Thursday, September 8, 2016

Dreams of Pregnancy

They say dreams of pregnancy are not usually about pregnancy itself, but about being pregnant with possibility. Women dream about being pregnant when they are on the verge of something, not when they're actually contemplating getting pregnant. In my case, perhaps there's a little bit of both.

The dream itself isn't worth going into, except to say that it took place in my parents' bedroom. A woman doctor put her finger inside me to confirm that even though I was spotting, I was still holding the baby.

I'm not too high on dream interpretation, but I believe in symbols and stories. Dreams create an opportunity to unpack something that's scratching at the subconscious. My parents' home, where I lived from the age of four until I left for college at seventeen, is never far from my dreamscapes.

My gay identity and relationship with my parents are complicated by the fact that I couldn't wait for childhood to be over. I don't remember acting like a kid, being carefree or comforted by the presence of adults. I was not abused. But I was never comfortable, either.

Flannery O'Connor said, "Anybody who has survived his childhood has enough information about life to last him the rest of his days."

I was a wide-eyed, thoughtful and anxious child. Although sometimes moody, I was a pleaser who gave the impression of being wise beyond my years. My brother and I received unsolicited compliments from our fellow churchgoers about our impeccable behavior. I learned well how to keep my inner life protected.

To this day, Jenny will note discord between how I claim I'm feeling and what I'm outwardly projecting. I've learned to say things like, "I was self-conscious about that," or "that made me anxious," because I literally don't know how to act in a way that will show those emotions to a friend or partner.

Maybe feeling one way and acting another is simple adulthood, and I learned it sooner than most. If that's the case, I'm ready for whatever is next. My father's side of the family is Dutch, German and Scandinavian. Whatever is next, I will not learn it from them. They do not talk about upsetting or complicated matters, at least not with one another. This wedding on Saturday is beginning to weigh.

Although I'm out to most family members, I still have a hard time, in each new social setting, entering and navigating their rituals and conversations. Sonia will be with me. I hope I am pregnant with the possibility of being strong and confident and -- dear God can I hope -- a little funny.

On Tuesday night, I went out with Jenny and two friends, a lesbian couple pregnant with their second child. The couple was open and forthcoming about their process in the manner of a truly tight and confident family. We discussed sperm banks, using a known donor and adoption as ways we'd all considered making our families.

Of course, the pregnancy dream could have simply been a wisp of a memory from that night. Sonia and I have talked about adoption, but the possibility of me carrying a child isn't off the table.

After dinner, I walked with the couple and told them a little bit about this blog. "I don't know what it is I'm trying to work out," I found myself saying, "But I'm working something out, and enjoying the process."

I rambled a bunch, too. I need to work on my elevator speech.

Whatever happens Saturday, I'd like to think that I'm pregnant with that unknown: what is here, where it is leading me.

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