[ becoming a mother ] [ writings on malpregnancy ]




            



note:

this is a digitized version of a publication on motherhood.
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index:



johan gonzalez 2019












It is with the writers permission that we have chosen to use the word malpregnancy in the title of this publication. We are very aware of the fact that the word originally was made, and still is used, by sensationalist tabloids and hateful internet trolls. Malpregnancy, which short lifespan can be traced back to sometime early autumn of 2018, has its origin in the words male and pregnancy which combined has a similarity to the word malfunction. It is in an attempt to take back and take pride in both the term and the phenomenon that we have chosen to use the term in this publication. Malpregnancy truly is a miracle.














[foreword]  


I feel honored and privileged to get to be the editor of this publication. Not only because I’ve felt and learned so much in the process of working with the texts and their writers, but also because the matter of which they speak is so close to my heart; maybe more so than I realized before taking on this task.

We live in a time of great confusion. Things that used to be unquestionable now turn into deep existential crossroads. Before, there was no question as to where you would live, what you would do, or wether you would get children. In this day and age you can choose whatever country you want to live in, every profession is a realistic option and it’s not granted that you should get children. One has to really think it through before one puts another life into this world. Is it morally sound? There’s already too many people on this earth. And the earths future is in it self  uncertain. Do I really want to put a child into this world? I might be too strict, but my answer to this question is no. No, I won’t let myself have a child, no matter how much I’d like too. I can only come to this conclusion, I think, because I can’t really have a child. By that I mean that I can’t grow one inside me. I do not have the organs needed. Genetically I am a man. But if I could get pregnant one day I would undoubtedly do it.

I don’t think there's anything such as penis-envy. I think there’s only uterus-envy. I suffer from intense uterus-envy. I think if I could get pregnant, carry a child and give birth to it, I would be happy forever. Both the fact that I can’t get pregnant and the fact that I’ve decided not to let myself get children at all are great griefs of my life. I’ve never felt as maternal as in the editing process of this publication. At the same time, I have never felt as content with the fact that I am not, and never will be, a mother.  Thank you.


- johan gonzalez, spring 2019















[hys-ter-i-a]


I HAVE SOMETHING INSIDE ME I SAID

HE SAID NO YOU DON’T

I SAID I FEEL SOMETHING INSIDE ME

HE SAID WE ALL DO SOMETIMES DON’T WE

I SAID I NEVER DID

WELL I DID HE SAID I DO

HYSTERIA HE SAID

TO WHICH I RESPONDED WHAT

YES HE SAID

YES WHAT I ASKED

HYSTERIA HE SAID HYS-TER-I-A

THEN HE WENT ON SAYING SOMETHING LIKE

DON’T THINK YOURSELF SO SPECIAL

THE EGO IS THE PLAGUE OF OUR TIMES

HYSTERIA I THOUGHT

I PUKE AND PUKE HYSTERIA






[spellbound]


        I never really thought about pregnancy before I got pregnant. I guess it never really struck me. How unbelievable it is. I dont think it occurred to me how utterly and totally meaningful my life could feel until this happened. It took a pregnancy to make me realize. People talk about mindfulness. They struggle with being in the now. You know. Being present. I used to think about those things too. But now, and I’m not trying to sound arrogant, I know why we feel that way. I know what we are made for. They say you never fully know what it means to be a woman until you become a mother. I think you never know what it means to be human until you become a mother. I didn’t know what I was missing. But I knew I wasn’t happy. I used to look in the mirror and be filled with disgust. Now I’ll stand there, all nude, in awe, for hours if possible. And when I don’t look I feel. With my hands preferably, or with all my conscious if they’re occupied. I can feel her grow. I know It’s a girl, don’t ask me how. I talk to her all the time. And when I’m not alone I think to her. I know she can hear me either way.

        I thought I knew what I was doing. I thought I had direction. I thought I had purpose. I thought I knew what love was. Ha!







