Congratulations! You have mastered the art of early parenting. You’ve figured out how to make it through the day on very, very little shut eye; you’re managing to shovel in cold bites of leftovers from the ever-so-appealingly-prepared Meal Train drop offs; biodegradable bamboo diaper changes on the fly are already a breeze; you’ve got the supplemental chestfeeding system down like it’s nobody’s business; and, you skillfully snatch scarce seconds uploading the cutest sleeping baby pics ever, so your eagerly awaiting Ello family of friends can virtually coo with you.
Now that you’ve indeed tackled the newest of newborn care techniques and are overly supplied with what seemed the most baffling in baby gear, it’s beginning to feel like you’ve got this. So let’s take a moment to look at what else you’ve got, for your other babe—your partner over the past many years. You know you have a sound thing going on; you’re both in it for the long-haul. How to focus attention so the chemistry stays fierce and fiery amidst the new family frenzy? What steps can you take to insure no fizzling out on your end?
Whether you identify as any of the myriad of parental self-signifiers such as Mama, Baba, Mapa, Pama, Papa, or DykeDaddy, down time essentials are as unique and intentional as you are. Finding the balance between raising your baby and meaningfully engaging with your wife, quife, hersband, spouse or partner requires a steadfast forging of a sustainable self-care regimen. To help keep you feeling fortified for you and your family, with your heart and health in mind, here’s a Top-10 sampling of the East Bay’s quintessentially queer offerings:
1. Get your Butch Yoga on with Skeeter or Richelle at Namaste Yoga.
2. Pound it out solo or lift with a skilled trainer at the nation’s first LGBTQ gym, The Perfect Sidekick.
3. Hop on the Redwood Regional trail system with the San Francisco Bay Chapter of Gay and Lesbian Sierrans.
4. Make a friend date with a pal and enjoy a locally made meal or a double shot of espresso at dyke-owned Hive Café: the Place to Bee.
5. Start a queer parent MeetUp Group around a special interest (such as one for non-gestational co-parents) or join the already existing lesbian moms MeetUp group.
6. To further build your community of queer families, check out the TransDads or the Mamas and the Papas groups and events at Our Family Coalition.
7. Connect with other new LGBTQ parents and parents-to-be at Then Comes Baby.
8. Join the LGBTQI/SGL community at the East Bay Meditation Center (EBMC) Alphabet Sangha for your mindfulness meditation practice.
9. Book yourself a body-mind tune-up of acupuncture, chiropractic care, deep tissue massage or integrative counseling with your choice of the many LGBTQ Perinatal Wellness Associates.
10; Settle in by the lake, at a gastropub, or in your backyard hammock with a good queer parenting read:
- Who’s Your Daddy and Other Writings on Queer Parenting – By Rachel Epstein
- Confessions of the Other Mother: Non biological Lesbian Moms Tell All – Edited by Harlyn Aisley
- Waiting in the Wings: Portrait of a Queer Motherhood – By Cherri’e Moraga
- Pregnant Butch: Nine Long Months Spent in Drag – By A.K. Summers
- And Baby Makes More: Known Donors, Queer Parents, and Our Unexpected Families – By Susan Goldberg
- The Queer Parent’s Primer: A Lesbian and Gay Families’ Guide to Navigating the Straight World – By Stephanie Brill
- Family Pride: What LGBT Parents Should Know about Navigating Home, School, and Safety in Their Neighborhoods – By Michael Shelton
Or peruse useful web resources:
If not daily, at least a weekly partaking of some enriching activity or contemplative practice will aid tremendously in renewing your internal resources, in invigorating your parenting stamina, and in maintaining your relationship passion. In gifting yourself the opportunity to recharge, you will cultivate a self-care ritual or routine that will support, nourish, and inform you throughout the many enjoyable years of parenthood and partnership.
Dr. Meghan Lewis is the founder of Integrative Perinatal Psychotherapy as well as LGBTQ Perinatal Wellness Associates of the Bay Area with offices in Oakland and San Francisco. With over 18 years of experience in reproductive wellness Meghan brings unconditional support to her clients exploring a range of preconception, pregnancy, birth, postpartum and early parenting concerns. Please visit www.meghanlewisphd.com for more information or go to www.lgbtqperinatalassociates.com