I met Jeff* on OkCupid the same week I did my second insemination. Since I had no idea how long this whole getting-pregnant thing would take, I didn’t say anything in my profile about being an aspiring single mother by choice.
Two weeks later, I was peeing a stick and then screaming with excitement! I was knocked up! It had worked. But I knew that miscarriages are very common, especially in the first trimester, and I had made a promise to myself not to tell anyone – not even my family – until I made it through those first three months.
Because of our busy schedules and the fact that he lived pretty far away (in another town), Jeff and I didn’t get a chance to go on our first date until I was six weeks along.
I was skeptical that there would be any spark between us, because I didn’t get a huge sense of chemistry from our online conversations. But, I was willing to give it a try. To keep the stakes low, I suggested that we meet in the late afternoon at a café near my house. I figured, one cup of something caffeine-free, and then I’d be out of there.
The minute I walked into the café, however, there was a definite spark. We took one look at each other across the crowd, and I knew instantly that we would be spending more than 15 minutes together.
I could tell he felt the same. He was handsome, smart, a great talker and an even better listener. We talked for hours. We got hungry and went out for dinner at a restaurant down the street. We wanted to spend more time together, so we went for a walk through a nearby park. It was getting late, and I was getting tired – gestating is exhausting! I mentioned that I lived nearby. He asked if he could walk me home.
I knew we’d be passing by a drug store on the way, and I had been plagued with headaches lately, something that my ob/gyn said was related to the pregnancy. I wanted to stop to get some Tylenol. By that point in the evening, I had a feeling we’d be going on more dates. A lot more. So, even though I had originally planned to wait another six weeks before telling anyone about what has happening in my uterus, I figured now was as good a time as any to let the cat out of the bag.
“Yes,” I said. “But, can we stop at the drug store first? I need to buy some Tylenol for these headaches I’ve been having. They come from the fact that I’m… Well, I’m a little bit pregnant right now!”
“Wow, that’s amazing! That’s so great! Yes, we can definitely – yes, let’s go! Wow!”, he said, without missing a beat.
And from there, we dated for four months.
But one thing I didn’t like about Jeff was that he was a smoker. Normally, that wouldn’t have bothered me. But, being pregnant, it was suddenly a huge deal. No second-hand smoke inhalation for me and my fetus, thank you.
From the beginning, though, he promised to never smoke around me, and he kept that promise. Sometimes, he would arrive at my house having smoked in the car on the way over, and I could smell it on him. Not sexy, and it definitely raised my hackles as a mom-to-be.
My reaction to it was the first time I noticed myself going all “mama bear” over an issue, though, and I liked seeing that in myself. It gave me a sense of what I might be like as a mother.
Unfortunately, it ultimately didn’t work out with Jeff. Not because of the smoking, but just because not everything does. I felt very calm about it. I had never asked him to be a co-parent to my child, and he never offered, so there wasn’t a sense of loss over that. We went through the whole thing knowing that my goal was to be a single parent – even if I myself was not single. My post-break-up blues probably lasted all of a day, and then I was fine.
On top of that, Jeff and I were never exclusive, and I had already been spending time someone else. David*, who lived nearby, was more of a friend with benefits than a boyfriend, and that worked for both of us. Pregnancy hormones are intense! Having someone tall, dark, and handsome available within minutes of sending a text was like a single-preggo’s dream come true.
My body changed over time with both of these men, but my sense of sexual self-esteem never did. When I got pregnant, I realized that pregnant bodies are sexy! I had never noticed before, but the major curves, the suddenly-fuller breasts, and the sensuous hormones that pregnant women exude had me all hot and bothered – and now, at the same time, I had those things, too, to share with these two men in my life. They seemed deeply into it.
Being bi, I hoped to find a pregnant woman to explore this newfound desire. I wanted to touch another pregnant body. But, there aren’t too many pregnant women out there who are also into women, let alone single (or available). In the meantime, I had my hands full with Jeff and David, so I counted my sexy-time blessings!
Before I started dating-while-pregnant, one thing I hadn’t thought of was how people would react to seeing a pregnant woman on a date with a guy. There was a lot of assuming that the man I was with was (a.) my husband (or a fiancé/ significant other), and (b.) the father. I found myself having to figure out how to assert myself as someone who has made a choice to parent without a co-parent – and who has made a choice to date.
There seems to be a stereotype out there that women who choose single motherhood are, well, single. And, by extension, that we’re undateable or not into dating. Some women are not into dating, that’s true. And there’s nothing wrong with that. But there’s also nothing wrong with getting your groove on, regardless of your reproductive choices.
*not his real name