Courtesy B R Sanders

What Celebrating International Women's Day As A Non-Binary Mom Is Like

Ad failed to load

I am a non-binary transgender person. While I was assigned female at birth, I don't identify as a woman; the gender binary doesn't fit for me. It never has. Sometimes I feel more masculine than feminine. Sometimes I feel more feminine than masculine. Most of the time I feel like neither construct really applies. My pronouns are they/them/their. It took me a long time to figure out my gender identity. The messiness of it made it hard to parse for a long time. But one niggling thing that was always true was that I felt uncomfortable in "women's spaces." I felt like an unwitting intruder. I was perceived as an insider, but I didn't feel like I was one. I had that tension over and over again until I finally figured out it was more than me missing cues and not quite fitting. That other people had a similar experience. That I was non-binary.

There is another side of that coin. In those women's-only spaces, what I was feeling was an undercurrent of exclusion. Those were spaces designed for and welcoming to, specifically, cisgender women. And I wasn't one. Many women's only spaces inadvertently exclude non-binary people and transgender people — or directly, explicitly exclude us. And because of that undercurrent of exclusion, I tend to be wary about Women's Anything.

Courtesy B R Sanders
Ad failed to load

The questions I often have are whether space is being made for transgender people, whether gender is being equated with biology. If I go into this space, will my gender identity be questioned? Will I be welcome? Will I be able to contribute? Should I contribute? This is the tricky line I walk with being woman-adjacent but not actually being one.

International Women's Day (IWD) is an odd exception to this fraught tension. I think it's because of International Women's Day's specific and unique history. International Women's Day has roots in the labor struggles of American women workers at the turn of the 20 century. Specifically tied to Clara Zetkin and the strikes among workers in shirtwaist factories, the very first observances of International Women's Day were meant to highlight the dangers and lack of parity faced by working women.

The link between women and work has remained strong throughout the history of International Women's Day. The UN-selected theme for IWD this year, for example, Women in the Changing World of Work: Planet 50-50 by 2030. As a holiday meant to focus on issues of parity facing women, whether cisgender or transgender, I think International Women's Day remains important.

Ad failed to load
For me, being visible on A Day Without a Woman means wearing red at work on March 8. It means writing articles like this. It means talking to my son about why it's important for him to clean up after himself so his mom doesn't have to.
Courtesy B R Sanders

Women's work is still devalued in our society. There is still a wage gap, one exacerbated by the intersection of race and gender.[ Fields dominated by women, like nursing and teaching, pay below what other fields with comparable levels of education do. When men do enter these fields, they are still paid more than women workers. We pay teachers here in the United States much less to do more than in other countries with better-performing education systems. The fact that we are asking our teachers to go above and beyond while earning a pittance is not surprising when you think about how teaching is framed — as a motherly field, as a calling, as women's work. Nurturance. We shouldn't have to pay women to do something they are supposed to be biologically, naturally better at, right?

Ad failed to load

Wrong. The fact that women — cisgender and transgender, women of color and white women — still have these consistent patterns of employment and lack of parity is something to notice and fight against.

And it's OK if I, as a non-binary person, is not at the center of this fight. I don't have to be. I can be in the background helping out. For me, being visible on A Day Without a Woman means wearing red at work on March 8. It means writing articles like this. It means talking to my son about why it's important for him to clean up after himself so his mom doesn't have to.

There are only so many days I can take off of work, and I have to hoard them in case of emergencies. And more than that, this is not a time for me to center myself. I won't be at the women's strike. I'm planning to check out some events the day of, but I'll be at work, with open ears if anyone wants to talk about the significance of the day, wearing a red dress.

Ad failed to load
Must Reads

These Millennial Parents Are Taking Gender-Neutral Parenting To An Entirely New Level

A woman on the subway looks at my bulbous shape and asks, “What are you having?” I take a deep breath and throw a glance to my 5-year-old. “I’m having a baby,” I say to the woman. “No, no” the woman says laughing as she pushes further. “Are you havin…
By Madison Young

I’m Registered At Babies “R” Us, & I'm Freaking The Hell Out

Hi. My name is Abi, and I’m registered at Babies “R” Us — and I’m freaking out. This may sound silly, but after being a die-hard Toys “R” Us kid, I was so excited to register at their baby store once my husband and I finally got our big fat positive …
By Abi Berwager Schreier

My Daughter Is Obsessed With Being "Pretty" & I'm Way Past Terrified

Last week, when I picked up my daughter after school, she immediately wanted to know if I liked her hair. "Is it pretty?" she asked. Her hair was pulled up into two ponytails that were intertwined into thick, long braids. A shimmering pink and purple…
By Dina Leygerman

7 Things No One Tells You About Having A Baby In Your 20s, But I Will

I was 24 when I found out I was pregnant with my daughter. The pregnancy was a surprise, since I was on birth control (side note: antibiotics and birth control don't mix), but my partner and I decided to continue with the pregnancy and committed to m…
By Candace Ganger