[a miracle]


there was nothing mundane about this 

nothing ordinary

it started with feelings of nausea

these were nothing new to him

but still

the nausea hit harder and in irregular situations

in situations he didn’t really feel anxious at all

one night when he lay in bed

in new sheets

in no light

in no particular position

lingering between thoughts and dreams

he felt a sort of a knot in his pelvis

his hands had to work together touching all over the area

and did so slowly and cautiously

to be able to grasp the idea of an object hiding there under the skin

and when they finally had to admit it

they let the word be known

and that's when he realized that he had something inside him


who would have thought that a pregnancy could be such a miracle

he never knew that it could feel like this

he had thought about it

dreamt of it

wished for it

but could have never imagined


it was a sensation of course

every pregnancy is in a way

but this was something else

something bigger

something spectacular

something extraordinary

or at least that’s what they said

when they featured him in the papers

and on television

and when he was put on the cover of Time magazine

and got to meet all kinds of people

like Brad Pitt

and Caitlyn Jenner

and Barack Obama

and Elon Musk

and

you know

everyone


but it didn’t really matter

or at least it meant nothing

in comparison

to having something growing inside him


something small

and soft

and fragile

and living

a little being being inside him



he couldn’t bear life

but he bore her

as if he was a mother














         [i/am pt.1]

I was so happy I couldn’t see straight. I think most of all the blood in my body occupied my head. It was a real struggle to make my eyes focus. Mostly they would just look in  separate directions, spinning and flickering at will. It felt like days, but it must have been weeks, no, even months. I remember being able to see how my belly grew by the minute, but thinking of it  now  I  realize  how  absurd  that sounds.  

And then they came and told me about the abortion. I must’ve fainted. And as the cursed idiot that I am I managed to fall forward. Flat out on my stomach. I woke up puking and crying and bleeding; I didn’t know from where. I later came to know the blood originated from my mouth and nose fortunately, but then and there  I  panicked.  I  screamed.  I  hurled.  I  bit.  They  had  the  decency  to  not  talk  about  it   further.









[one moment]




there was one moment

when he sat on one of those hard aluminum benches waiting for the doctor to call on him thinking that he wouldn’t necessarily not have an abortion




there was one moment

when he sat on a specialists special specialst bed crying and thinking that he’d like to go home now or maybe get lost in a desert or whatever and a nurse gave him a look as if to say you are a mother and he blushed and got a semi hard on




there was one moment 

when he stood on a tram going straight through the city center heading from one point to another thinking something like that he would have peed now if this had been a toilet and not a tram and why does he feel the need to pee all the time and a man in his forties put a hand on his ass and kept it there until the next station where the man went off and dissapeared forever



there was one moment 

when he sat in the kitchen at some friends apartment not drinking a glass of wine listening to the soft voices in the living room but mostly thinking about what he would call her and for some or several reasons these thoughts made his heart beat faster




there was one moment

when he sat on the steps outside a bank or something taking in and out a bit of air thinking about the last episode hed seen of top of the lake and a sequence where elisabeth moss made this wonderful facial expression and i think he sat there about ten minutes spacing out trying to mimick her grimases




there was one moment

when he sat on the bus with several bags of groceries thinking about how the doctors appointment went and how exhausted those checkups made him when a woman who’d been staring quite obviously at him for some time got up from her seat went over to his ripped one of the grocery bags out of his hands and emptied the bags content over him salads pickled peppers dark chocolate red curry paste peanut butter body soap sambal oelek butter champignons and all


there was one moment

when some friends of his where discussing something about femininity masculinity and wether they are connected to gender or just associated with this or that gender or if its all just a matter of born such and such or nurtured so and so or what and they turned to him and asked him for his take on nature or nurture and he didnt know what to say not only because of the nature of the question but mostly and more importantly because he couldn’t stop focusing on how his nipples felt hard and sore











