Question: the D word

A reader asks…

My partner and I have just found out that we’re pregnant. I’ve always wanted to be pregnant, but since I’m male bodied I thought this was impossible, but now that I’m here, I’m so overjoyed and content to be in a pregnant partnership, even if I’m not physically carrying our child. It feels like a beautiful affirmation of my femininity, and my masculinity (such as it is).

Problem is, lots of people are talking about how I’m becoming a “dad” now. Even though I understand their perspective, it upsets me. Am I being selfish, or overly concerned with semantics to be chafing at the “dad” word? What good alternatives are there?

Please post your response in the comments below.

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Posted by on September 18th, 2011 at 08:00 am

Category: questions 13 comments »

13 Responses to “Question: the D word”

  1. Anonymous

    You can be called anything you want! A creative play on the D word itself like ‘Dede,’ or a play on your own name, or a nickname you and your partner have always liked… (Did you ever have a nickname given to you by a youngster who couldn’t say your full name? Almost thirty years later, my relatives still call me Bitz.) You can eventually let your child choose a nickname for you.

    Anything goes. Most of us don’t call our parents, ‘Mother and Father,’ nor do we call our grandparents, ‘Grandmother and Grandfather.’ As long as you love your child like a parent, it doesn’t matter what you’re called.


  2. Shonny

    I don’t think that’s selfish at all. It’s your identity, you have the right to be whoever you are. I actually worry about this a lot, too. I’m not having kids yet, but sometimes I wonder what they’d call me if I ever did. You can ask to be called “mom/mommy” if you want, or you could make up a playful nickname like “Mamo” or I’ve heard “Maddy/Moddy” (like mom and daddy). Some people choose to use parent names from other languages. I know that in Esperanto, their words for mom and dad are “Panjo” (pronounced pahn-yo) and Pa?jo (pronounced pahch-i-o), and in Esperanto, to make a word gender-neutral or inclusive of all genders, you simply add a -ge in front of the noun (ex. pa?jo: dad, turns into gepa?jo: parent). I dunno, maybe that’s stupid. Your choice. Do whatever makes you feel comfortable. :)


  3. Anonymous

    I’ve always liked the Atticus Finch approach- where children call their parents by their first name. I’ve always said- I’d rather my child call me by my name lovingly, than “mum/dad” spitefully.

    That being said, there are “Dad” alternatives, if you know your ethnic background, you could look at languages there- for example, a lot of Jewish/Israeli people I know use “Abba” or “Tati”. I quite like Abba- which is aramaic for daddy- because it’s really neutral english wise,sounds like a parent name and also has that Famous Swedish Queer connection :P

    Or, make one up. I might be called “Tree” by my kids, because it’s my nickname, and I like trees…


  4. Poet

    Why can’t there simply just be two moms? Lesbians do it, don’t they?


  5. Anonymous

    You might find some supportive parents with good suggestions in the ‘My Husband Betty’ message boards. (See the link on the right, under ‘More Discussion Spaces.’) They have a section just for discussions about parenting/children.


  6. Anonymous

    I embrace being a dad and being called Dad! It is a word and only a word who’s meaning is defined by those using it. For me, I am doing my part to open what that definition is. Dads can be pretty too!


  7. Elle

    First, congratulations on your pregnancy!

    Second, wait and see what you’re comfortable with. Maybe you’ll embrace the title of “dad” with everything it brings, and maybe you’ll decide to redefine what “dad” means, and maybe you’ll decide to be two moms, and maybe something totally different will happen. The best thing is that you and the person you love are able to bring new life into the world. The only words you can be certain of are parent and love.


  8. Anonymous

    I would say let your child and the world call you “dad”- it does not mean you have to feel like a dad in the traditional sense. I am trans but male bodied and as far as I know, my child loves me just the way I am- gender has no meaning to a child until they are 3 years old so what will matter most is the bond you create with him or her in their formative years. It is us adults who are conflicted by notions such as gender- I know I will always be dad to him irrespective of the body I choose to live in. And who says I can’t be a “dad” in the conventional sense? He deserves the best from me and if that means I have to be a “dad”, I will be- please remember that a child is born into this world because that is the choice his or her parents made-they had no say in it so it is only fitting that they get the best that world has to offer. And once the child is born, you will find that your focus will shift from “I” and “myself” to your child which is a huge change… just my 2 cents based on my own experience and yes, good luck :)


  9. Matt

    I hope that one day I will be called dad. I smile just thinking about it. :)
    Nobody has the right to take your motherhood away from you. If it bothers you, be vocal to those who you are out to; they can start the trend of a different pronoun.


  10. pbnhoney

    I personally can’t wait for my wife and I to have a child. we are traditional about our roles despite my being FTM. I want the daddy title. But I understand that titles come with connotations.

    I am leaping to huge assumptions here. If you are MTF and post transition then why not go with mom&mom? If you are pre-transition have you considered coming out to these people and explaining you will not be dad? If you are not MTF but are something like genderqueer/androgynous then I think your family still deserves an explanation for why another name is important to you.

    Others have said great things. If you belong to a cultural/racial/ethnic minority look first to other names that are familiar, like Abba for Jewish people. You don’t have to be Jewish (or anything else) to request that name though. I know a lot of transgender and lesbian couples use nicknames like oma (short for other mother) or base it on ones name such as Dede which was mentioned. You can go by your initials if you like. JJ, EM etc…

    I would consider a serious sit down discussion with important relatives and friends though. It is not just a name thing. If they have a perception about you being a dad they have preconceived ideas about your role. You can expect ‘daddy’s lil girl’ infant attire, expectations about who will stay home to care for the baby, who will breast feed (yes MTF trans women can breast feed, just like adoptive mothers) and so on. It would be wise to discuss these ideas and concerns before any baby showers, and before the baby comes home.

    Congrats on becoming a parent! I am so happy that G-d has blessed your lives this way :)


  11. pbnhoney

    *I just wanted to add that I work as a family life educator so my training is specific to helping family’s resolve problems so I know a lot about this particular area.


  12. C

    being a parent is more important than being a dad or a mom. Your life changes when you have children; you are no longer the main character for at least the next 10 or so years. I do not believe gender identity should make parenting more of a challenge than it is for the cisgendered; however, I think it is human nature to be self-obsessed, and this more than anything, causes child neglect and abuse. So long as your child comes first and you and your identity second, there should be no problems.


  13. Tdot

    So agree! Being a single mom to a boy I am contantly reminded by others that my gender simply isnt sufficient enough to raise a man. Im just a good human trying to raise a good human, who respects&loves other humans. Is it too much to ask to keep it that simple?


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