In case you haven’t been here since the start, Emily and Chaya (Rabbi Bender) met at BIMA (Berkshire Institute for Music and Art) in 2004. Emily was there for creative writing and Chaya was there for singing! After many years of friendship and love, we were married in August, 2016.
Nowadays, we have added a snuggle bug to the mix, Isaiah Jaeger Bender the mastiff, and we are enjoying the North Carolina life with our Bnai Israel family, where Rabbi Bender has her pulpit. We are so excited to be expanding our family in March to include Baby Jaeger Bender (a.k.a Nibblette).
What’s in a Name?
Baby Jaeger Bender? Nibblette? Isaiah-Snack? What are all these nicknames about? One common Jewish practice is to refrain from using the baby’s true name until after the baby is born and is officially welcomed into the community a week later (baby-naming and/or bris). According to folklore, not using the baby’s real name until this point will confuse the angel of death (not just a Passover character) and keep the baby safe until birth. Many families choose a silly nickname in the meantime. Not exactly sure how we got here, but it’s Nibblette for now.
How Do Two Women Make a Baby?
Well, in our case, you need three things and almost three years. One thing for sure, Nibblette is coming into this world really wanted and really planned for. We have been parents in-waiting for a long time as we went through all the legal, medical, and fertility checkboxes, which makes this (albeit challenging pandemic-wise) time so special. In terms of the “mechanics,” every baby requires three things to exist: a sperm, a womb, and an egg. No medical miracles here.
But more seriously, we are always happy to have a scheduled, respectful, and deeper conversation about our pregnancy process. However, just like all parents, this process is intimate and not really ideal for a sidewalk greeting/interview. We’re also tired, we’re having a baby in a pandemic! If you see us on the streets, we are excited to celebrate with you.
Who’s Carrying and How Did you Decide?
For those of you whom we’ve had the pleasure to see in person, you probably already know the answer to the first part of this question—that Rabbi B is carrying. Like all decisions that couples make when starting a family from timing, names, and/or the need to get fertility treatments, the decision of who will carry is a deeply personal choice made by the couple.
Who’s the Mom, Who’s the Dad?
Thanks for asking! In lesbian relationships, there is no dad, just two moms. In fact, Rabbi B will be going by Mommy and Emily will be going by Imah (Hebrew for Mom). Isaiah will be going by Yumyum Banana Boy (yet another nickname to escape the evil eye). Nibblette is equally our child and we are equally her mothers.
The correct terminology for our sperm donor is either sperm donor or directed donor. This donor has no parenting or legal role.
How Can I Join in the Celebrations Heralding the Arrival of the Nibblette?
Woohoo. Don’t we all need some good news these days? Since we can’t have much of a baby shower, please check out our wish tree activity (where we solicit your parenting advice and well wishes to be collected in a family keepsake). Also, stay tuned for the announcement of our baby-naming, presumably sometime in March.