[i, maternal]

i

i got my first tattoo

it was utterly spontaneous

i always thought i’d never get a tattoo

i didn’t think i’d get a child either

i took it the day it was official

i was walking from the doctors office

i passed a tattoo parlor

i kept on walking at first

i just froze there on the curb

i couldn’t move for several minutes

i turned and went into the parlor

i got myself a tattoo right then and there



i knew it to be cheesy

i didn’t give a damn

i got myself a seahorse

i was a mother yet a man



ii

she said you will never be a mother

she said you shouldn’t doubt it for a second

she said I fucked you

she said I put it there inside you

she said I impregnated you

she said I am the mother

she said you are a freak

she said you are a father at best

she said she wanted an abortion

she said it was her choice to make

she said it was a false hope

she said it was a fantasy

she said it was a fetish

she said it was dirty

she said you are a pervert

she said you ought to die

she said you ought to kill it

she said it wasn’t fair

she said that she felt empty

she said why am I barren

she said where is my child

she said what about me



she cried

she screamed

she pushed me over

she kicked me in the stomach

she left, as so many fathers did before her



iii

please let my girl be born screaming

please let my girl be born breathing

please let my girl be born moving

please let my girl be born living



please let my girl be born to live

please let my girl be born to live

please let my girl be born to live

please let my girl be born to live



i need my girl to be alive

i need my girl to be alive

i need my girl to be alive

i need my girl to be alive









         [i/am pt.2]

I got more and more sick as I got closer to the doctors office for the next checkup. I puked on the corner of the hospital building. An old man looked at me across the street. I’m not sure if it was only in surprise or also with disgust. I was used to puking at this point, as well as surprise and disgust for that matter. But I knew this vomit was about something else. It was as if I knew what I was  heading  into.

They made me sit down. They were three this time. I didn’t want them to close the door but they did. And I sat with my back to the window. The vertigo crept onto me and I started shaking. One of the nurses took my hand and I felt her warmth. She had a look in her eyes as If to say: you are mother. And then I was. Warm and luminous. Calm and firm. I was ready. They could throw all seven hells at me and I would withstand it.






[mother definition]



am i a mother?
what is a mother anyway?

i went on and i googled it here the other day
is a mother always a female?
google didn’t really say 
i searched for the mother definition 
the definition of mother
even though i knew it would hurt to see it 

mother
a woman in relation to her child or children 

i wasn’t surprised 
of course I wasn’t 
still it made me black out for a second
then I quickly closed the laptop 
but i opened it again
and closed the page with the definition
it didn’t help to puke so I cut
deeper than I know I should

am i wrong?
i feel wrong














[epicrisis]

The patient does not seem to understand the situation he is in. Clearly he is in some kind of shock state. The patients unwillingness to listen or see any other perspective than his own makes all form of communication a difficult process. It has at several occasions been thoroughly explained to the patient how complicated it would be to give birth in his situation. The patient will not listen and does not in any respect seem to fathom the seriousness of the danger the pregnancy and potential birth threats to him. The possibility of abortion has been discussed several times without result. The patient has had physical reactions to the idea of abortion such as dizziness, puking, fainting and has also at certain times become violent. The patient is not seen as a threat to anyone at this point. There is a question of wether the patient is manic/psychotic/delusional or not and at present time no clear conclusions can be made. If the patient is one of the before mentioned he is generally likely to hurt- or try to kill himself but this seems unlikely in his specific situation as he is obsessively cautious about the wellbeing of the fetus. It is hard to know what is natural in a situation like this. There is unlikely any alternative but to go forth with the operation even though this is highly discouraged and there seems to be a high chance of failure leading to the patient and or child’s death.






[childhood]



i wonder how it is to have a daughter


i’ve seen how she grows

                                         a bit bigger

                                         a bit more human

                                                                      for every ultrasound


 

one day the ultrasound will show me a picture of my daughter



i can’t help but think about

                                            the future I hope for her

                                                                        for us


                                   i’ve started looking at clothes

                                                                  thinking about where I can put a cradle for her

but

i haven’t let myself buy anything

i couldn’t bear to have to go home from the hospital

to an apartment full of the life I wanted for her

if i didn’t bring her with me


i think about my own childhood

                                                    it seems so magical

                        i want to make her childhood magical


                        i think of all the songs that were sung to me

                                                      that I want to sing to her

 

