact, it was just a different version of me being expressed, and one that’s had a residual effect on who I am now.
My butch status was definitely affected by the pregnancy, but not necessarily in a permanent way. There were times during the pregnancy (and soon after) where I felt completely drained of any butch fiber I ever had. That comes, mostly, from the things that were gradually stripped away during pregnancy (lifting heavy things, clothes, swagger) that typically “define” my own personal butchness. Postpartum, there’s nothing butch about breastfeeding for three hours straight, breast-pumping, and inconsolable crying outbursts – not even if I was wearing cammo head to toe. But both ended up being very temporary lapses. If there’s one thing I realized after everything was said and done, is that being butch and pregnant isn’t the end of butch life as you know it – there are some hiccups here and there, but certainly nothing permanent. And seeing as there’s a baby at the end, the inconvenience of 3/4″ sleeves shouldn’t be a deal-breaking pregnancy deterrent to any other butches out there contemplating getting pregnant.
I don’t view myself as any less butch now, but I do view myself as being more flexible than I thought I would be. For instance, wearing a pair of women’s panties used to be the emotional equivalent to putting on a pink prom dress. Now, I think I could rock some panties and accept that they’re not taking away from my butch identity, since panties, ultimately, were the least of my feminizing pregnancy worries.