Jolivette Mecenas

Meet The Mom: Jolivette Mecenas

Jolivette and her partner, Charlyne, are expecting their first child in mid-August. Jolivette will be the birth mother. i i
Courtesy of Jolivette Mecenas
Jolivette and her partner, Charlyne, are expecting their first child in mid-August. Jolivette will be the birth mother.
Courtesy of Jolivette Mecenas

A 'Real, Live Gay Girl': Some facts: My nickname is Joli. I am 38 years old (no longer a "girl" strictly speaking, but still an occasional wearer of pigtails). I live with my partner in Los Angeles. We are expecting our first child — a son — to be born in mid-August. I am the birth mother. We rent. I keep hoping a talent scout will discover our charmingly quirky shelter dog, and that his pet acting will pay our rent and impending baby costs, but no such luck as of yet.

In the meantime, I teach at a local university, persuading students that reading, thinking and writing are still worthwhile endeavors, even though there is no job waiting for them when they finish reading a poem or writing an essay on, say, civil rights. This past semester, a particularly thoughtful class reminded me that students do think deeply about changing the world. I am honored when they write these stories for class, and inspired to likewise share the last leg of my pregnancy with readers of NPR's Baby Project.

Jolivette (right) with her partner, Charlyne i i

Jolivette (right) with her partner, Charlyne Courtesy of Jolivette Mecenas hide caption

itoggle caption Courtesy of Jolivette Mecenas
Jolivette (right) with her partner, Charlyne

Jolivette (right) with her partner, Charlyne

Courtesy of Jolivette Mecenas

A year ago, my partner Charlyne and I decided to start a family. We consulted The Essential Guide to Lesbian Conception, Pregnancy, and Birth by Kim Toevs and Stephanie Brill, recommended by a close friend, a social worker in San Francisco.

At first I was skeptical: The authors, Bay Area midwives, dedicate the book to the Goddess; on one page there is an alarming photo of someone's cervix, viewed up close and personal through a speculum, to illustrate "signs of fertility." But the authors explain that they want to give women "the information and tools they need to follow their own unique path to creating a family." When I read this, I thought, I am so totally on board with that!

My own family is a very traditional, two-parent, two-offspring model, fully loaded with extended family. My parents immigrated to Los Angeles from the Philippines when they were teenagers. Charlyne's parents also emigrated from the Philippines and settled in L.A. In fact, we live in a neighborhood dubbed "Historic Filipinotown."

Jolivette with her family in 1976 i i

Jolivette with her family in 1976 Courtesy of Jolivette Mecenas hide caption

itoggle caption Courtesy of Jolivette Mecenas
Jolivette with her family in 1976

Jolivette with her family in 1976

Courtesy of Jolivette Mecenas

Nearby is Los Angeles Community College, where my parents met. Pop was not really enrolled, just playing basketball with friends, and so he was drafted at the tail end of Vietnam. Luckily, he only made it as far as Ford Ord in Monterey, Calif. In 1973, I was born, costing a total of $25, a birth subsidized by Uncle Sam.

Ever since I was a kid, I've loved hearing this story. Filipinos (myself especially) can't resist pointing out a good bargain, and so the story of my thrifty birth paid for my G.I. father by the government always struck me as both a very Filipino and a very American way to enter into this world. Maybe this blog will give our son a good birth story he loves to hear over and over again. "I blogged about you when I was pregnant ..." And he'll sigh, "Oh, moms!"

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