                        i think of all the books that were read aloud to me

                                                     that I want to read aloud to her

                  

                                          and how i’ll show her how beautiful

                                                                              and precious

                                                                    nature is

                                                            we’ll walk together in the mountains

                                         gather mushrooms and berries in the woods

                                                                                                                late summer

                                                                                                                                and in the early autumn



                                                                              we’ll go sailing in the summer

                              but we will not be sporty about it

                                                                              we will walk in a pleasant tempo

                                                                              we’ll find round stones on the beach

                                                                                                         when it’s too cold to bathe

                                                                                         and throw them as far as we can into the ocean

                                                                                         or put them in a pocket and carry them with

                                                                                                    us


                                                                             we will sail with almost no wind

                                                                             spend hours and hours not going anywhere


                                                                             we will build a fireplace of stones in the river

                                                                                         make coffee

                                                                                                    she won’t like coffee

                                                      but she’ll want a sip of my cup every time


                                                                            we’ll go skiing in the winter

                             no alps no sports no downhill

                                                                            pointy skis on flat ground

                                                                            we’ll ski there

                                                         or halfway there

                             eat our lunch and drink our sweet tea

and go back again

and in the summer when we don’t feel like going anywhere or doing anything

                                                                            we’ll drag the old mattresses out into the garden

                                                                            we’ll lay on old hard smelly mattresses for hours

                                                                            reading books and comics

                                                               or simply

                                       feel the grass between our fingers

                                                                                                  look at the sky
                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                               nap for a while

                                              maybe

                                                            talk a little

                                                                      think a little




just as we did when I grew up








                    [s]mother]




will i never be a mother is that something I can never be who is the mother of my girl am I not a mother if I mother her is it not sufficient that I carry her that I foster her that I grow her that I love her that I give birth to her that I am the person closest to her that she is my world will I never be a mother will my girl be without a mother am I not capable  of  being  a  mother  am   I not    a      m        o        t        h       e         r




Ive made up my mind on this it is not the gender that defines wether one is a mother or not its just that we always think of mothers as women because they’ve traditionally always been women that doesn’t necessarily mean that the definition of the word mother is to be a female parent it could just be that a mother is the one who grows a child inside them and who gives birth to them no matter what their gender is and the gender is usually female but not always I’m a male and I’m a mother they call it a malpregnancy but its nothing wrong or perverse  or  unnatural  about  this i am a m           o            t            h           e           r
 



I refuse to be a father fuck you father go to hell father who ever needed you father who is more distant than you father I will never be you father go away as you always do father non-loving father brute father violent father non-communicative father incapable of showing emotions father heartless father self-absorbed father lust-driven father cheating father beating father far far away father silent father coward father hateful father insignificant father indifferent father penis father cock father ejaculating father empty father shell father   I       refuse        to        be        you 
f          a          t            h              e            r










         [a mother pt.3]

What could they do? I refused. I tore up every paper they gave me, wether it was to read or to sign. What right had they that I didn’t? How could they decide over my body? Not healthy? Who were they to say? Medical expertise? Theres no such thing in the face of a miracle. My life? It didn’t matter anymore. Not for anything but breeding. Protecting. Loving. Her. And If she was to- You know. Not make it. Well then neither would I.

I lay in bed crying. Holding her. I had never felt stronger. Or more scared. Or more together. They had said the operation would be painful. And there could be no guarantee as for the result. And although I knew I didn’t know, I had no idea of the struggle and the pain yet to come. But there was no other option. I was a mother. The mother of the girl I had always wanted.