Women Who Miscarry Early Deserve To Grieve — Here's How Hospitals Should Be Helping

When I lost my baby back in 2013, it was because of a very early miscarriage. Because of the little amount of time I spent being pregnant, it was though my child had never really existed, which made the next few years hard — I felt like they had been…
By Risa Kerslake

7 Things I Wish My Partner Had Said To Me In The First Hour After Giving Birth

I don't know if it was the buzz of the surrounding machines, the non-existent cry of our son as the doctors tried to resuscitate him, or the fact that I'd already been through labor and delivery once before, but I knew something was missing after I h…
By Candace Ganger

Moms’ Groups Weren’t For Me, Sorry

I go to my moms’ club everyday of the week, but not usually on weekends. My moms' group is a place I can always count on finding fellow mothers who understand the daily struggles and triumphs of parenthood and of juggling life’s responsibilities. Dep…
By Samantha Taylor

Millennial Women Are Getting Married Later Than Gen X, & The Reasons Why Are Pretty Badass

The battle of the generations seems to come up when it comes to every lifestyle or career choice people make. Women, especially, are an important demographic when it comes to analysts looking at the lifestyle choices we make or the expected milestone…
By Josie Rhodes Cook

I've Had 3 Miscarriages But *Please* Keep Telling Me About Your Pregnancy

I can feel the tension the moment my friend announces her pregnancy. I can hear the forced nonchalant attitude she's willing herself to exude as she fishes for the ultrasound. I know why I was the last to learn that she was expecting; why she keeps l…
By Danielle Campoamor

7 Early Signs You're Going To Need An Epidural, According To Experts

Even if you've constructed an elaborate birth plan, it's impossible to control every aspect of labor and delivery. Complications can occur, proactive measures might be necessary, and your mind is subject to change when those damn contractions really …
By Candace Ganger

I'm Pregnant & I Refuse To Read Any Parenting Books

I didn't read any parenting books when I was expecting my daughter, and I refuse to read any parenting books as I await my second child now. I'm the first to admit that I don't really know what I'm doing when it comes to raising my daughter. A good d…
By Marie Southard Ospina

7 Reasons Why March Babies Are Total Badasses

From the moment you become pregnant, you begin to wonder what your little one will be like. Will they look like you, your partner, or your Great Aunt Edna? Will they be the quiet, thoughtful type or arrive on this planet raring to go? It's fun to ima…
By Caroline Shannon-Karasik

12 Overnight Face Masks To Use To Wake Up Feeling Pampered AF

Spring is right around the corner, and as far as I'm concerned, the sunshine and warm breezes can't come soon enough. But now that we're about to say goodbye to winter, it's a good time to take stock of your facial skincare routine. You know, in the …
By Katie Malczyk

11 Essential Products To Pack In Your Hospital Bag, According To OB-GYNs

The minute you go into labor (or think you're going into labor), chaos ensues. You and your partner are likely to get a little frantic, just like in the movies, so you most definitely want to have a hospital bag packed before the day comes. This prec…
By Abi Berwager Schreier

7 Photos You *Must* Take In The First 6 Months Of Motherhood

In my experience, becoming a mom is like becoming an amateur photographer. There's just something about the need to capture every single coo and sorta-smile that leaves you obsessed with all things photography. I know I couldn't stop taking selfies w…
By Candace Ganger

Here's How Early An Ultrasound Can Actually Determine Your Baby's Sex

From the moment you see those two lines on a pregnancy test, there are a few markers along the way that stand out as especially exciting. Amongst them are hearing your baby's heartbeat and feeling that first, sweet little kick. And if you are finding…
By Caroline Shannon-Karasik

9 Easy Kid Foods To Turn Green, Just In Time For St. Patrick's Day

The best part about having kids is that you get your own personal crew to celebrate the holidays with, in all your color coordinating and matching glory. And with St. Patrick’s Day right around the corner, you are obviously working on turning everyth…
By Mishal Ali Zafar

Here Are Some Conditions That Might Require You To Be On Bed Rest During Pregnancy

When I worked in an office, I worked with quite a few pregnant ladies all at the same time. Something must have been in the water, because while I was there for three years, two of my coworkers got pregnant twice, and another girl was pregnant with h…
By Abi Berwager Schreier

I Didn't Follow The Pregnancy Diet Rules & My Daughter Turned Out Just Fine

My diet is an ever-changing and wholly personal thing, which is precisely why I refused to follow any pregnancy diet rules when I was expecting my daughter. For years, I've essentially practiced intuitive eating, in that I listen to my body and eat w…
By Marie Southard Ospina

5 Foods You & Your Partner Should Eat If You're Trying To Get Pregnant

When you're trying to conceive (TTC) and it's just not happening, it's easy to feel like you're doing something wrong. It can be soul-crushing to keep seeing negatives when all you really want to do is wave a positive pregnancy test in the air. So wh…
By Kate Miller