Being a Mommy
By Janet L. Stickney
Having had lots of practice dressing and going out as a woman, I was unconcerned when I walked through the mall in search of a new black dress. There was a new art showing at the museum, and I wanted to be tastefully dressed for the occasion. Wearing shorts, a top and gym shoes, I was comfortable and not paying attention to anyone as I flitted from one store to the next. I ended up with new shoes, the dress, plus a set of pearl earrings with a matching necklace and bracelet, all in small bags. As I walked out of the mall and across the service drive, I was assaulted by a young woman carrying a small baby in a hand carrier. As she got closer I could see that she was very distraught, and she was mumbling something, so I couldn't understand her. I watched her just in case. Suddenly she thrust out the baby carrier, forcing me to take it or let the baby drop to the ground, then, the minute I had my hand on the carrier, she ran across the parking lot, jumped in an old truck, the drove away!
I didn't care how I was dressed, I went back in the mall and called the police, reporting what had happened. A few minutes later a police car showed up, driven by a female officer. I explained what had happened, the kind of truck she drove off in and so on, all while holding the baby, since neither officer made a move to take it from me.
"Okay" The Sergeant" told me, "I think we have all we need for now."
Just then the other officer answered a radio call, then,
"We have a robbery in progress. It's just around the corner."
As they started to leave I asked her "Aren't you going to take the baby?"
"We can't take the baby right now, but we have all of your information. I'll forward it on the Family Services Division, and they'll get in touch with you."
"But what am I going to do with a baby?!"
"They will contact you later today, tomorrow morning at the latest. In the meantime, I'm sure that you know how to care for a baby!"
With that, they jumped in their car and sped away leaving me standing there holding a baby! Having no choice, I strapped the baby into the car the best I could, and drove home, stopping to pick up some disposable diapers, a baby bottle and a few other things. Carrying a baby around like that gave me a sense like no other I had ever experienced when I was dressed up, and I'll admit it, I kind of liked it! Having all the other women stopping to look at the baby made me feel as if I were one of them, a mother. By the time I got home it was clear that the baby needed to be changed, so I put her on the floor and began to unwrap. That's when I discover it was a girl. As I undressed the baby I found a note in her clothes saying that her name was Melissa, her birth date, and nothing else. I changed her diaper, wrapped her in a towel and threw her dirty clothes in the washer. Then I called my mom.
See, I'm a single guy! I like to dress as a woman, and over the years I had become quite good at it. I'm 23 and work as a graphics designer from home, which gives me plenty of chance to stay dressed up, but even with all that, I had no, as in zero, experience with babies, which meant that I really needed my mother. When I told her what had happened, all she did was laugh! She had always known about my dressing up, and while she didn't like it, she never really put the hammer down on me about it. All she ever said was that if I knew what being a woman meant, I would never want to be one. Since I didn't get it at the time, she was laughing now, because for however long it took, I was about to become a young mother! I didn't bother to change, so when mom showed up, I was still dressed like I had been at the mall, perfume and all.
"Oh! Isn't she cute!" mom said as she picked up Melissa. "You change her yet?" I nodded my head yes. "She doesn't look like she has been abused, but maybe she should take a nap. Let's put her down." Mom and I put her in the middle of my bed, making sure that she couldn't fall out, then went back to my living room. "Did they tell you how long this might last?"
"The cops said today, tomorrow at the latest, someone would come to get her. I think I can manage at least that long, with your help of course!"
With a grin, mom sat down, and said "now that", in her words, "I had the chance to really be a mother", she would supervise, but made it clear that I would have to do everything. Not to be outdone, I agreed. As we watched the news later that night we found out that the entire Family Services Division had gone out on strike, and according to the news, it might be a very long strike! There was no way to tell just how long it would last! I looked over at mom as we both realized what that meant. I was going to have Melissa for a while! Mom quit laughing at that point, because she realized that the very real prospect that I might actually have to be a mother, for the short term anyway, might come true! Mom stayed with me that night, watching as I fed Melissa with a bottle, changed her, then put her down. That night, with no place to put the baby, she slept with me. I was awake most of the night worrying.
Melissa was 15 months old, just about ready to start walking, and my supply of baby clothes was zilch, so mom went out and picked up a few outfits, socks and shoes, plus some formula. I looked like hell, so I put the baby in bed, then took a shower, shaved, and changed into a skirt and blouse, brushed out my hair, and put on some makeup, all before mom got home. When my mom returned, she and I changed the baby, fed her yet again, then let her play on the floor.
"You look" mom said with a smile, "very mommy like this morning Janet, planning on making this a permanent thing?"
"Me? No, I just thought that if someone does show up, they should get the baby back from the same person they gave her to!"
"Right" mom said, "if you say so, but remember, this child is not yours, and you'll have to give her back some day. Are you going to dress like this until then?"
