The Longest Shortest Time

EPISODE #41: How to Be a Pregnant Butch

A.K. Summers was adopted, and when she hit her mid-thirties she felt a fierce longing to be connected to someone biologically. But as a butch lesbian, she hadn’t ever imagined that motherhood was in the cards for her. In 2003 she took the plunge and got pregnant, all the while fearing that her tough masculine identity would be destroyed by early motherhood. AK chronicled her “nine long months spent in drag” in her fabulous graphic memoir Pregnant Butch. In this episode, A.K. talks about the true story that inspired the book. Below are some of my favorite pages from Pregnant Butch. But really, you should read all of them. Seriously. This is my favorite pregnancy and childbirth book ever.

Pregnant Butch Excerpts
Some people go for tops with ruching; some go for maternity jeans with the elastic waists. A.K. had her own ideas about maternity style.

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A.K.’s take on natural birth guru Ina May Gaskin.

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At the end of her pregnancy, A.K. felt like she’d be pregnant forever. “There’s no use denying it,” she wrote. “I am eternal woman.”

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After giving birth, A.K. says she felt like a Russian prize fighter. And, to her great surprise, breastfeeding actually made her feel tough—and didn’t at all diminish her masculine presentation.

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A.K. in Real Life

A.K. with her son Franklin and co-parent Alison

A.K. with her son Franklin and co-parent Alison

A.K.’s son Franklin has interesting fashion choices of his own. As a toddler he dressed almost exclusively as a firefighter; recently he went to school in what he called “Colonial Dress” (wool socks up to his knees over corduroys with a vest and homemade tri-corner hat). And then there was his monochrome phase.

For awhile there, Franklin would only wear clothes that were ALL the same color

For awhile there, Franklin would only wear clothes that were ALL the same color

LGBTQ Parenting Resources
Lots of lesbian moms from our Facebook Mamas group say they enjoyed The Essential Guide to Lesbian Conception, Pregnancy, and Birth when figuring out how to start a family in the first place.

Getting Pregnant with Michelle Tea from xoJane is a super entertaining blog about a 40-year-old “single queer lady who hardly knows a single sperm-producing man” trying to have a baby. Michelle also started MUTHA magazine, a website dedicated to telling stories of families of all stripes.

What Makes a Baby by Cory Silverberg is a great picture book about all the different ways families can be made.

Leslea Newman’s Mommy, Mama, and Me is a board book that presents same-sex motherhood as just a regular old thing. If you’re looking for a picture book that doesn’t call attention to the differentness of having two mommies, this is the book for you.

Have YOU been a pregnant butch? Been in a relationship with one?
Tell us what it was like for you. And add your resources and butch maternity wear recommendations in the comments!

Call for Sex Advice Questions
In this show I mentioned that we are taking sex advice questions for our Sex Series, which will launch in January. Please submit your struggles in the sack on this form by October 29 for our sexperts Dan Savage and Jane Marie.

Illustrations: A.K. Summers