She had never done online dating before and I was an old pro. Our early emails and phone calls were intimate, sexy and thrilling. Our first date was in a cozy little corner restaurant in Washington Heights in New York City.
She was more beautiful in person than her pictures conveyed. We had instant chemistry. I remember thinking she may be too fine for me and I should pass her to a friend of mine that was “better” with women. Thankfully, I thought twice and our romance began.
A Month Later, I Invited Her to Live with Me
We dated for over two months and six dates before we made love. That’s a big deal in the lesbian world and I was proud of us. After that we were inseparable.
A month later, I invited her to live with me. She didn’t think my apartment was big enough so she replied with an invitation for me to come live with her instead. Right before I moved in, it occurred to us that we were moving quite fast, but we justified it with sayings like, ‘well we are grown ass adults, we can do what we want.’
As I said, we met February of 2007 and by December 18th of 2007 we had closed on a house in the suburbs of Jersey. A mother-daughter, bi-level home that came fully equipped with my mother moving in and living in the small sub-level part of our home.
We Were Winning at Life
We were married on September 20, 2009. It was a beautiful and fun ceremony, we had live band karaoke and as many friends and family as we could afford and fit in the hall. It was a magical day and I felt like a princess on a magical carriage ride.
My wife and I loved all the projects that came with home ownership and it felt great to accomplish things neither of our parents could do. We had done much better than our parents. We just knew we were winning at life and honestly, we were.
We had two cars, vacations, home renovations, parties and so much fun! We were lesbian jet-setting. We often joked about how we felt sorry for couples who didn’t have what we have. Instead of being grateful and humble we were assholes, sometimes.
Quite soon after we were married, we started working on getting pregnant. When we were discussing getting pregnant, my wife was less enthusiastic about carrying and really hoped I’d get pregnant first. However, I wanted her to be the first to get pregnant and not for the typical reasons.
It Was All Too Good to Be True
I’d wanted to be pregnant as long as I could remember but when the moment came to get to work on making that dream a reality, I flinched. I didn’t know why. It wasn’t fear of carrying and delivering a baby, that never struck me as terrifying or off-putting. I just felt it was all too good to be true.
I was always waiting for the other shoe to drop and crush my happiness. Not being honest about how much I yearned to be the one pregnant was that big, heavy, life-devastating shoe falling. And oh, how hard it fell. We started trying to get pregnant by a family friend but ovulation schedules and his hectic work-travel-life made it impossible. Thankfully my wife has amazing insurance and when we finally got serious we went to the prestigious Cornell Weill Reproductive Center and began all the tests and eventually the inseminations.
Finding Our Donor Daddy
We chose intra-cervical insemination without drugs. We knew a lot of folks used the drugs but we each had a healthy uterus and figured we knew better than the doctors. However, we should have taken their advice, we would have saved lots of money and maybe our sanity, if we had.
Once we were cleared by the doctors we signed up with a sperm bank to find our donor daddy. It was no easy process and we deliberated for weeks until we found HIM–the “perfect” donor for our future babies. Donor 0004 is half black and half native, he’s 6-feet tall, holds a Ph.D. and had the most adorable baby pics and terrific answers to questions and family history.
We ordered a huge supply of 0004 and began the inseminations. We alternated months. She got inseminated in April, then I got inseminated in May, she in June, I was July, and so on for two years.
Our Blissful Relationship Was Changing
That process put a stress and a strain on our relationship that we didn’t expect at all. For some reason we thought being women, and black women at that, we could handle this better than we had seen our white counterparts do. We thought wrong. In hindsight, we should’ve gone to groups, or therapy, or something. Our blissful relationship was changing and we were in a rough patch.
After one insemination, I was so sure I was pregnant that, behind my wife’s back, I took about 20 pregnancy tests in the CVS and Rite Aid bathrooms, without telling her. I was obsessed. Getting pregnant was an all-consuming mission. I was not pregnant.
After a weekend getaway on Fire Island, she took a test. Positive. I will never ever forget that moment. She peed on the stick and left it in the bathroom, she told me to go look. Then we procrastinated and giggled and felt all the feels and jitters, we just knew, but we had “just known” so many times before with no positive test.
When I went to the bathroom and saw the positive test I was overjoyed, absolutely. I had planned to come out and trick her but I couldn’t keep a straight face. I nodded and she knew. We started laugh-crying and melted into a heap of love, holding and kissing one another on the floor.
Then life got real. It was time to step up and get ready. We had so much to do and though we had nine months to do it, it didn’t seem like enough time. We were married, and pregnant, no, she was pregnant and I was not and I found that really sucked.
I started clocking her every move and harassing her to describe every feeling in great detail and nuance.
One evening while watching a movie about water births I was obsessing again, and out of nowhere I started crying. The first time my wife asked me what was wrong I said, ‘nothing, just emotional, about the baby.’ But she pressed on, she could feel there was more, she pressed and pressed and finally I blurted out, ‘I’m so jealous of you I can’t see straight! I wanted to be the one carrying our baby!”
The silence was heavy.She whispered, ‘I’m sorry, you’ll be next baby. Don’t worry.’ I could tell she was crushed by what I had said so I tried to back track but the damage was done. During the remainder of the pregnancy my wife shut down more and more. And the more she shut down, the more obsessed and hurt I felt.
My Wife Had Post-partum Depression and I was Losing My Mind
It was a very healthy but not easy pregnancy. My wife didn’t easily share what she was experiencing for fear she’d hurt me and her not sharing hurt me worse than anything. We argued constantly and had the most horrible babymoon in history. How we made it through I don’t know, but somehow, we did. On April 8, 2011, we welcomed our baby boy into the world.
Not long after our son was born we started working on getting me pregnant, this time we decided to use the fertility drugs. The drugs amped my chances but also my level of crazy. My wife had postpartum depression and I was losing my mind. We had a brand-new baby, and for some crazy reason decided that it was a great time to do a full gut renovation of our kitchen! Wtf?
We Had Broken Something
My wife was working longer and longer hours, and we couldn’t connect. We drifted further and further apart arguing constantly. By the time, we made it to the therapist’s couch, it was too late for our marriage. We had broken something in one another with all the arguing, uncontrolled emotions and meanness.
Our son was 18 months old when we separated and 3 years old when our divorce was finalized. As I look back and attempt to process, I understand that we did a lot right, and a lot we just had no idea about. We were both statistics, I was the product of a single parent home with a controlling mother at the helm and a functional addict dad that came around when he felt like it. My wife was raised by her very mean grandmother because the crack cocaine epidemic swallowed up both her parents.
We were both college-educated, open-minded, beautiful and successful women with a great desire to create a home and family we didn’t have as children. However, we didn’t know how to do it. We were unable to find resources that support our black lesbian love in a way that was beneficial.
That has been the impetus for me to continue writing and talking on this topic as much as possible. We, as black lesbians embarking on love and family, need one other to share our stories no matter how wonderful or horrific. I’m very glad that in 2019 sites and spaces like this one exist and have space and community for us, by us.