 





                    [eternally]       [entwined]                                


Nothing is as close as a child to her mother. I had only hoped before. Now I know it to be true. The emptiness that I couldn’t shake. The loneliness that wouldn’t let go of me no matter who or how much or how many. The depression that made me apply more force to the paperknife with each cut. The anxiety that would imprison me in my room for days on end. The meaninglessness that seemed to be the ruler of my whole existence. And the black and all encompassing hole that seemed to me the only and inevitable future. They are all but vague and blurred out memories of another life. I truly believe that you give away the right to take your own life the day you become a parent. And so in a sense I saved myself the day I got pregnant. My life was outside of myself. For someone else. I can see her now. Looking comically small in an adult sized life vest. Learning to love being all the way away.  On a boat. In the ocean. Sailing. Just her.   And me.   Together.    Daughter.   Mother.
 eternally entwined










  [birth/operation]           


I still hate myself. I guess the difference lies in the fact that theres something deep inside me that I cannot anything but love. I still carve up my body.   I guess 


the difference lies in the fact that I would never cut so deep as for it to  stop. I’m still filled with fear. I guess the difference lies in the fact that no      matter     how

scared I feel, I also know that I am protected. I still keep away from other people. I guess the difference lies in the fact that no matter how much

I isolate myself, I will never truly be alone. I still think of killing myself. I guess the difference lies in the fact that I can be sure that I will never go  through   with it.



I know I shouldn’t self harm. I mean, I always knew. But just as I knew before, and still did it, I know it now, and still do. I try and do with as little as I can

though. I know my body needs to concentrate on nurturing my daughter and making her grow properly. It’s weird. In a sense I think of

my daughter as a part of myself. But in another way it’s clear to me that she is something outside of myself, just taking place inside me for the time being. It is

strange how someone so corrupted can conceive someone so pure. I don’t deserve my daughter, but I will do all I can for her.




On the day of the operation they give me pills which I pretend to take. I cannot bear to not be there with you. I want to be there with you. I want to

call it birth, but this is something else. This is the final step in becoming a mother. A step that I am willing to take because I would take any step, and

all steps. I am your mother and I will prove it to you and to them. They will cut up my body. They will destroy it. They will cut away my genitals in order

for you to be born. It will be painful. I will never have imagined such pain. And blood will run between my legs for the first time. And I will cry out happily.




There is pain. And I will not try and describe it. I will not focus on it, though I can focus on nothing else. I try and listen after the first signs of your

voice. I try and hold my breath to listen to you, but all I hear is the blood pumping in my ears. And the machines panting and beeping. And the

surgeons’ soft and  precise voices. I pass out- and I wake up. Can you hear me. I have no idea how much time have passed. I pass out- and I wake up.

I’m not sure if you are inside me anymore. Have they taken you away. Where are you. Are you awake. I pass out- and I wake up. Am I awake. Are we.







[letter]




my dearest,



what should one do in the face of uncertainty?

pray? panic? paralyze?

and is there ever a time to do anything but live?




i do not know if I’m doing the right thing by going through with the operation

they say it’s a great risk of either of us not making it

this terrifies me deeply, but I cannot see any other way

there is one thing they want me to do

which guarantees the survival of half of us

but it’s the wrong half

so I’ll rather take the chance of both of us not making it




but even if we do make it

what life is there for us?

what does future hold for us?

and is there a future to have at all?

and if there is: How long is it?

long enough for all of my life?

long enough for the overlapping years of our lives?

and then long enough for your life after mine?




as there a world for you?

will there be one for your daughter?

and one for hers?




will the world outlive us -

or will we live to be part of our species extinction?




it feels as if the world is ending

but I have no way of knowing

i don’t want you to have to live through a worlds last days

but I cannot make myself stop you

because I have no way of knowing

and, perhaps only because I dread being without you,

i choose to hope for a world worth living in




i know it’s a poor excuse, but I loved you too much to give you up

i wasn’t strong enough not to let myself have you

i was so lost, so alone

i was given the chance to have something to live for

and i took it, because I so desperately needed it

and i know that that was selfish




please forgive me

i just wanted to be a mother

i just wanted to be your mother




if you live to learn to read

and if I do not live to be the one to teach you

and you read these words




i hope that they can be of some comfort to you

i hope that you can learn to forgive me

i hope that you know that I love you




i want you to know that I would have given birth to you again

even knowing that I would not come out of it alive

i have never felt as happy and connected and in place and at peace

as during the nine months that I have carried you with me



you truly are a miracle



eternally entwined, 



your mother














Mark