"Yeah, I guess" I told her, "why not? I'll have to go grocery shopping and so on with the baby, so why not look like a mother if I can?"
"No reason" mom said grinning at me, "but it does remove everyone's doubt about you, if they had any, especially while you're lugging a baby around, doesn't it?"
"I hadn't thought of that mom, but yes, I guess so, but wouldn't that make you a grandmother?"
Mom didn't flinch, she just told me to get my purse. We were going to get me some "mommy outfits" she said. I had no idea what she meant, but together we got the baby ready, then left for the mall. Once there I rented a stroller so I wouldn't have to carry Melissa, then we went straight into a department store where mom picked out a couple of those jumpers you see so many new mothers wearing. Long, about mid shin with daisies, small animals or other assorted pink, blue or mint green ornamentation sewn on. Then she picked out a few blouses to wear under the jumpers. As I looked around I began to see many young mothers pushing strollers, something I had not paid any attention to before, and for some reason I felt more…maternal I guess. Melissa slept through most of our shopping, which I was thankful for. Mom went home soon after we got to my house, leaving Melissa and I alone. As I looked down at her, she smiled at me, and I had a warm feeling rush over me.
Melissa fell into my arms when I picked her up, then, when I put her down while holding her hands, she tried taking her first steps. I spent a wonderful hour playing with her, and with each passing minute I grew more and more attached to her, and realized that if this went on for very long, I knew that I would have tremendous trouble letting her go. I found myself wanting to keep the child, not because it made me feel more feminine, but because she was such a delightful child. I was watching the news that night when it was reported that the strike was getting worse, then the reporter said that anyone that had business with Family Services would just have to wait, because of the entrenched positions both sides were taking. Looking at Melissa, I found that I didn't really care how long the strike went on. I had her, they didn't. In my mind, I had become her mother, not the woman that had so casually abandoned her.
The next morning I wore one of my new "mommy" outfits, then set out to buy myself a stroller, playpen and a few other things that I knew I was going to need. Each day started the same, feed and change Melissa, then let her play while I went to work. I continued to dress as a woman, afraid that another big change might startle Melissa and harm her. At least, that's what I told myself. The days became weeks, and each time she and I went out, shopping, to the park, whatever it was, I always felt a growing attachment to her, as if she were really mine. My mother helped out once in a while, but my dad, while not liking me dressed as a woman at all, was a complete pushover as soon as he saw Melissa, then held her in his arms. That little girl had him wrapped around her tiny little finger almost from the first moment he held her, which is when he started calling me Janet, for the first time ever! That's when I decided to try and find out what I could about Melissa.
That night I logged on, and began to search all birth records for the day given for her birth. There was no Melissa listed, not even as a middle name. I printed out all of the names anyway, then tried to find out how to get a birth certificate for her. Sooner or later she would have to go to school, and if this went on that long, I would need it. In my heart I knew it was just fantasy, surely someone would come for her, but ignoring that, I went ahead and tried anyway, even knowing there was no easy way to get her a birth certificate without jeopardizing my custody. I knew that by keeping her I would have to make a commitment that I had never considered before, yet the more I thought about it, the more I knew that I wouldn't mind at all. I would have to tell my parents, but that was only the first hurdle. I picked up the phone, then told my mother what I was going to do.
"But if they take her away from you" mom said with a sigh, "you'll be stuck!"
"I don't look at it as being stuck mother" I retorted, "it's been on my mind for some time anyway."
"I know honey" mom said softly, "it's just…your father will…"
"He'll be so busy playing with Melissa that he won't care mother."
"Do what you have to then, just don't be surprised if someone shows up to claim her."
The next day I called both my doctor and my lawyer, and set in motion my becoming a woman. First, I changed my name to Janet Lynn, then started taking the pills to make me more womanly. Each day became an adventure as I still had to do my work, but each day when I went to have my beard removed, I had to bundle up Melissa and take her with me. That meant diapers, the stroller, her bottle, and a few toys. It was like moving an army! By the time three months had gone by I was so used to dressing as a woman that it was second nature, and with Family Services still on strike, I had became Melissa's mother by default. I suppose I could have been her father, but I had long since reached the conclusion that being a woman was in my future anyway, so I never considered being her father. By the time Melissa had been with me six months, everything had changed.
First, she could walk, and her natural curiosity kept me busy watching her. Then she started to talk, calling me mama, but also, my mom became nana while my dad was papa. My body had started changing, beginning with hair loss and a modest change in my body shape. I had small but firm breasts and my hips had gotten wider, my hair longer, and better, I no longer had to shave. That was when I really decided to get Melissa a birth certificate, one that listed me as her mother. With my parents along with me, the four of us visited my lawyer, and set things in motion, starting with getting my own birth certificate changed to female. Then I would have to risk exposing myself by going to court to legally adopt Melissa. She was almost two by then, and the time was coming when I might want to put her in preschool.
