Kelly Haworth

Author of Queer Speculative Romance

A Norm Rarely Challenged


Life’s about to get a little more complicated. My family is leveling up from one kid to two. I’m pregnant! We’re relieved that it happened relatively easily for us this time, and I’m currently sitting at 11 weeks and things are going well. I’m excited to be a mother again, as I find raising children to be a wonderful, albeit challenging, experience.

Yet I’ve already been feeling anxiety, and not quite for the reason a lot of expectant mothers do.

I want to share a picture with you guys. This was taken at my friend’s wedding back in June, and features my son and I as we were getting ready.

Getting Ready

I wore a tux for that wedding, as you can see. Getting dressed with the guys, being a part of the groomsmen experience with men that I’ve known for a decade, was a rewarding, wonderful experience. I look at this picture and get choked up, not just at the sight of my beautiful boy, but at me looking like a father, instead of a mother. It’s a future I want—to assume a more masculine appearance on a regular basis—and I don’t think I knew quite how much I wanted it until I saw this picture.

But that future isn’t close. I’m about to have at least a year of baby bumps, nursing bras, and everything else that comes with having a female biology that I chose to utilize. I don’t regret bearing my own children for one second. Having my son was an experience that has shaped my life, and having this second child will continue to shape me and drive me as a person.

I was hoping that the pendulum that is my gender identity would swing feminine at the news that my pregnancy was sticking. But it hasn’t. And as it’s my second child, my belly pooched out fast, cutting me off from all my men’s jeans. So I’m in this awkward in-between where the only clothes that fit me are increasingly feminine. And who’s ever heard of masculine maternity clothes? I’ll have to get creative.

I’m not sure how many people have been in this situation. I know I’m not alone, but it’s easy to feel a little lonesome when you’re increasingly aware that the way you look isn’t the way you feel.

I like that it’s becoming more accepted in society to express yourself the way you want, that you don’t really have to conform to gender norms. But I know this is especially difficult for transwomen, and men who want to express their feminine side. The stigma is much more negative for them than it is for women wanting to be masculine. A man is expected to be masculine, and to challenge that is almost to challenge masculinity itself. That’s a bit how I feel about wanting to be masculine while pregnant. It’s almost as though I’m challenging femininity at a time when I am expected to be the most feminine of my life.

We still have a lot of work to do to bring acceptance to the whole spectrum of gender identities. And I want to keep challenging the norm as my pregnancy continues. Maybe I’ll post some pictures of my more masculine baby bump. And maybe that will give another nonbinary or genderqueer female the confidence to dress the way they feel.

Thanks for reading!

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