Wednesday, July 21, 2010

"My kind": A traditional non-traditional parent?

Heather and I had an emotional discussion about the book of essays I'm reading, Confessions of the Other Mother.  I said it reassured me that there were other women in my situation, struggling to find a role.  Heather said that my role is "mother," just like hers, and that I'm wrong to get caught up in distinctions between the two of us.

The lady whose essay I just read is all about being butch.  She describes her haircut as akin to that of George Clooney.  (Who else had a fine Caesar-style haircut?  The butchiest writer of them all: Gertrude Stein.)  The writer reports being delighted to find a multicultural term-- Baba-- to describe her lesbian fatherhood, and, once the language barrier has been conquered, all is well.
My hairstyle points of reference run more towards Winona Ryder and Rihanna.  Short, but emphatically not mannish.  And my lingual points of reference start at "mommy" and end at "mama."

That's where the faux-George and I are different: I am not different.

I was straight all day long till I met Heather when I was twenty-five.  I was white, lived with my appropriately neurotic biological parents, played very happily with Barbies and a dollhouse, and looked forward to being a wife and mother someday.  In fact, the most aberrant thing I'd ever done was get depressed and take a leave of absence from college-- which, if you think about it, is pretty motherfucking normal, too.  Then I got with a lady.

But that didn't change anything else about me.  I would still play with Barbies if no one was looking.  It's jarring, honestly, to be exactly the same boring, Friends-loving girl, and suddenly be other just by virtue of the woman on the other side of the bed.  I mused about how I wasn't wife-able anymore, apropos of nothing, to my psychiatrist, and I saw on her face that she didn't think I should be.  One moment she's a stocky Italian woman at her desk, and then she's the face of this indefinable spirit of disdain that is the anti-gay-marriage movement.

One of the fundamental elements of the who-is-a-mom lesbian discussion is the notion that gender is not binary, or at least that its binary-ness isn't compatible with lesbian parents.  One might be a woman who is a father, for example.  But I'm not.  No matter who births our baby, I will be a woman and a mother, to no less degree than Heather.  And fuck all of ya'll who try to kick me out of the hospital.


  1. I still have my barbies. Come see sometime. G

  2. if I search "is pretty motherfucking normal" on Google, this is the only thing that comes up! congratz!
    Greetings from holland