My birth certificate was easy enough, and once it was registered, we got our court date. My attorney met us just outside the courtroom, then together we walked into court. I had dressed Melissa in a beautiful black velvet and white satin dress with black shoes and ribbons in her hair to match. The judge was a woman about mom's age. I saw her smile when she saw Melissa. The lawyer presented our case, outlining the exact circumstances that I came to have Melissa, calling both police officers as witnesses. My doctor, who had checked Melissa every month since I got her, testified that she was in perfect health and well cared for. Then it was my turn. Handing Melissa to mom, I answered the judges questions.
"You are aware that raising a child is a life long commitment?"
"Your parents are helping you?"
"Mom mostly" I said lightly, "she has more experience than I do."
"Of course" the judge said quickly, "I can understand that."
"Your documents say that your name is Janet Lynn, but your birth certificate is newly issued. Why is that?"
It was my moment of truth. "I'm in transition your honor, and as part of the process it's a requirement."
"Your honor! If I may?" It was my doctor. "Janet is, for all practical purposes, a woman right now. She faces surgery to complete her transition, but at this point, that's really quite minor to her well being, and her ability to care for the child."
"I see" the judge said. "Your family obviously supports you, and the child seems to be very well cared for, but there are some procedures we have to go through before I can simply let you adopt her. The Family Services division has to post a notice giving the natural parents a chance to claim her, but of course, they would have to provide positive paternity before they could reclaim the child. However, since Family Services is on strike and does not have the ability to post such notice, I will give you legal custody of the child until such time as things return to normal." She paused, then, "It is our normal practice to place children in homes with two parents. Do you plan on getting married?"
"With the baby and my work" I said, I don't really have time to date, but yes, in the future I hope to get married some day."
Without another question, I was named the legal guardian for Melissa, the judge giving her my last name in absence of knowing her own last name. In just a few months I had gone from a carefree guy that liked to dress up once in a while to a young mother, and I found that I didn't mind a bit! My dad carried Melissa for me, and as I watched, that little girl continued to wrap that crusty old man into a knot with her smiles. Becoming a mother threw my life into a chaotic mess, as I always had to schedule meetings around the times I knew that she would be tired, then of course, all of my clients had to be told that I had changed my name. They could draw their own inferences from the name Janet, because I didn't think I had to tell them I had become a woman. But the joy that Melissa brought me was far greater than any inconvenience. When Melissa turned three she had already started to talk, and I put her in a well known day care center. Each day for four hours I was able to get a lot done in my work while at the same time Melissa began to interact with other children. It was perfect for both of us.
Then, just as Melissa was about four, it happened. A notice was posted in the paper, and a woman showed up claiming Melissa was hers! She knew all of the details of how I came to have her, then a test confirmed that she was the mother. I was in agony as the court date approached, knowing that I might lose Melissa to a woman that had given her away almost four years previously, but my lawyer told me that was a good thing, because it showed a lack of caring on the real mothers part. My lawyer was ready for a fight, and on the day we went to court, I had steeled myself for the possibility that I might lose Melissa. The judge, a woman with four kids of her own, sat staring at the woman that had abandoned Melissa so long ago, and by the look on her face, she wasn't happy. With a rap of the gavel, court was in session.
"Your honor" her lawyer began, we…"
"Thank you" the judge said, "please sit down. I have some questions of my own."
"Miss…Benson" the judge began, "where have you been for the last four years?"
"In jail your honor. I couldn't get out! I told them about my baby and they still made me stay!"
"What were you in for?"
"I'm waiting" the judge said quickly, then, "it was because you let your boyfriend beat your son to death, wasn't it? With a…with his fists it says here. Is that true?"
"I wasn't even there!" Miss Benson cried, "he did it when he ran out of…he was out of control!"
"He ran out of crack, which is where you were. You bought four rocks from an undercover cop, right?"
She said nothing, then the judge looked at Melissa, who was sitting on my lap, smiling and happy, oblivious to what was going on. Miss Benson" the judge began, "you have a history of drug use, you abandoned your son which led to his death, then you abandoned this child, giving her to someone you didn't even know! The child is happy, well cared for, and has a bright future within her current family, so I am terminating your parental rights and awarding the child to Ms. Stickney." Turning to me and my attorney, "Do you have a motion for me sir?"
Startled, I whispered in his ear. "Yes your honor. We would like to finalize the adoption so that Ms. Stickney can continue to raise the child without any further interference."
"Granted" the judge said, "have the papers on my desk this afternoon and I'll sign them."
That's how I came to have a child of my own, but I became a mother the moment Melissa and I bonded. She is now six and in school full time. I had the surgery some time back, and dad introduced me to the son of one of his clients, something he wouldn't do unless he knew for sure that he was a nice guy. Hopefully he's right!
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